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P R E SS 9 770263 74511 


The best-selling RISC OS magazine in the world 



• DrawV 
® Anthe 

Acorn H computers 

the complete solution from just 

Sprinter networked computer 

Rise PC 233T 



Spares and accessories 

Technical support 

ChefeR/out our new 

for the latest prices on 
•' hardware and peripherals 
plus dpefcigl offers and 
technid^iipdates! ; 1 


Computers for Education 
Business and Home 

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Castle Technology Limited 
Ore Trading Estate 
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Suffolk IP13 9LL UK 

To receive more details on any or all of 
our products and services please 
complete this tear off slip and send, 
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Please send me further information 
on the following products: (tick boxes) 

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Computers for Education 
Business and Home 

Acorn computers are manufactured by Castle Technolopy Limited. ‘Acorn* & the acorn nut device are trademarks of Element 14 Ltd 

November 1 999 


20 Rise ° s 4 

More about installing the new 
operating system - caveats and cautions 

22 Reflex action 

““ Who does the repairs under Acorn's 
guarantees? And will they still do it? 

RISC OS '99 

Find out all about the fantastic new show 
taking place this October - be there 

Published by 



Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP 

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

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


Simon Anthony, Alasdair Bailey, Ian Burley, 
Mike Cook, David Dade, Andrew Green, Richard 
Hallas, Gareth Moore, Max Palmer, Jill Regan, 
Greg Scott, Pam Turnbull, Paul Vigay 

Account Manager David Brad forth 
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) 

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

©1999 Tau Press Ltd. 

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

the views of the publishers 

Internet Services provided by Argonet, 
! — 


£ News 

Latest news on the 600MHz 
Strong ARM, new Psion and faster 
Acorn machines 

1 3 Comms 

Home networks, RISC OS Internet 
security, tracking webcams and Net 

15 Graphics page 

Returns again with news on Cerilica 
Vantage, Publish Art and our new 

16 Public domain 

New ways to create Web pages easily, 
the moon's phases and ANT help 

19 Cover disc 

What's in it for you? This month 
we have a special version of 


26 TopModel2 

Starting an extended review of the 3D 
application with a lot of features 



Andrew Green looks at an updated 
design package giving new life to Draw 

Irlam il6 

Need sound input but not video - 
this could be the card for you 

CQ Mercurial 

When a product goes from freeware 
to commercial it had better be good 


Gareth Moore falls in love with 
R-Comp's MIDI sequencer 

32 Game show 

Interviews with Martin Piper and 
Andrew Rawnsley plus news on Quake 
for RISC OS - at last! 

78 Subscriptions 

Take advantage of our fantastic 
subscription offers and get yours today 

3^ Letters 

Your chance to get your news, views 
and opinions into print about the RISC 
OS world 

82 The Regan Files 

Mike Glover and Bob Pollard 
interviewed about their life with 
Tech Writer 


£Q Education news 

Pam Turnbull lets us know what's new 
in the world of education 

70 Education reviews 

Tudor times and medieval moments 
plus maps and contours examined 

Hands on 

54 oop 

^ “*■ More on how to use the powerful 

object-oriented programming approach 

*7 A Run the Rise 

/ ^ Beating out a significant set of sounds 
for the budding drumming superstar 


Mike Cook explores another set of 
interesting hardware questions 

Free ads Page 62 

Advertisers' Index Page 72 

Contact us Page 72 

Back issues Page 78 

Subscriptions Page 78 

Next month 

Second half of the TopModel review; Digital 
cameras; Noticeboard Pro; Pholodesk plug- 
ins; Conipo and much much more 

December issue on sale 28th October November 1 999 

EMAIL: Tel - 01942 797777 Fax - 01942 79771 1 

Curriculum Training Associates 
Dept. AU10, 168 Elliott St. 

Gtr. Manchester 
M29 8DS 

0% Interest FREE credit (6 months) or LOW cost finance available on all new systems. 

6 months Interest Free Credit On All Systems inc peripherals, software and 2/3 vr optional warrantie s (minimum spend £800 inc Vat) 

™. Ti RiscStation RiscStation 

08 II Rise Based Technologies p^oo 

Networx 50 mip 
Ami7500 system with 
built in Midi, sound 
sampler, lObaseT 
network port, High speed 
serial & parrallel ports, 

Major Software Bundle 
Networx base only £399 + Vat (£468.83) 

Networx 14" system £479 + Vat (£562.83) 
Networx Plus base only £499 + Vat (£586.33) 
Networx Plus 14" syst. £579 + Vat (£680.33) 

See for more details 

R7500 50 mip PCI 
based system with Midi, 
sound sampler, lObaseT 
network port. High 
speed serial & parrallel 
ports, RISC OS 4 
Major Software Bundle 

Base only £579 + Vat (£680.33) 

14" monitor system £649 + Vat (£762.58) 

15" monitor system £675 + Vat (£793.13) 

17" monitor system £725 + Vat (£85 1.88) 

See for more details 

SA233"T" Web Wizard A7000 + Series Machines 

34Mb/8G/DvdCD/17" mon/Stcrco Spk, Ant 
Internet & Java with a 56K modem for only 

£1145 + VAT 

(includes RiscOS 4) 
On L.C.F. for only £34.00 
per month 

233Mhz SA RiscPC Offers 

RPC SA bases from £850 inc VAT or 
£22.00/month via L.C.F. * AND we will 
match or beat your best offer 
We can supply any combination or 
configutration you require. 

A7000+ Classic 29 Mips R03.7 8M / 
1G HD /no CD £449.00 (£527.58) 
A7000+ Classic 29 Mips R03.7 I6M / 
2G HD /24x CD £499.00 (£586.33) 
A7000+ Odyssey NETWORK 
50 Mips R03.7 (4.0) 16M 
£525.00 (£616.88) 

A7000+ Odyssey CD 
50 Mips R03.7 (4.0) 16M / 4G HD / 
40x CD £549.00 (£645.08) 
A7000+ Odyssey Primary or Sec. Pack 
50 Mips R03.7 (4.0) 16M /4G HD/ 
40x CD £599.00 (£703.83) 
A7000 + Odyssey Surf 
50 Mips R03.7 (4.0) 16M/4G HD/ 
DVD £699.00 (£821.33) 

Above prices Jo nol include monitors 
see seperate price list 

£99.00 +vat 

(£116.33) place your 
order now 


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

PaII monitors inc 3 yrs 

wty unless specified 1VIU13II I WIVO 


Inc VAT 

I 1 4” SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 



14" SVGA 0.28 Multi-Media 



15" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on site) 



15" SVGA 0.28 Multi-Media 



17" SVGA 0.28(1 yrRTB) 



17" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 



1 7* SVGA 0.28 m-media(3yr) 



1 19* SVGA 0.26(1 yrRTB) 



! 19" SVGA 0.26 (3yr on-site) 



21 "SVGA 0.25 (3yr on site) 



I 38" SVGA (lyr on-site) 



15" liyama Vision Master 350 



17" liyama Vision Master FST 



17" liyama Pro 410 



I 19" liyama Pro 450 



21" liyama Pro Diamondtron 



AKF53 Multisync 1 4" 1 yrRTB 



I AKF50 Multisync 14" 1 yrRTB 



I AKF12PAL M"rofurb90days 



I AKF52/53 M/sync rolurb 90 days 



1 AKF60 SVGA M’roturb 90days 



Multisync A300/A3000 cable 




( Please ring for latest prices ) 


Inc VAT 

Canon BJC 1000 colour A4 



1 Canon BJC 2000 colour tt A4 



Canon BJC 2000 Scan ft 1 A4 



I Canon BJC 4650 colour tt A3 



Canon BJC 4650 Scan ft ! A3 



Canon BJC 7000 colour # A4 



I Epson Stylus 440 colour A4 



Epson Stylus 640 colour A4 



Epson Stylus 850 colour A4 



Epson Stylus 1 520 colour A3 



Epson Stylus Photo 700 ft A4 



I Epson Stylus Photo EX ft A3 



HP 420C A4 



HP 61 0C colour A4 



HP 895CXI colour A4 









I Photo drivers for ft 



I Scanner drivers for 1 



•••FREE Acomi driver by request* •• 

Casio OV10Q 
Digital Camera 

PC s/w only £170.00 
exc vat (£199.75) 

Acorn & PC s/w 
£255.00 (£299.63) 


£29.79 + VAT 


A3000/A3010 A3020 I A4000/A5000/A400 RPC / A7000 / RiscStation 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VA‘ 






210Mb rofurb 
















£70 5C 















: # 








£94 OC 




i # 








£104 5E 
















! tt 


















25.0Gb * 



A3000/A3010 version includes CD ROM i/f 
which can also be used in A3020 or A4000. 
For external A3000 i/f add £20.00 +VAT 
# includes partitioning software 

* inc. internal removable HD 
& CD ROM i/f. 

For partitioning software only 
deduct £25.00 + vat (£29.38) 

* requires RISCOS 4 or 
Partitioning software for 
RISCOS 3.5/ 3.6/ 3.7 
only £25.00 + vat (£29.38) 

Removable Drives 

IDE Drives 

SCSI Removable Drives 

IDF. drive* require mtuNe driven o» hardware 

Zip 100M int 

Zip 100 in, £65.00 (£76.38) 

Zip 250 int £85.00 (£99.88) 

Parallel Drives Nomaizso 

Parallel drive* include Acorn Software JflZ 2G int 

Zip 100 £99.00 (£116.33) Jaz2Gext 

Zip 250 £159.00 (£186.83) 

Jar 1G £239.00 (£280.83) 

Jaz 2G £299.00 (£351.33) 














540Mb # limited supply 

2Gb (5400 rpm) 

2Gb (7200 rpm) # 

4.3Gb (5400 or 7200rpm) 
9.1Gb (7200rpm) 

18.6Gb (7200 rpm) 




£ 100.00 











For EXT. SCSI I case £50.00 + VAT (inc. cable) 
For EXT. SCSI I! case £55.00 + VAT (inc. cable) 


■ Prices Start 



£170.00 + 

2x2x6x £149.00 (£175.08) 

4x4x1 6x £199.00 (£233.83) 

CD-BURN £49.00 (£57.58) 

CD-SCRIBE 2 £49.00 (£57.58) 

6 Drive 
(£ 58633 ) 

SCSI 8x 
£85.00 + vat 



48x £39.00 (£45.83) 40x 

40x £35.00 (£41.13) 32x 

8x £30.00 (£35.25) 8x 


£65.00 (£76.38) 
£55.00 (£64.63) 
£30.00 (£35.25) 

For external IDE or SCSI 1 add £50.00 + VAT (inc.cablc) 
For external SCSI II add £55.00 + Val. (inc. cable) 

IDE driver for RiscOS 3.5 £15 + vat 
IDE int. fitting kit £5 inc. Int. SCSI fitting kits from £10 + va 

Removable Drive Media 

ox VAT 

Inc VAT 

ox VAT 

Inc VAT 

100Mb Zip 

£8 00 


5 2Gb OVD RAM 

£25 00 

£29 38 

Zip 5 pack 

£35 00 


250Mb Zip 


£14 99 



£1 50 

120M LS 120 


£8 23 

COR 10 pack 

£10 00 


650Mb PD 


£22 33 

COR 25 pock 

£21 28 

£25 00 

750Mb Nomal 

£38 00 


COR BOriiin lOpck 



1Gb Jazz 

£58 00 


COR 80m in 25 pek 


£30 00 

2Gb Jazz 




£5 00 

£5 88 

1 ,5Gb Syquest 



COR/W 10 pock 

£40 00 

£47 00 


56k X2/V90 3Com USR 



56k Flex/V90 (Rockwell) 



ISDN modem (external) 



ANT Internet Suite 



Webster XL 



IJava CD 



ArcFax Fax software 



Interface Adapters 




Storm SCSI 8-bit (A30x9 int) 



Storm SCSI 16-bit (podule) 



Storm SCSI 32-bit DMA (podule) 



Powertec SCSI3 32-bit DMA(podule) 



Simtec 8-bit (A3000/A301 0) 



Simtec 16-bit (AX00/A5000/RPC) 



APDL 16-bit DMA 



APDL BlitZ 32-bit DMA 



Removable IDE or SCSI housing unit 






High speed serial cards single 



High speed serial cards dual 



High speed serial cards triple 



3 y r Warranty on ALL Acorn MEMORY why Pay More?? 


High Quality MEMORY 


A310 4Mb Upgrade *£35 £41.13 

A310 RISC OS carrier board *£19 £22.33 

A310MEMC1a upgrade kit £20 £23.50 

A400/1 1Mb Upgrade (per Mb) £25 £29.38 

A3000 1-2Mb Non-Upgradeable £15 £17.63 

A3000 1 -4Mb Upgrade £35 £41.13 

A3000 Serial Port Upgrade £1 9 £22.33 

4-8Mb Up. (A310. 440. 3000’) £55 £64.63 

A3010 1 -2Mb Upgrade £20 £23.50 

A3010 1 -4Mb Upgrade £45 £52.88 

A3020/4000 2-4 Mb Upgrade £40 £47.00 

A5000 2-4Mb Upgrade £45 £52.88 

A5000 4-8Mb 25Mz* & 33Mhz £55 £64.63 

NEW A540 4Mb £45 £52.88 

FPA1 0 for A5000 or Arm 3 Card £45 £55.88 

Replacement VIDC or IOC chips £20 £23.50 

* rework if required £25 £29.38 


Also for A7000 


Inc VAT 




16Mb SIMM 



32Mb SIMM 



32Mb high clearance 



64Mb SIMM 



128Mb SIMM 









1-2Mb (exchange) 




Ex. VAT Inc VAT 
A3000 int. 10base2 or T. Accoss* £89.00 £104.58 

A400/A5000 10base2 or T Access* £89.00 £104.58 

A400/A5000 1 0baso2 A T Access*- £99.00 £1 1 6.33 

A3020 10base2 AccessWext. MAU £99.00 £116.33 

A3020 lObaseT Accoss* etx MAU £99.00 £116.33 

Rise PC/A7000 10base2 A T Acc* £99.00 £1 16.33 

Rise PC/A7000 10base2 Access-* £89.00 £104.58 

Ant Access*- ROM upgrade £10.00 £11.75 

Network Hubs (more available) 

RiscOS 3.11 Rom upgrades 

£25.00 exc Vat (£29.38) 

33 Mhz Ami 3 upgrade SPECIAL 

with FPA socket 
FPA 10 (25Mhz) 



£55.88 inc. 
£99.00 inc. 

RPC 16 bit audio & mixer £59 inc 
RPC audio mixer £35 inc 


Inc VAT 

8 Port 10 base 



8 Port 100 "special* 



8 Port 100/10 Auto 



18 Port 10 16T+ 2BNC 



16 Port 100/10 Auto 



16 Port 100/10 Auto 
(inc 3 port switch) 



24 Port 100/10 Auto 



24 Port 100 "special* 





£3.00 £3.53 


£5.00 £5.88 


£6.00 £7.05 


£10.00 £11.75 


£15.00 £17.63 

State 10basc2 or lObaseT 
any size made to order 

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


Topcat site licence 
NTfilor slto llconco 
Omnldient site licence 
Lanman98 single user 
Win95FS single user 
Lanman or Win95FS 
10 user silo licence 
Lanman or Win95FS 
20 user site llcenco 

£489.00 (£587 50) 
£97.00 (£113 98) 
£489 00 i £587 50) 
£35 00 (£4113) 

£35.00 (£41.13) 

£110.00 £129 25 

£156.00 £183 30 


High Quality 
Acorn ERGO 
Mouse £12.00 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
£29.79 £35.00 


Acorn TrackerbalLMouse NEW 
Acorn Original Mouse 
Acom ERGO Mouso NEW 
A7000 replacement Mouse NEW 
Ergo (std) Rise PC Keyboard 
Ergo curved Rise PC Keyboard 
A400i A5000 replacement K/brd 
A400/A5000 Ergo Keyboard 















Replacement Floppy Drive s 

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) 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

60 watts with PSU £13.50 £15.86 

240 watts with PSU £21.00 £24.68 

Subwoofer system £42.00 £49.35 


Premier Quality Ink Refills 
Single refills (1x22ml) £6.00 inc 





Twin refills 
Triple refills 
Tri- Colour 
125 ml 
1 litre 

£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 scanners inc Acorn Software 

Character Mouse Mats 

Southpark Kenny 


Southpark Cartman 


Disney Mickey. Pooh. Donald, etc 


X-Files (four types) 


Garfield or novelty 


Standard mat £1 .00 / Econ. £0.65 

All sizes available in C.M.Y.K 


P'llel Mustek 600dpi £99.00 (£1 1 6.33) 

Mustek A4 600dpi £1 1 9.00 (£1 39.83) 

Mustek A4 1200dpi £149.00 (£175.08) 

Epson GT7000 £199.00 (£233.83) 

Epson GT7000P £249.00 (£292.58) 

l max etnas ter & Twain also available 

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 

DD Re-label Acorn fmt 10 
DD Re-label Acorn fmt 100 
HD bulk Acorn or PC 10 
HD bulk Acorn or PC 100 
HD Branded 10 pack 
20 cap Disk Box 
40 cap Disk Box 
100 cap Disk Box 
Mouse cleaner 
3.5" Floppy head cleaners 
CD-ROM cleaner 


Inc VAT 

Doom* Trilogy 
(£32.50 with book) 
Horoos of Mighl 
and Magic 2 

£22 00 

Quake (due soon) £33.00 
Syndicate £26.00 

Towers of Darkness £30.00 
(Hexen Triple) 

Doom secrets Book £10.00 
(CTA Special) 

Printer Ribbons, Inkjet 

New/Recycled Laser Toner Carts 

Prices available on request 

(All Prices below include VAT) 


Acorn Software Bin 

Acom Pocket Book .Schedule £10.00 

Alone in the Dark £29.00 

Arm Tech Labeller £9.00 

Arm Tech ClipArt (various per pack) £8.00 

Birds of War £20.00 

Boxing Manager £8.00 

ChildPlay (desktop) £14.95 

ColourSep (Colour Separation Software) £8.00 

Creator 2 £25.00 

D’File Font Pack (Academy) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Balmoral) £1 0.00 

D'File Font Pack (FroeStyle Script) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Manhattan) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Mastercard) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Old Towne 536) £1 2.00 

Diary * £9.00 

Drifter £30.00 

FIRE and ICE £15.00 

Frak (for RPC) £13.00 

Galactic Dan £10.00 

Game ON (lor RPC/ A7000) £1 5.00 

Global Effect £25.00 

Guile £10.00 

HERO QUEST £15.00 

Imagery Art Package £25.00 

Jahangir Khan Squash £8.00 

KV ( Platform Game) £8.00 

My World Support Disc Ancient Egypt £1 2.00 

My World Support Disc Ancient Greece £1 3.00 

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

Quest for GOLD 




Revelation 2 










TURBO DRIVER • Epson Stylus 
Visual Backup 




World Class Loadorboard (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 


TopicArt CD 


Tots TV ABC 


YITM Electricity and magnetism £15.00 

YITM Elements 


YITM Materials 


YITM (all three titles) 


CD General Resource Titles 

10000 Clip Art (Draw Format) 


550 fonts 


Symphony Music collection 


Internet Clipart (new) 




1/2 price (or less) Book Bargains 

Dabhand Guide "Budget DTP" 


Dabhand Guide ”C" ver 3 


Dabhand Guide ”C" ver 2 


Dabhand "Graphics on the ARM 


Dabhand Guide "Impression" 


Internet info server 




Various Hardware bargains 

A3010 2Mb bases from 



A3020 2Mb bases from 



A4000 2Mb bases from 



A5000 4Mb bases from 



A7000 4Mb bases from 



A4 Portables (6 months wty) 



RPC bases from 



SVGA Monitors Various from 



Pioneer SCSI 4x 6x stack 




Acom networking for PCs 
£29.95 exc Vat £35.19 inc Vat 
see network section for Cards etc 

StrongARM Rev "T" 

£259.00 inc VAT 

(with any Hard Drive / Memory 

RiscPC PC Cards 

DX2-66 £145.00 inc VAT 

DX4-100 £195.00 inc VAT 

586-1 00 (Acom) £290.00 inc VAT 

586-1 33 (CJE 51 2) £300.00 inc VAT 

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

Refurbished RiscPCs 

Available now refurbished RiscPC 
Systems with AKF60 Monitors 

only £499 + Vat 

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.c. Siemans Nixorf Pentium 
200 MMX from ONLY £249.00 
+ VAT ring for latest prices. 


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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 are fully guaranteed but not supplied on 

600MHz StrongARM 

Intel has started to make some noises 
about introducing next-generation 
StrongARM technology, calling it a 
'quantum leap in performance 
without trade-offs in low-power 
capability/ Today's StrongARM 
processors deliver over 200MHz and 
draw just 650mW power. Intel say's 
the mid-range performer in its new 
StrongARM processor line-up will 
deliver twice the performance with 
one-third the power consumption, at 
45 percent less voltage. 

Intel will implement an ultra-low 
power 32-bit RISC 
architecture, helped 
by Intel's new 0.18p 
fabrication process. 

600MHz will deliver 
750MIPS performance 
and yet the 500mW 
power consumption 
barrier will remain 
un-touched. The 
family will range 
between 150MHz, consuming 40m W 
power, to the 600MHz part 
consuming 450mW power, less than 
a tenth that of a typical Intel or third 
party Pentium compatible at the 

same clock speed. 

Intel also point out that 
compatibility with the current ARM 
architecture has been agreed, 
suggesting that the new chips won't 
lack the 26-bit operational mode 
currently required by RISC OS. 

If true, this is excellent news for 
the RISC OS market since the 
conversion from 26-bit to 32-bit 
addressing is the most serious 
problem facing the RISCOS Ltd 
programmers. It would mean that 
the existing operating system should 
work without further 
modification - giving 
more breathing space 
for the necessary 
future changes to 

technology features 
the Intel Super 
Pipelined RISC 
Architecture implementation, 
including a seven-stage integer and 
eight-stage memory pipeline for 
dramatically faster processor clock 
rates. Integrated caches have been 

expanded to further enhance 
performance. 32Kb 32-way associative 
instruction and data caches and a 2Kb 
2-way associative mini-cache will be 
implemented. These caches represent 
significant increases over the current- 
generation StrongARM architecture 

The Internet and voice recognition 
are used by Intel as an indication of 
the importance of the new chips. 

Intel gives the example of a palm- 
size device capable of taking 
dictation. It requires about 250MIPS 
for voice recognition, enough all by 
itself to push the performance 
envelope of today's processors. Since 
it would be impractical for a single 
function like voice recognition to 
consume all of a device's available 
processing capacity, it's clear that 
more headroom is vital. 

Among other applications, these 
performance advances will enable 
developers to build a whole new 
class of faster programmable, 
intelligent Internet access devices 
capable of simultaneously 
supporting multiple windows for TV 
and digital video content. 

RISC OS in Rwanda 

We've all heard the horror stories from the central African 
state of Rwanda in the news since 1994. Ethnic tribal rivalry 
resulted in the slaughter of possibly millions. At last the 
region is getting back to a semblance of normality, enabling 
various aid and redevelopment agencies to carry out their 
work there. 

ExpLAN Computers of Tavistock in Devon, is well 
known for its Church links and the company's Paul 
Richardson was part of a five-person team from two 
churches in Devon who went out this summer to provide 
assistance to a group of churches headed up by Pastor 
Sadike Zacharie. They took with them an A4000 and an 
A7000 for use in producing small print-runs of Bible 
teaching materials. As far as he knows, Richardson 
successfully installed the first RISC OS computer in 
Rwanda. Apparently, there has been a rapid increase in the 
demand for Bible-teaching resources in Rwanda. 

ExpLAN equipped the computers with their own 
HolyBible software in French, the official language of 
Rwanda. It's also possible the text will eventually provided 

in the native Kinyarwandan language. Requests were also 
made to other RISC OS developers for specific items needed. 
Every company approached gave the products requested, 
either free of charge, or at specially reduced prices. 
Computer Concepts gave two copies of Impression Style, 
EFF some keyboard drivers, Argonet offered internet 
software and David Pilling, fax and SparkFS software. 

Other contributions were made by Interconnex, IFEL and 
Castle Technology. Richardson was able to train about two 
dozen Rwandese to use the equipment, including a 
PostScript laser printer. "It's important to remember that 
they must continue to keep this system running," explained 
Richardson. "I have no doubts as to the ease of use and long 
lifetime of RISC OS computers and the laser printer will 
continue to operate for many years on the level of finance 
available in Rwanda." 

Life may be getting back to normal, but there are still 
dangers to be faced: "We only got accosted by one bandit, 
and that was in the centre of the capital city. I think he was 
after the A7000 he spied on the back seat of the car." 

November 1 999 

Psion leaps to generation 7 

Just a couple of months after 
announcing the refreshed Series 5mx, 
Psion has announced a new, bigger 
and more powerful StrongARM- 
powered sibling, the Series 7. Psion 
has also announced the opening of a 
Psion user-dedicated Internet portal 
complete with free Internet service 
designed specifically for Psion users. 

Since the Series 3 /Acorn Pocket 
Book generation, Psion has now 
skipped two even-numbered 
generations. Number 4 was supposed 
to be considered unlucky in some 
Eastern countries - 6 has been 
skipped too. But the Series 7 itself 
looks rather familiar. In fact, it's a 
consumer-version of the Psion 
netBook which the company 
announced at the same time as the 
Series 5mx. 

Both the Series 7 and netBook are 
larger than the Series 5, sport 60x480 
resolution colour touch screens and 
are driven by Strong ARM processors; 
the netBook gets a 190MHz SA and 
the cheaper Series 7 a 133MHz 
processor. You also get a full-size 
PCMCIA Type II slot and a voucher is 
included for a special offer on a Psion 
Dacom Gold Card PCMCIA modem. 
A Lithium-ion rechargeable battery 
pack is also part of the specification, 
which Psion claims will last two to 
three times longer than that in your 
typical notebook PC, which could 
translate into 6-10 hours of 
continuous use; the best part of a 
working day, if you like. 

16Mb system memory is standard, 

expandable to 32Mb and along with 
the PCMCIA slot, there is a 
CompactFlash for extra non-volatile 

IrDA-compliant wireless infra-red 
networking is built in alongside a 
serial port. The Series 7 weighs in at 
1.15Kg. At £699.95 inc.VAT, it is 
priced to compete with the mid-to- 
high end specification Windows CE 

At the time of writing, the Psion 
netBook's price wasn't known, 
though estimates suggest £800+ VAT. 
For the extra £140 (inc.VAT), you get 
nearly twice the processor power, 
32Mb RAM as standard, plus Java 
and Ethernet support. It could be a 

tough choice between the two for 

Meanwhile, Planet.Psion is a free 
Internet service for Psion users 
provided in conjunction with Line 
One, a fast-growing ISP in the UK. 
Slightly amusing is the fact that the 
Planet.Psion Web site is mostly 
designed in shades of grey and is 
devoid of design features, like frames, 
superfluous graphics and animations, 
which would tax Psion's existing 
Epoc Web browser. Planet.Psion will 
also function as a central news and 
information service for Psion users. 
Users can register with the service, 
which includes up to five mailboxes 
and 10Mb of Web space, online. 

Welcome to PLANET PSION 
EPOC portal for the Series 5. 

This website was last updated on 1QW1999 





WebSearch | 

S earch Yah o ol fo} Psion 

Sp<?rt- U K B v s lnfiss.find s i 

US Jobs - UK Jobs 
QtherYahool Services 


EPOC news feed supplied by 
Copyright 1999. 

Good morning and welcome to Planet Psion. 


Psion and IBM provides solution for mobile workers 
Enfour supports Hong Kona University EPOC development 

Prism Computer Supports Oracle8i Lite For EPOC 
Sfaham Tgchno joflia n d . P a ! mt.Q p_a n no u n ce p a rtnership. 

Psion technology helps reunite Kosovo Albanians 

Protect vour privacy with DATASAFE 

» News about SERIES 5 Software 

New version of Tester 

Updated - Quote On 
In Development - Lister 

»ewy £S|on_ Pf Mentor 

New medical app • Logbook 

New: Paddle 

Oerman 5mx Pro users benefit from EPOC upgrade 


Shareware New; 
Subscribe U 


Hints & Tips 
SetMo bile. G e 




Docketinfo .on 



$1 3 million for E-1 4 

Elementl4 Ltd - the company which likes to describe itself 
as "a start-up formed from the remains of Acorn Computers 
Ltd" - has raised $13 million in financing and revealed 
more details about its future plans to produce an innovative 
DSP (digital signal processor) chip family under the code- 
name of RrePath. The financing deal is said to be the 
largest for a chip-design company start-up in Europe. The 
company also speaks of its ambitions to emulate the success 
of ARM Ltd. 

E14 will use the money for operational expenses as it 
expands its architecture and chip design teams in Bristol, 
where earlier this year the company acquired design 

engineers from the 64-bit Chameleon CPU design group of 
ST Microelectronics. "The simplicity of the architecture is 
the key. We're taking a RISC-like approach to the design of 
DSP," said Stan Boland, chief executive officer of Elementl4. 

He added: "We've been assembling the company over 
the last three to six months by bringing together engineers 
from Acorn and a CPU design team from STM. It means 
we've got excellent silicon, software and systems expertise. 
The plan is to produce a chip in summer 2000 as an 
evaluation platform for the architecture." 

Like ARM, E14 will design its chips but let others license 
the technology and make the final product. November 1999 

ime In 1 or m a l r nn System 


around the home 

The great thing about having one is 
that a butler can be summoned to 
where you happen to be. This hints 
at why Octopus Systems has named 
its new home information system 
product "TeleButler". 

The package combines Octopus 
Systems' Caller ID and Teletext 
products originally designed as 
separate Acorn computer peripherals 
and allows caller information to be 
displayed on any TV in your home 
using a dedicated channel. 

A special "information channel" is 
generated by the computer and 
available on Channel 9. The system 
is able to display the caller's name 
and number when the telephone 
rings, the number dialled on any 
telephone extension in your home, 
the name of the person being called, 
when the telephone is in use and 

when the call has finished. 

It can also display a customised 
TV and Radio guide 
listing your favourite 
programmes, plus other 
useful information you 
may wish to link to in 
other RISC OS 
applications. Octopus see 
the product as appealing 
to all sorts, but especially 
home workers. 

The TeleButler system 
can be bought as a 
complete package priced 
£285 inc. delivery and 
VAT, or you can build it 
up item by item, though 
separately the total cost 
is higher. For more 
information, check the 
Web at http:// www. tb Octopus systems is 
on tel: 01473 728943 

Octopus Systems Teletext* 

f^iWTciTihTIF T _>■ ... _ . :i 

10.00 STAR TREK - The Next Generation 


21.00 TAGGART Final part. 

21.25 HORIZON S/N features Acorn’s new 


09:08 01473-720943 
09:31 01473-640000 
09: 52 

10: 17 01354-680432 
10:42 0101-231 9191 
11:25 01473-270643 
11:37 01223-725725 

Octopus Systems 
BT Research 
Apricote Studios 
BBC Engineering 
Tracey Skirrow 
Acorn Computers 

This display can appear on all of the 
TV sets in your home - see page 50 of 
the Teletext**- manual. 

GIF worries return 

We thought this story was dead and 
buried. We were wrong. It's back and 
it's beginning to scare some software 
developers and users in the RISC OS 
and other software platforms. 

Five years ago, Unisys - a large US 
computer firm which invested in 
patented technology intellectual 
property, woke up to the fact that the 
Internet was making one of its 
patents rapidly increase in value. 

This was the LZW (Lempel Ziv 
Welch) loss-less image compression 
algorithm used in a variety of image- 
related application programs and 
image file formats, including the 
popular TIFF (Tagged Image File 

Even more popular than TIFF is 
GIF, commonly known as the 
CompuServe Graphic Image File 
format. GIF uses LZW compression 
and the GIF format, along with the 
JPEG format, forms the basis for Web 
page imaging on the Internet. 

At the end of 1994, Unisys let it be 
known that they would be seeking 
licence fees from those people its 
legal advice had defined as 
commercially liable through the use 
of LZW compression in file formats 
like GIF. The announcement caused a 

storm of protest as it directly 
challenged the notion of the Internet 
as being a largely free entity. There 
was also confusion as to who was 
actually liable - end users, BBS 
operators, Web site owners: all feared 
the consequences. 

The uproar seemed to cancel out 
the licence issue and once the noise 
had died down, Unisys' LZW claims 
were forgotten by most. In fact, 
Unisys continued to pursue its claims 
a little more discreetly, but targeted 
bigger firms like Microsoft and IBM. 
Now, five years later, Unisys has 
issued further press releases 
indicating that it is continuing to 
pursue un-licensed use of the LZW 

Unisys points out that it recently 
succeeded in defeating resistance 
from Corel Corporation, a major 
developer of graphics software, over 
the issue through legal action. Several 
hundred big name software 
companies have quietly paid their 
licence fees, but there are thousands 
of others and many can't afford the 
apparent minimum $5,000 charge. 
Many of these companies are in the 
RISC OS sector. 

Unisys also warns that users' 

ignorance of their software's licensed 
status is no excuse. While stressing 
that most licence arrangements with 
ordinary end-users will not require 
any fees at all, Unisys still wants 
anyone using LZW-based 
technologies to check that their 
software is licensed. It reads a lot like 
veiled threats to any GIF user. 

Five years ago, as soon as the 
original Unisys/LZW furore made 
the headlines, enthusiasts rebelled 
and invented their own, improved 
alternative to GIF and called it PNG - 
officially called Portable Network 
Graphics and cheekily nick-named 
PNG is Not GIF. It's a recognised 
Web graphics file format supported 
by many browsers, including some 
RISC OS ones like Fresco, Acorn 
Browse and ArcWeb, for example and 
it is totally free of any licensing 
concerns. PNG is widely supported, 
but GIF continues to rule alongside 
JPEG. Now maybe PNG will come to 
the fore after all. 

For more information on LZW 
licensing, check 


The official PNG Web site is at: 

November 1999 

3.5" IDE Hard Discs 

Drive Plus i/face 


El tTSIEfflEH H il tL-JL^ ^-gjgg 

210 Mb 



420 Mb 



540 Mb 



1.2 Gb 



2.1 Gb 



2.5 Gb 



3.2 Gb 



4.2 Gb 



6.3 Gb 



10 Gb 



12.7 Gb 



17.7 Gb 



18.8 Gb 5- 



Plus U face' price includes an 

Th* PO LUH-r 

fData file 

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

This is only a fraction of what we have available. 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. 

p APDL, 39 Knighton Park Road, Sydenham, London SE26 5RN mm 

Jm Phone: 0181 778 2659 Fax: 0181 488 0487 

APDL fast IDE interface. 
Part-exchange available if 
you need a bigger drive . 
Please phone for prices. 

2.5" IDE Hard Discs 

30 Mb 
80 Mb 
120 Mb 
170 Mb 
210 Mb 
250 Mb 
330 Mb 
420 Mb 
512 Mb 
1.8 Gb 

A301 0/3000 includes APDL 
interface, A 3020 includes fitting kit 
Larger sizes and 11D+CI) available 



PD-1 Issue 4 
PD-2 Issue 4 
DTP-1 and DTP-2 





The best PI) 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. 
Around 700 games and novelties, over 250 games cheats and over 200 demos, 
plus over 2,000 music files and more than 550 digitised sound samples. 

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

Third highly acclaimed APDL clip art CD. Over 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 latest clip art CD. Over 12,000 images, plus more than 400 Artworks files 
and 170 high quality colour pictures. All catalogued complete with thumbnails 

A collection of twenty of the best PI) games of all types. Ready to run direct 
from the CD on almost any machine. Hours of fun for an unbeatable price. 
Our Games Collection No. 1 CD was so popular we’ve done it again. Another 
twenty of the best best games at a real budget price. 

A great budget priced games CD from APDL. Full versions of three popular 
games from Skullsoft, !Arya, IXenocide and !PIig 

Six classic games from Soft Rock Software, plus a new version of Trellis, the 
adventure game creator/interpreter with two adventures 
By request from our customers, the pictures from the Fantasy section of the 
APDL catalogue. Lots of Sword 'n Sorcery pics and many others 


Games CD 1 
Games CD 2 
Skullsoft Collection 

Soft Rock Collection 
Fantasy Pictures 


Earth in Space 
Earth Data 

New Ergane 





The ultimate super fast IDE 
interface for your Rise PC. 
Over 7 M/b per second! 

SCSI Hard Discs 


A CD ideal for schools. All the things we know you want. Over 5,000 Acorn 
format clip art images, 100’s of e-texts, over 300 useful programs, and more. 

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

Geographical database with a huge variety of data and statistics on every 
country. Simple menu-based interface. Including lEarthmap 
Translating dictionary program by David O'Shea with dictionary files for over 
50 languages, although some are limited to a few' hundred words. 

Now with eight games. AlfaXL5, Pharoahs Secret Tombs, Last Cybcrmoch, 

Sea Trek, Caves of Confusion, Robocatch, Gold Run and Jewels of Jezabar. 

210 Mb 


420 Mb 





4.2 Gb 



4.2 Gb 


8.7 Gb 



IDE CD ROModrives 


Drive with all cables and drivers 
for RO 3.6 4- where required 
36x £47 

40x £49 

Drive including APDL IDE interface 
36x £94 

40x £96 


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

36x £151 

40x £153 

C l) ROM driver softwa re 
Works with most MAPI CDs eg.. Pit niter 
Goldstar, Panasonic. Lite-on, Milsinni, 

• Sony. Hitachi, NEC. Toshiba, Sanyo, etc. 

! Includes CDh'S for use with RO 3.5. 

Intended for RPC but can be used with 
j an A 500(1. Only £8 or £7 with u drive 

APDL ideA fast IDE interface 

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

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

• Includes CDFS and ATAPI CI) 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. 

AH 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 - £62 

RiscPC and A7000 RAM 

8 Mb 


16 Mb 


32 Mb 


32 Mb High Clearance 


64 Mb 



128 Mb 



2 Mb VRAM 


I Mb to 2 Mb exchange 


APDL Paralell Port Syquest drive 

The 1Gb SparQ drive is the ideal solution for backing up larger hard drives 
where old technology like a Zip drive just isn’t realistic. Big enough to hold 
lots of data, and with our software you aren't restricted to just RISC-OS 3.6+ 
but 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 

Ancestor + 

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 available. Can use 
Ancestry 1 files und we're working on a converter for Ancestry 2. Only £59 

ACE 586 PC cards 

Available with from just £199 with trade in against your old card, which 
makes it even cheaper. Good performance for Windows at a sensible price. 
I28K to 512K cache upgrade (fits most cards with socketed processor) £99 

Faster PC - £20 The alternative XT PC 
emulator. Works on any model with 2Mb 
RAM from A30(H) to Strong ARM RPC. 

Power Base - £15 Popular extremely 
powerful but very easy to use database. 
With examples, tutorials and printed 
manuals. Better thun most products costing 
many times the price. Does everything that 
99% of database users will ever need. 

MenuBar - £15 The very best pull-down 
menu system. An absolute essential for any 
hard disc user. You can switch between up 
to 30 different menu bars. Incredibly easy to 
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. An 
essential productivity tool. 

Joy Connect joystick podule 

Works with most games. Podule with one 
joystick £42 Extra joysticks £4 each. 

Connect 32 fast SCSI 

We have a limited number of these very fast 
interfaces (up to 7.5 Mb/sec) at only £99 


Datafile PD CDs 

PD CD -3 
PD CD -4 
PI) CD -5 




(Data (0) SAFE 

Data Safe - A new concept in backup and data security 

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 w ith 3.2Gb drive just £185 6.3 Gb only £199 

Faster A7000+ 

Castle Technology Limited (CTL) has 
announced a faster A7000+ which 
incorporates the latest 50mips (million 
instructions per second) ARM 7500FE 
processor. The new A7000+ Odyssey 
benefits from raw processing power 
boosted by over 70 percent from the 
previous model's 29mips. 

The extra oomph also translates 
into better screen mode options, 
ranging from a full 16 million colours 
in 640x480 mode, through to a 
1024x768 mode in 32,000 colours and a 
huge 1280x1024 mode in 256 colours. 
Performance and usability also gets a 

Acorn users have used Wacom 
graphics tablets for years. Now 
Wacom is widening its market from 
a core clientele 
of mainly 
graphics artists 
to the general 
market with its 
new Graphire 
mouse and pen 
set. In the box 
you get a 
1,000dpi A6 
format graphics 
tablet, a cordless 
sensitive pen 
and a cordless mouse with a wheel 
button. The pen has 512 levels of 
pressure, which is half that of the 
more up-market Wacom Intuos 
tablet range, but still promises to 
satisfy the majority of uses. 

The mouse has no ball or internal 

boost through CTL's adoption of RISC 
OS 4 as a no-cost option to the 
standard RISC OS 3.71 . 

RISC OS 4 can, in certain 
circumstances, accelerate performance 
by almost 50 percent. Free bundled 
software includes Icon Technology's 
EasiWriter Professional and Colton 
Software's Resultz spreadsheet 

The Odyssey is available in a 
number of configurations for 
networking, Internet access, and so on, 
with prices (without monitor) starting 
at £525+VAT. CTL is currently offering 

rollers to get dirty, so its operation 
should be smooth and glitch-free for 
life. Both input devices 
communicate with the tablet using a 
low-power radio 
system and 
neither require 

A choice of 
USB or serial 
connection is 
offered and the 
Graphire will be 
available from 
October, priced 
£84.99 inc. VAT. 

support software 
will be required and we must hope 
that the existing software support 
can be adapted easily for the RISC 
OS market. The UK distributor is 
Computers Unlimited, tel: 0181 358 
5857. Wacom on the Web: 
http:/ / www. 

discounts on monitors until the end of 

Customers who order a new Acorn 
computer (Rise PC or A7000+) from 
Castle, or one of its dealers, can choose 
a 14in monitor for an extra E50+VAT, a 
15in unit for E75+VAT or a 17" 
monitor for £125 +VAT. 

All these have digital controls and a 
0.28mm dot pitch screen, plus a 3 year 
warranty. Min flat screen LCD 
monitors are also available at 

Jack Lillingston, CTL's managing 
director, commented: "Castle have 
taken up the challenge to continue the 
development of the Acorn range of 

The Odyssey is just the first in a 
series of improvements that we have 
been working on. Castle will release 
details of further technological 
developments before Christmas 1999". 
CTL, tel: 01728 723200, fax: 01728 
621179, e-mail:, 

Acorn searches 
made easy 

AcornSearch, is set to become the 
'Yahoo!' of the Acorn world. It's a 
search engine dedicated to the 
Acorn/ RISC OS area of computing. It 
can search through Web, FTP, and 
News items, helping to fitter out 
other non-relevant material and 
return clearer results. 

The engine itself now indexes over 
7,500 items, over some 170 individual 
sites. Users can submit their RISC OS 
related homepages by sending an e- 
mail to with 
their website in the subject of the 
message. Developers may be 
interested to know that the engine 
scrapes the web pages for 
downloadable files (for the file search 
engine) and may wish to read the 
instructions provided at http: //www. 

Wacom's pen 
and mouse 

Eizo's budget monitor paiy m 

A year ago, you'd be doing well to find 
an up-to-date 17in monitor of any 
description under E200+VAT. Today, 
several manufacturers are offering 
models at nearing the E150+VAT mark. 
Eizo is not noted for budget-priced 
product, preferring to concentrate on 
high-end feature-rich models instead. 
But now the company has announced a 
budget model of a sort. The list price of 
the Eizo F520 is E239+VAT, which 
makes it a mid-price 17in unit. 

However, you do get features which 

are unusual for this price point, 
including a short-neck tube which 
saves on space, 0.26mm dot pitch 
screen instead of the usual budget- 
priced 0.28mm specification and TCO 
'99 radiation emissions compliance. 
Maximum refresh rate at 1024x768 
resolution is 89Hz. Options include a 
modular USB hub and add-on speakers 
and microphone. Eizo monitors are 
distributed in the UK by PDS, tel: 
01483, 719500, Web: 
http: / / 

Game Boy ARMed 
and dangerous 

It has been revealed that Nintendo has 
chosen an ARM processor to power its 
successor to the highly successful, multi- 
million seller. Game Boy hand-held 
pocket game console. Code-named 
Game Boy Advance, the new device is 
designed to be configured with the aid 
of add-on modules as a mobile phone, 
providing Internet communications for 
software downloading and e-mail. A 
digital camera add-on is planned too. 

Multi-player real-time games will 
include the ability to see the face of your 
opponent. The new Game Boy will have 
the capability of running current Game 
Boy games using an emulator, but new 

games specially developed for the 
'Advance' unit will not be backwards 
compatible with the existing Game Boy. 

A special feature will see the new 
Game Boy working in tandem with 
Nintendo's still-secret next-generation 
'Dolphin' home entertainment console. 
The 'Advance' unit itself will have a 
240x160 pixel TFT LCD display, have a 
capacity of 20 hours of continuous use 
and weight about 140g. Don't hold your 
breath, however, the first production 
units, which will ship in just less than a 
year's time, will be for Japan only, 
though the rest of the world is 
scheduled for Christmas 2000. 

Vacancies at Oregan 

We've mentioned their recruitment 
needs in the news pages before, but 
Oregan Networks Ltd continue to have 
have several full time job vacancies for 
software engineers with RISC OS 
experience. According to Oregan, 
positions available will require working 
on-site at the Oregan Networks 
Leicestershire offices, with involvement 
in a number of Internet STB (set top box) 
related projects. 

Qualifying for the jobs is quite tough: 

At least a BSc/BEng Degree within 
a suitable discipline, excellent 
knowledge of C and the Acorn or 
ARMTools compilers, experience of 
developing RISC OS-based WIMP 
applications, some experience of porting 
C code to the RISC OS platform and 
some some knowledge of Unix, 
networks and Internet technologies is an 

If you're interested, e-mail nbourne®, or telephone 01530 563311. 

Freeze your machine 

Having been involved with 
Acorns for longer than I care to 
remember, sometimes, this news 
item reminded me of those wire- 
infested gadgets for your BBC 
Micro you used to be able to buy 
in order to stop games at critical 
moments, change the lives 
memory value to 'infinite' and 
then proceed to become a 
champion Elite player or 

Like Arm's Tech's new 
product, called Freeze, these 
games cheat devices were 
designed around the ability to 
freeze the state of the host 
computer and then enable the 
entire memory contents to be 
saved out as a file and tampered 
with as necessary. 

Freeze can save the state of a 
machine and restore it back at 
any time, but Arm's Tech appears 
to have developed the application 
more for convenience than games 
cheating. Using Freeze, a long 
boot sequence can take less than 
5 seconds. You can, freeze as 
many different sessions as you 
like and re-load them when 
needed. Freeze is a shareware 
program and the full registration 
costs £10. For more information, 
contact Arm's Tech via the Web 

David Watkins 

It is with sadness, shock and 
surprise that we have learned 
that Dave Watkins, who was the 
last editor of Archimedes World, 
had passed away. Dave was a 
familiar and enthusiastic figure 
among the small band of people 
who make up the core 'Acorn 

He endured a difficult time 
keeping Archimedes World going 
while its then publishers were 
negotiating to close or sell it. 
Acorn User's own publishing 
company, Tau Press, eventually 
acquired the magazine and it was 
merged with Acorn User. We will 
miss Dave's thoughtful but laid 
back presence at press meetings. 
Our thoughts are with his family. November 1 999 

Icon Technology 

New Pro+ version of Easiwriter and Techwriter now available 

EasiWriter professional 

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

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

• IMPRESSION text files with styles are imported complete with formatting. 

• Reads and writes HTML. Splits large documents with automatic generation 
of forward /backward links and contents. 

• Reads RTF (Rich Text Format). 

• Creates Hypertext documents. 

• Built in Table Editor. 

• Automatic bulleted and numbered lists. 

• Mail merge. 

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Net gains and losses 

In brief 

More Net-work 

Andover.Net operates Websites offering 
on-line Internet resources for Website 
builders. It also hosts the advertising 
space that pays for free use of these 
tools. Their Internet traffic report 
monitors the flow of data around the 
world checking response time and 
packet loss, expressed as a Traffic 
Index. Get it at http://www. 

The MediaBuilder site offers free clip- 

art, animated GIF library, icons, borders 
and backgrounds, as well as free TrueType 
fonts and image creation tools. The 3D Text 
Maker at 

A bit more work needed perhaps? 

can produce headlines and banner graphics 
which can be edited and tweaked in 
another online tool called GIFWORKS, 
which for Acorn machines needs a 
JavaScript Browser such as WebsterXL or 
Fresco 2.03. 

Button Maker can convert an existing 
Web-published image into a bevelled 
button with an optional sharp drop 
shadow. Animated banner GIFs can be 
created with your own text with a 
number of moving effects. Their 
Dingbats font face mapper needs using 
with care, as its HTML won't display 
correctly on an Acorn Browser. If you 
must use the face attribute, only use 
<FONT FACE="Arial,Helvetica">, as no 
other fonts can be expected. 

MediaBuilder offers an interesting 
selection of browser-independent tools 
for Web graphics creation, but the image 
quality isn't brilliant, and most actions 
take quite a time to achieve. Much better 
results would probably be obtained 
using one of the low-cost packages such 
as DrawWorks for Acorns or Xara3D and 
WebStyle for the PC. 

Andover.Net MediaBuilder 

YoUR List of 
Alan Brown's Postscript Printer 
Description files for distilling pdf files, his 
Acorn software and Simpsons guide. 
Edward Noakes' RISC OS software and 
coding tips, his selection of other authors' 
Acorn software and Angband links. 
riscos/ comp.html 

The computer adventures of Simon E. 

John, including his JavaScript digital 
clock, Perl and Java demos. 
Bryn Evans' collection of scripts and 
information for using Acorn ! Connect 
with free ISPs, also Interesting sites for 

Kez's Corner (thankfully not /Corner); 

Kerry Floyd's site includes Acorn 

sites to visit 

games to download, desktop sillies and 
Java chat page. 

Ben Brook's site contains images and info 
on the range of Acorn machines, links and 
a beginner's guide to Acorns. 
Free tools for Webmasters including Web 
forums, reasonably discreet hit counters, 
guestbooks, mailing lists and E-mail forms. 


IHTML by Richard Goodwin is a very 
comprehensive macro-inserter for 
creating Web pages with your favourite 

Contacting AU j 

David Dade at: 

During the day Ian Jeffray designs 
digital set-top TV software, but his 
home interests include Formula 1 
Grand Prix, ARM Linux , and 
writing Acorn software. His 
FreeUK Web site features well- 
illustrated information on setting 
up small home Ethernet networks 
with Acorns and PCs. Topics 
discussed on his "Basic home 
networking" pages range from 
choosing cable types through 
allocating IP addresses to 
networking software configuration 
of both Acorns and PCs. 

Basic home networking 
http://www.jeff ray. freeuk. com/ 

Keep track 
with Camtrack 

Hans de jong plays a lot of tennis, 
but his other leisure moments in 
The Netherlands are taken up by 
RISC OS programming. CamTrack 
is his latest project, which fetches 
and stores images from WebCams 
- those peeping Internet eyes that 
show you what's happening right 
now in places all over the world. 

Camtrack initiates periodic 
Web fetches and stores the images 
where you want them. In concert 
with David Thomas' NetFetch and 
your Internet software, up to 50 
separate WebCams can be 
scheduled. There's a good selection 
at "Around The World in 80 
Clicks" at 

com/80clicks/index. h tm. 


Security breach 

There has been much recent e- 
discussion about Secure Sockets 
Layer connections; the encryption 
of data sent via Web browsers for 
e-commerce purposes. UK-based 
users of Acorn ’.Browse have the 
40-bit standard, but the full 
'strong' 128-bit encryption is not 
available. ANT © Suite and Voyager 
Fresco© owners have been 
champing at the bit for any level of 
secure transfer. You can test the 
strength of whatever SSL version 
you may or may not have 'found', 
at a number of Web sites including 
the Harvard University FAS site at 
http://www. fas. harvard, edu/ 
security/test.html November 1999 

Acorn User Awards 1995 
Best product 
runner up • PubllshART 

Acorn User Awards 1995 
Best business software 
runner up • TableCalc 

Tel 01344 455769 email 
? 6 1 


IDWmanual IDWorksSE Worksheets 

DrawWorks bitmap/vector graphics package 

Mr Cllppy clip art manager 

Over 1000 pieces of high qualify clip art 

Over 21 00 supert outline fonts 

Or Fonty font editor 

VIVID Graphics enhancers 

Art Lesson CD-ROM 

For Acom 

by Christopher Jarman 

Key Stoge 2 and above 

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f Products 



© ISV Product* 1998 

Over 6000 graphics 
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Over 2100 fonts & 
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The complete guide to 
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All details correct at the time of going to press E&OE 
NDT & Typography are trademarks of iSV Products. All other trademarks are acknowledged 
This advert was produced using NDT fonts 
and DrawWorks Millennium 

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Bracknell • Berks • RG12 8ZH 
Tel 01344 455769 

Graphics back 

Well, after a break of a few months, the 
graphics page makes a welcome return 
to Acorn User, with a new column editor 
at the helm. In fine tradition. I'd like to 
start things off with a brief introduction 
to myself. I'm Andrew Green, RISC OS 
user and graphic designer, in that order. 

I run a graphic and Internet design 
agency, Article Seven, based almost 
around an 
Rise PC 

I'm not 
alone in 
doing this - 
it's always 
refreshing to 
hear of 

graphic designers working with RISC 
OS equipment, many with great success. 

The focus of my business is, 
admittedly, Internet design, meaning 
that for some tasks (CSS and Flash to 
name the primary two), I need to resort 
to using a PC. It's an uncomfortable 
experience: I find the RISC OS 
development environment second-to- 

none, which is why I choose to only use 
alternative platforms when I absolutely 
have to. 

Article Seven is just over two years 
old now, which I'd like to think 
constitutes proof that it is possible to run 
a professional graphics business without 
needing to be Macintosh-based. And, 
despite the loss of Acorn, I can't help 
feeling that 
the next few 
years are 
likely to prove 

interesting for 
design, with 
the eventual 
release of 
Vantage and 
Millipede's new Imago motherboard. 

If RISCOS Ltd can secure a future for 
our operating system, engineering for 
hardware independency and the ability 
to use faster processors than the current 
StrongARM, the platform could well 
find a new niche in this very market, 
which in turn would be extremely good 
news for the whole RISC OS community. 

article seven 

Vantage progress 

It's painfully slow, but there are signs 
that a finished release of Vantage, the 
new vector art program for RISC OS, is 
finally on the horizon. 

Pre-release copies have been available 
for some time now, but these lacked 
several key features which prevented the 
package from being truly comparable, in 
design terms, to its only real rival, 

Although many of the features 
promised by the application have been 
written and working for a while, it's 
apparently been a slow process to 
incorporate them smoothly into the 
package proper, and to provide a full 

user-interface for them. One example is 
Vantage's graduated fills. Most art 
packages allow fills to graduate from 
one colour to another, and some allow 
more than two colours to be used in the 

I've yet to see one that can perform 
such a blend using anything other than a 
straight line - except Vantage, which 
allows graduated fills to follow any 
curve you like, and radial fills to use 
shapes other than simple concentric 

Watch this space. 

Cerilica Ltd 

Publish Art 

iSV Products have acquired the 
distribution rights to the Publish 
Art clip art library, following 
the closure of its previous 
distributor, Smart DTP. The 
library features over 15,000 
images, in a variety of vector 
and bitmap formats (all RISC 
OS compatible, of course), and 
costs £20 for a single-user 
license. More information can 
be found on the iSV Products 


Print and publish 

Micro Laser Designs have 
launched an electronic mailing 
list for those involved with, or 
interested in, printing and 
publishing using the RISC OS 
platform. The list covers many 
design-related issues that aren't 
necessarily specifically 
concerned with printed media, 
and has already found a 
comfortable niche alongside the 
likes of the Photodesk users' list 
and the Ovation Pro users' list. 
To subscribe, e-mail with 
subscribe print+publish in the 
subject line of your message. 

Your work here! 

One of the most pleasurable 
aspects of RISC OS culture, for 
me, is the sense of community 
it affords. To that end, I'd be 
more than happy to mention 
any on-line portfolios of work 
any of you have - just e-mail 
me the URLs or write to the 
Acorn User office. 

Similarly, I hope to be able 
to kick-start the Pic of the 
Month feature again: let's see 
those entries coming in. The 
prize of Phantasm is no longer 
available, so printed offerings 
will receive a £10 cheque 

Contacting AU J 

Andrew Green: 

J November 1999 


By far the most actively pursued 
aspect of computing these days is the 
Internet; The Global Information 
Super Highway. Sometimes however. 
Acorn users must be wondering why 
they seem to be stuck on the hard 
shoulder while Bill Gates' station 
wagon rushes past in the fast lane. 

Luckily there are a great many 
enthusiastic RISC OS programmers 
writing Internet utilities and 
applications to make life slightly 
more luxurious for Acorn owners. Of 
course, the more people who become 
'wired up', the more people think 
they'll have a go at producing their 
own 'home page' on the World Wide 

Some die-hard Internet boffins 
might argue that coding in raw 
HTML (Hyper-text markup language 
- the language of the WWW) is 
relatively straightforward and the 
only 'real' way to write web pages. It 
can however, be daunting to the 
novice newcomer and even some of 
the old die-hards can come unstuck 
when trying to remember the syntax 
of that elusive or obscure tag. 

Although RISC OS users haven't 
gained the sophistication of large 
scale packages such as DreamWeaver 
or PageMill on other platforms, there 
are a number of excellent utilities to 
make life that little bit easier for RISC 

OS web designers. 

One such utility 
which deserves a 
mention is HTML3 
by Richard 
Goodwin. Richard 
is a professional 
web designer - and 
like all serious 
decided to write an 
application to 
make his job easier 
- thus the birth of 

The idea behind 
HTML3 is simple; 

It's essentially a 
macro inserter containing a vast 
library of useful and handily 
organised HTML commands. Being a 
macro inserter means that it works in 
conjunction with your favourite text 
editor (in which your HTML is 
written) and simply inserts the 
relevant tags or commands as if you 
had typed them from the keyboard. 

It's difficult to explain all the 
features of an application this 
comprehensive in a limited space, 
but you'll find that just about every 
combination of HTML design is 
catered for, ranging from tables, form 
creation, links, image insertion, 
entity insertion and a comprehensive 

Tidbits update 

As mentioned in the September 
issue, an impressive looking 
spreadsheet called Isis is 
being developed by 
Nicholas Marriott of 
Alpha Programming. As 
I write, a second RFC 
(Request For 
Comments) version has 
just been released. Nick 
has obviously been 
busily coding for the 
past few months 
because it has loads 
more features and 
options than the original 
version. Keep an eye on 
http:/ / 
Acorn/ isis.html for updates. 

Another useful little app I have 
permanently installed on my 
computer has recently been updated 
and is even nicer than the original is 

MoonTool. This is a simple little 
application which displays the 


Phases (UTCj j 

Last New Moon 


T1.09 11 Aug 99 

First Quarter 

01:47 19 Aug 99 



Pull Moon 

23:49 26 Aug 99 

Last Quarter 

22:19 2 Sep 99 

Next New Moon 

22.-03 9 Sep 99 

moon in a small 

It's a new moon as I 
write this. However, the 
latest version - updated 
from Eduoard Poor's 
original by Musus 
Umbra, aka Adny 
includes several new 
features, most notably 
the fact that the moon is 
now displayed from the 
correct viewpoint for 
the northern 
hemisphere (Eduoard lived in New 

Download it now from 
musus/ and check out when the 
werewolves will start howling... 

selection of styles, fonts, colours and 
effects. There is also support for 
server side includes (SSI) manage- 
ment and third party addons - 
although Richard has thought of 
most options himself. 

As can be seen by the range of 
options in the 'effects' window 
(below) - and this is just one of 
several comprehensive control 
windows - virtually every aspect of 
web design is catered for, including a 
range of preset functions to simplify 
complex effects. 

The accompanying picture 
demonstrates two of the preset 
effects showing colour and size 
variations using a user defined 
sentence of text. The resulting raw 
HTML code is also shown in the 
larger Zap window. 

A lot of HTML consists of shared 
routines so that you can combine 
different styles or effects from a 
common pool of pre-defined sources. 
For example, many of the text input 
fields are accompanied by a little 
'claw' icon, allowing the text to be 
grabbed from other sections of 
HTML3 or from custom presets - 
such as your e-mail or web address. 

The effects window. 

HTML3 is a worthy addition to any 
collection of RISC OS Web design 
tools and makes an ideal mid -way 
complement between hand- 
designing Web pages using a text 
editor and some of the more 
powerful, but ultimately limiting, 
WYSIWYG page layout editors. 

HTML3 is available to download 
from Richard Goodwin's site at 
http:/ / 
richard / progra ms / 

y November 1 999 


ANT Suite wasn't actually loaded 
when it decided to activate the task 

Over the following few months it 
evolved into a general purpose 
application to handle anything I 
thought was remotely Internet-related 
- as can be seen from the choices 

This is far removed from the original 
version which only had the two 
options for checking mail and news. 
It can now work across a LAN, 
automatically quit itself when the 
AINS quits, work with Pluto as well 
as Marcel and even attempt to fix 
some of the DLL crashing problems 
that early versions of the AINS 
suffered from. 

The current version is also capable 
of toggling on and off Javascript in 
the latest version of Fresco , as well as 
altering Fresco's identification text in 
an attempt to fool "designed for 
Microsoft Explorer" Web sites into 


Another useful application to undergo an overhaul in the last month is Help2 
by Rik Griffin of Squeaky Software. This is a replacement for the interactive 
Help application originally supplied with RISC OS. 

The biggest benefit over the original is that the help text is displayed 
relative to the cursor position rather than in a bulky window. This works in a 
similar way to the Windows help system on "computers that we don't talk 
about". Again, loads of options allow you to set it up exactly how you want, 
changing the font style, size and background colour. 

One very useful feature is the ability to filter out help requests from 
common applications such as Zap, Filer windows or any other application that 
you're familiar with. This makes it much more appealing to people who want 
the occasional help on more complex applications while avoiding the irritating 
message that pops up when you're trying to type some text into an editor 

Help! can be downloaded from 

As always, these and more RISC OS applications can be found by visiting 
my comprehensive RISC OS links page at 


AntUtils Choices 

Check online mail; \V every | 5 | minutes. 
Check online news \V every | 10 | minutes. 

Use random s ig. | every | 5 | minutes. 

Auto status: [y* Quit with INS: 

LAN connection: | Multi-users: 

News reader: Marcel Paths... j 

Log crom : 

Quick mail send: | Monitor RMA: 

Cancel | Save j | 


One of the benefits of writing this 
column for Acorn User is that I can 
occasionally give myself a gratuitous 
pat on the back and take a look at one 
of my own applications. A lot of 
people ask me about this application 
so I thought it was time to explain 
some of the thinking that went 
behind it and to reveal some of the 
features that casual observers might 
have missed. 

AntUtils originated from my wish 
to make the ANT Internet Suite 
(AINS) that little bit better and fix 
some of the shortcomings in the early 
versions. As I'm one of those eager 
people who tend to check e-mail 
about every five minutes while I'm 
online web browsing - in the hopes 
that someone might have sent me a 
message in the few short moments 
since I checked the last one, I initially 
wanted an application to automate 
this process and tell the suite to fetch 
e-mail every, say, five minutes and 
newsgroups every ten. 

ANT's official recommendation at 
the time was to set up task alarms 
using the standard Alarm application 
but I disliked this because it was less 
than elegant and could sometimes 
throw up un-friendly errors if the 


Ar.tUttls URL Sever 


MtUtdi has detected that you've ctckrd 
on a URL without being online 

Store within AnlUtits internal Hotbt? 

URL: | http ///reespae .vtryianet/dgvid.kingiton/indcx.htm 
Notes: I David Kingston’s web site 

launch anyway ' 

. do 



allowing access to RISC OS users. 

I've also added a feature for 
quickly creating an HTML page 
containing graphics images in a 
specified directory as thumbnails. I've 
tried to make the whole thing as 
flexible as possible - simply because I 
know most people like to tailor their 
Internet requirements to their 
individual needs. 

Another criteria for the application 
was to make it as small as possible so 
that it can still be used on older 
machines with only 4Mb of memory. 
When I have needed to increase the 
wimpslot size to accommodate a new 
feature, I've usually added several 
other new features as well so as to get 
the best Value for memory', so to 
speak. One of the newest features 
(and one, with hindsight, I don't 
know why I didn't add ages ago) is 
the ability to enter some text and 
AntUtils will automatically launch 
Fresco to take you to any of up to 15 
different (user definable) search 
engines on the Internet. 

Another new feature is what I call 
"URL capturing when offline". 
Basically this allows AntUtils to 
intercept a click on a URL, perhaps in 
an e-mail message, when you are 
offline and give you the option of 
storing it for later examination or to 
attempt to load it anyway (just in case 
you visited it just now and it's been 
stored in Fresco's cache). 

Although most of AntUtils' 
features are customisable from the 
choices window, more advanced 
users can edit the 'messages' file 
within AntUtils itself. This will allow 
you to edit things like whether or not 
you can have multiple copies 
running, the action of the select and 
adjust buttons on the icon bar, 
whether or not to perform an 
immediate news or e-mail check as 
soon as AntUtils is loaded, or a host 
of other lesser used options. 

No doubt by the time this issue 
hits the shelves I might have added 
yet even more features, so whiz along 
to / riscos/ 
comms.html to download a copy - 
and get those suggestions coming in 
if you have any more ideas that I may 
have missed out. 

Contacting AU 

Paul Vigay: November 1999 ^ 



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DrawWorks SE 

Disc information 

The software on the cover disc has 

DrawWorks SE ( DWse ) is a bolt on 
addition to Draw, and is a cut down 
version of DrawWorks Millennium, 
iSV's professional level graphics 

DrawWorks Millennium itself is 
reviewed on page 48 of this month's 
magazine, and in an effort to enhance 

^|>4 Inform V3 View 

Saw all | Save page | Print | Find 

j The DWse toolbar 

the review iSV were kind enough to 
provide this cut-down version of their 
software. This is a fully functional 
program, complete with saving and 
so on, but it is obviously lacking some 
of its larger brothers features. 

DrawWorks Millennium is supplied 
on CD and is over 420Mb in size, so I 
didn't have much 
hope of squeezing on 
the cover disc, even 
with the help of 
ArcFS. If you have 
RISC OS 3.5 in your 
computer please 
note that DWse 

111** 5 u 

cannot be used on 
your machine. 

DWse can 
however be 
used on RISC OS 
3.1, 3.6, 3.7 and of 
course RISC OS 4. The 
full version (DrawWorks 
Millennium) can be used 
on RISC OS 3.5 with no 

As you can see the DWse toolbar has two rows of icons with a sac! I bar 
below the 2nd row. DWse has its tools arranged in groups. In the example 
shown above the 2nd row of toots are al to do with edging. The tools 
shown on the 2nd toolbar depend on which button is dicked on on the top 


This program, by Paul F. Johnson, is really for people who do most of their 
Web downloading on a PC. Some Websites still use the standard Acorn 
extensions for archives such as .spk and .arc. While these cause no problems 
for Acorn browsers, it's a different story on most PCs. 

When IE or Netscape hit these extensions, they normally download to the 
screen a pile of gibberish which can't be dearchived. 

This small command line program fixes these gibberish files into 
something which SparkFS (and presumably ArcFS) can handle. Just 
download the archive and save as text - very neat 

been compressed using ArcFS 2 
from VTi, and are opened by 
running a copy of ArcFS then 
double-clicking on the archive to 
open it. There is a copy of ArcFS on 
each disc. Most software will run 
straight from the archive, but some 
programs may need to be copied 
out of the archive before being run, 
uncompressing them in the process. 
Any program that saves a file to 
disc, for instance, will be unable to 
do so into the archives on the disc. 

Faulty disc? 

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

If it fails to verify or is physically 
damaged you should return it to 
Acorn User, Media House, 
Adlington Park, Macclesfield 
SK10 4NP. 

The Acorn User cover discs have 
been checked for viruses using 
Killer version 3.001 from Pineapple 
Software. November 1999 

I t was almost a year ago that I 
first road-tested the emerging 
RISC OS 4, and now the world is 
a very different place - even the 
sprites have changed. After so long a 
gestation period just how well does 
RISCOS Ltd's offering hold up to the 
original Acorn (RIP) promise? From 
my point of view the answer is very 
well, in fact better than expected. 

Every upgrade has it's problems 
and yet even though I've only been 
using the new OS for a month now, 
from the start I would not have gone 
back to the old system - this one is 
just too good not to use all the time. 
This article is not a review of the 
product as that it is too big a task. 

This is a guide to getting going and 
why it's a good idea to do so. 

The task of upgrading the chip set 
is similar to, but less problematic 
than that of installing and setting up 
a new StrongARM processor. The 
procedure is as complex but it's less 
likely to fail, so if you managed the 
StrongARM upgrade by yourself you 
can expect to handle this too. 

A few questions 

Do you have a CD-ROM drive? All 
the software is on a CD and so 
without one you won't get 
anywhere. CD-ROM drives can be 
had for £30 or so, which means that 

A new disc 

Choose your new drive with care, 
it is probably a good idea to avoid 
Western Digital drives as they 
have had problems in the past 
coping with earlier RISC OS filing 

As far as I am aware any other 
type of IDE drive will do. I know 
little of SCSI drives, but IDE is far 
less expensive, is what the 
machine uses normally and it is 
very fast these days. 

The installation CD comes with 
a new version of HForm which 
gives the option of using long 
filenames. Harddiscs always come 
pre-forma tted and so you only 
need to use the 'Initialise' and not 
the 'Format' option to get them 
going - even when changing the 

For large drives enter 
9999999999 or larger for the 
number of cylinders as there is 
still a bug in the software which 
RISCOS Ltd does not have the 
licence to fix as yet. If you just 
accept the default numbers which 
Hform gives you then you will 
'only' be able to format drives up 
to 7Gb or so. 

now would be a good time to get one 
or even upgrade to a 48X speed 
device. (Though these fast drives do 
tend to whine and take longer to get 
up to, and slow down from, their top 
speed). Speed is not a problem for 
the upgrade task however, my 2X 
speed drive had no trouble at all. 

Do you want to use long file 
names? Here you have a choice 
about the answer. The new Filer in 
RISC OS 4 can do many things which 
adds on to what OS3.7 has done for 
years and at first it may look as if 
this is all OS4 can do, but there is a 
new and massively powerful feature 
in the Filer which is not obvious 
unless you know about it. 

New RISC machines, post OS 3.5, 
can use large discs (very large discs), 
but not at anything like high 
efficiency. In the September Acorn 
User I talked at length about the 
LFAU and how the old Filer will 
allocate a larger and larger chunk of 
disc to a file as the size of the drive 
increases - a function which almost 
wipes out any extra space you think 
you will be getting by fitting a large 
drive. In RISC OS 4 the LFAU can be 
set when you initialise a new drive 
for use (it can then only be used with 
RISC OS 4 though). I now have a 
17.2Gb drive with the LFAU set at 
2K, that is half the size of most 
'small' drives' LFAU. 

The upshot is a terrific increase in 
space on existing drives and a 
colossal amount of usable space on 
the new big drives. For me the cost 
of RISC OS 4 is covered twice over 
by reducing the number of drives 
physically in the machine. I have 
even been able to remove my 
backplane - thus further reducing 
the load on the power supply and 
increasing its life expectancy at the 
same time. 

Starting work 

As with the StrongARM upgrade the 
software side of the upgrade must be 
done first, but before doing anything, 
check that your system already 
works perfectly. If the machine has 
problems before the upgrade it is 

tricky to sort out pre- from post- 
upgrade errors. To check that there is 
nothing wrong with your hardware 
you can simplify matters by doing 
what the install program will do for 
you anyway and remove all your 
favoured boot-up configurations and 
everything which you may have 
added to the Tasks directory. The 
instructions leave nothing to chance 
- as long as you read them. 

However, just in case you don't, 
it is important to back up your 
software and un-install protected 
programs before you start the 
upgrade proper. 

Figure I shows the contents of the 
CD. Double-click on IR04INSTAL 
and you will see the window below 
which is self-explanatory and should 
be examined by any PC Windows 
upgrade writers to see how it should 
be done. 

Don't whatever you do put the 
contents of your task directory back 
yet. If you did not remove them 
yourself they will have been moved 
anyway and placed in a new 
directory called 'IimctiveRes', so don't 
wipe it! Just check that everything 
still works by resetting the computer, 
for a moment you should see 
something like Figure I, next turn off 
again. The big shock here is the new 
start up screen. Acorn is dead. Pace 
live. Assuming all is well it's time to 

November 1999 


Simon Anthony installs RISC OS 4 

do the hardware mods. 

Another big shock was seeing my 
first set of Flash ROMs. These are 
nothing like the ROMs of old, being 
so small that they need a daughter 
board to get the pin-outs of the chip 
to fit the old holes. The chips 
themselves stick out at the left-hand 
end of the boards, (you get two of 

However, by the time you read 
this, it is quite possible that the next 
batch of chips will be the normal 
large beasts which look like the RISC 
OS 3.x chips we already have. The 
first release of the chip-set as Flash 
ROMs comes with a Strong ARM 
Compatability sheet. This small print 
A5 single page holds dark secrets 
which may cause a good deal of hair 

pulling and may even result in a 
phone call to the extremely helpful 
OS4 help line. In essence it warns 
that the Flash ROMs can cause 
'instability in the system'. Nah I 
thought and popped them in, and it 
didn't work. My machine hung-up 
even before booting, showing a solid 
green screen. I didn't think that my 
system was overly loaded with 
hardware add-ons as the warning 
sheet hinted, but it turned out that 
my old CD drive did something odd 
to the power lines 
which the new 
chips didn't like. 

Other culprits could 
have been 'high 
speed' PC cards, 
large chip count 

memory boards and some 
combinations of podules and 

Removing one of my two 32Mb 
SIMMs also cured the problem and 
allowed a full boot with the CD- 
ROM installed, but I'd rather have 
64Mb so I took off the CD for the 
moment and put the second SIMM 
back. My SIMMs are not matched, 
which, had they been, would 
probably have avoided the problem. 

If you have decided to use the 
new filing system facilities then 
you'll probably want a new, larger 
harddisc. Before charging off to get a 
new drive please note that there is a 
hidden problem with RISC OS 4's 
massive ability to handle files, and 
that is your problem of finding them. 

PC users have had to cope with 
this for a long time and I don't think 
they have a good solution yet. RISC 
OS users have had fewer files until 
now and have also had a decent Filer 
to find them with, but now I fear 
finding one file in a directory 
containing hundreds will irritate a 
lot of people. Anyway, this is a 
solvable problem with care and 
planning, and so I would firmly 
suggest getting a new drive. You can 
put the old one in your old Acorn 
and give it to the kids - once you 
have transferred the data that is. 

After fitting the chips you are told 
to do a Delete-reset. This will also 
reset the clock, oddly to 1995 as did 
OS3.7. Don't forget to reset the clock 
to 1999 or all your new directories 



r: I 



1834 Text 

14:56:11 19 Jul 1999 l 

£3 Y2K 



14:12:5218 Jul 1999 




14:12:47 18 Jul 1999 




14:12:44 18 Jul 1999 




14:12:40 18 Jul 1999 




14:04:37 18 Jul 1999 




13:54:0018 Jul 1999 




13:53:2818 Jul 1999 




13:53:2618 Jul 1999 



15:57:11 09 Jul 1999 


and files will be five years old. In- 
depth reviews of the new facilities of 
RISC OS 4 will soon be published, 
but with luck you should have your 
own set of chips in and working by 
then. I urge you to do so, order now 
to shorten the wait for a noticeably 
faster, even more responsive, feature 
packed and, most importantly, 
stable and intuitively usable 
computing tool. 

Figure I: What you get after installing RISC OS 4 

Contacting me J 

Simon Anthony 


htt|):// NovcMiiher 1999 VA 

R eflex Electronics Ltd have had 
close links with the Acorn 
market since their foundation 
in 1995. The Stevenage-based 
company was originally set up as a 
manufacturer of printed circuit 
boards for the electronics industry. 
David Hughes, former production 
engineering manager at Acorn, 
founded the company along with 
Iain Dacre, an expert on the 
workings of the financial world who 
had spent a number of years 
working overseas. 

After about a month, the two 
founders were joined by David 
Lumley, another ex-Acorn employee 
who had been responsible for quality 
control and also repairs, both in and 

Alasdair Bailey 
acts on reflex 

out of warranty. David brought with 
him considerable expertise at a time 
when Acorn were looking for 
someone to really take control of the 
servicing/maintenance side of the 

The servicing side of Reflex 
started out in a small area of the 
manufacturing unit, but within three 
months the decision was made to take 
over the neighbouring building and 
form a dedicated service company. 
Service and repair quickly became a 
large part of the Reflex Electronics 
Group's business. Numerous Acorn 
staff moved over as Reflex's 
relationship with Acorn bore fruit and 
more and more warranties and on-site 
service contracts were administered 
by Reflex. 


Reflex Electronics Servicing are 
perhaps the best kept secret of the 
Acorn world. Prior to 'Black 
Thursday' last year, almost all of their 


servicing/repair work was carried 
out under contract with Acorn. This 
meant that when Reflex answered a 
call with regard to honouring an 
Acorn product warranty, they would 
answer as if they were Acorn, so the 
customer would often have a fault 
fixed without even realising they 
were speaking to Reflex rather than 
Acorn themselves. This sort of system 
is common in industry and still goes 
on with the 'Computers for Schools' 
support line which is manned by 

In the early days. Reflex mainly 
serviced the Acorn-badged Olivetti 
JP360 printers and A4000 power 

supplies. However, Acorn's 
"wise" decision to use the 
Liteon AKF18 monitors 
with the A5000 series 
meant that Reflex were 
inundated with repairs. 

A modification was 
eventually sanctioned by 
Acorn which was then 
applied by Reflex to all 
faulty monitors that came 
through the door. Some of 
you will no doubt 

remember these notorious models 
which were plagued by dry joints 
that heated up and often caused 
smoke to rise from the back of the 

Today, more than 30 people are 
employed at the Stevenage site, 
which is currently being modified to 
include a reception area along with 
improved communications between 
the two adjoining units. During busy 
times, the company receives up to 30 
calls an hour which are all dealt with 
by four dedicated personnel. 

Some may wonder why Reflex are 
located in Stevenage when they had 
such strong links with Acorn. The 
reason is simple: both founders lived 
in Stevenage so it was really the only 
sensible option. 

At one point relocating the firm in 
Cambridge was considered but when 
the factory unit next door became 
available there was no longer any 
need to move. Besides, some ex- 
Acorn people found a 15 mile 
journey into Cambridge took far 
longer than the 40 or so down to 
Stevenage. Acorn's decision to 
abandon the desktop market will not 

November 1999 

really be felt at Reflex for a couple of 
years yet. The warranties and on-site 
support contracts which Reflex deal 
in are mainly done on a two, three or 
five year basis which gives the 
company plenty of time to find a 
new direction if need be. However, 
Reflex do remain committed to the 
Acorn market. They have taken on 
all the spares formerly stored at 
Acorn and are now offering to repair 
Acorn kit directly, rather than 
through sub-contracts with Acorn. 

David Lumley, Operations 
Director at Reflex was keen to stress 
that they would be continuing to 
support the market place, "We're all 
still Acorn people" he remarks 
during the interview. 

Reflex are indeed true Acorn 
people, the company is still run 
using RISC OS software for all 

manner of applications, including 
day to day word-processing needs 
along with the comprehensive 
customer database and goods in/out 

However, two PCs are in use but 
only in the accounts department and 
spares stock keeping where, 
unfortunately, the required software 
just isn't available for RISC OS. 


The old adage that Acorn kit is more 
reliable than the PC alternative is 
backed up by the experiences of 
those at Reflex. A brand of PC, which 
Reflex recently carried out warranty 
repairs to, showed a failure rate of 
about 10%. Compare this to a failure 
rate of only about 2% with the A5000 
series once the monitor problem was 
remedied and you can see why some 

Caring for your computer 

When sending in an item for repair ensure that is it packed securely - not 
in bin bags. 

No display on monitor? It sounds silly but before raising the alarm, make 
sure you've done the following: 

• Check that no leads have become disconnected; 

• Check settings on the monitor, changing contrast to one extreme can 
reduce display to a blank screen; 

• Restart the computer with the shift-key held down; 

• Restart the computer with the delete-key held down; 

• Try a different monitor on computer if available; 

• Try the troublesome monitor on another computer; 

Computer asking you to insert a disk that was used during the last session? 
Before saving a Desktop boot, make sure the computer hasn't seen any 
media that you don't want it to remember on subsequent boot-ups. A safe 
procedure to prevent this is to restart your computer before saving the 
desktop boot. 

Computer crashing on boot-up? 

Check the following: 

• Turn on with the shift key held down, OK this time? 

Y: Something loading from IBoot sequence is causing a problem, remove 
files/commands until the problem goes away. Perhaps run IResetBoot 
after backing up your existing IBoot structure. 

N: Hardware problem, turn on with the delete-key held down - OK this 

Y 1 : Re-boot computer for a second time - OK this time? 

Y 2 : Your computer is now fixed. 

N 2 : something in the boot sequence (not necessarily within IBoot itself) is 
changing the CMOS and the computer doesn't like it! 

N 1 : Hardware problem. Send to Reflex for repair. 

If experiencing problems with RAM recently added to your machine, verify zvith 
the supplier that the specification of the RAM is correct for the computer (as 
detailed in the Welcome Guide). 

Computer locks up zolien dcletmg/copying files on an IDE harddisc formatted 
larger than 2Gb? 

• Configure ADFSBuffers to OK. If this doesn't fix the problem, format 
the harddisc again with version 2.50 of IHForm. 

schools just keep on using their old 
Acorn kit. 

David Lumley has a theory which 
goes towards explaining this 
observation: "The thing about an 
Acorn machine is that when they're 
put together they go through what's 
called 'DRAT testing' - (Design 
Reliability Assurance Testing) where 
all the components have to go 
through vendor approval, and units 
were tested in an environmental 
chamber where they would be 
subjected to drastic changes in 
temperature and humidity. 

"With a PC, a bloke will buy that 
power supply for it one week but 
he'll change his supplier next 
week. ..they never have the design 
reliability testing, so it's obvious 
Acorn machines have to be more 

David Hughes, managing director, 
continues: "As a manufacturing site, 
we were never allowed to change 
any of the components without 
permission from Acorn - in fact the 
test software was designed so it 
would throw it out". 

He goes on to describe how 
Conner once changed the firmware 
on one of their harddisc drives 
without changing the revision 
number on the outside. This resulted 
in the test software saying an 
unknown drive had been fitted and 
rejecting them. 

Another reason cited for the 
reliability of Acorns is that the 
operating system is completely 
housed in ROM. On a PC, meddling 
children or poorly written software 
can easily mess things up in the 
Windows registry and the like. This 
means that many of the problems 
with PCs are purely software issues. 

It must be a pain for a repair 
company to be working with such a 
reliable product, during the 
interview someone joked "We wish November 1999 ^ 

who is really interested gets behind 
the manufacturers, why not? We 
don't have to sell millions of 
computers all round the world, we're 
not going to beat Bill Gates and his 
PC market, but I believe there's a 
strong enough contingent and enough 
applications out there for RISC OS to 
have a reasonably bright future". 

During my visit, Iain Dacre, 
Commercial Director, was arranging 
for a new telephone system to be 
installed. It's worth pointing out that 
the company were doing their 
utmost to avoid using a touch-tone- 
based call handling system. Iain 
commented that he felt they were 
very impersonal yet nobody seems to 
sell the traditional systems anymore. 

This policy is sure to win custom, 
there's nothing worse than calling to 
see how a repair is going and coming 
up against a brick wall of "Press 1 if 
your computer won't turn on... Press 
2 if your monitor is on fire...". 

Strange fixes 

During their short history, Reflex have 
come across many strange objects 
inside machines. Two notable examples 
are a packet of mints which had 
perhaps been left in the case on the 
production line and also some primary 
school playing cards which a child had 
posted into a floppy disc drive! Some 
customers' apparent lack of care for 
their computers also strikes the staff at 
Reflex from time to time. Occasionally, 
machines will be sent in packaged only 

in a bin bag, hardly sufficient 
protection for a piece of kit that's 
worth over a grand. Certain users 
attempts to upgrade their computers 
also provoke concern amongst staff; an 
8Mb RAM upgrade for an A5000 was 
once seen held in place by huge 
amounts of hot-melt glue. 

Reflex are often willing to give out 
free advice even if it doesn't result in 
your computer coming in for a repair. 
Take their Website for example, it 
contains plenty of information on 
diagnosing and fixing problems 
which is unavailable elsewhere. The 
company were also willing to let us 
include hints for good computer care 
in this article, some of which can be 
seen in the panel. 

Hopefully, the Reflex Electronics 
Group will continue to grow and fly 
the flag for RISC OS kit in industry 
for many years yet. Following 
Acorn's withdrawal from the market. 
Reflex are now more than willing to 
handle individual repairs out of 
warranty, as well as administering 
and auctioning existing warranty 
commitments under the Acorn name. 
It is worth pointing out though that 
your local dealer may also still carry 
out a range of repairs. Many thanks 
to all the people at Reflex for their 
cooperation and assistance ___ 
in writing this article. 

Company details J 


Reflex Electronics Group Ltd. 


Units 17/18 Gunnels Wood 
Park, Gunnels Wood Road, 
Stevenage, Herts. SGI 2BH 


01438 311299 


01438 725158 



http: / /www.reflexel. j 

they weren't so reliable!" 

So, we know that Acorns are very 
reliable when compared to your 
average PC. However, experienced 
users also know that there have been 
plenty of common faults in the 
hardware over the years. The problem 
described earlier with the AKF18 
monitors must weigh-in at number 
one, with various power supply unit 
problems following a close second. 

The early Rise PCs featured a mere 
70 watt power supply in the base 
model, this was not quite sufficient 
once users started to add extra drives 
and expansion cards. Furthermore, a 
faulty diode meant that 
Reflex saw these 
machines come flooding 
in for repair until Acorn 
standardised on the 
higher power unit. 

Acorn also benefited 
from the partnership 
with Reflex. On a 
monthly basis, a report 
on the top ten causes of 
failures was sent back to 
Acorn in order for them 
to consult their suppliers 
and manufacturers and see that 
problems were rectified. One 
example of this process working well 
was the problem which early Rise 
PCs suffered whereby a part in the 
hinge on the door flap was too weak 
and often snapped. This was 
promptly rectified by Acorn who 
changed their moulding in order to 
beef up the offending component. 

Not just Acorn 

Almost since the start, Reflex have 
been looking after more than just 
Acorn kit. Most of the other support 
contracts have in fact stemmed from 
their dealings with Acorn. For 
example. Reflex coordinates all 
technical support for Tesco's 
Computers for Schools venture. Their 
work with the Acorn-branded 
monitors has resulted in warranty 
repairs on Iiyama monitors whose UK 
arm is also based in Stevenage. 

This extra business should ensure 
that Reflex are able to continue 
supporting the Acorn/ RISC OS range 
for some time to come. With the 
future now looking quite bright for 
RISC OS based hardware, Reflex 
were in negotiations to offer 
technical support to RiscStation Ltd 
as well as having their engineers 
trained in fitting the RISC OS 4 

Those in charge at Reflex seem to 
share the opinion that RISC OS as a 
platform will be with us for some 
time to come: "So long as everyone 

November 1999 


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Part I of Max Palmer's TopModel2 review 

T opModel, the 3D modelling 

application from Sincronia, has 
been around for a number of 
years. While the development 
of many applications of a similar 
vintage has long since ceased TopModel 
has continued to evolve and promises 
to do so for a good while 
vet. Given this state of 
and the 

time since it was last reviewed, now 
seems an appropriate moment to 
revisit this elegant, graphical 

While one of the application's 
strengths is its innovative approach to 
modelling, it is also, paradoxically, one 
of its weaknesses. The user interface in 
the original version of TopModel was 
cluttered, hard to get to grips with and 
restricted the user to 16 and 256 
colours. TopMode.12 brought a vastly 
improved look and feel. However the 
interface still breaks many of the rules 
laid down by the RISC OS Style 

As a result of this maverick 
approach many users, while 
wooed by TopModeH's power 
and elegance, have 
struggled to get the most 
from the software and 
expressed a desire for 
a series of tutorials to 
help them get started. 
Indeed, it was one such 
posting on the TbpModel 
mailing list a few months 
ago which, by way of the 
weird and wonderful 
fashion in which 
discussions seem to 
wander, prompted the 
idea for a series of 
tutorials in Acorn 
User, the result of 
which are set to 
grace these pages 
over the next few 

But before we 
begin the series, 1 
would like to take 
those RISC OS users, 
both new and old, on 
a guided tour of 
TopModel in the hope 
that I might whet the 
appetite and fuel the 
thirst for the third 

dimension. The latest, publicly 
available version of TopModel2 stands 
at 2.14c, the one reviewed here. 

Improvements over previous 
releases include new transparency 
options, extra keyboard shortcuts, flat 
shaded movement mode, the ability to 
save resources and scaling options on 
multiple copies, among many others. 

Existing users may upgrade older 
versions of TopModel 2 for around £30, 
alternatively they can acquire a 'free' 
upgrade to 2.14 when they buy the 
latest plug-in - TopFonts - which ships 
on CD-ROM. The latter costs a shade 
under £60 and is pretty much an 
essential purchase if you need the 
capability to produce 3D text, albeit 
with some restrictions (which I shall 
discuss later). 

As yet, the only other plug-in that 
is available for purchase is TopDeform, 
which provides a number of different 
methods of distorting meshes. 
However, as some of you who went to 
the Wakefield Show might already 
know, TopBones and TopAnimntion are 
coming along nicely and should 
hopefully be with us in the near 

Out of the box 

Installation of TopModel is now, 
thankfully, much easier than it once 
was. Gone are the days of the 
horrendous Gordian protection 
system, which caused many users 
havoc, especially when upgrading. In 
its place stands a much more logical 
installation program. Just double-click 
on the program to start, type in your 
name, drag the directory icon to the 
location you wish to install TopModel 
in and then click install . 

In addition, TopModel comes with a 
utilities disc, this provides a number of 
very useful stand-alone programs to 
convert TopModel files to and from 
other graphics formats, plus with a 
few example files. Finally, the 
resources disc provides extra example 

Shortcuts to menus for 
attributes, paths, coordinates, < 
object information and file 

^ Select 

I vJu, Create 

\ Edit 

1&3 Deform 

\ Special 


|lfl$ Library 

^ Animate 



_J ••«£»- _ J 

| Object* into • 

&»v* tile 

View shortcut 

files and three tutorial scenes. 

In addition to the above, TopModel 
ships with a manual. While the 
manual is fairly comprehensive at 120 
pages, including sections on each of 
the tool groups and a step-by-step 
tutorial, it suffers from being written 
by a non-native English speaker which 
makes it hard to follow in places. 

This is unfortunate since the 
operation of some of the more 
complex tools is difficult to explain 
and I would urge Spacetech or 
Sincronia to consider revising a 
number of sections to improve the 
flow and clarity. The manual has been 
updated since the first release. If 
you're still struggling with the first 
edition contact Spacetech to get an 

On launching TopModel, you are 
presented with the memory setup 
window which prompts you to 
configure the amount of memory that 
is reserved for storing points and 
polygons. Once done, the main 
TopModel application springs to life, 
installing itself on the right hand side 
of the iconbar and presenting a single 
pane with two toolbars, one below the 
pane and another to the left, 
reminiscent of Artworks (Figure I). It is 
worth noting that the main pane has 
no window furniture for resizing or 
scrolling the work area, however, the 
size of the main window may be 
changed by dragging the bottom and 
right-hand edges of the window. 

While this approach is a bit unusual 
for a RISC OS application, once you 
get used to it, it works well. If the 
default style and layout doesn't meet 
with your approval, you may adjust a 
number of properties of the 
application, for example the 
background colour, using the 
preferences window - accessed from 
the iconbar icon menu. These 
preferences may be saved as the 
defaults for future sessions. Unlike 

many other three dimensional 
modelling applications, TopModel 
provides only a single view of the 
scene being edited. 

In most packages three or four 
simultaneous views are displayed, 
namely two orthogonal elevations, a 
plan view and an isometric view. 
While the Top Model approach may 
seem a bit daunting at first, it works 
well and provides a more natural 
modelling environment, you can 

Breakdown of tools toolbar groups. 

Provides a number of modes by which selections can be made, 
including selection by colour, point or primitive. Also contains 
tools for creating and arranging groups. 

Tools for creating basic objects and primitives. 

Supplies tools for manipulating objects once created. Tools for 
copying, mirroring and joining points can be found within this 

Deform: Contains tools for distorting a selection. Namely, linear 

distortion, bezier distortion, torsion and bevelling. 

Specials : Encapsulates a series of lesser-used tools for manipulating 
objects, for example inverting/repairing polygon normals, 
sub-dividing polygons and joining points to create new 
polygons. Also contains the sweep and extrude tools. 

Governs the creation of extra lights (radial, point and spot). 

Provides access to pre-defined object libraries. Thumbnails of 
objects can be dragged directly into the view to add them to the 

Animation: Basic animation controls. 

Virtual: Simple console for navigating through a scene. 

Plug-ins: Leads to a sub menu listing all available plug-ins. 

adjust the view to suit the 
crea tion / placement of an object or 
quickly check the scene from any 

Having said this, in practice the 
vast majority of modelling will be 
carried out using a plan or elevation of 
the scene. With this in mind Sincronia 
have provided an icon at the right 
hand side of the lower (main) toolbar, 
a picture of a cube with one corner 
missing, that may be clicked on to 
automatically switch the view to one 
of eight different directions, 
depending on the face of the cube 
selected and mouse button used. 

For example, select-clicking on the 
top face of the cube would provide a 
view of the scene from the top, looking 
down, while adjust-clicking would 
provide a view of the scene from the 
bottom, looking up. Just below the 
cube are three buttons, labelled X,Y 
and Z that may be used to select the 
active plane. Alternatively, a fourth 
button - cunningly labelled 'auto 7 - 
delegates the decision to Top Mod cl. 

"Hang on a minute. What's all this 
talk of an active plane?", I hear you 
cry. The term 'active plane' describes 
the plane in which we are working 
and is used to overcome the problem 

retire 111: Bezier cube (from left lo right ) : Before distortion, during distortion 
(using bezier control {Hunts to control surface shape) and after connrsion to polygons 

of manipulating objects in a three 
dimensional world when we only 
have a two dimensional, monitor 
screen, representation of that world. 

For example, imagine we had 
somehow managed to create a model 
of a table with a cup on top and were 
viewing it in 3D in TopModcl. For some 
reason or another, we decide that 
we're not happy with the position of 
the cup and would like 
to move it from one 
corner of the table to 
another. One method of 
doing this would be to 
switch to a plan (top) 
view of the table and 
7 then adjust the position 

j of the cup. However, if 

/ the currently active 

plane were selected to be the 
horizontal plane, that is to say the 
same plane as the plane in which the 
surface of the table top lies, we could 
simply select the cup and drag it 
around within our current view, safe 
in the knowledge that our cup was 
only moving about on the surface of 
the table, rather than up, down or any 
other direction. 

In this example the active plane has 
constrained any adjustments that we 
make to the horizontal plane (within 
the scene), in spite of the fact that we 
might have been dragging the cup in a 
vertical direction in the display. YVhile 
this may seem pretty confusing, you'll 
never really notice the active plane in 
action since in practice virtually all the 
adjustments you make to objects 
within your scene will seem perfectly 
natural, which is the whole idea. 

To the left of the active plane and 
view selection controls are a group of 
buttons that each lead to a new pane 
representing a group of related tools. 
When selected, the pane replaces the 
main pane options, presenting the user 
with another group of options or tools. 
To go back up a level you simply 
select the cross (close window icon) in 
the left-hand corner of the pane, a bit 
like navigating a directory structure 
using Adjust clicks. 

Below these buttons are another set 
of thin buttons which represent short 
cuts to five pop-up menus. Finally, at 
the base of the tools-toolbar is a 
context sensitive help display which 
helps explain the action of any tool the 
pointer might be hovering over. 

While the tools-toolbar mainly 
deals with options for creating and 
manipulating objects, the TopModeU 
toolbar, to the left of the main pane, 
presents options for interacting with 
the scene and adjusting the properties 

f igure It: Realtime display 
modes include ( top lift to 
bottom left): coloured 
mire frame, flat -tilled, gouraud 
shaded and pltong shaded 

Figure V: The extrude tool cun he used to create the body of a shake 
by extruding a profile along a path , using a user-defined envelope 

Length 10 | 

jxtrusion obj J Linear, on 
d Follow path 
ZlBL ^ Apply: 

1 10.0000 j /_\ pr stepping (7* Envelope R Bevelling 

Select to view the scene from a 45 degree; Adjust for the opposite direction. 



of the display. For example, there are 
short cuts for entering the selection 
mode, as well as tools for adjusting the 
current render style, display options 
and for manipulating your viewpoint. 

As you may have gathered, there is 
an vast array of tools available in 
Top Model - too many to cover in detail. 
For this reason I have decided to 
present a brief overview of the 
principal tool groups in the 
accompanying text box, and will 
concentrate on a few of the more 
commonly used and useful features in 
the main text. The tutorial series that 
starts in the Christmas issue will 
provide a more in-depth look at some 
of the functions not covered here. The 
idea for now is to outline the kind of 
things that are possible in TopModel , 
and some that are not. 

Although TopModel is perfectly 
happy running in a 16 colour mode, I 
would strongly recommend using a 
minimum of 256 colours, or - if 
VRAM permits - a 32 thousand colour 
mode. In addition, TopModel supports 
a number of different render styles, 
each of which gives slightly better on- 
screen results, at the expense of 
redraw speed (Figure II). 

Unlike some modelling 
applications, all of the rendering 
modes allow real-time, interactive 
modelling. That is to say, you may 
create and edit objects in any of the 
rendering modes, including the 
perspective mode. 

However, from a practical point of 
view it is much easier to select points 
and edit objects using a wire frame 
display, even on a Strong ARM 
equipped machine. Once you have 
finished an edit you may then switch 
mode to preview your results. A 
relatively recent and useful addition to 
the options that greatly aids this 
process is the flat-shaded movement 

This setting allows you to edit your 
scene in wireframe mode and then 
preview a 'solid' version of the scene 
whenever you rotate, zoom or 

translate your viewpoint. This is 
particularly handy if you use the 
keyboard and mouse shortcuts - 
Control* Select for zoom, 

Control* Ad just for rotate. 

Object manipulation 

While talk of rendering modes is all 
very well, it doesn't matter a jot if you 
can't create anything to place in your 
view. Fortunately, TopModel offers 
ample options for this purpose. At the 
lowest level there are tools for creating 
the basic primitives, namely: cubes, 
spheres, cylinders (encompassing 
pyramids), tori (doughnut-shaped 
objects), pipes, paths, surfaces and 
polygons. Furthermore many of these 
tools support creation of both 
polygonal and bezier forms. 

The latter are essentially objects 
which describe a surface and have 
control points which may be moved to 
distort their shape. Once you are 
happy with the result the bezier 
representation of the object may be 
converted into a polygonal model, 
with a selectable level of detail, as 
shown in Figure III. While these 
objects sound a bit esoteric (and they 
are) they allow distorted, smoothly 
curved variants of common shapes to 
be created, which might otherwise be 
difficult to produce. 

My only niggle, other than trying to 
grasp the sheer range of possible 
applications, is that the bezier shapes 
are often composed of a number of 
pieces which pull apart when using 
the primitives selection tool. While this 
behaviour is fair enough, it feels 
slightly inconsistent, since I would 
expect the primitive tool to select the 
whole of the bezier shape, rather than 

part of the object. On occasion I have 
also had difficulty converting a mesh 
to polygons and keeping it as 
polygons. However, this problem has 
usually been solved by repeating the 

It would be great to have enough 
time and patience to model everything 
we need to make our perfect scene, in 
reality though, time is precious and 
some tasks too complex or tedious to 
contemplate doing ourselves. 
Furthermore, the growth in the 
Internet has led to the creation of a 
number of Web and ftp sites which 
contain an impressive array of pre- 
made, ready-to-download, 3D meshes. 

Fortunately, to ease our dilemma, 
the creators of TopModel have 
produced a couple of utilities for 
converting a few of the more popular 
3D geometry formats into TopModel 
files, including the ubiquitous DXF 
format. In addition, the library option 
on the Tools toolbar provides access to 
a series of predefined object categories, 
from which individual objects may be 
selected and dragged directly into a 

Finally, it is possible to import 
sprites as heightfields and extrude 
(give depth to) shapes created in Draw, 
Unfortunately though, the 
triangulation algorithm used to 'fill in' 
shapes with polygons can often 
produce mixed results, particularly 
with complex shapes, yielding objects 
which may require some manual 
editing within TopModel. 

This is particularly true of objects 
which contain holes. While the 
import of drawfiles is a very useful 
feature, it could be improved a lot. 
Hopefully Sineronia will oblige and 

J Step editor 
fi Envelope editor 
,J Bevelling editor 

extrusion curves 

Bevelling (%) 
Step bevelling 

*i tm 

Path pi - 
Segment s [ 
[7 Normal t 
Line | 

Circle | 

/_! Reset 

3 /S 

o path 



Lock rotations on 


Figure IV: Example objects created using the sweep twl 

Figure VI: Tlte illustration shows the effect Hint different hevel sl\/Jcs hnvc 
on the appearance of some of the fonts supplied with the plug-in TopFonl 

turn what is a useful, if somewhat 
unpredictable feature, into a truly 
powerful tool. 

Aside from the creation of simple 
shapes or the import of models, 
TopModel provides a number of high- 

sweep can be 
performed using a 
bezier curve, yielding 
an editable bezier 
surface, which can be 
further adjusted to 
create even more 
complicated objects - 
powerful stuff, yet 
extremely easy and 

The extrude tool 
permits you to take an 
object or, more 
commonly, a cross- 
section, and smear it in 
one direction to 

produce an elongated version of the 
object. For more dazzling results, you 
can also opt to use a predefined path 
from the paths menu and set up an 
envelope, the latter will be used to 
apply a scale factor to the cross section 

the standard tools are bezier distortion 
and the new bevelling tool. 

When invoked, the bezier distortion 
tool divides the bounding volume of 
the selected points into 64 rectangular 
zones (each axis is subdivided into 
four). Each corner of a zone has a 
bezier control point which may be 
selected and moved to distort the 
shape of the overall volume. 

The resulting spatial deformation is 
then applied to the selected points 
contained within the volume. Once 
you are happy with the results you 
can elect to permanently apply the 
distortion, or alternatively you can 
cancel the operation. This tool is ideal 
for bending and twisting a shape to 
produce a more organic or curvaceous 

Bevelling is the most recent 
addition to TopModel' s stable of 
distortion tools. Although some of the 








^ Select 

I B Ubfaf Y 

Click to (rnaUe/disabiw nut ©selection of active plane. 

level tools which permit the creation 
of more complex shapes and 
structures, using primitives as a basis. 
Of these, those that are likely to be 
used most often are the sweep, 
bevelling and extrude tools. 

One typical application of the 
sweep tool would be to create a 
nationally symmetrical object, say a 
vase. To do this, you would create an 
outline (cross section) of the vase 
using the line tool, then position the 
profile at the appropriate distance 
from the origin and invoke the sweep 
tool, using a 360 degree sweep, 
covering - for the sake of example - 18 

By adjusting the number of 
divisions, steps and envelope even 
more complex shapes may be created, 
a number of examples of which are 
shown in Figure IV. Furthermore, the 

during the extrusion, while the path 
defines the trajectory along which the 
profile will be drawn out. 

Circumstances in which the extrude 
tool might be used include creating a 
hosepipe or the body of a snake 
(Figure V), or perhaps, in the case of a 
simple linear extrusion, a plinth or 
curbstone. There are a number of tools 
in TopModel that, while not strictly 
object creation tools, are very useful 
for creating interesting shapes. These 
tools are collectively known as 
deformation tools and are split 
between the standard tools that come 
with TopModel and the deformation 
tools that are supplied with the plug- 
in TopDeform. 

Their actions range from simple 
linear distortion of an object, to 
complex torsion distortion which is 
unwieldy to use. The most useful of 

TopModel : ADFS::FirebaH S 30 Fysan 

other utilities provide support for 
bevelling, this new distortion tool 
makes the process of creating objects 
with complex edges much simpler. A 
selection of pre-defined profiles are 
available for use, including rounded, 
gothic, base relief and cut-off edge 
styles (see Figure VI for examples of 
bevel styles applied to fonts). 

You can even modify existing styles 
or create your own, although I feel the 
user interface to the edit window 
could be improved to make this 
process easier. 

Having said that, despite its quirks, 
this tool is a great addition to 
TopModel's already impressive feature 
set and is yet another example of 
Sincronia's commitment to continually 
enhancing TopModel's power. 

Well I'm afraid I've run out of room 
for now - I did say there was a lot to 
cover. Next month I'll continue the 
review by seeing how TopModel copes 
at adding a touch of realism to objects, 
and how Sincronia have planned for 
the future by taking the plug-in 
route. Do join me then. end 

M H; . 

Product details 



Top3DFonts (Plug-in) 
£58.63 (includes CD 
colIection2 and free v2.14 

TopDeform (Plug-in) 


Spacetech, 1 The Courtyard 
Southwell Business Park, 
Portland, Dorset DT5 2JS 
(+44/0) 1305 822753 
(+44/0) 1305 860483 





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BN11 2EN 

CJE4DV34 Tel 01 903 523222 Fax 01903 523679 


StrongARM Compatible Game Compendiums 

Saloon Cars Deluxe £25 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 £30. 
Demon’s Lair £20, Drifter £30, Groundhog £12, Logic Mania £20, 
Pandora’s Box £20, StuntRacer 2000 £25, WimpGame £20. 

The Fourth Dimension, 
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BN11 2EN 
Tel: 01 903 213361 
Fax: 01903 523679 

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

T he time has come at last. 

Quake is finally with us! My 
predecessor first announced 
plans for the conversion way 
back in the spring of 1997 and now 
the product is finally on sale. Well, 
that's all true except for the fact that 
this is not actually the completely 
native engine re-write we've been 
waiting for from Martin Piper, but 
rather a smartened-up version of 
Peter Teichmann's freeware RISC 
OS player app. 

As far as we can tell, the 
freeware player will remain 
available while the slightly 
enhanced version is sold along with 
CDs containing the game's huge 
level files. This means that it is still 
possible to get a fully working copy 
of Quake on your Acorn by 
purchasing a copy of the PC version 
on the High Street then 
downloading the freeware player 
app from the Internet. 

R-Comp are still committed to 
improving their version but seem 
eager to get some form of product 
onto the market as soon as possible. 
This is not necessarily a bad thing, 
it will gain them some revenue for 
the PC version CDs which have 
been waiting in storage for almost 
one and a half years now. In this 

/VI art in Piper so he iloes get out of work oeeosionnlh/ 

issue, we have exclusive interviews 
with Martin Piper and Andrew 
Rawnsley so that you can get both 
angles on this RISC OS debacle 
which is finally coming to a 
peaceful end. There's also a full 
review of the R-Comp product. 

Martin Piper 

AU: Tell us a little about the 

problems which slowed your 
conversion of the Quake 

MP: Where do 1 start? Like a lot of 
other RISC OS coders 1 also 
have a proper job, at Argonaut 
Software in London, which 
pays the bills. For what seems 
like a long time now the 
project I'm working on ( Alien 
Resurrection for the PSX) has 
been taking nearly all of my 
time. Last year I also ended up 

in hospital after collapsing at 
work due to working too 
much and stress. 

I decided back then to re- 
evaluate my priorities and not 
work 14+ hours a day on 
maintaining my day job and 
RISC OS stuff. After all I 
don't want to kill myself. 

AU: How close to completion is 
your conversion of Quake? 

MP: I would need a week all to 
myself to finish off the code 
but since I can't take a holiday 
at the moment that isn't going 
to happen. 

AU: What sort of performance do 
you estimate your conversion 
would have achieved once 
fully optimised on a 233MHz 
StrongARM processor? 

MP: Well I can't give exact figures 

November 1999 

because I don't have a 233 SA 
but those who have seen the 
speed an early version was 
getting would tell you it's 
noticeably faster than 
ArcQuakc. I couldn't comment 
on that because I haven't seen 
the latest version of ArcQuakc 
myself but it's entirely 
possible. Probably because 
I've had the time to 
completely redesign and 
implement a new rendering 
pipeline which is much faster 
on the ARM chip architecture 
than Carmack's original code. 

AU: Did you have any extra 
features planned for your 
Quake engine over and above 
those in the PC version? 

MP: Yes. Because of the way the 
Tenderer was designed Quake 
would use a separate device 
driver module for the screen 
device. In simple terms this 
means that I can add a high 
colour rendering mode or 
support PCI 3D acceleration 
just by adding a new device 
driver module. The beauty of 
this is that if a machine came 
out that did actually use extra 
processors or had fast floating 
point the device driver would 
just need to be changed, not 
the entire game. 

AU: Will TBA Software be 

releasing any more products 
for RISC OS? 

MP: Yes we want to do some more 
games. Probably using a 
version of our new 3D engine 
technology that was 
developed for Quake. 

AU: Many thanks for your time, 
we wish you every success 
with your work at Argonaut. 

MP: Thank you for the interview. 
Hopefully Aliens will be 
finished soon and I can get 
back to my normal life. 

Andrew Rawnsley 

AU: Why did RCI end up 

publishing the RISC OS 
version of Quake when TBA 
had been working on the 
engine for quite some time? 

AR: TBA had been working to 

produce a Quake ’player’ from 
scratch with the TBA TAG 
engine. While this was a good 
stop-gap solution, it was only 
suitable for ’techie’ users, who 
would be happy to buy the 

necessary investments in 
RISCOS Ltd made life rather 

For the previous year, we 
had had repeated promises of 
demo versions, and full 
releases always "in 2 weeks". 
These never happened, and 
while I am very sympathetic 
to Martin's health problems 
(for goodness sake, I've had 
enough of them myself) I 
would have preferred a "it'll 
be 6 months" or whatever. 

This made things very 
frustrating, and I gradually 
began to lose hope of ever 
releasing the product. 

I contacted Peter 
Teichmann who developed the 
freeware version. I make no 
comment on the legitimacy of 
the freeware release - the 
Quake sources are still 
officially unreleased, and 
access to the source still costs 
a lot of dollars. However, this 
release of Quake allowed 
people to play the game when 
they otherwise couldn't, and 
was released well before 
anyone else got involved, and 
as such it was important for 
the market. 

Anyway, Peter was very 
helpful, and prompt with 
delivery of demo versions. We 
sent him all the resources 
needed to produce a player 
that would run the extra 
expansion packs supplied 
with our pack, and Peter 
rapidly returned a working 
version. Since then, there have 
been various bugs fixed. 

Andrew RawnsICy, the self-made 
king of RISC OS gaming 

game from one place, and the 
driver from the other. 

Following Doom , we had a 
good relationship with the PC 
publishers, GT, who 
practically force-fed us the 
Quake packs. They were 
worried that with just the 
driver available, piracy would 
be rife, as people would buy 
the RISC OS driver (out of 
loyalty) but rip off the level 

One of the big points about 
dealing with us (as far as GT 
were concerned) was that we 
would buy the PC kits off 
them, and only sell the full 
product. This minimizes 
piracy, and provides an 
effective route to market. TBA 
were to get a very healthy 
royalty per copy sold. 

At what point and for what 
reasons did you adopt a 
version of the freeware engine 
rather than the TBA engine? 
We finally made the decision 
in May/June this year. Readers 
should remember that we 
purchased the Quake packs 
right at the start, on the 
assurance that the TBA Quake 
driver would be ready for the 
Wakefield show - 1998. That 
was over a year ago. Given 
that the units are how GT 
make their money on the deal, 
they aren't cheap, and we've 
had endless copies holed up 
in a warehouse for 12 months, 
all paid for! 

Since then, many of you will 
know that I have become 
significantly involved in 
RISCOS Ltd. Given that we 
(R-Comp) were already well 
out of pocket on Quake , my 

Why should users buy your 
pack for £20-25 rather than 
obtaining the PC version at a 
high street store for £15 and 
using the freeware engine? 
The version we supply will be 
enhanced above the freeware 

Quake - bi$$cr Hum an eclipse on a cloudy day November 1999 

...should be iri every platformer addict’s collection" - Acorn User 
Fine attention to detail", "...infuriating puzzles!" - Acorn Gaming 

25 levels packed with action and tricky 

5 exclusive pieces of music written by 
Marco Bahn of ANKH fame 


Dozens of different game elements that 
have to be investigated 

5 different areas with detailed graphics 

ees of spacetronic 

. '5tfcb3, IQiipcmkfebl 

6 types of totally different robots 

a wealth of extras to pick up 

a shop to purchase items 

completely programmed in superfast 
ARM machine code 

runs on any RISC OS computer with a 
HD floppy and 4 MB RAM 

WAG Software and Artex Software. 

Order now! Send a cheque for £15 to Wag Software, 5 Queens Close, East Markham, Nr. Newark, Notts, NG22 OQY 

version: Support for Malice 
and Q-Zone; Much improved 
front-end; Proper installation. 
Quake installation is a non- 
trivial process, thanks to the 
files being compressed and 
split on the CD; and the game 
will store more information 
about configuration and so on. 

A lot of people have asked 
for a good front-end and this 
is very important to us. 
Improving the installation is 
also necessary and is actually 
the biggest thing delaying 

I'm trying not to use the 
’support the market’ line, but 
it is a fact that dealers require 
significant margins on games, 
and with that in mind there is 
no way that we can drop the 
price too far. 

We would hope to release a 
Quakc+ upgrade at some 
point, which also contributes 
to the drop in price. This may 
be TBA's Quake if it is ever 
finished, or we may optimise 
the game ourselves. I cannot 
see this happening for quite a 
while, but it is something that 
I would like to see happen. I 
feel that the game ought to 
run smoothly and well on a 
233Mhz SA. 

games basically involves moving 
around a simulated world killing 
anything that obstructs you and 
solving a few puzzles along the 
way. The progression from those 
early days through to the current 
state of the art on the PC, the Quake 
III engine test is illustrated well by 
the screenshot below. 

ID Software (and John Carmack, 

3D engine coding guru) are almost 
the unrivalled masters of this 
domain, there have been others 
such as Duke Nukent 3D and Half 
Life but none of these have yet 
made it to RISC OS. R-Comp have 
stated that a Duke Nukent 3D 
conversion would be possible in 
theory but they fear that its 18 
certificate would cripple sales on 
such a small platform. 

Quake reviewed 

R-Comp are now selling the Quake 
Resurrection pack along with a 
player application for StrongARM 
Rise PCs for an as-yet unannounced 
price in the £20 to £25 region. This 
pack contains three CDs containing 
level data, one for Quake and one 
for each of Malice and QIZone . 

Malice and QIZone are both third 
party modifications to the original 
game and are bundled with the 
RISC OS release in a similar 
fashion to other R-Comp November 1999 

optimisation required. 

In some ways I feel that we 
have swamped the market 
with titles, so we won't be 
releasing products quite as 
rapidly as we did last year. In 
football metaphor, it was 
necessary to get our first team 
up and running immediately, 
and we can now add players 
as required. Rest assured that 
these players will be added! I 
would, however, like to see 
some of last year's titles sell 
before releasing more new 
titles which steal the 

Thanks for taking the time to 
complete this interview, we 
look forward to seeing all 
these new conversions you're 
keeping secret from us! 

No problem! But which 
conversions? <cough> <grunt> 
Ah, yes Alasdair, those 

What's next on the RCI release 

Your readers know that we're 
working on F16 but this is 
proving tough. The game is up 
and running, and the 
resolution and detail are 
impressive, but the frame 
rates are low. Peaking at 8fps 
at the moment, there's a lot of 

A brief history 
of 3D walkabouts... 

Ever since Wolfenstein 3D was 
released on the 5th of May 1992, 
what we now know as 3D 
walkabouts have gone from 
strength to strength. This genre of 

conversions. They each constitute 
complete new level sets so are 
considered separately here. 


Quake is a first-person 3D shooter 
from id Software, producers of such 
smash-hit first person games as 
Wolfcnstein 3D and the Doom 
series. Sensible game plots have 
never been id's strong point so I'll 
spare you the details on this one. 

All you need to know is that some 
guy by the name of Quake has 
started pumping his baddies 
through slipgates (read: teleporters) 
into some military bases. 

Playing Quake is a completely 
different experience to Doom or 
other earlier incarnations of this 
genre. The game's engine (the bit 
that does all the clever stuff) is far 
more advanced and allows for such 
things as jumping, freedom of 
vision (your character can look all 
around, and is not restricted to 
looking solely in the direction of 
travel) and last but not least, proper 
3D levels which can now have 
floors overlapping each other. 

As well as featuring a very nice 
engine, the gameplay itself is also 
very good. The game offers a very 
nice range of weaponry including a 
grenade launcher and a rocket 
launcher, two of my personal 
favourites. The super nailgun is a 
lethal weapon if there ever was one 
but unfortunately the supply of 
ammo is somewhat limited in most 
levels. That's not a bad thing 
though, in fact it is perhaps one of 
Quake's strong points because there 
isn't always loads of ammo lying 
about so it's necessary to conserve it 
at times. Your adversaries in Quake 

are both imaginative and well- 
drawn. The mixture of close range 
nasties which need to get right up 
to you to cause damage and long 
range ones makes gameplay 
challenging in places. The situation 
often arises where you'll get 
attacked by monsters on the ground 
at the same time as having things 
fire down at you from above. Add 
to this the all-new ghost-type 
nasties which fly about while 
spitting down on you and you'll get 
some pretty interesting situations. 

The level designers have used 
this range of monsters to give a very 
challenging gaming experience. 
Certain creatures will even 
reincarnate unless physically 
blasted to bits by a rocket or 

One of Quake's main down sides 
is that the monsters still jump out 
in front of your gun. This does get a 
little tiresome after playing through 
other games of this nature. Why, oh 
why, don't they hide and use cover 
to their advantage rather than just 
waiting to be killed? This has been 
achieved in games on other 
platforms to great effect and it 
really does make the game feel that 
bit more realistic. 

Quake features a nice system of 
power-ups. Different grades of 
armour may be gathered up along 
with a massive health bonus which 
grants the user 200% health (how 
this works in real life, I don't 
know). The other bonuses such as 
the bio-suit to protect from 
drowning and the 'Pentagram of 
Protection' also add a little 
something to the game. 

However, the most noteworthy 
bonus has to be 'Quad Damage', 
this affords the 
bearer's weaponry 
four times as much 
punch as is normally 
experienced. This 
renders the lower- 
grade weaponry 
such as the double- 
barrelled shotgun 
useful once again 
later on in the game. 
Plus, it's bloody 
good fun to be able 
to strafe with the 
super nailgun and 
wipe out a whole 
room full of baddies 
then continue 
merrily on your way. 

Quake's levels are organised into 
episodes, each of which features a 
fitting finale leading up to the final 
level where you're pitted against 
the mother of all baddies, Shub 
Niggurath. I won't spoil this bit but 
when you come to it, perhaps try 
methods other than simply 
discharging all your ammo at the 

No review of Quake would be 
complete without a mention of its 
multi-player capabilities. OK, so 
Doom included multi-player 
support but Quake really is an 
exhilarating experience when 
played against fifteen or so mates 
over a network. The game is just so 
flexible and the add-on system 
allows for far more tactical game 
play thanks to the addition of 
’capture the flag’ and paintball-type 

The RISC OS conversion of 
Quake currently supports a range of 
network play options but, 
unfortunately, it lacks compatibility 
with WinQuake, the PC multi- 
player version commonly played 
over the Internet. Serial cable, 
modem and network play are 
supported as is Internet play on 
servers which don't rely upon 
WinQuake . 

In addition to its support for 
third party levels. Quake also 
features its very own variant of the 
C programming language: QuakeC. 
This allows for the addition of 
comprehensive new features to the 
game. Most are only useful in 
multi-player situations but a few 
such as weapon modifications and 
bots (simulated human opponents) 
can be put to ample use, even 
without access to more than one 
computer. This feature along with 
Quake's excellent multi-player 
experience must be what has made 
the game so popular in the PC 
market and is sure to affect the 
RISC OS gaming community too. 

Not all additional levels and 
QuakeC patches will work with the 
RISC OS conversion of Quake, but 
most well-written ones will be fine. 
Be sure to check out the selection at 
Acorn Arcade's own Quake site 
should you buy the game. 

The current RISC OS 
implementation of Quake is 
currently available in two forms. 
There's the freeware player app 
which is on slightly dodgy legal 
ground and also R-Comp 

Quake III: si ill undergoing testing on the PC, t/ou'll havegraudehi/dren hi/ the lime 
I his one's playable on i four Acorn. A Pentium III 451) anil a meat}/ graphics can! is 
needed before il will reen consider running on the dark side. 

November 1999 


Product details 

Product: Quake Resurrection 
Price: around £20-25 

Supplier: R-Comp Interactive, 22 Robert 
Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford, 
Cheshire WA16 6PS 
Tel: 01925 755043 

Fax: 01925 757377 



Interactive's own commercial 
product which is basically the 
freeware player bundled with 
legitimate level files in a deal 
sanctioned by the original 
publishers, GT Interactive. You'll 
have to pay a little more for the R- 
Comp product over the price of 
buying the PC pack on the high 
street. However, you will benefit 
from a proper installer, technical 
support, windowed play, a slightly 
improved engine and compatibility 
with Malice and QIZonc, both of 
which are well worth acquiring. 

It looks like we're stuck with this 
situation until Martin Piper has 
time to complete his 
implementation of Quake for RISC 
OS. Unfortunately, the R-Comp 
product is currently only playable 
in low resolution and lacks the 
improvements over the original PC 
incarnation which we've seen in 
other R-Comp conversions. 
Development is still continuing 
though. At the time of writing, the 
engine does have a tendency to 
crash every now and again but the 
game is still playable albeit with 
regular quicksaves. 


Malice is billed as a completely new 
game based upon Quake's engine 
and it is, more or less. Almost every 
aspect of the gameplay is changed 
including all weapons, monsters 
and levels. 

The basic plot behind Malice 
goes something like this: you're a 
hired mercenary working for the 
interests of a huge corporation by 
the name of B.O.S.S. Your work for 
them entails killing lots of bad 
guys. Haven't we been here before? 

Unlike its host game, Quake, 
Malice treats the player to a nicely 
made full screen intro sequence 
before the game kicks off. The 
movie gives the player a good 
overview of the storyline as well as 
having a subtle stab at the original 
game through a scene where your 
Quake character is blown away by 
our new heroine. Damage. 
Unfortunately, the intro movie uses 
the game engine for real-time 
rendering rather than a dedicated 
movie player so things can get a 
little slow. 

The new monsters offer a rather 
refreshing change after defeating 
the populous of Quake. The 
weapons also provide for 

some light 

with a nice D Of 

flame-thrower f 
(fire extin- 
guishers also 
provided) and i 
a decent 1 

shotgun | 

thrown in for ! 
good measure. B 
The need to 
re-load some j 
manually adds 
to the realism f 
but can be L 
annoying if 
you like your F ^ 
rounds fast. ^ ^ 

Another Quake jump* on the rcaumx 

major feature 

of Malice is the addition of 'toyz' - 
don't worry, I can't stand people 
replacing s with z to make things 
sound cool either. These are bits of 
kit which will come in handy 
during your assignment with 
B.O.S.S. There are five 'toyz' at your 
disposal, one of the most original 
being a probe which may be piloted 
around the level scouting out 
enemy positions prior to your 
assault. I won't list the others here 
but they do add to the game in a 
special way and the additional keys 
to cycle through and use them are 
also a boon. 

A couple of the more dubious 
items to be found in Quake and 
other games of this genre have been 
stripped away for Malice. For 
starters, the Mega-health bonus is 
gone, hands up those who 
understand how one may pose 
200% health! The Pentagram of 
Protection and Quad Damage will 
also be missed by some but have 
been removed for the simple reason 
that they act against fair play in the 
eyes of the authors. 

Overall, Malice is a very 
worthwhile addition to this pack 
and it could almost be argued that 
it's more playable than Quake itself. 
However, it is worth pointing out 
that the game runs a little slower 
than Quake but this isn't a major 
issue unless you have a real 
problem with playing on a slightly 
lower resolution. 

and feel. In the trade, it's referred to 
as a partial conversion because 
unlike Malice (a total conversion) 
not every aspect of the game is 

The changes do include a 
completely new set of levels, four 
new monsters and also one new 

QIZone's levels do play well but 
their design is perhaps a little 
inferior to that seen in Quake. The 
new weapon replaces the rather 
under-powered standard nailgun 
with a nice little number which 
fires spiky discs. It might not sound 
much but they do bounce around 
corners - a definite bonus over the 
old nailgun. The other weapons 
remain unchanged from the original 

The new monsters aren't really 
much to write home about. Many 
are brightly coloured and whether 
this is through diet or breeding, it 
does make them look odd alongside 
the surviving Quake monsters. 

QIZone is definitely worth 
a look. Perhaps play through 
the slightly superior Malice 
and, of course. Quake first 


QIZone doesn't go quite as far as 
Malice in altering the game's play November 1999 

Other Games Ti 

Heretic & Hexen 

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Tel: 01925 755043 Fax: 01925 757377 Email: 


Pushing forward the frontiers in RISC OS 
& web authoring software 



Sat 30th October 10.00 to 17.00 A 

Sun 31st October 10.00 to 16.00 
Queen's Stand, Epsom Downs Racecourse Surrey 

isored by 




Acorn $ 


RISC Based Technologies 

Acorn User has always been the 
flagship magazine of the RISC OS 
market, it reveals trends, new 
releases and authoritative, 

rumour-free information 
that you don't get any- 
where else. 

Make sure you get 
yours and stay on 
top of the RISC 
OS revival. 

Subscribe now! 

• Helpful tutorials 

• Useful reviews 

• Real news 

• More pages 

v'v': ** 

Please forzvard to: Acorn User, Tau Press, Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield, SK10 4NP 

Name Annual subscription 8 Issue subscription 4 Issue subscription 

n UK £45.99 □ UK £29.99 □ UK £15.99 

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I | Rest of World £63.99 □ Rest of World £40.99 Q Rest of World £20.99 

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upgrades to existing products. 
Then there are the user groups: 

The ARM Club, of course, are still 
going strong as is the Association 
of Acorn User Groups, run by Neil 
Spellings, with its ever increasing 
number of associated clubs, 
combining and providing benefits 
to all the RISC OS clubs across the 

It's true that the last year has 
taken its toll, 'there have been 
victims of the uncertainty, whether 
individuals who have turned to 
the other side or businesses who 
did not adapt fast enough. 

There are those who dubbed 
the attempts to raise Phoebe from 
the ashes of Acorn as the Phoenix. 
But it's not any small group of 
individuals who are rising up, it's 
the RISC OS market as a whole - 
that's you and me - who are the 
real Phoenix, for coming out of 
those dark days and making RISC 
OS live on. 

Welcome to The ARM Club's 
RISC OS '99 Show. 

Steve Turnbull 
Editor, Acorn User magazine 


T he last year has been a 

difficult one for the RISC 
OS market and if you were 
that way inclined it would look 
like the death knell had finally 
sounded for the most user-friendly 
operating system in the world. 

But the non-appearance of the 
Phoebe Rise PC 2 and the 
disappearance of Acorn have 
instead resulted in the re-birth of a 
market long-suppressed by 
Acorn's unwillingness to take 
chances and invest in the future. 

What has happened is that the 
operating system has been 
licensed and RISC OS 4 released - 
along with a roadmap for future 
developments that will finally 
break free of the hardware 
stranglehold that has always 
made Acorn machines so 
expensive to buy. 

Simply plugged into existing 
hardware (the Rise PC, A7000 and 
A7000+) RISC OS 4 gives 
increased speed and great new 
features, but coupled with the 
new machines being released we 
can once again jump into the 


Directions from 
M25 Junction 8 

# Exit at Junction 8 and head 
northbound on the A217 
Brighton Road dual 
carriageway - signposted 
A217 Sutton & London. 

• Continue northbound 
through Lower Kingswood 
and straight ahead at the 
next two roundabouts - still 
signposted A217 Sutton and 

# After 2.8 miles from the M25 
take the third exit (straight 
ahead-ish) at the Tad worth 
roundabout - still signposted 
A217 Sutton and London. 

• After 1.0 mile turn left at the 
traffic lights at Burgh Heath 
on to Reigate Road - 

mainstream of power computing. 

At least three companies are 
releasing new hardware: firstly, 
two affordable machines based on 
the ARM7500 chip (now being 
allowed to run at full speed) and 
bringing new industry standards 
with them - the USB system for 
plugging in peripheral devices 
and PCI to allow PC-cards to be 
slotted straight in. These two 
options alone open the RISC OS 
world to vast amounts of 
previously unusable hardware. 

Then there is the Rise PC 
replacement motherboard that 
promises to take the system to 
new heights of power by 
removing the bottlenecks and 
providing virtually unparalled 
video and audio power. 

Along with this new hardware 
is the software: Companies such as 
R-Comp, Icon Technology, 

Cerilica, Spacetech and many 
others provide the software that 
we have used and still use - but 
they are not resting on their 
laurels. More software is being 
released every month, as well as 

signposted A240 Epsom and 
Kingston (there is a Shell 
petrol filling station on the 
lefthand side just the other 
side of the traffic lights). 

• Follow this road across a set 
of traffic lights (after which 
the road starts going 
downhill) and after 0.9 mile 
turn left on to Yew Tree 
Bottom Road - signposted 
B284 Epsom Downs 
(immediately after the keep 
left arrows where the main 
road continues bearing 
round to the right). 

• After 0.5 mile take the 
second exit at the 
roundabout on to 
Grandstand Road - 
signposted Grandstand 

and Ashtead. 

After a further 0.6 mile both 
the Epsom Racecourse 
Grandstands and Queens 
Stand are located straight 
ahead adjacent to another 
roundabout (the Queens 
Stand is on the right and is 
more modern) - nearby car 
parking will be signposted 
and marshalled. 

Beware - the A217 is a dual 
carriageway with a 40mph 
speed limit and there are two 
separate police speed 
cameras located along this 
stretch of road. 

By train 

Nearest mainline station is 
Tattenham Corner 

to get 

The Companies involved 




The biggest and best magazine in 
the RISC OS market. Packed with 
news, reviews and special features. 
Come to our stand and see what 
we have on offer for the show. 

Back issues will also be available, 
as well as the opportunity to 
subscribe to the magazine. 

Acorn User, Tau Press, Media 
House, Adlington Park, 
Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4NP 

Tel: 01625 878888 

Fax: 01625 859808 

E-mail: enquiries® 

Web: http://www.acornuser. 




We continue to supply Acorn 
computers with the ability to run 
Windows (and DOS) applications. 
We offer both Second Processors 
for Rise PCs and are constantly 
developing software to support 
them. Podule Cards are also 
available for A3x0, A4x0 and 
A5000 machines. Special Offers are 
usual at Shows like this! 

Aleph One Limited, The Old 
Courthouse, Bottisham, 

Cambridge CBS 9BA 





01223 811679 
01223 812713 


APDL will have their full range of 
Acorn CDs, including clip art, PD, 
games and others, plus hard 
drives, interfaces, and CD-ROM 
drives, all at special show prices. 
You will be able to see the 
DataSafe parallel port IDE drive 
system and several new products 
(hardware and software). 

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

Tel: 0181 778 2659 

Fax: 0181 488 0487 


Web: http://www. 


Apricote Studios will be 
demonstrating their ever popular 
accounting applications: Personal 
Accounts 4 and Prophet3f 
professional. They are also hoping 

to have a new version of Personal 
Accounts ready for the show 
which should fulfil a number of 
’wishlist’ items requested by users 
(unfortunately the ability to print 
bank notes has not been 
completed, but they should save 
you from paying bank charges by 
telling you if you are likely to 
become over-drawn!). Apricote 
Studios will be situated in the 
RiscStation Village. 

Apricote Studios, 2 Purls 
Bridge Farm, Manea, Cambs PE 15 

Tel: 01354 680432 

Web: http://vvww.apricote. 



Archive Magazine, the 
subscription magazine for RISC OS 
users. New subscribers (£25 for 12 
issues) can have a FREE CD 
(worth £12) which contains huge 
amounts of RISC OS-related 
information, several volumes of 
back issues of Archive, utility 
programs, PD, etc. Alternatively, 
try the next four issues for only £4, 
so that you can see just how good 
it is. 

Archive Publications, 18 Mile 
End Road, Norwich NR4 7QY 

Tel: 01603 766922 

Fax: 01603 460736 

E-mail: paul@archivemag. 

Web: http://www. 


The Castle stand will feature a 
wide range of Acorn and other 
related products. Castle's new 
build specification Rise PCs in 
various guises will be available to 

The new A70(X)+ Odyssey will 
also be on show. As usual Castle 
will also be demonstrating its wide 
range of Scanners, CD Writers and 
other peripherals and upgrades. 

Castle Technology Ltd, Ore 
Trading Estate, Woodbridge Road, 
Framlingham, Surrey IP13 9LL 

Tel: 01728 621222 

Fax: 0800 783 9638 


Web: http^/www.castle. 


CTA will have a number of new 
products for sale. This will include 
new RISC OS machines, hard 
drives, CD-ROMS, CD-ROM re- 

writers, memory for all RISC OS 
machines, mice, keyboards, MKII 
Trackball, printers consumables, 
and many other items. The team 
looks forward to meeting you at 
the show. 

CTA Direct, 168 Elliott Street, 
Tyldcsley, Greater Manchester M29 

Tel: 01942 797777 

Fax: 01942 797711 


Web: http://www.cta.u- 


On show will be the new range of 
machines including the R7500, the 
first RISC OS PCI machine, and 
the RiscStation Network machines. 
A network of machines running 
the latest software bundles will be 
on demonstration. Also the 
unveiling of new products and 
enhancements for all RISC OS 

RiscStation Ltd, 168 Elliott 
Street, Tyldesley, Greater 
Manchester M29 8DS 

Tel: 01942 797777 

Fax: 01942 797711 


Web: http^/www. 



At RISC OS '99 we will be 
dedicating the stand to Thin 
Client Technology'. We will be 
requesting anyone who is in 
educational circles to come along 
to the stand to see Citrix and 
TopCat running both RISC OS and 
Windows on new and old 
Acorn /RISC OS machines. 

We will also have all of our 
general products for sale with a 
bargains being offered at the show. 

Cumana, Whitegate, Dunmow 
Road, Hatfield Heath, Bishops 
Stortford, Herts CM22 7ED 

Tel: 01279 730800/730900 

Fax: 01279 730809 


Web: http://www. 


EFF offers a huge library of high 
quality fonts, including a wide 
range of educational, specialist and 
foreign typefaces and font 
converting software: EFF TrueType 
Translator, EFF PostScript 
Translator and EFF Font Table. The 
new CD, EFF2 Professional 
Typography, with 8(X) fonts in 
Acorn and Windows format, will 

be available at the show. 

Electronic Font Foundry, 11 
Silwood Road, Ascot SL5 OPY 

Tel: 01344 875 201 

Fax: 01344 875 202 




Icon Technology will be showing 
TechWriter and EasiWriter the 
powerful, yet easy to use, word 
processors which have been voted 
first and second best word 
processors on the Acorn platform 
and best commercial software. 

• Reads and writes Microsoft 
Word 6, 7 and Office 97/98 

• Style Editor 

• Automatic Tables and Lists 

• Imports Impression text files 
complete with formatting 

• Reads and writes HTML 
NEW: EasiWriter and 
TechWriter Pro p with 
improved graphics, text flows 
round pictures, also runs Java 
applets and animations. 

Show offers will be available. 

Icon Technology Ltd, Church 
House, Carlby, Stamford, Lines 
PE9 4NB 

Tel/Fax: 01778 590563 
E-mail: sales® 
Web: http://www. 





Speak software speech synthesiser 
will 'talk-as-you-type' and read 
out text for proof-reading. Pluto is 
a text database and powerful 
Internet news and mail reader. It 
can be used to replace Marcel, 
Posty/NewsAgent and so on 


Web: http://www.argonet. 




The highlight of the Millipede 
stand will be the Imago Concept 
Motherboard. Mechanically 
compatible with the Acorn Rise 
PC, Imago forms the basis for a 
number of products to be 
produced by Millipede. Imago 
exploits the latest technology to 
propel RISC OS computing into 
new and exciting territory. Not to 
be missed. 

E-mail: richard@millipede. 

Web: http://www.millipede. 

Theatre timetable 




Castle Technology 

Castle Technology 






RiscStation Ltd 

RiscStation Ltd 





R-Comp will be showing latest 
versions of its ever expanding 
range of Internet and Web 
authoring products. Visitors 
should expect some exciting new 
developments, including new 
versions of WebsterXL and 
Messenger Pro. 

Check out RCI's range of 
sound and music products, 
including the powerful Anthem 
sequencer, for quality and value. 
Special show offers on graphics 
tablets too. Oh, and of course, 
there will be at least one great new 
games release, but that goes 
without saying! 

R-Comp Interactive, 22 Robert 
Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford 
WA16 6PS 

Tel: 01925 755043 

Fax: 01925 757377 





Launched at the Wakefield Show, 
NoticeBoard Pro will be featured 
on our stand; alongside the rest of 
our range including Picture Book 
2, the Triple 'R' Education titles 
and Notes. 

Really Good Software 
Company, 39 Carisbrooke Road, 
Harpenden, Herts AL5 5QS 

Tel/Fax: 01582 761395 
E-mail: saIes.rgsc@argonet. 

Web: http://www.argonet. 


Visit the RISCOS Ltd stand to see 
the latest developments on RISC 
OS 4. Upgrades will be available to 
take away at £99 + VAT for Rise 
PC and A7000/A7000+ users. Join 
The Foundation for £30 + VAT (£25 
+ VAT for ex-Clan Members if you 
bring your membership card 

Get the RISC OS World 
wallchart for just £4.50, listing all 
the companies offering products 
and services for your favourite 
operating system. We've got RISC 
OS 4 - have you bought yours yet? 

RISCOS Ltd, 3 Clarendon 
Road, Cyncoed, Cardiff CF3 7JD 




Spacetech are showing their range 
of studio-quality graphics software 
for RISC OS including Photodesk3 
with layers. The Digital Art CD- 
ROM by David Cowell, featuring 
bitmap and vector graphics 
tutorials is shown as well as his 
brand new second CD shown here 
for the first time. Watch out for the 
latest in Digital cameras from 
Olympus including the new C2000 
Zoom 2.1 Megapixel compact also 
a new tiny megapixel camera and 
a multi-mega pixel replacement for 
the C1400XL! 

PhotoReal drivers for the 
Canon BJC7000/7100 and BJC2000 
will be shown. OHP, the 
presentation maker for RISC OS is 
demonstrated with some new 
features. Some attractive show 
discounts are offered. 

Spacetech Ltd, 1 The 
Courtyard, Southwell Business 
Park, Portland, Dorset DT5 2NQ 

Tel: 01305 822753 

Fax: 01305 860483 


Web: http://www. 


Organisers of this year's show. The 
ARM Club, will be on hand with 
membership offers, club products 
(including the latest PDCD3), help 
and advice. A year's membership 
of the leading user group costs 
only £15 (£12 renewal) and 
includes four issues of our 
magazine, Eureka. Watch out for 
special show offers, or just pop 
along for a chat! 

The ARM Club 

Tel: 07050 679262 

Fax: 07050 679263 


Web: http://www.armd ub. 


WSS will be showing new versions 
of much of their acclaimed 
software, including CDROMFS 
(updated to handle Packet written 
UDF discs), CDBurn, LanMan98 
and a new NFS client. 



“Many thanks for 
an excellent publication 
which I enjoy reading 
and which gives the 
most help of any of 
the magazines on 
computing which I 

P. Tucker, Jersey 



Isn't it time you treated yourself to 
the best? 

Write, phone or email us now for more 
information or visit our stand at RISC OS '99. 
First issue of volume 6 due out October 1 999. 


XjL Publishing 

P.O.Box 231, Barton, Bedford MK45 4110.^ 
Tel. 01582 881614 fax 01582 881614 


Entrance & Stairs 




Bar and Eating Area 

RlscStatlon Village 

The RISC OS '99 Show - Lower Floor 



The RISC OS '99 Show - Upper Floor 



RISC OS Awards 

In the best traditions of the RISC OS world you have the opportunity to vote six categories - how you 
interpret them is up to you and you don't have put an entry if you have no answer. 

Send in your answers to RISC OS Awards, Tau Press, Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 
4NP or hand them in to the Acorn User stand at the show before midday on Sunday Oct 31st. 

i 1 

i Best Dealer ! 

i i 

I Best Non-game software release in 1999 ! 

i Best Non-game hardware release in 1999 ! 

! Best Game release in 1999 ! 


Most popular RISC OS personality ! 

i Best Non-game release ever, for RISC OS 1 

I Best Game release ever, for RISC OS ! 

i i 

I I 

Elvis Lives! 

But does he read 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 

Send no money - just 
send your address. 

To: Archive Publications, 1 8 Mile End Road, Norwich, NR4 7QY. 

Phone: 0\ 603-441 777 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. 



Or email your address to: Paul Beverley ; 

The future starts here . . . 


16 Mb EDO Memory 
4 Mb Flash Memory 
43Gb e/D€ Hard Drive 
40x Atapi EID€ CDROM 


4 x 33 bit PCI Slots 
2 x High Speed IDE Port 
2 x Serial Port 
I x IO baseT Network 
I x Parallel Port 
/ x Infrared Port 
/ x PC Style Gameport 
/ x Microphone Port 
/ x Audio Line In Port 
/ x Headphone Port 
/ x PS2 Style Keyboard 
1x3 Button PS2 Mouse 
Midi In/Out/Through 


Micro Desktop layout or 
Tower configuration 


Full RISC OS 4 retail 
pack as standard 

DrawWorks Millennium 
Fireworkz Professional 
PipeDream 45 
Easi Writer Professional 


Botkiller 2 
Frak I 

More titles yet to be 
confirmed as well as an 
extensive shareware 
and demo collection 

PCI Upgrades 

(Available soon) 

StrongARM Card 
Multiprocessor SA Card 
PC Card 
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Supporting your local dealer 

From £579 + VAT 

For more information contact your local RISC OS 
dealer or RiscStation on +44 (O) 1942 797777 


incl VAT & delivery 

for ordering details 

Draw for 

T he draw file in RISC OS is a 
godsend - a standard way of 
communicating vector 
information from one package 
to another, that doesn't have the 
fragmented nature of EPS, and 
manages to maintain bezier curve 
information (unlike WMF). 

Unfortunately, actually having to 
use Draw on more than a purely 
casual basis can result in bleeding 
from the ears. iSV's latest incarnation 
of their illustration software, 
DrawWorks Millennium, promises to 

Andrew Green takes a look at an updated 
package providing new life to Draw 

Toollo! I 











ffi kn p° rt B 8 SI 


j DwWorta MdJcrrkm On-fcn* Help 


Figure l: The DrawWorks Millennium toolbar 

alleviate this, by operating as a 
welcome adjunct to Draw, and 
providing a vastly improved feature- 
set to boot. 

The software comes on a CD and 
includes a wealth of subsidiary 
applications from the iSV stable: the 
love-it-or-hate-it clip-art manager, Mr 
Clippi /; the outline font editor. Dr 
Fonty; 2100 high-quality outline fonts 
with an associated installation 
manager and viewer, a selection of 
vector and bitmap clip-art, together 
with one of the best help systems 
I've seen for any collection of 
software. All in all, this is a huge 

At the core of the product, 
though, is the new version of the 
DrazvWorks application itself. 
DrazvWorks provides an additional 
set of functions to Draw - it isn't a 

J fry. 


Top T 9 from our RAO d*p»on*m 

Con** • ch««M m*k«t »n oxetitne 
tubttftuto for grout whon re-oftn* * 

\ T 9 No. 12 of 2? 

Figure 11: Top Tips 

complete vector art package in its 
own right. Nevertheless, these 
functions range from the trivial to 
the impressive, and by making use of 
the Draw interface, iSV can guarantee 
a certain amount of familiarity with 
the way the software can be expected 
to work. 

Running Draw with DrawWorks 
loaded produces 
an additional 
toolbar (Figure I) 
at the top of the 

This toolbar 
disappears when 
the input focus is 
in another application's window, and 
if you move or resize the Draw 
window, the toolbar hovers in its 
original place for a while and then 
jumps to the new position. 

This is hardly a problem, but can 
be a little disconcerting at first, and 
emphasises the parasitical 
relationship between DrazvWorks and 
its host, Drazv. Happily, though, the 
toolbar can be dragged away from 
the main Drazv window if required. 

Toolbars and tools 

DrazvWorks splits its functions into a 
number of principle areas: File, View, 
Text Style, Object 
Style, Grid 

Settings, Select and pj| e 
Edit, and a couple 
of special ones I'll 
describe later. The 
top row of the 
DrazvWorks toolbar 
is used to navigate 
between these 
areas, whereas the 
bottom row features the actual 
functions in each. Sensibly, the 
bottom row features a horizontal 
scrollbar to allow access to buttons 
that don't fit into the window 

you're using. Many of the functions 
to which DrazvWorks provides toolbar 
access are functions of Drazv itself - 
but having a simple system to get at 
quickly with the mouse can be 
extremely useful. 

DrazvWorks' Select and Edit 
toolbar provides shortcuts for 
copying, grouping, interpolating, 
and adjusting the stacking order of 
any selection you've made, allows 
quick access to line editing functions 
(change line to a curve for instance), 
and allows certain operations to be 

It would be useful if the toolbar 
greyed-out functions that aren't 
available in the current context. 
Similarly, many of DrazvWorks' path 
editing buttons, such as the (very 
useful) ability to enter the X,Y co- 
ordinates of a point, cannot operate 
when creating a path, only when 
editing it subsequently. This is a 
minor user-interface niggle, but 
would help with the responsiveness 
of the package as a whole. 

There are other quirks to 
DrazvWorks' user interface - not least 
of which is the 'Top Tip' the package 
provides on startup (although this, 
thankfully, can be turned off). The 
File toolbar, which provides access to 

DrawWorks file importer 

Drop file here... 

Figure III: The file import mechanism 

import and export features, includes 
an 'Insert Named File' button to 
allow non-drag-and-drop insertion of 
elements to a page, which would 
appear to be contrary to the typical 

November 1 999 

Original Image Saved as a Sprite 

Figure IV: The results of exporting as an anti-aliased sprite 

RISC OS ethic (although Edit has it 
too) - it's nevertheless a feature 
which works very successfully, 
should anyone want to use it. 

Import and export 

The toolbar provides a convenient 
way of importing foreign file formats 
into Draw, through the use of an 
additional dialog window for drag- 
and-drop purposes. It's a somewhat 
non-standard method, as dropping 
documents into the main window 
would be the conventional way of 
achieving the desired result, and all 
this further underlines the status of 
DrawWorks as an add-on to an 
existing program. 

That said, it's hardly a great 
inconvenience for being able to 
achieve easy file import without 
needing programs such as ImageFS, 
and works very well for most of the 
formats it claims to. I had no 
problems importing TIFFs, WMFs or 
BMPs this way. I did, however, 
struggle greatly with the import of 
anything beyond the simplest of EPS 
files (even ones Artworks manages to 
cope with). 

Some files rendered correctly, 
while reporting an error, and other 
files rendered incorrectly, or not at all 
- regardless of whether the EPS 
included a preview image or not. 

However there is a patch on iSV's 
Website that improves EPS import 
and export. 

Sadly, DrawWorks' EPS export 







*-»! - I 


facility is also 
troubled. It's a 
great shame about 
that, as the ability 
to deal with EPS 
images would 
initially have 
appeared to be 
one of DrawWorks ' 
great strengths. 
EPS files are a 
standard way of 
delivering vector 
images from one 
package or 
platform to 

another - although they come more- 
or-less in just as many varieties as 
there are packages which handle 

I tested an EPS exported from 
DrawWorks in a number of Windows 
applications (perhaps a Mac would 
have been a more useful real-world 
test of this, however), and some 
packages coped well, others didn't. 
FreeHand and Flash rendered the file 
admirably, PageMaker gave up and 
just displayed the dreaded grey box 
(indicating that it couldn't build a 
successful preview image), and 
Ghostscript failed altogether, 
reporting errors in the PostScript 

The patch to DrawWorks available 
from the iSV Products Website was 
unable to help with the files I tried, 

iSV say that this problem is not 
theirs, the output is based on 
Adobe's own documentation but 
there have been undocumented 
changes in the various target 
applications. What's certainly the 
case, is that DrawWorks suffers from 
the same problem Artworks does, in 
that its EPS export facility doesn't 
ever include a preview image within 
the file. DrawWorks contains tools to 
allow the creation of sprites, GIFs 
and JPEGs from any selection on the 
canvas. Sprites and GIFs can be anti- 
aliased (JPEGs sadly can't), but it's 
first necessary to drop down to a 
256-colour screen mode to achieve 

this - images acquire 
a strange yellow hue 
if you don't. 

Certain colours 
respond very poorly 








SDU Ladder SDU Swirl _ 

Figure V: CMYK and Spot colour separations windows 

t&Jxl Named Spot Colours 

1 1 l e n rTJ T mJ - f i' uvc? 


SDU Swirl 
SDU Swirl (90%) 
SDU Swirl (80%) 
SDU Swirl (70%) 
SDU Swirl (60%) 
SDU Swirl (50%) 
SDU Swirl (40%) 
SDU Swirl (30%) 
SDU Swirl (20%) 
SDU Swirl (10%) 
SDU Ladder 
SDU Ladder (90%) 
SDU Ladder (80%) 
SDU Ladder (70%) 
SDU Ladder (60%) 
SDU Ladder (50%) 
SDU Ladder (40%) 
SDU Ladder (30%) 
SDU Ladder (20%) 
SDU Ladder (10%) 

Figure VI: Auto-generated tints of named colours 

to this approach - Figure IV shows 
the result on two test images. The 
girl's green face is an artefact of the 
dithering required for a 256-colour 

Because Draio can't edit bitmap 
images, except for scaling and 
rotating effects, DrawWorks 
conveniently introduces a bitmap 
OLE (Object Linking and 
Embedding) tool. Any sprite image 
selected when using the tool is 
exported to Paint or, with a bit of 
preferences jiggery-pokery. Photodesk 
- and when returned retains its 
original position, scale and rotation 
(this will soon work for JPEGS as 

This is a strong feature for an 
illustration program, and emphasises 
the way in which RISC OS 
applications can be expected to work 
happily alongside each other. 

Colour editing 

DrawWorks provides an excellent 
range of colour generation, selection 
and manipulation tools in its own 
special toolbar, that push this 
application into the Actually Very 
Useful category. To begin, the 
program comes with a set of colours 
named PureTint pre-installed - 
colours which bear an uncanny 
resemblance to Pantone, without any 
noticeable trademark infringement. 

A very happy coincidence indeed. 

The application also provides a 
straightforward method of 
introducing named colours to Draw, 
any of which can be treated as an 
individual spot colour. Sadly, November 1999 


Colour Balanced 

Figure VIII: Printing on tinted stock 

PureTint colours don't seem to 
respond as spot colours which would 
initially have appeared to be their 
primary use - however there would 
be a silly increase in separations if 
the colours overlapped. 

Nonetheless, DrawWorks can 
create new named colours from a 
selection (and, very usefully, 
generate 10% tints of such colours 
automatically), creating spot colours 
from a specific PureTint tone is made 
easy, allowing PureTint tones to be 
used for more general colour 

Although DrawWorks refers to 
named colours as 'Named (Spot) 
Colours', it doesn't seem to be the 

On Tinted Stock 

On Tinted Stock 

case that named colours have to be 
treated as spot colour separations. 
The application provides two 
methods of generating separation 
files - as standard CMYK 
components, or as spot colour 
separations. Named colours appear 
in both, but only named colours can 
appear in the latter. 

The separations thus generated 
appear in their own pseudo-filer 
window, and thoughtfully the 
software allows grey component 
compensation - meaning that the 
muddiness that can occur when 
equal values of cyan, magenta and 
yellow are combined is largely 

I re-coloured a simple logo design 
using PureTint colours, and only the 
black lines of the swirl produced a 
spot colour separation. Converting 
from the PureTint colours to named 
colours produced both CMYK and 
spot colour separations properly 
(Figure V), and Figure VI shows the 
resultant new named colours. These 
colours, incidentally, are stored 
within the application itself, rather 
than on a file-by-file basis, meaning 
that any named colours you define 
can be transferred to other files with 
supreme ease. 

Further colour tools include the 
ability to adjust the contrast, 
brightness and tint of any selection, 
including the ability to colour an 
entire selection as tints of a further 
colour. There's also a few bizarre 
options available as standard (tinting 
a selection to seemingly-random 
PureTint tones, or psychedelic 
colours, for example), but in general 
all these tools work magnificently - 
and work on non-JPEG bitmaps too, 
such that ArtWorks - like contone 
effects can be achieved with ease 
even on non-greyscale bitmaps. I 
wouldn't recommend random 
colours on a bitmap, though. 

Figure VII shows a few 
transformations applied to the same 
logo. Happily, the Undo function 
seems to work on all of these tools - 
allowing for easy experimentation 
with settings - unless you're 
transforming a bitmap, which 
probably has everything to do with 
the complexity of such an operation 
and the size of Draiv's undo buffer. 

Not so happily, the program 
consistently decides to de-select any 
objects to which a transformation is 
applied, meaning that multiple 
transformations require re-selecting 
everything. Again, this is hardly a 
big deal - but it could eventually 
prove to be infuriating. 

Special features 

The package offers a method of 
simulating the results of printing 
objects on coloured paper, together 
with a simple technique for 

The Original Logo 

As a 60% Tint 

With CMYK Balance As Tints of a PureTone 

Figure VII: Some colour transformations 

V November 1999 


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0.961090 B= 

0.276229 i 

Change to jE 


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0 F= 


J Make these settings transparent 

e Changes j 

Figure IX: The text style definitions window 

compensating the colours of the 
objects so that they retain their 
original tones on such paper (as 
much as is possible). Figure VIII 
shows this in action. 

Unfortunately because Draw can't 
compensate well for the difference 
between screen representation of 
CMYK colourspace and the real 
thing, it's always possible that the 
end result would suffer a marked 
difference in colour from the screen 

A further boon to Draw users is the 
incorporation of text styles, which can 
be defined from the current selection, 
and applied to any subsequent text 
object. The style system even accounts 
for shape transformations such as 
rotation and scaling (although the 
syntax for manually defining these 
could take some learning). There are 
also tools for applying kerning to any 
selection of text, and to generate a 
text spiral - which to create by hand 
would be a chore of the highest 

In that vein, DrawWorks offers a 
great many distortion and 
transformation features through its 
DrawWorks Millennium 'Special' 
toolbar. Instant drop-shadows can be 
added to a selection - including floor 
shadows and 'in the air' shadows - 
although the shadows thus 
generated don't have soft edges. 

That's hardly surprising, but if the 
program were able to achieve this 
with the ease it currently offers, it 

would be worth the asking price 
alone. Well, nearly, anyway. 

The bulk of the Special toolbar is 
dedicated to the purpose of 
distorting objects according to 
defined, and definable, parameters. 
Objects can be moulded along a 
path, subjected to 3D 
transformations (such as being 
projected onto a sphere), scrunched, 
curved, mirrored, distorted to a 
bump map, and generally beaten 
senseless in the name of design. 

Figures X and XI show a couple of 
the effects easily applied this way. These 
features are a great strength of the 
package, and offer a degree of flexibility 
and experimentation hard to beat. 

The verdict 

Although graphics professionals 
would be by-and-large disappointed 
with the limitations of the 
package imposed 
by its reliance 

DrawWorks offers to make use of 
Draw just that little bit more 
enjoyable, more productive, and 
frankly more of a viable proposition. 

In combination with something 
such as ArtWorks, DrawWorks could 
come into its own. Its distortion and 
colour toning capabilities are very 
useful additions to your repertoire, 
and the application provides enough 
features that ArtWorks doesn't to 
make it a sound investment. 

There's no doubt that the package 
represents phenomenal value for 
money, especially when you consider 
the extra software, and the huge 
number of fonts, supplied with the 
core program. User interface irritants 
and troublesome features aside, this 
new version of DrawWorks 
has much to recommend it. L=L£l£? 

on Draw (an 
abomination of a path 
editor, weak undo 
capabilities and complete lack of 
screen anti-aliasing - none of it 
DrawWorks ' own fault), together with 
frustration at some of the features of 
the program that fail to work 
correctly in many places, such as the 
export of EPS files or bitmap images, 
there's enough in this package that 
delivers interesting and useful results 
to make it worthwhile. 

If you simply need a program for 
illustration purposes on a more 
occasional basis, there's plenty that 

Figure XI: Logo replicated a few 
times (another tool), and bent 
along a circular path. Alternate 
logos had the 'swap red and green’ 
colour effect applied. 

Product details 


DrawWorks Millennium 


Normal price £61.50, current 
offer price £46.60 


iSV Products, 86 Turnberry, 
Home Farm, Bracknell, 
Berkshire, RG12 8ZH 


01344 455769 


a timbrell@aol .com 


http:/ / 



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£29.37 when bought with one of the above 
drives. Larger units (>500Mb) may require 
partitioning software when used on pre- 
RISC PC machines. Please phone for 
details. A mounting bracket is an additional 
£1.76. Example price: 40Mb Seagate with 
interface and mounting bracket £42.88. 


Various Cont. 

1 Mb A30 1 0 computer 


Backplane A7000 


Hewlett Packard SVGA monitor 


Rise PC PSU (Second user) 


Both the above, only 


Alsystems SCSI 2 card 


Strong ARM inc R03.7 


PC Keyboard 


170Mb Hard Disc for A3 10 


Keyboard encoder A300- A4000 


l-2Mb A3010 


PLCC extraction tool 


4Mb A3000 ram upgrade 


ROM extractor tool 


A3000 PSU 


56K modem 


400/1 -Rise PC floppy drive 


Fan kit (300 scries) 


Mouse A300-Risc PC 


Fan filters (pack of 5) 


Mouse A7000/A7000+ 


486 clip-on cooling fan 


RISC OS 3.11 


Dongle Dangle 


RISC OS 3.70 


VIDC (New) 


RISC OS carrier board A300/400 £11.75 

VI DC (Second user) 


Input/Output (I/O) card 


IOC (Second user) 


A5000 2-4Mb ram upgrade 


ARM3 25Mhz 


Backplane for Rise PC 


540Mb 3.5" SCSI drive 


Tel. (01752) 777106. Fax (01752) 777830. 

email: Web: 

L ast month, we saw how virtual 
functions were used to achieve 
run-time polymorphism, or 
what is known as "late 
binding". This is opposed to normal 
"early binding" - events and function 
calls which occur at compile-time. 

Virtual functions give greater 
flexibility, because the object type to 
be called is not resolved until run- 
time. You might recall that we 
handle virtual functions via a base 
class pointer, and that the function to 
be called is governed by the type of 
object it points to (which may be a 
derived type). Because this can't 
always be assessed at compile time, 
the object-function link must be 
made at run-time. 

Virtual functions allow the 
programmer to define from a single 
foundation class, a "chain" of 
derived class types which can all be 
accessed as if they were equivalent 
(Figure I). This is a direct application 
of the "one interface, multiple 
methods" philosophy of OOP which 
is used in a moment for the project. 

Pure virtual functions 

It is often the case that we don't need 
to access the base class, and that it is 
used as a template for subsequently 
derived types, each with their own 
redefinition of virtual functions. To 
ensure that all derived classes do 
provide their own version, we use a 
pure virtual function within the base 
class. It has no definition, just the 
prototype and parameter list. Here is 
an example: 
class base 


virtual void check (int value )=0; 

class tens : public base 


int n; 

void check (int value) 

{ if (value>n)printf( "greater than\n"); } 

To declare a virtual function as pure, 
we add "=0" to the end of the 

Greg Scott continues 
his foray into OO 

interface — 

abstract base 

virtual functions) 

derived layer 1 

derived layer 3 

Figure l : A common interface to derived class types 

function prototype. If we hadn't 
provided a new version of checkO in 
the tens class, a compile-time error 
would have resulted. 

Because the base class contains a 
pure virtual function, we call it an 
abstract class. Instances of an abstract 
class can't be created because pure 
virtual functions do not have 
function definitions. However, 
pointers and references to an abstract 
class are allowed, and by reassigning 
pointers to derived objects, run-time 
polymorphism is achieved. 

Project Matrix 

Our project is a Matrix Class Library 
in C++. C++ lacks any native 
support for matrices whatsoever, so 
it make sense to account for them. 
Matrices are used in many scientific 
fields, from fluid dynamics to 
population modelling. Although a 
description of a matrix was given in 
the earlier stages of development 
(found on past coverdiscs). Figure II 
illustrates some of the basics. 

So, on to the system design of 
things. At this stage we must 
consider the objects which we shall 
use to represent different entities 
within our library. Square Matrices - 
where the number of columns and 
rows is the same - are 
most common, but we 
must allow facilities for 
extending classes to 
cater for individual 

Our class structure 
will eventually follow 
the diagram shown in 
Figure III. All class 
types will be derived 
from the abstract matrix 
class. By using this 

derived layer 2 

. 2 o \ 2 x 2 matrix 

* 0 2 

. 0 \ 2 x 1 matrix 
( 2 ) 

matrix types (rows x columns) 

/ 3 1\ / 2 0 \ / 5 1\ 

<1 3 + 0 2 = 1 5 

addition (add corresponding elements) 

( 3 1 )x( 2 °)=( 6 2 ) 

'1 3' 'Q 2 '2 6' 

multiply (times row by column) 

Figure II: Simple matrix operations 

system of inheritance, all classes 
within the library belong to a single, 
root interface, so run-time 
polymorphism can easily be 

You will also notice the inclusion 
of the coordinate derived types. 
Matrices by themselves cannot be 
used to great effect, they can only 
alter and operate on themselves. To 
make proper use of matrices, we 
need to incorporate external data. 
Commonly, particularly in 
mathematics, matrices are used in 
conjunction with coordinates in two 
or three dimensional space. 

Readers of the old *Info pages 
should remember countless graphical 
demos making use of matrices in this 
way, and we shall do the same. Two 
dimensional coordinates are treated 
as 2 x 1 matrices, and three 
dimensional coordinates as 3 x 1 (see 
Figure IV). 

Let's take our first look at some 
real working source code. We'll start 
with the definition of the abstract 
matrix class. 

class matrix 



/ November 1999 


float xl,yl; 
char *name; 


matrix() { name=0; } // name to 0, 
no name. 

virtual display_as_text ( ) =0 ; 

virtual inputtextvalues ( ) =0 ; 

name_it(char *str){ name=str; } 


The first thing to notice about this 
base class is that no elements are 
declared as private. This should, by 
now, make perfect sense - private 
elements are not directly available to 
a derived class. 

The variables *2,1/1 and name are 
the three protected members of the 
matrix class. These variables will be 
found in all subsequent derivations, 
which implies that all matrix types 
will have at least two elements and a 
naming facility. Notice the use of 
floating point variables. 

The public functions laid out by 
the base class act as an interface to 

programs making use of the matrix 
library. A simple constructor is 
included to act as a default for later 
classes - some readers may have 
questioned the role of a constructor 
function within an abstract class 
(instances of which cannot be 

The two pure functions are used 
to display and change each of the 
values of the matrix. They are 
declared as pure (with no definition) 
because at this stage the size or 
content of the matrix is not declared, 
so no provisions for input or output 
can possibly be made. The thing to 
appreciate is that by declaring the 
functions at the base of the structure, 
all following class types will make 
use of these function names - a re- 
occurrence of the one interface, 
multiple methods philosophy. 

The last function declared is used 

abstract base 



V 2 > 

2-D coordinate 

2 x 1 matrix 
, o 


3-D coordinate 

4 ) 


3 x 1 matrix 

two X 

arrow indicates derivation 

three x thiree 

derived types 

four x four 

Figure IV: Coordinate 
and Matrix equivalents 

Figure III: Class structure for the Matrix Class Library 

to name the matrix itself, a feature 
which could be helpful if the library 
were used, say, in a teaching 

Before considering the next layer 
in the class structure, C++'s input 
and output facilities must be 
explained, because the library will 
make used of them. 

C++ I/O 

Without spending too much time on 
the subject, C++ I/O is based around 
streams. Streams were used to an 
extent in C, to distinguish between 
types of input and output. C++ uses 
streams to achieve all interfacing - 
file, keyboard - any input and 
output devices. 

For text I/O, we must make use of 
the cout and tin functions, both 
defined in the iostream.h header 
(which is now included in our source 
code) these make use of operator 
overloading to provide an elegant 
interface. The logical shift operators 
'«' and '»' are overloaded for 
output and input respectively. Here 
are some output examples: 

cout « "Hello, Acorn World!"; 

Writes 'Hello, Acorn World!' on 

cout « "00P\nArticle number 5"; 
The \n adds a new line. 

cout « "Text can be " « "Separated"; 

Writes 'Text can be Separated'. 

The overloaded shift operator 
makes this new form of output far 
easier to comprehend than the old 
printf() method. To output the 
contents of a variable we need only 
specify its name instead of string 

cout « "The variable value was " « n; 

Input is achieved using cin and the 
opposite shift operator: 

cin » xl; 

Gets a value (after enter is pressed), 
stores in xl. 

cin » x » y; 

Gets two values, stored in x then \j. 

This is a much more attractive 
method than the C's scanfO 
implementation. It used to be that 
the address of a variable was 
required for input. The new 
characteristics of C++ means there 
are now ways around this syntax. 

The Matrix Class Library will not 
use more complicated forms 
of text input and output. November 1999 

O ne of Irlam Instruments' 
recent releases is a sound 
sampler, called il6. It fills a 
gap for those who want this 
facility, but do not need anything as 
comprehensive as Irlam's 
video/audio product 24il6. It 
comprises an expansion card plus 
software on floppy disc, and can be 
used to save analogue sounds from 
any normal stereo or mono source, 
such as CD players, radios, 
microphones and computer sound 

It can also handle digital audio 
(from DAT recorders for instance), 
and will run in Rise PC, A7000, 
A5000, and A300/400/500 machines 
with RISC OS 3.10 or later. Minimum 
system requirements are 2Mb RAM 
and a harddisc. Captured sound 
samples can be stored as Wave files 
or in Replay format. 

Like all Irlam products, il6 is easy to 
install and use. It has an on-screen 
manual, currently being expanded - the 

Figure I: Settings for a sampling 
run in the Audio Choices window 

tiny screen text is unreadable, but any 
or all of its pages can be printed out to 
A4. Limited space on the expansion 
card dictated 3.5mm stereo sockets for 
analogue input and output, and an 
additional socket is provided for the 
computer's headphone output. 

Phono sockets are used for digital 
input and output signals. A MIDI 
connector is provided for a possible 
future expansion, but has no function 
at present. Mono inputs are accepted 
from the left channel only, but play 
back through both channels. 

il6 has two windows, shown here. 
One handles various options, and the 
other collects the sound samples. The 
first, headed 'Audio Choices', has 
sliders to adjust the signal levels for 
recording and playback modes 
separately. Above each slider is a 
stereo balance control. 

The sampling format can be 
chosen from 16-bit linear, 8-bit linear 
or 8-bit logarithmic. 16-bit is the 
industry standard, used in CDs and 
DAT recordings. 8-bit linear gives 
audibly poor sound, but needs only 
half the memory. 8-bit logarithmic 
takes the same memory as 8-bit 
linear, but gives better sound quality. 

Sampling for quality 

The fidelity of the recorded sound 
depends on the sampling rate, which 
is the number of times per second 
that the sound wave amplitude is 
measured. A well-established rule 
states that the sampling rate must be 
at least twice the highest frequency 
to be sampled, for accurate 

reproduction. This applies to random 
noise, but music may contain steady 
tones, which theoretically require 
sampling at three times their 
maximum frequency. 

The industry standard rate is 
44,100 per second, which allows 
frequencies up to 14.7KHz to be 
rendered precisely. With a maximum 
sampling rate of 50,000, il6 can 
handle 16.7KHz, giving excellent 
sound reproduction. In fact only a 

LV November 1999 blip //vnvvw m omusrr « om 

Figure II: A 
recording in 
progress, showing 
left and right 
waveforms. Note 
the small white 
'peak program 

Photo: The H6 
expansion card, resting 
on a score of Max 
Reger's Phantasie und 
Fuge Op29 for organ. 
This piece, and other 
genres, were used in the 
H6 listening tests. 
(Photo: Trevor Attewcll) 

very few youngsters can hear tones 
above about 18KHz. 

In il6 the rate can be selected 
either by dragging a slider, or by 
selecting it from a menu. In the latter 
case the choice is made either by 
clicking on a number, or by 
selecting a named source, such as 
Voice' or 'CD'. 

It is tempting to use the highest 
rate for everything, but that 
demands about 200K of harddisc 
space per second, and would be 
wasted on speech, for example. The 
second window has a display similar 
to that of an oscilloscope, showing 

Trevor Attewell 
makes some 
7 6-bit sounds 

the incoming left and right sound 
waveforms. Two small indicators, on 
one edge of the display, follow the 
peak positive and negative 
waveform levels very rapidly, but 
fall back slowly. They make it easier 
to avoid clipped peaks, which might 
result in distortion. 

Below the window a red bar 
indicates the length of a recording in 
progress. The precise timing is 
shown separately in minutes and 
seconds. Above and below the red 
bar are black lines which can be 
dragged to limit the recording, or the 
playback, to any chosen start and/or 
end point. There are also nudge 
buttons which can be used to make 
fine adjustments. 

These timing additions appeared in 
the latest version 1.03, reviewed here. 
They make it possible to define the 
desired sample accurately from a 
longer section saved previously. Under 

this window are the usual controls, 
Stop, Play, Pause and Record. 

But how's the sound? 

Sound cards in a computer are subject 
to noise pickup, some from the mains, 
and a lot more from high-speed 
digital signals, especially in Rise PCs 
with StrongARM, as used for this 
review. il6 is built on a four-layer 
board, with separate analogue and 
digital copper screens between layers. 
This improves quality on unscreened 
cards, but cannot be a complete cure. 
Experimenting with the layout of 
external cables may also help. 

Finally, for those who like to see 
actual measurements, the overall 
frequency response relative to OdB at 
lKHz was -lOdB at 20Hz, -3dB at 
50Hz and -1.8dB at 20KPIz. Noise 
was better than -50dB at the 
standard output of lmW into 
600 ohms. LaZED 

Product details 

Product: il6 

Price: £149 + VAT (£3.50 p&p) 

Supplier: Irlam Instruments Ltd, Brunei 
Science Park, Brunei 
University, Kingston Lane, 
Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PQ 
Tel/Fax: 01895 811401 
E-mail: November 1999 k. 



A lthough the RISC OS platform 
is not exactly renowned for its 
widespread support of all the 
latest Internet standards, one 
area in which it has always fared 
surprisingly well is its e-mail and 
newsgroup-handling software. 

One of the earliest pieces of really 
comprehensive and well-written 
Internet software for RISC OS was 
Neivsbnse, the freeware e-mail and 
news database application which for 
a long time formed the backbone of 
most users' e-mail setups. 

Ncwsbase, though, only stored the 
messages themselves; in order to 
actually read them, you needed a 
newsreader application. There were a 
few of these, but the best was 
undoubtedly Messenger, which was 
one of the most professional-looking 
pieces of free software ever to grace 
the RISC OS platform. 

If, like me, you are one of those 
people who considers Messenger a 
favourite piece of software, then 
prepare yourself for a new favourite, 
because Messenger Pro is finally here. 
And if you're not one of those 
people, it's about time you checked 
this software out. 

Getting going 

Let's start with the bad news. 
Messenger Pro is now a commercial 
product which, surprisingly enough, 
means that you have to pay money 
for it. Luckily, you get a lot for your 
money. What's really remarkable to 
my mind is that Messenger was ever 
free in the first place. 

I started off by talking about 
Neivsbnse, and that was important 
because Messenger used to rely on it. 
However, one of the most significant 
improvements in Messenger Pro is 
that Neivsbase is no longer needed. 
Messenger Pro can now do all the 
work of filtering and storing 
messages itself, so not only does that 
make for a tidier solution, but it also 
allows Messenger Pro to offer a 

Richard Hallas 
reviews the 
release of 
Messenger Pro 

number of facilities that weren't 
previously possible, such as editing 
queued messages directly. 

On the other hand, if you're a 
long-term Neivsbnse user with a 
sprawling e-mail setup that you 
don't want to be forced to change, 
Messenger Pro can carry on using 
Neivsbnse instead of its own database 
system. Messenger Pro now comes on 
a single floppy disc in a standard 
R-Comp plastic wallet with lo-tech 
packaging and a brief printed guide. 
This explains how to install the 
software, and the basics of its use, 
but the main online documentation 
is provided in StrongHelp format and 
is one of Messenger's great strengths. 

With software as complex as 
Messenger Pro, it's not reasonable to 

expect to master (or indeed even use) 
every facility from the start, but each 
dialogue window in the program has 
a little blue information icon, and 
clicking this opens the appropriate 
page in StrongHelp. This online help 
is both comprehensive and 
comprehensible, which is an 
admirable combination. The fact that 
it's also hot-linked to exactly where 
it's needed makes it indispensable, 
and means that you can learn about 
Messenger Pro as you use it. 

Messenger Pro works with all RISC 
OS Internet software packages, so it 
doesn't matter whether you have the 
ANT Internet Suite, Voynger, Termite or 
a set-up based on freeware software. 
Installation is a delightfully simple 
operation (particularly so given the 
inherent complexity of Internet 
software). You do need to read and 
follow the installation guide, but the 
process has been made about as 
automatic as possible. 

Many users will previously have 
used Neivsbnse, and if a Neivsbnse 
set-up is present. Messenger Pro will 
allow you to use it. Moreover, if 
you decide that you want to use 
Messenger Pro's own database 
functions instead of Neivsbnse, then it 

Threads: Messenger Pro's ability to group related messages 
into threads, and handle them in a helpful way, is second to none 

^ November 1999 

Com ms 

Tip for ANT users 

If you want to use Messenger Pro with the ANT Suite instead of Marcel , you'll 
also want to set up your software so that Messenger Pro is launched when you 
double-click on the E-mail & News icon in the ANT front-end. It's easy to do 

Find the UnetSuite application on your harddisc, and Shift+double-click it 
to open it up. Look inside the Internet directory, then inside Files, and find a 
text file called UnetPanel. Make a backup copy, just in case. Now load 
UnetPanel into a text editor; you'll see an entry for each of the icons in the 
front-end window. Simply edit the mail&news line so that it points to 
Messenger Pro rather than Marcel . In my version of the file, the line reads: 

mail&new BOOT InetApps :Apps. Tools. ! Messenger 

(The BOOT bit is optional, and just means that Messenger Pro's IBoot file is 
executed when the ANT Suite starts up.) Resave the file, quit and reload the 
ANT Suite, and you should find that you have a convenient short-cut to 
Messenger Pro. 

is able to import your entire 
collection of e-mail and news 
messages as part of the installation 
process. So, both the installation and 
the transition to a new system are 
made only minimally painful, and 
this ease of installation is something 
that counts very strongly in 
Messenger Pro's favour. 

Untangling the string 

Messenger Pro is a multi-user system, 
and very powerful. Even if there's 
only one of you, having multiple e- 
mail identities can be useful, and 
clearly a multi-user system is very 
helpful in a classroom environment. 
(Educational users may also like to 
know that an online version of 
Messenger Pro is available at a small 
extra cost). 

If all you want is a single e-mail 
address, though, you can forget that 
the multi-user facilities are there, as a 
default user is set up as part of the 
installation process. Regardless of 
whether you set up multiple users, 
you can also create archive groups for 
backing up messages of your choices, 
or for keeping archives of e-mails from 
mailing lists or whatever. 

Once you're set up, it's time to 
open a group of messages. The 
presentation of Messenger Pro's 
windows is very attractive and 
helpfully laid out, and the 
comprehensive button bars have 
brief online help to remind you what 
everything does. Icons indicate the 
status of messages (read, unread, 
deleted, for attention, replied to, 
attachments included), and there are 
many viewing and sorting options, 
all of which can be fully customised 
for each group (be it e-mail or news). 

One of Messenger Pro's great 
strengths, though, is its handling of 
article threads. If you're not familiar 
with this concept, it relates to 
messages on the same subject, where 
someone has started a discussion 
and other users have replied to it at 
different times. Messenger Pro 
handles such threading superbly. It 
collapses all messages relating to 
each subject into a single line, so that 
all you see initially is the name of the 
topic (along with the number of 
messages relating to it). 

Double-click on the entry and it 
opens up to show all the messages in 
the thread, and each one is indented 
to an appropriate level so you can see 
at a glance which of them relate to 
each other. Superb. Also, when 
reading any message, a pop-up menu 
shows exactly which other references 
and replies relate to the current 

message, allowing you to navigate 
between them easily. This is all 
excellent stuff, and makes Messenger 
by far the best threaded newsreader 
I've ever used. 

In a vaguely similar vein, the 
display of the messages themselves is 
very helpful because you can view 
text quoted from other messages in a 
variety of colours. This is excellent for 
distinguishing who's saying what in a 
heavily-quoted section of text. 
Messenger Pro also supports Jonathan 
Duddington's Speak, and can read 
different quoting levels in different 
voices. Headers, signature and URL 
information within messages is also 
shown in different colours - URLs can 
be launched with a single click. 

Messages can be bounced, 
forwarded, archived off to folders, 
dragged out to other applications, 
read aloud and otherwise 
manipulated. The only major action 
which is not part of Messenger Pro is 
the actual editing process when 
creating or replying to messages. As 
with most other RISC OS newsreaders 
(except Pluto) this is left to the user's 
personal choice of external editor. I 
favour Zap with Darren Salt's HTML 
mode, but some users prefer StrongEd. 

Once you've written a message and 
are ready to send it, Messenger Pro 
offers spell-checking facilities, and 
will also (optionally) warn you if you 
have broken any 'netiquette' 
protocols. If you want to attach files to 
your message, just drag them to the 
same window where you enter the 
message subject and recipients. 
Messenger Pro can handle messages in 
MIME and UUencoded formats. 

What's the score? 

One of the most innovative things 
about Messenger Pro is its concept of 
scoring rules. The idea is that 

messages can be given priorities 
according to a set of rules that you 
define; so, if you know that e-mails 
from a particular individual require a 
more urgent reply than e-mails from 
other people, you can set things up 
so that that person's e-mails appear 
first, for example. 

Scoring rules can be quite 
complex, and can be used in 
combination with threaded displays 
(each thread receiving the total score 
value of the messages within it), so 
you could theoretically perform 
simple automated e-mail surveys by 
setting up a few scoring rules and 
leaving Messenger Pro to do the hard 
work. It's a fairly complex system, 
and not for the faint-hearted but 
powerful. (Daunted users can safely 
ignore it.) 

Along similar lines. Messenger Pro 
also offers message filtering if you 
use its own internal database system. 
(Newsbase offers similar facilities if 
that's what you use). This allows 
messages to be killed before they're 
even read, or siphoned off into more 
appropriate archive groups. Filtering 
is quite powerful, but if all you want 
to do is send messages from a 
particular address to a particular 
archive folder. Messenger Pro has a 
built-in mailing list facility which is 
easier to use. 


Currently Messenger Pro has a small 
number of shortcomings, although 
none are serious. For instance, while 
the status icons alongside e-mail 
messages are very helpful, I find 
them quite hard to distinguish from 
one another; ironically, the older 
icons used in the pre-Pro version of 
Messenger were very much clearer, 
and it's a shame that they weren't 
retained. More seriously, the search November 1999 

facilities are rather basic. What 
happens is that you enter some 
search criteria and a new message 
group is created to contain the 

That's fine as far as it goes, but 
there are two major limitations. 
Firstly, the found messages are 
aliases to the originals, and there's 
no way to work on the originals 

While this avoids irretrievable 
errors, it doesn't allow you to do 
things like physically moving 
messages between folders or deleting 
unwanted messages. Secondly, you 
can only search using one criterion at 
a time, which is very limiting, and 
there's no easy way to search for 
outgoing e-mails to specific people, 
because you can't search for the 
recipient of a message. 


So, should you buy Messenger Pro ? If 
you only use freeware Internet 
software, the answer is a definite yes, 
because it's better than anything else 
and isn't expensive. If you use a 

commercial Internet suite you may 
feel a bit cheesed off at having to pay 
out again, but it's definitely worth it 
in terms of price and performance. 

ANT users in particular are 
strongly advised to get Messenger 
Pro , as the bundled newsreader, 
Marcel , looks decidedly amateurish 
by comparison. The only people who 
should really hesitate are those users 
who have already bought Jonathan 
Duddington's e-mail /newsreader 
package, Pluto. 

Here, a cross-grade is probably 
not worthwhile unless you need 
specific facilities that Pluto doesn't 
provide (I'll back that up, 1 use 
Messenger Pro for work where I need 
multiple identities, but for personal mail 
I use, and prefer, Pluto - Ed). 

To my mind, there is little 
doubting that Messenger Pro is the 
superior of the two products: Pluto 
doesn't do "proper" thread-handling 
and isn't a multi-user system. Also, it 
doesn't offer Messenger Pro's 
compatibility with existing Newsbase 
setups. I've been using the latest Pro 
version for several weeks, and the 

earlier freeware version for years 
before that, so I feel confident in 
saying that the package is solid, 
reliable and a delight to use. 

Not only is it my favourite e-mail 
package for RISC OS, but it's also the 
best such package I've used on any 
computer. If I had to choose between 
Messenger Pro and, say. Outlook 
Express, I know which I'd pick (and it 

wouldn't be the Microsoft 

Product details 


Messenger Pro 


4Mb RAM (8Mb 
recommended); RISC OS 3.1 
or later; Internet connection 
and appropriate software 


Single user £30; 

Online /network version £40; 
Site/network licence £100; 


R-Comp, 22 Robert Moffat, 

High Legh, Knutsford, 

Cheshire WA16 6PS 


(+44/0) 1925 755043 


(+44/0) 1925 757377 



to Install and stra c 

;• -Ml 

* b J - 

Mouse Interfaces, Trackballs etc 

PS2Moum U*» PS/2 ffMca on your Rise OS machin# £24.95 

PS2Mou»o+ With through port to kaep Acorn mo us* C39 95 

Touchpad Mous* roplacomont. Ut* with PS2Mouso* r?9 9VC34 9' 

Trackball Larg* hosvy boll. No Intorfoco • otuos stroloht ml £34.95 
Mo u«t ball Roptocamont heavy mouse bs 

RED HOT Networking. 

Works with all machines fitted with a W-alrectional 
para«el port (A30*0/A4000/A500Q'A4/A7000/RlscPC). 

Implemented as a fling system for transparent 
file-sharing across machines. 

No need for cumbersome and slow transfer programs. 
Topically achieves access speeds of well above 

configure and it has worked wthout a 
PhiRp Perry. Archive 12.10. 

£29 95 with a RED WOfconnection cable, or £22.95 
for the program alone. 

Easy Sharing! 

Game Interfaces, Joysticks etc. 

PCJoy Analogue Joystick Interface gives you a gameport! 

PC Phantom Joysftck for above (4* auto «re, throttle etc) 
Ttgon A’.smarve Joystick for above. 

Solo Booget jcytfcx interface for atari-stye dgltal sbeks. 
Apache joystick for above (microswltchea) 

Python Alternative tor above (non-microswttched) 
Nlnterface |oypeda (single, double) 

Obsolete Dri vere Olek tor old joysticka/Joypada etc 

£31 85 
£21 95 
£14 95 
£9 95 
£6 95 

£23.95X31 . 

Access Products 

Share devices between a RiscPC and PC using our 
range of quality switches. All include cables. 

Keyboard. PS/2 mouse and serial switch -«9.95 
(Ideal If your monitor has two inputs) 

15HD to 5xBNC monitor cable for above t' 9 
Keyboard & Monitor switch £.3^ 

b Keyboard, Monitor and PS/2 mouse switch ^ 
Printer (1 machlne->2 devices) £.VJ- 9 ^ 

Printer (2 machlnes->1 device) £2^ ,9 ° 

Holdfast Joy pad Robust Joyped tor use vrfO Soto £24 95 Many c 

Switch Input leadset tor Soto (emulate mouee-Veyboard) £9 93 details. 

Keyawttcn* Switch keyboard replacement (advanced order) £49 95 

Many other combinations are available • call for 

Stuart Tyrrell Developments 
PO Box 183, OLDHAM OL2 8FB 
Tel: 01706 848 600 (9am-9pm) 
Fax: 0870 164 1604 (national rate) 

Phone, Fax or email for a 
free product Information flyerl 

All prices Include P&P 
Delta/Vlaa/Maatercard welcomed. 
All trademarka acknowleged. E&OE. 

Supporting users in Central and North England 

Saturday 20th November 1999 

The National Motorcycle Museum, 

Doors open from 10am until 4.30pm 
Adults £2.50 

ARM Club members £1.50 
Children under 16 FREE (accompanied by an adult) 

# Latest products + Charity Bring & Buy 

• Special show discounts • Demo your programs 

# Hobbyist/Games area # Meet fellow enthusiasts 

(Refreshments available) 

Free bus shuttle from train station 

Phone: (01785) 714535 


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Market Street 
Cambs. CB4 5QG 
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£ 99.00 

Incl. VAT 



See our new web-site for details on all our products 

I 32-bit MIDI Sequencer 


Flexfbjt , 

Easy to vsu drng & drop 
CorrtroHtr maps (e.g. 
tempo and volocity) 
easily alterable by 
drawing with tho mouse 
Patterns enn be linked to 
retlecit changes made to 
other patterns 
tfandleafeystem Exclusives 
iiing playback 
fap&fy nny MIDI 
interfaco. including 
parallel and serial 
Up to 192 MIDI channels 
and no track limit 
Free demo disc available 
Howavajlable - £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 while discs - £4,60. 50x block discs - £15,10, 
5x HD red/blue/groon/whlle discs - £2.49) 

8atterios (o g. 4x AA Xtrn alkaline - £2.t8. lx 9V alkaline - £1.04) 
Audio & Video Tapes - EVarious 




PU Heroes of M 

a Heretic 


5* s 

S . ''I Discs (example lOx whi 
5x HD red/b 
Batteries (e g. 4x AA Xt 
Audio i 

. * *‘* s 

We supply a range of CCD Mi 
and laser bar code scanners 
and include with theso our AH 
tBarReador driver softwaro 
which allows bar codes to control 
most dosktop software. 

Furthor Information is available. 

Complete systems from £t 97.03 

:ontrol WL 

able. S 

17.03 * 


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


Our bar coding 
software produces 
vVJpr Draw tiles ot tho 

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

Further information is available 

IBnrCodcr- £69.33 

Computer Systems 

Those prices do not Include monitors. 

unless specified. 

Rise PC 8+OMb 2Gb HD - £879.00 
Rise PC 32+2Mb 8Gb, DVD CD - £1089.00 
Web Wizard - 32+2Mb. 8Gb HD. DVD CO drive, 
speakers. Rcsultz, Ensiwritor Pro. 56K modem. 
ANT Internet Suite with Java - £1220.00 
A7000+ Odyssey CD - 16Mb, 4Gb. 40x - £655.00 
A7000* Ody3soy Primary/Socondaty - 16Mb. 

4Gb HD. 40x CD & software - £713.00 
A7000+ Odyssey Surf - 24Mb, 4Gb. DVD CD. 
56K modem. ANT Suite- £831.00 
• Sprinter" NC system - lObascT. 16Mb, 
14" monitor, keyboard & mouse - £444.00 
MIcroDIgltal Mlco - From £596.00 
niscsiotlon H7500I - From £675.00 


(Either bought with computer or separatoty): 

iiyama 350(15")- £170.00 
iiyama 403 (17") - £283.00 
iiyama Pro 410 (17*)- £319.00 
iiyama 450 (19')- £467.00 
Iiyama Pro 450(19')- £483.00 
iiyama 502 (2V) - £749.00 
Iiyama Pro 51 0 (22") - £772.00 
Iiyama Pro-Lite 36a 14.1 " LCD - £687.00 
iiyama Pro-Lito 38a 15" LCD - £910.00 
iiyama Pro-Lito 38b 15" LCD - £945.00 
iiyama Pro-Lito 39a 15" LCD - £1599.00 
iiyama Pro-Lite 46a 18" LCD - £2469.00 
Touchscreen monitors coming soon - 
please ask for further details 

PC cards 

5x86-100 with PC Pro 3 - £285 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 5mx 

16Mb, with PC connection kit - £429.95 
Parallel link - £34.95 

Memory Upgrades 

Please call to check current prices. 

Other upgrades are avaitabfo. 
A3000 1-4 Mb - £64.60 
A3010 1-4 Mb - £66.00 
A3020/A4000 2*4 Mb - £49.00 
A5000 2-4 Mb - £55.00 
A 300, 400. 5000 4-8 Mb - £128.00 
Rise PC/A7000 FP.M SIMMs: 
Call lor EDO SIMM prices 
16Mb- £26.60 
32Mb (not original RPCs) - C49.75 
32Mb (high clearance)- £73.50 
64Mb - £79.85 
128Mb -£180.00 
1Mb VRAM- £45.00 
1-2Mb VRAM swap- £55.00 
2Mb VRAM- £92.00 

Music & Sound Section 

Please call for other musical items 
MIDI interfaces: 
DMI 50 dual MIDI card (2x2) - £119.95 
DMI 50 XG - £259.95 
XG upgrade for DMI 50 - £151.95 
1 6-bit sampler for DMI 50 - £87.95 
MIDI Max II internal 1x1x1 - £92.75 
Parallel Port 1x1x1 - £89.20 
Synth 8 or Basic Synth - £46 95 
Synth Plus- £58.65 
Music & Sound Prog. Guide - £16.95 
Other hardware: 
Fatar SL 760 - £450 00 
Fatar SL 880 - £600.00 
Fatar SL 1100 -£800.00 
Fatar SL 2001 - £1050.00 
Irlam i16 sound sampler - £1 18.00 
Digital-upgraded Irlam sampler- £177X0 
MIDI upgrade for Irtam sampler - £Call 
Sound Byte Recorder - £57.50 
Yamaha YST-M8 speakers - £45.50 
YST412Q DSP opeakors - £65.75 
YST-MS20 speakers & uubw.- £79.93 

YST-M100 speakers - Cl 17.00 

YST-MSW5 subwoofer - £59.00 
YST-MSW10 subwoofer - C71.20 
Yamaha MU10 sound module - £169.00 
Other softwaro: 
MediaPack- £23.95 
MIDI Support- £10.50 
Prosound - £116.95 
Rhapsody *1 - £94.95 
Junior Sibelius - £49.00 
Sibelius 6- £99.95 

Sibelius 7 Student - £319.95 
Sibelius 7 £625.00 
Sibelius tor Windows is also available 
Optical Manuscnpt - £259.00 
Sound module serial driver - £37.95 
Studiosound -£116.95 

Other Hardware 

Dual last serial card - £90 00 
Ethernet card (Combi NIC slot) - £1 16.30 
Hard drives & kits - £Cal! 
RPC second slice (no PSU) - £90.00 

RISC OS 4 (fitting available) - £120.00 

StrongARM upgrade - £275 00 

Other Software 

Ankh - £23.00 
ANT Internet Suite 2 - Cl 12 00 
Brulal Horse Power - £26.00 
DataPower 2- £165.00 
Doom-COs- £30.00 
EasIV/riter Pro- £129.00 
Empire Soccer 94 - £22.00 
Exodus- £21.00 
•« Frak - £14 95 

Impression Style - £88.00 
Impression Publisher - £135.00 
Inferno - £9.50 

iXRC - £14.99 
Ovallon Pro - £150.50 
Personal Accounts 3- £43 00 
Photodesk Light - £125 00 
Prophet 3 - Cl 60.00 
Schema 2 -£116.00 
Slouth 3 -£110.50 
Textease- £54.50 
TopModel2- £145 00 

Books & Manuals 

RISC OS 3 PRM - £104.00 
ThoTekkicCO- £45.00 


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

We will attempt to match or beat any advertised price - even special offers. 

All prices INCLUDE VAT & UK carriage 

Official orders and callers welcome. Finance available. 

• Rise PC 700 (4 years old) 450Mb hard 
drive, 20Mb RAM, std. monitor, BJC4100 
colour printer, Irlam colour mobile 
scanner, Impression, ArtWorks etc. 

• For Sale, A3010 4MB, 80MB HD, 24X CD 
ROM, HP 320 printer. No monitor. £200. 
Tel: 01925 571203 (Warrington) 

• Rise PC 600, 20+2Mb RAM, 540Mb HD, 
AKF60, CD-ROM, ScanLight 256, 
speakers, lots of software including 
Ovation Pro, ArtWorks, Personal 
Accounts 4, SimCity 2000, Exodus, 
StarFighter 3000. £400. Tel: 01923 779141. 
(Watford). Andy Dickson. 

• Acorn Rise PC 600 system 16Mb RAM, 
1Mb VRAM, 420Mb hard drive, 16bit 
sound, 24xCDROM, 486sx33 PC card, 
two slot backplane, AKF60 colour 
monitor, all clean and faultless. £400 inc 
P&P. Tel: 0151 677 9585 

• Acorn User magazines plus some discs 
from 1991 - any offers? 01548 843 852 

# Acorn Master 512 computer with 
monitor, discs and ROMs in good 
working order, free to a good home. 
Ring 0151 355 3855 (Cheshire) 

• ARM 610 processor, £35. 32Mb NEC 
SIMM £35; 200 HD Floppy discs pre- 
labelled £55; Elite £25; Starfighter 3000 
£25; Tel: Christian 01285 659782 

A5000, Learning Curve software plus 
Advance, Multiscan monitor. All 
original manuals boxes etc. Excellent 
condition. Also dot-matrix printer. 
Offers. Telephone 01429 836372 or 

• WANTED: HyperStudio, version 3 
or later. Contact Alan at 

• For sale: A5000, 40Mb HD, 4Mb RAM, 
monitor, BJC 600 colour printer, 

Scanlight hand-held scanner, 56k 
modem, Impression, Eureka, Pipedream, 
DrawWorks, games etc. Manuals, books 
and magazines. All in very good 
condition. Offers please. Tel: 0118 988 
6391 (Reading) 

• Artworks Clip-art 1 & 2, £25; Image 
Outliner £20; 1st Word Plus £10; Genesis 
Plus £10. Tel: Christian 01285 659782 

• Rise PC 600 2-slice, 40+1MB RAM, 

850MB & 1.7GB HDs, CD-ROM, RAPIDE 
card, 5x86 100MHz PC card, 16bit sound 
u/g, AKF60, speakers, parallel port zip 
drive, lots of software inc. PcPro3, 
Impression Publisher, Easy C++, Java, 
games. £800 ono. Tel: Damian 01225 
318584 or e-mail 

• A3010, Min colour monitor. Original 
manuals, disks and boxes, including 
Easiword word processor plus games. 
Excellent condition. £150. Phone after 
5pm (Birmingham). 

• Sibelius 7 music processing software. 
Latest version complete with manual, 
keys trip. Exactly the same as a brand 
new copy but half the price, £250 
Steve (0113) 226 4912, Leeds. 

• For sale: A5000 with 40Mb HD, Min 
Acorn monitor + original software, 
Impression Style & Lemmings 1 & 2. 
Hewlett Packard Deskjet 500 mono 
printer. The lot for £100 + postage. 

• Acorn A410, 4Mb RAM, colour monitor, 
210Mb IDE HD, external CDROM, 
Publisher, Speak etc. Good condition 
with manuals + BJlOex printer. £100 

• Holed Out Compendium, E-Type 
Compendium, E-Type 2, Black Angel, 
Virtual Golf, £15 each. Compendium: 
ARCticulate speech, Cyber Chess, 
Apocalypse, Aldebaran £20. Tel: 
Christian 01285 659782 

• FREE to anyone who will collect. Old 
computers with monitors, discs, 
software, books: BBC Master, Texas 99, 
Sanyo, RM Nimbus. 01455 552250 
(Leics, Ml junction 20) Foster. 

• A5000 2Mb RAM, 80Mb HD, monitor, 
Citizen Swift 200 colour DM printer: 
£200 ex-carriage. Will deliver free within 
100 miles of Lancaster. Tel: 01524 34600 
(Lancaster) Robin, after 7:00pm 

• BBC Master, manuals, monitor. Single 
& double density disc drives, joystick, 
boxed games. Mini Office II and 
manuals, ViewSpell, OverView. 

Assorted games, educational discs, 
Beebug mags, blank discs. Reasonable 
offers accepted. 

• A5000 kit incl Min monitor, 
80Mb+350Mb HD. All manuals, some 
software, clip-art and freebies. Exc cond. 
£250 ono. May deliver. Tel 01296 426684 

• A7000, 8Mb RAM 515Mb HD & CD- 
ROM drive. AKF65 monitor, keyboard 
and mouse, plus software: £250. 

Tel: 01553 675339, after 7:00pm 

- 62 „ 

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Pr. Man. CSi 
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session (newi 
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publication is entirely dependent on space and time constraints. We 
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their purchasing decision. November 1 999 

A7000+ Classic Computers W- 

A7000+ Classic, 8Mb, 1GB HD £527.58 

A7000+ Classic CD, 16Mb, 2GB HD, 24xCD £586.33 

All above are 29MIPS 7500FE Processors 

A7000+ Odyssey Computers * 

A7000+ Network, 16Mb £616.87 

A7000+ CD 16Mb, 4GB HD,40xCD £645.08 

A7000+ PRIMARY, 16Mb, 4GB, 40x CD £703.83 

A7000+ SECONDARY 16Mb, 4GB, 40x CD £703.83 

A7000+ SURF 24MB, 4GB, dvdCD, 56K Modem £821 .33 
All above are 50MIPS 7500FE Processors 

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Rise PC 233T, 8Mb £880.08 

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34Mb HD 8Gb, dvdCD, 56K modem, £1350.07 

Any other specification can be custom built £POA 

All Acorn machines will include EasiWriter & Resultz 

See bottom of advert for monitor prices 

- All above Acorn machines come with OS 3.7 

Place your orders now for RISCOS 4 
£99.00 + vat 
(£116.33 inc vat) 
Fitting and installation service available 

C LI K rv» iii n land) 

RiscStation Now available 

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ARM 7500FE 56 MHz (50 MIPS with floating point) 

16Mb 60ns EDO (RAM) Max 256Mb - Fast memory option 
4Mb flash memory containing RISC OS 4 + utilities 
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CD ROM 40x Atapi EIDE 

Case - Micro ATX in Desktop or Mini-tower configuration 
Operating System RISC OS 4 

I/O Devices 

lx lObaseT Network port with Wake on LAN 
lx Parallel port, 2x Serial port 
lx Onboard Infrared port 
2x High speed IDE ports (4 IDE devices) 

Midi In/Out/Through ports 
16 bit Stereo Sound Sampler & Mixer 
lx PC Style Game Port 

3x Audio Connections - Line in/Mic in/Headphone4x 32bit PCI 


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Prices Start from £680.33 (base unit) 


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’Sprinter' - NC (Network Computer) 
client station with 16Mb RAM, 

QWERTY Keyboard, 

Mouse & 14"monitor 

(Ideal for Acorn RiscOS software, Windows PC software 
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CD-R - Blank Writable CD's (Trust 80min pack of 10) £9.99 

CD-RW - Blank Re-Writable disc (Trust) £3.50 

ICDBIaze CD-R/W Software for Acorn £69.30 

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Panasonic 32 speed internal atapi CD £81.08 


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1 4" ViewSonic 


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15" liyama Vision Master 350 FST 0.28dp 


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19" liyama Vision Master 450 FST 0.26dp 


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Call us now on Tel +44 (0)1279-730800/730900 Fax +44 (0)1279-730809., 
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Without Prejudice. All Registered Trademarks acknowledged. Partners: Nigel D. & Sara L. Cannon. 
All prices are UK £ sterling &, unless otherwise stated, include VAT, exclude delivery. E&OE. 



Gareth Moore sings with a new voice 

Figure II: Piano roll editor 

O f the new RISC OS machines 
set to launch this year, two of 
them, the RiscStation and the 
Mico, come complete with 
something new to our community; 
MIDI ports, placing the easy 
connection of thousands of different 
musical instruments just a single 
cable away. 

MIDI was originally designed as 
an easy way to connect electronic 
musical instruments to one another, 
and over the past 18 years it has 
established itself as a genuine global 
standard. MIDI can also be used to 
hook instruments up to computers, 
allowing easy recording, editing and 
playback of music - collectively 
called 'sequencing 7 . This needs not 
only suitable hardware but software 
too, and Anthem is the latest RISC OS 
application to do just that. 

MIDI is innately fiddly, which 
means it can be confusing to work 
with directly. For one thing it can 
only cope with the concept of 16 
different instruments at once, 
assigning each to a separate 
'channel'. If you want literally 
simultaneous control of more than 16 
different instruments you need more 
than one MIDI connection, but 
usually it makes more sense to share 
each channel among multiple 
instruments, swapping the currently 
active sound as and when you need 

Nowadays it's usual for all 
instrument sounds to be provided by 
just one actual MIDI synthesiser, 
although there's no need for this to 
be the case. You can do all sorts of 

clever things via MIDI, and a good 
MIDI sequencer will give you access 
to this power while protecting you 
from the technical realities as much 
as possible. 

Ultimately, MIDI is just a 
sequence of commands. The success 
or failure of a MIDI sequencer rides 
solely on how easy it makes it to edit 
all these commands. 

Making music 

Creating a piece of music can be as 
simple as making a live recording 
from a MIDI instrument, or as 
complex as slowly building one up 
from various elements entered 
directly at the computer keyboard. 
Usually it's somewhere inbetween, 
with recordings edited and arranged 
and then supplemented with 

computer-entered drum 
tracks, bass lines or 
whatever is required. 

A good MIDI 
sequencer should 
therefore make it as easy 
as possible to both 
record and edit music. 
Like printed words, 

MIDI sequencers tend to 
display music written 
from left to right, almost 

always via a horizontally scrolling 
timeline of music which is usually 
split into a number of tracks. 

Each track in a sequencer can 
have MIDI music placed on it and all 
tracks are played simultaneously to 
build up a piece. Earlier MIDI 
sequencers (such as Clares' Serenade) 
force you to have precisely 16 tracks, 
each of which corresponds to one of 
the 16 MIDI channels. 

Other sequencers allow more than 
one track per channel, but better still 
is to take a further step back from 
this and use tracks as blank lines on 
a sketchpad, instead making musical 
phrases; the self-contained, 
fundamental elements of the 

Instead of having tracks with 
individual notes on we place phrases 
instead, making it much easier to 
edit and arrange a piece of music. It's 
this last and most powerful approach 
which Anthem opts for. 

Music almost always contains 
repeated elements, whether it's an 
obvious verse/chorus structure or a 
subtle recurrence of a theme, and so 
a good musical editor allows music 
to be stored in a way that is easily 
reusable. While it's all well and good 
to cut and paste and then modify a 

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Figure I: i\lain arrangement window 

November 1999 

Figure V: Event list editor 

Figure III: Stove roll editor 

section, it would be really nice if we 
could use the same phrase (a bass 
line, say) multiple times and have 
just one master copy which would 
change all the other instances if 

Anthem lets us do this incredibly 
easily through a part and phrase 
hierarchy. In Anthem each musical 
'phrase' is in turn assigned to a 
'part', and it is the part which is 
placed on the timeline - each phrase 
is used in one or more parts. 

The part adds extra commands to 
its underlying phrase, perhaps 
instructing it to repeat a number of 
times or change the MIDI channel. A 
repeating bass line only needs to 
have its main theme entered once 
since it can be placed repeatedly in 
different keys, all simultaneously 

Parts can also assign an 
instrument (selectable from any 
bank), volume, stereo pan, reverb 
and more - you can even choose the 
quantisation level per part, allowing 
you to set how much the phrase is 
forced onto the beat. You can also 
choose to play just a particular 
section of a phrase if you wish. 

Next up in the Anthem hierarchy 
are the actual tracks you place parts 

on, which in turn can 
overrule both parts and 
their underlying phrases by 
forcing the same channel, 
instrument and MIDI 
control settings. You're 
unlikely to want to 
simultaneously set controls 
at all three levels of phrase, 
part and track, but in 
Anthem you are given the 
freedom to choose the 
method which you find easiest. 

You can also mix and match 
methods within a piece, using some 
tracks for single instruments while 
reserving others for a variety of 
contents. It's incredibly flexible - 
and, importantly, intuitive. 

Using Anthem 

The main window in Anthem (Figure 
I) shows the various parts placed on 
the tracks, and offers multiple routes 
to the editing windows. Anthem has 
five basic editing modes, and it's no 
surprise that these include the 
standard piano roll editor (Figure II). 
This is a scrolling window with time 
along the horizontal axis and pitch 
along the vertical one - horizontal 
bars represent notes of varying pitch 
and duration. 

You can drag notes around and 
adjust their length, as you'd expect, 
and create and delete them. A 
vertical piano keyboard is shown to 
help identify notes, although there is 
also a live monitor box showing 
details about the current pointer 
position. Any number of resizable 
graphs can be attached to the bottom 
in order to edit extra parameters 
such as pitch bend and note velocity 
(which you can also edit by double- 
clicking a note and using the sliders 
that appear). 

You just draw on the graphs to 
alter the values, or touch the scale to 
zoom in or out. It's all so 
wonderfully easy - powerful 
and very configurable without 
adding any unwanted 
complexity. You can also thin 
out certain events 
automatically if they're too 
dense (moving a pitch bend 
wheel can generate a lot of 

You can switch to a stave 
roll editor (Figure III), which 
is a sort of halfway house 
between traditional music 
notation a la Sibelius (which 
Anthem does not directly 
support, although you can 
import and export to and from 
Sibelius via standard MIDI 
files) in which the piano roll is 

still used but now horizontal stave 
lines are drawn at the appropriate 
pitch, along with treble and bass 
clefs (no other clefs are supported). 
Ledger lines are added as 

I actually found it a bit confusing 
initially because of the non-standard 
spacings (even though I can read 
music without trouble), but if you're 
transcribing manuscript music by 
hand it could make things very 
much easier once you get used to it. 
Along similar lines there is also a 
drum editor (Figure IV). In this mode 
the keyboard or staves are replaced 
with a list of percussion instrument 
names, indicating which drum is 
linked to a particular pitch by your 
MIDI instrument. 

If you like looking at the raw 
MIDI data or if you have ever seen a 
music tracker editor you'll be at 
home with the list editor mode 
(Figure V). In this view each event in 
the phrase is listed by itself on a 
separate line, with all the data 
associated with that event displayed 
in adjacent columns. Note on and off 
events are grouped into pairs for 
ease of editing, but the real power of 
this mode is to add in non-note MIDI 

You can add quite literally 
anything here that your synthesiser 
supports - or at least you can long as 
it does not require a System 
Exclusive message, which Anthem 
does not currently support. In 
practice this is not a problem, 
however, since unless you're doing 
something very advanced with a 
suitably powerful synthesiser you're 
not likely to require it - and if you 
ever do you could always send the 

Figure VI: Step editor 

htl|):// November 1999 ^ 

Figure VII: Power quantisation 

necessary configuration settings from 
a separate application, such as 
ArmEdXG. If you don't know that 
you need SysEx then you almost 
certainly don't. 

Anthem is particularly intelligent 
in knowing about various MIDI 
events, using descriptive text as well 
as command numbers wherever 
possible, and you can easily drop in 
new events by clicking on one of the 
options in the associated tool panel. 

It's not until you try to edit an 
existing event, however, that you 
realise quite how clever Anthem is - 
instead of forcing you to fiddle with 
raw values Anthem instead pops up a 
context-sensitive window which lets 
you edit the value via an intelligible 
list of options, or to adjust 
magnitudes with a slider if you wish. 
Not only this, but different event 
types have different icons, making it 
easier to read the display. If only all 
sequencers were this user-friendly! 

The final editing mode is the step 
edit mode (Figure VI), which lets you 
add to an existing phrase or create a 
new one by playing an instrument - 
but not in real time. You can also use 
this mode to remove the notes that 
you play if you wish. 

As well as manual editing of 

Figure VIII: Phrase processing 

rirxiTiyiyii itf i [i f i T u if f I itti if [iri^nji i f i f [i inr irTfjTiiinT 

Figure IX: Studio gadgets 

» if 3^ td if m S~ ml w si » 



phrases you can also apply 
automated procedures from 
an impressively large 
selection, including what 
Anthem calls 'power 
quantisation' (Figure VII), a 
process whereby notes are 
moved to nearby note 
positions so as to correct 
minor imperfections in a 
performance or to add a 
particular feel to a piece. 

The options, which 
include a clickable quantise point 
display (like a ruler in a desktop 
publisher) cover virtually everything 
you could ever want to do. Other 
options include adding echo (Figure 
VIII), legato and humanisation 
effects, and all procedures can use 
event filters to decide just what they 
are applied to. 


So what about actually getting some 
music into the phrases to edit in the 
first place? You could just keep 
clicking away in one of the editors, 
but the most obvious method is to 
record a live performance from a 
MIDI instrument such as a keyboard. 

Anthem provides the usual niceties 
such as an optional metronome and 
the ability to hear any existing tracks 
at the same time, and, as you would 
hope, its recording is very accurate. 
Recording really is exceptionally 
easy - just hit the record button and 
you can play for as long as you like 
(there's no need to set an end point if 
you don't want to). 

Once you're finished just hit stop 
and choose where to store it. You can 
also record over existing phrases if 
you want, either replacing or 
preserving existing data. And if 
you're not much of a performer you 
can use Anthem's step recording 
mode to enter notes at your own 
pace. Anthem also offers intelligent 
options such as the ability to 
combine sustain pedal and note 
events to produce a clearer, more 
intelligible score. 

MIDI files are a 
standard music file 
format, and Anthem does a 
very good job of loading 
them - it's surprisingly 
fast and it can even 
analyse them and split 
them up into phrases and 
parts. Very clever! You can 
also drag an existing 
Anthem saved song file 
into a phrase list window 
and all the phrases from 
that song are added into 
the pool for the current 

piece - the ultimate example of 
powerful drag-and-drop! 

Anthem's main window features 
not only the track display and 
gadgets to move parts around, but 
also an associated set of icon 
shortcuts and a transport toolbox 
which controls playback. All the 
usual stop, play and wind buttons 
are present, along with repeat, solo 
and synchronisation options. 

The toolbox can be detached if 
you wish, and the main and piano 
roll windows intelligently follow 
playback with a cursor or by 
scrolling. You can also set repeat 
points and flags, or use some of the 
various gadgets available, including 
VU meter monitors, a studio clock 
display and an on-screen keyboard 
(Figure IX). 

Best of all, though, is a 
comprehensive mixing desk which 
can not only be used to dynamically 
alter settings during playback but 
can also be used to record those live 
changes, making fiddly final song 
settings a dream to configure. 

Special tracks 

Anthem divides time into bars, beats 
and pulses. You can add a special 
time signature track to your song 
which lets you change time signature 
as often as you like, but because 
phrases are not themselves attached 
to a particular point in time this 
won't affect any phrase editor 
display - in fact the only thing it 
really affects is the metronome. You 

y November 1 999 

Figure XI: Setting up instruments 

can also add a master tempo track, 
governing the playback speed of the 
song. The tempo can change as often 
as you like, or you can disable the 
track and use a global setting. 
However, you can't specify gradual 
speed changes other than by entering 
each individual tempo separately. 

There is one other special track 
which provides one of Anthem's 
crowning glories. It is an audio track. 
You can drag samples here and they 
will become special audio phrases 
and parts, and you don't even have 
to make sure that samples are 
recorded at the same rate as Anthem 
corrects for this automatically. 

Using this facility you can add in 
a vocal line or drop in a looped bass 
sample or whatever it is you require. 
You are limited to just one audio 
track but even so this is a really great 
feature. Anthem stores a link to the 
audio file on disc so file space isn't 
wasted, and different segments of 
the same sample can be used within 
a song in the same way that different 



Pad Backing 

Voice I 

26 SteeIGtr 


Pan \7 si>| S| 

| /}, Reverb fy" 43 | 


Chorus [✓" 72 

J /A Volume 


Quantise \V 1 48 

1 /A Transpose | 0 | 


Min velocity | 0 

] /A Max velocity | 127 | 


Repeat \>/ | 4 | 

f A teals 1 0 1 /A pulses 

Offset | 0 | 

/A beats | 0 | / Jk pulses 


Figure XII: Editing part settings 

segments of a MIDI phrase can be 
used by different parts. 

Be warned, however, that it gives 
a big speed hit, so if you have a 
complex MIDI track then you may 
need a StrongARM to be able to play 
back a CD-quality sample at the 
same time. 22KHz mono samples 
seem to work fine on an ARM710, 
however. If you're using samples of 
tuned instruments - and you tell 
Anthem the pitch of the original 
recording - you can choose the 
playback note for each part that uses 
the phrase. 

Sugar on top 

Anthem has plenty of configuration 
setup options (Figure X), including 
provision of a wide range of 
instrument definition files (Figure 
XI), although some of the relatively 
minor options annoyingly aren't 
saved by the 'save' button. 

Anthem supports up to four 
separate MIDI ports (physical 
connections) but unfortunately it 
currently only lets you 
choose one instrument 
definition file to apply to 
all ports, which is a bit 
limiting if you have a lot 
of MIDI hardware. The 
author has indicated that 
he will be improving 
this soon. 

During the time I 
spent reviewing Anthem 
various updates have 
appeared, adding new 
features I requested. As 
a result I now have very 
few criticisms of the 
package since virtually 
all of the complaints I 
had have been fixed! 

This bodes exceptionally 




well for any future purchasers of the 
software, and although there are 
inevitably still some bugs remaining 
they rarely get in the way. 

From its attractive, modern 
imagery through to its intuitive 
interface Anthem is consistently well- 
designed. It is so intuitive, in fact, 
that you really can get by without 
needing to read the supplied ring- 
bound manual. At 120 pages it may 
look intimidating, but it isn't - it is 
one of the best-written manuals I 
have ever encountered, and its 
length is simply a result of the 
surprisingly large number of features 
packed into Anthem. It's well worth 
browsing through because wherever 
you look you are almost guaranteed 
to find some new shortcut or quicker 
way of working. 

Anthem also supports interactive 
help, so if you don't mind waving 
your mouse pointer around then you 
can pick up a lot using this method, 
too. MIDI sequencers can often have 
nasty learning curves, but Anthem is 
a model of good design and a 
shining example of how RISC OS can 
provide a wonderfully intuitive 

Many of the more esoteric and 
rarely-used options are almost 
hidden away, and yet they are found 
without effort when you actually 
want them. Each time I use Anthem I 
seem to discover a new set of 
features that I'd previously missed 
simply through not having looked 
for them. 

Anthem is a triumph. Five years of 
development have resulted in a 
stunningly good product. There is a 
danger that to enthuse about 
something too much will engender a 
degree of suspicion, but Anthem 
really is that good. At £70 (including 
VAT) it is extremely low priced for a 
product of its capabilities. If you do 
any work with MIDI music you 
really owe it to yourself to give it a 
go - in fact at that price I'd suggest 
that it makes sense to buy it even if 
you already own a different ___ 
MIDI sequencer! 

Product details 




£70 inc. VAT. Overseas 
customers must add £5 
delivery. Site licence £170 inc. 


R-Comp Interactive, 22 Robert 
Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford, 
Cheshire, WA16 6PS 


01925 755043 


01925 757377 

E-mail: j November 1 999 


NoticeBoard Pro is one of the 
most advanced programs for 

creating and running stand-alone 

rolling displays and slideshow 
presentations on RISC OS 

Single user: £37.00 

Site licence: £110 

NoticeBoard Pro is a powerful yet easy to use 
design and presentation system that will run on 
all RISC OS computers from 3.10 up. 

▲ Programs can be created using Sprites, Artworks, 
Drawfiles, JPEGs and the new Cerilica Vantage 
program, and you can add sound! 

▲ The many in-built features give complete control 
over presentations, including forward and backward 
slide movement in slideshow programs, and production 
of stand-alone programs to run on other computers and 
with digital projectors. 

NoticeBoard Pro enables you to present a series of 
pictures and/or words with automatic or user-controlled 
time delay between slides. Its many uses include: 

▲ Product promotion at Exhibitions, etc. A School 
Open Day presentations and other special events 
A Information points in Offices, Libraries, Schools and 
other locations A Fund-raising activities 
The only limits are the size of your hard drive and your 

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 


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 warrty) 
Many other models available 







Switch Boxes 

Parallel 2 way (25 w 'D' skts) £16.99 
Parallel 4 way (25w ’D’ skts) £19.99 
Serial 2 way (9w 'D' skts) £19.99 

Monitor+Keyboard 2 way £19.99 

Suitable cables and other boxes 
available, please ask 


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

Price £159.00 inc vat 



Epson Stylus Colour 440 £105.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 640 £135.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 850 £199.00 

HP Laserjet 1 100 (laser mono) £289.00 


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

New software versions are 
sent out to members every four months 
and the total number of viruses which 
can be removed is well over 200. The 
latest version is now scanning at up to 
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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 9636T 
parallel port scanner also gives excellent quality 
with built in transparency adapter. All scanner 
prices include Imagemaster and Twain software. 
Epson GT7000 - SCSI £259.00 

Epson GT7000 Photo - SCSI £299.00 

Plustek 9636 P - Parallel Port £139.00 

Plustek 9636T - Parallel Port 
(with transparency adapter) £189.00 

Pineapple Software 

Suite 1 , 310 Green Lane , ILFORD 
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Tel 0208 599 1476 Fax 0208 598 2343 

Terms:- All prices include 

17.5% vat. Carriage £5 on most 
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less). Phone for quote outside 
UK. Official orders, cheques 
and all major credit cards 
accepted at no extra charge. 


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

New low price - £59.00 inc vat 

Intranet resourcing 

Hertfordshire County Council 
launched Hertfordshire 
Learning Grid a network 
offering educational resources 
for students and teachers 
including a range of popular 
education CD-ROMs. This is 
one of the largest educational 
intranets so far to be linked to 
the government's National 
Grid for Learning. 

One of Hertfordshire's 
content suppliers is Granada 
Learning who have put 
together an Intranet Content 
solution available to any LEA. 
The Hertfordshire solution 
consists of 34 CD-ROMs 
covering Science, Geography, 


History, Religion Education, Personal 
and Social Education, Modern 
Foreign Languages, 
Business Studies, 
Physical Education and 
the Environment. Stored 
on the County Council's 
LEA Web server, 
resources are accessed by 
all connected schools 
within the authority. 
Meanwhile Granada 
Learning's Internet 
Odyssey and Odyssey 
Indexes enable teachers 
to select specific activities 
to suit pupil's individual 
needs and to make the 
most of the resources on the Internet. 

Eye catchers 

Struggling with your ICT planning? Then 
take a look at Project Presenter from 
SEMERC (0161-827 2927). Designed for 
Key Stage 2 and above, this meets all the 
requirements of Unit 6A (Multimedia 
Presentation) in the Qualifications and 
Curriculum Authority's ICT Framework 

Make as simple to use as possible all 
you have to do is drag and drop pictures, 
video clips and sound files into the file 
window and choose the length of time 
you want each to be displayed. You can 
make the presentation more professional 
by selecting a transition between images 
from a dissolving screen to raindrops. 

Now all you have to do is move 

forwards and backwards through the 
presentation by clicking on the on-screen 
arrows. Simple. If needed a switch can be 
used instead of a mouse and there is a 
closed-loop continuous presentation 
option available too. 

The QCA document recommends that 
children should use a program to 
organise, refine and present information 
in different forms while being sensitive to 
their audience. SEMERC assures us that 
Project Presenter does just that while 
ensuring that students are aware of the 
relevant technical vocabulary and the key 
idea that software can include a range of 
media. Prices start at £29 for a single-user 

A case in point 

The Headteacher at Sutton-on-Sea 
County Primary school, Chris Flanagan, 
is waving the flags for ArgoSphere since 
he has been successfully using the service 
in school for over a year: "At the time 
(and still) the interactivity of the site 
stood it apart from the rather static and 
dull examples of many education sites." 

What impressed him was that 
teachers can download activities locally 
to run on the school Intranet, ensuring 
that the environment in which the 
children learn is safe and secure. 
Downloading also helps save money 

and allows teachers to adapt activities 
for different lessons. However, his 
personal favourite is Test Maker which 
lets you create tests on whatever subject 
you want. 

"For now the Internet is rather like a 
large stone - it is only just beginning to 
roll and the National Grid for learning 
has been the lever which has overcome 
its mass to get in rolling into schools. 
Sites such as ArgoSphere reveal 
something of the real potential of the 
Internet." You can access ArgoSphere for 
yourself on 

In brief 

Making learning fun 

Education Minister Charles Clarke 
and TV personality Loyd Grossman 
have been lending their support to a 
campaign bringing American-style 
children's museums to the UK. 

The Kids' Clubs Network, the 
national charity for school age 
childcare, has launched a project 
aimed at encouraging museums in 
Britain to develop fun, interactive 
exhibits teaching children about 
science, technology and the arts. 

Loyd Grossman is chairman of the 
Campaign for Museums, and Mr 
Clarke launched the project with a 
visit to the Museum of Me, in 
Bargehouse Street, on London's South 
Bank. Other museums are coming on 
board too with the Children's 
Discovery Centre in Stratford, 
Lewisham's Horniman Museum, 
Quarry Bank in Dudley, Thetford 
Partnership in Norfolk, Royal 
Cornwall Museum, Truro and the 
Sheffield Children's Centre already 
signed up. 

Morale and standards 

Most people believe the status of 
teaching as a profession has fallen in 
recent years, according to recent 
opinion poll conducted by Gallup for 
The Daily Telegraph. It reported that 
70 per cent of adults felt teachers 
had a lower status than when they 
were at school while only 21 per cent 
believed teaching now had a better 

In addition 69 per cent thought 
the Government had "not made 
much difference". One in five 
believed Labour had succeeded in 
delivering higher educational 
standards while 6 per cent believed 
standards had fallen. Views were 
mixed about long-term standards 
with 45 per cent of seeing the 
standard of education in schools 
today as "better", while 47 per cent 
believed that standards had declined. 

Almost half of the people 
surveyed by Gallup felt children now 
did more homework than they 
themselves had, compared with 36 
per cent who believed today's 
children did less homework. 

Diary date J 

BETT 2000 - The Educational 
Technology Show 
12-15 January 2000 
Grand Hall, Olympia, London 
Admission: Free 
Contact: 01203 426458 
www.educa November 1 999 V* 

Find your 

way around 

Don't know your OS from your 
contour? Pam Turnbull looks at a 
package to help 

C reated to support and extend 
the BBC Schools TV series, Zig 
Zag: Village, Town and City 
stands very well on its own. 

Its manual is very nicely set out 
allowing you to cherry-pick activities 
to practise the skills of making maps 
and plans, using symbols, giving 
directions, as well as using co- 
ordinates and grid references. 
Alternatively, you can explore a 
Village, Town or City and discover the 
same range of activities but related to 
a different environment and to 
different levels of complexity. 

You are advised to start with the 
Village and here (as in the town and 
city) you'll find four locations to visit. 
Choose the school, for instance, and 
there are three activities: take a child 
from the hall to 
Class 1 and then 
the playground 
using a plan 
map, match an 
aerial view of 
the classroom to 
a plan and 
finally design 
your own 
classroom. The 
latter two 
activities were 
very popular, though not as easy as 
children initially thought. 

Items have to be moved and rotated 
using the Turn button and it led to 
some good ideas for work off the 
computer. In addition when they are 
designing their own classroom (nice 
small class sizes too) there is an Ask 
your teacher button, this allows a 
teacher to view their proposed layout 
and make suggestions or print off the 

screen before the children move on. 

The Village Bus Stop asks you to 
match symbols with buildings you can 
see in the picture of the village. This is 
further developed in the Town 
Supermarket and the City Tourist 
Office activities. Staying in the Village 
for a while, the Pond offers you fun 
and games with a Duck or a Frog. 

Both introduce the concept of the four 
compass points as you guide the 
creatures around the pond. Again this 
is developed further in the Town 
Church and City Railway Station 

Final stop in the village is at the 
Farm and here children work on three 
activities reading co-ordinates, reading 
letter/number co-ordinates and 
writing co-ordinates. This is all very 
though the tractor 
activity becomes 
tedious very 
quickly. My only 
niggle is that you 
enter co-ordinates 
throughout the 
program by 
choosing a letter 
and digit from a 
list, which in itself 
is fine. However, 
having decided on A 2 as your first 
point, you'll have to re-enter both 
elements even if your next point is A 3. 
Just change the 3 and nothing 
happens, there is no error message or 
friendly advice and the program 
doesn't clear the boxes to encourage 
you to enter elements afresh each time. 
Children (and adults) found this very 
frustrating. The graphics are very 
attractive and though sound is 

minimal and all instructions are 
written rather than spoken it is a very 
easy program to use. You will need to 
plan carefully which activities to use 
as some require more additional 
information and work than others. In 
particular, the Town Supermarket 
where you plan the ideal car park 
layout. This works best as a follow-up 
activity having analysed and 
discussed parking patterns and needs. 

A range of attainment levels are 
addressed and some activities are 
quite challenging. From the basic N S 
E W instructions at the Village Pond, 
the Town Church requires children to 
use the four compass points to find 
places in relation to one fixed point. 

This then leads to a second activity 
where they have to find places from a 
variety of different points on the plan. 
This can be quite difficult, for instance, 
north of the church may not be at the 
top of the map. This is taken further at 
the Railway Station in the city where 
the eight points of the compass are 
used to find the route a train must 
take around Britain. 

A lot of thought has gone into this 
package providing everyday problems 
children can relate to, plus a range of 
maps and plans. The manual too 
comes with suggestions of the type of 
questions children and teachers should 
be asking, as well as extension ideas 
for the activities on the computer or 
whole-class discussion. Some 
excellent ideas, well executed. 13SU9 

Product details 


Zig Zag Maps and Mapping 






Logotron, 124 Cambridge 
Science Park, Milton Road, 

Cambridge CB4 OZS 


(+44/0) 1223 425558 


(+44/0) 1223 425349 



y November 1999 


T his CD-ROM contains a range 
of original documents, 
photographs of artefacts, 
maps, illustrations and video 
clips from the Hampshire County 
Council archive. In this product they 
have created two separate programs 
using their archive material 
pertaining to the medieval and 
Tudor periods. In addition there is a 
manual and online guide to the work 
of the Hampshire Record Office and 
how and why archives and 
conservation work is undertaken. 

The applications have been 
written using Textease with all links 
spoken when clicked. The Textease 
Browser (you don't have to have a 
copy of Textease to access these 
programs) allows you to alter the 
scale, save and print pages as well as 
keeping track of the pages you've 

such as what the place looks like 
now. The alternative chapter on town 
life is divided further into sections 
on Domesday and Town Charters, and 
Shops, Trade and Industry. The former 
provides information on what 
Domesday and town charters were 
using images of original documents 
and even a list of the Domesday 
questions asked of the populace. 

If you are interested in manorial 
life there are sections on the lords 
and the bishops using the original 
documents (with translations) to 
describe and explain what was 
happening in 14th and 15th century 
Hampshire. Although these all relate 
to one specific county, the parallels 
are clear with the rest of the country 
and should inspire you to access 
information from your local county 
record office. Textease has been used 

Times are 


Pam Turnbull surveys a new package 
to make sure your Tudor and medieval 
knowledge is up to scratch 

accessed so far. Certain pages will 
advise you to alter the scale - using 
the eye or magnifying glass icons - 
to zoom into certain images to get a 
closer look at the wood carvings or 
how the roof has been designed. 

Starting with Medieval 
Hampshire I found four chapters to 
choose from: Medieval Towns, 
People, Religion or Manors. 

The Medieval Town section itself 
is sub-divided into two further 
chapters, How were towns defended? 
and What was life in medieval towns 
like? Using original drawings and 
photographs of artefacts, additional 
information is given in the text, or 
you are asked to access the labels on 
a drawing to see more detailed 
sketches and find more information. 

well and I particularly liked the 
video clips of early twentieth century 
farming methods and their 
comparison to medieval farming. 

For more detail on everyday life, 
the chapter on medieval people looks 
at households using the surviving 
wills and inventories from the time 
as well as the place of women in 
society. Then there are further 
chapters on religion and in particular 
monasteries, abbeys and parish 

Tudor Hampshire follows the 
same design, but here chapter 
headings are: Three Tudor monarchs. 
Two Tudor Men, Three Tudor 
Houses and Three Tudor Towns. In 
particular, this program concentrates 
on the reigns of Henry VIII, Mary I, 

and Elizabeth I. There is some 
general information but this is not an 
in depth study of the Tudors but 
rather concentrates on their 
relationship with Hampshire. 

Henry was very fond of 
Portsmouth due to the naval 
connection, but the section also 
covers Henry and the dissolution of 
the monasteries. There is also a nice 
case study of Bramley Church and 
how it has changed and survived 
through the ages. 

Everyday inhabitants of the area 
are not covered, as documents only 
usually survive concerning the rich 
and famous. Two of these are John 
White and his mentor Thomas 

Both families profited during the 
Tudor period and while the Whites 
did well from the dissolution of the 
monasteries, Wriothesleys spent time 
in the Tower of London for their 
Catholic beliefs. 

The three properties covered are 
Elvetham Hall, Bramshill and The 
Vyne. Using original letters and 
accounts you can tell just how 
expensive entertaining royalty was. 
The program is also more helpful 
with its advice telling you to increase 
the view of the Bramshill four-poster 
to 200% for a better view of the 

The three towns covered are 
understandably Portsmouth, 
Southampton and Winchester. Using 
a range of maps, hotspots have been 
added to make these maps and plans 
interactive. These can then be 
explored and compared to see who 
our major trading partners were and 
what has survived through the 
intervening years. 

This is a unusual but useful 
resource and if you want more 
information HRO have resource 
packs entitled Medieval Realms and 
Life in Tudor Times which complement 
the resources on the CD-ROM 
and cost £15 each. 

Product details 

Product: Zig Zag Maps and Mapping 

Ages: 7-11 

Price: £34 

Supplier: Logotron, 124 Cambridge 
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Drums along 

Mike Cook JL mtM df^Sk. w am 

to«« the mersey 

F ollowing on from last month's look at 
an eight channel A/D (Analogue to 
Digital converter) let's see what we 
can do with it. For starters here's how 
to make a MIDI drum kit. Those of you with 
very long memories will no doubt recall the 
December 86 issue of The Micro User where I 
described a simple drum kit. This was 
simple because it only sensed if a drum was 
hit and this was used to make a sound from 
the sound chip in the Model B. 

Nowadays a MIDI system will give a 
much better quality of sound, not only that 
but the thing with MIDI is that as well as 
signalling a drum has been hit it also has to 
be told how hard it's been hit. This changes 
not only the volume of the sound but also 
the nature of the sound itself. For example, 
a cymbal makes a different sound if gently 
tapped as against being given a hefty 
thwack, it's not just louder. This means that 
any electronic drum kit circuit has to not 
only detect a hit but also measure the 
size of it. 

First we need a transducer that produces 
an output, proportional to how hard it is hit. 
Next we need a circuit that monitors the 
signal from each transducer and sends the 
appropriate MIDI command whenever it 
detects a voltage peak. This means that the 

Figure I: The MIDI Drum Kit 

A/D converter has to be continuously 
driven, a simple but time-consuming task. 
That's why it is best to use a micro 
controller, however unlike our standard PIC 
circuit this only requires a MIDI output, see 
Figure I. As you will see there is just a single 
bit output used to generate the MIDI signal 
through a PNP transistor. 

The A/D converter uses four of the 
controllers I/O pins leaving lots of free 
lines. I have used two of these to allow you 
to change the MIDI mapping - which drum 
pad produces which noise. With two 
switches you get a total of four different 
mappings, if you add another two switches 
to pins 12 & 13 you can get sixteen different 
mappings, enough for anybody I think. 

There is no need to use pull-up resistors 
here as the internal pull-up resistors are 
enabled in the software. As we saw last 
month the multiplex inputs of the A/D in 
the single-ended mode are not altogether 
straightforward, therefore I have 
renumbered the drum pad inputs to reflect 
the channel number that will be generated. 

As in my earlier design I have used some 
piezo-electric transducers which are 
available very cheaply from Maplins. In fact 
they have various different sizes of 
transducers but the smallest and cheapest 
work as well as any of them. They 
can cost as little as 20p in a sale 
and are normally less than 40p 
each. Looking at the output of 
these on a storage oscilloscope 
shows that you can get voltage 
peaks of around 20V from just a 
simple tap with a finger. 

Fortunately the input stages of 
the A/D converter are clamped 
with diodes to the power rails, so 
no damage will occur if an over or 
under voltage is fed in. The signal 
goes both positive and negative 
and surprisingly enough you get a 
bigger positive signal from the 
black wire of the sensor. 

While you can feed the sensors 
directly into the A/D you get better 
results with the circuit shown in 
Figure II, note you need eight of 
these. Basically what it does is to 
take the piezo-electric pulse, rectify 

November 1 999 





To A/D 

10 nF 

1 M 

Figure 2: The sensor circuit 

it and by using a capacitor holds the voltage 
long enough for it to be measured. 

The resistor ensures that the voltage 
decays, ready for the next hit. You might 
want to alter these values to get the best out 
of your system. This is because the exact 
mechanical arrangement will alter the 
voltage shapes. You should increase the 
resistor value for a longer hold time and 
reduce it for a shorter one. 

While you can hit the transducers 
directly, it is generally too sensitive if you 
do. Therefore, you need some sort of 
sandwich arrangement like that in Figure 
III. Mount the transducer on a solid base of 
wood with a little glue, then fix a pad of 
rubber over the top. It is best to mount each 
transducer separately to prevent the hitting 
of one pad triggering an other. Music shops 
sell drummer's practice pads that could be 
easily converted. 

Now on to the software, which is not 
quite as straightforward as you might think 
or, perhaps, hope. The basic idea is that the 
voltage from each sensor is measured in 
turn, and compared against a threshold 
value held in memory. If the new input is 
bigger by at least three units than last time 
it was measured we know something is 
happening on that input. 

The software then branches to the Play 
routine which continues to read that one 
input until it reaches a peak or starts to fall. 
At that point we know the pulse has 
reached it's maximum extent and the A/D 
reading is now proportional to how hard 
the pad has been hit. Now we have all the 
information to send to the MIDI system so 
we send three bytes off. 

The first byte is the combined message 
note on and Channel 10. On a MIDI system 
any note sent on channel 10 is treated as a 
drum, so we have no need to send any 
sound defining message. This byte works 
out to be a hex value of 99, note for channel 
10 (decimal) the channel bit pattern is 1001 
and not the 1010 you might expect, this is 
because musicians can't cope with the 
concept of channel zero so every number is 
out by one. 

The second byte is the number that 
indicates the pitch of the note to play or, in 
the case of drums, the drum sound. This 

depends first of all on 
what sensor is hit and 
secondly on what the 
mapping switches are set 
at. The mapping switch 
inputs are shifted one 
place to the right to give 
a number that increases 
in steps of eight. 

-* If you are adding extra 

mapping switches you 
will need to change the 
value that is used in the 
AND instruction to 38h 
for three switches or 78h for four switches. 
The mapping switches number is added to 
the channel number and a look-up table 
routine is used to return the resulting drum 
sound number. This look-up table routine is 
called map and is placed at the end of the 
code and is very easily changed to any 
mapping you require. 

The final number sent to the MIDI 
system is the velocity or A/D measurement. 
This is only a seven bit value in the MIDI 
system and so our eight bit reading is 
converted into the required range by 
shifting it one place to the right. Note in the 
case of MIDI drums you never need to send 
a MIDI note off command as you do with 
other instruments. 

Well that's it for the simple system but 
what about enlarging it. The most obvious 
one is to add another A/D converter to 
allow sixteen drum pad inputs. You can do 
this by paralleling up all the input signals to 
the converter (pins 16 to 18), and feeding 
the output (pin 14) to one of the spar PIC 
controls. You will also, of course, need to 
modify the software to read the two serial 
bytes at once. 

You can get commercial MIDI drum kits 
but they will set you back at least £1000 so 
there is an opportunity of saving yourself 
some money. The other great advantage 
is that you can practice drumming with 
headphones on giving innocent passers-by 
the minimum of inconvenience. 



Figure 3: The sensor sandwich November 1999 V* 

M aybe I should call this 

column Grumbles Through 
Acorn Wood because 
something else has been 
worrying me lately. It's software that 
is being too helpful in installing 
itself. It's not so much as a problem 
with RISC OS as on other machines 
but it's creeping in. The other week I 
was asked to try a free internet 
service provider, nothing to lose? 

Except once I had inserted the 
software CD and clicked on the icon 
all reference to my original provider 
had been wiped, and I had to spend 
ages reinstalling preferences and 
scripts to get back to my machine's 
original state. I know developers are 
convinced that once you have their 
software you will want no other but 
they are wrong. I find this practice 
both ignorant and cynical. 

First a bit of feedback from Tarquin 

"In August's 1999 Rambles 
in answer about Pascal it is 
stated that Norcroft Pascal 
requires Acorn C to work but it 
works in command line mode (like 
GNU compilers) without it. You 
only need Acorn C if you want to 
run it from a GUI interface." 

And another bit from Ray Favre: 

"In September 1999 you 
referred to my Wimp 
Programming book (which 
is indeed still available) but 
you quote a well-out-of-date URL. 
My current Website is 
uk/users/rayfavre/ or tel: (+44) 
(0)1895 444410. Many thanks for 
the mention." 

Stuart Nundy wants to listen to the 

"I've been aware of the 
RiscTV hardware produced 
by Irlam for some time, but 
I was wondering whether you also 
know whether it is possible to 
obtain an FM radio receiver, for a 
Rise PC, as well? I'm not 
desperately interested in TV but 
would be in a radio card. I 
understand that Irlam do produce 
an external FM tuner that plugs into 
the serial port. 

"The problem with this is 
that, firstly, I already have an 
external modem that uses the 
serial port, and I don't want to 
be constantly swapping leads 
and, secondly, the Irlam tuner 
does not utilise the internal 
sound system of the Rise PC, but 
requires a second pair of powered 
speakers. I don't really fancy more 
and more leads and objects 

extending around the computer. 
Ideally, therefore, I'm after an 
internal solution - an expansion 
card. Any suggestions?" 

One product springs to mind 
TO B DeskFM by Yellowstone, 
costing £59 incVAT. I 
reviewed this in May 1997, and it’s 
still available. Yellowstone, 
tel: 01582 656000, or e-mail: 

Dave Braine is having trouble with 
the Net: 

"I have access to the Internet 
via a PC. Could you tell me 
how I can run Acorn files, 
on my Rise PC 600, that I've 
downloaded on the PC?" 

Most RISC OS files on the 
Web are enc °ded using 
ES&5 Spark (SparkPlug or SparkFS) 
you simply copy the files onto 
your harddisc and drag them 
onto the icon. Alternatively use 

Robin Hutchinson has lost something but has not looked under the bed: 
"Although I am a long-term RISC OS user I am not that 
knowledgeable about details so please could you advise me how 
to reinstall Draw. I get a missing file message when I try to run 
Draw. The computer is a Rise PC with StrongARM upgrade and RISC OS 
3.7, also a 586 co-processor. I have the discs of 3.7 but would rather not 
have to re-partition my harddisc." 

While Draw has been moved in and out of ROM over the years, in 
version 3.7 it is in the ROM so is difficult to loose. However, there is 
a module that could be disabled which would give an error 
message. Press F12 and get into command line mode. Then type: 


and you should get a list of disabled modules. If Draw is among them type: 

*RMInsert ! Draw 

Go back to the desktop and double-click on the icon in the Apps folder 
should bring up the application. 

November 1999 

ArcFixer by Paul F Johnson which 
is hopefully on this month's cover 

James Scott has acquired the 
reputation as an expert, now he has 
to live up to it: 

gKgftgfi "My Headmaster, forever at 
Efijj the cutting edge of 
BbiKtfl technology, has just given 
up the pleasures of working with 
an Amstrad 8512. As he thinks that I 
am the school's computer whizz- 
kid, he has asked me to try to save 
his work. Therefore, it would do me 
no harm if I could succeed in 
recovering his Locoscript v.1.2 text 
files from the Amstrad which are, 
obviously, stored on the 3 inch CF2 
Amstrad floppy disc. 

"I have an Acorn 310 with RISC 
OS 3 but can see no obvious way to 
connect the two to allow the 310 to 
read the Amstrad files. How do I do 
this? Is there an Acorn external 
floppy disc reader for the Amstrad 
disks? By the way, if it will help, I 
also have BBC Micro, an Amstrad 
PC2086/30, an Acorn 3000 and 3010 
and a Cyrix 686 333+ PC." 

I As far as I know there is no 
3in drive interface available 
I for any Acorn product 
anymore - though they were 
available once and a reader may 
have one. You would need to write a 
software disc driver as well as make 
any hardware changes. A company 
called Officeland - based in Poole, 
Dorset - may be able to help e-mail: or phone 
(+44/0) 1202 666155. 

Finally a nice change in the modern 
world of the internet and word 
processors, a handwritten letter from 
Sion Evans: 

'I recently bought a 
| StrongARM upgrade, 

! and while I am delighted 
with it, when I try to access files 
off the floppy disc I get a disc 
error message. 

However, I can access them 
from my A310. Another question 
is how can I access mixed format 
CDs such as audio CDs with video 

"Finally I was wondering if 
anyone knows of a utility to enable 
various sounds to be played when 
various actions are performed like 

Robert Beech is having a problem with faxing: 

"Using a Rise PC 600 and a Dynalink 56k modem supplied by 
Argo with David Pilling's ArcFax I can usually send a fax, but the 
failure rate when some people (not all) try to send me a fax is 
becoming serious. All starts well the sender gets a message saying No 
acknowledgement received . All I get is his identification on the screen and 
occasionally about 2 cm of fax. I have sent David Pilling a debug file but 
he cannot help. 

"Now, I believe, in addition to your Acorn expertise, you are 
involved with Pace. A Pace Solo modem is not cheap, but would be 
worth it if it solved my problems. Would it reliably receive faxes 
from anywhere? Could I connect a Pace Solo in parallel with a 
couple of telephones and my existing modem and, if so, would voice 
callers hear bells and whistles or would the Solo be sufficiently 

To start off with the Pace that makes modems is Pace Micro 
Communications, the Pace I work for is Pace Micro Technology 
although started by the same person they have been totally separate 
companies for a long time. Anyway late in August PMC went into 
voluntary liquidation so there is likely to be a flush of surplus modems on 
the market. 

That aside, there can be many things affecting reception of faxes. For a 
start there are two classes of fax modem: Class 1 and Class 2. In fact most 
modems are capable of operating in both modes. The difference between 
them is that with Class 2 all the protocol is handled by the software in the 
modem whereas Class 1 has the software in the computer in control. This 
means that the Class 2 protocol is a fixed, rigid thing where as Class 1 can 
cope with all sorts of additions and extensions. 

As it is the software that decides what mode to put the modem into, it is 
likely that you could still have the same problem with another modem. 
While it is most likely that this is a software issue there are some hardware 
things that could mess you up. For example if you have too much loading 
on your phone line. Each device has a REN (ring equivalent number) 
indicating the loading, the maximum loading for a line is four and some 
modems have a REN of two. 

That means two phones and a modem is your limit, so connecting all 
that in parallel is not a goer. Even so, some modems are not happy working 
at the limit so you could try removing a phone or two. Another thing that 
messes up faxes is the call waiting system, this can also disrupt Internet 

There is always going to be some combination of modem and software 
that prevents faxes being 100% compatible. Even commercial fax machines 
occasionally come up with an incompatible combination. For example my 
Motorola modem running on my Mac won't connect to the fax machine in 
the Acorn User office. Why? No one knows. Sorry but it's an area where 
there are no guarantees. 

boot up, shut down and opening 

1 1 am not sure if you are 
I trying to access the disc files 
I from an application. To see if 
the disc is okay copy the files onto 
your harddisc. 

If that works try to use them 
from the application. If that fails 
then your application might need 
upgrading to cope with the 
StrongARM processor. 

If you can't even copy them onto 
the hard drive it looks like the disc 

drive has not been put back correctly, 
probably the connection leads have 
not been pushed home. Alternatively 
you could have put the drive out 
of alignment, in which case see a 

Video clips are a bit tricky, WSS 
does have software with various 
video capabilities that will allow you 
to play most but not all videos. 
Finally, there is a sound effects 
program on P F Johnson’s Kosovo 
CD called Events (part of CC’s 
Audioctrl). November 1999 V/ 

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October. Subscriptions received after this date 
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Issue 212 
October 1999 

# Detailed 
TechWriter review 

# Flat screen 

# Viruses feature 

# TechWriter demo 
on disc 

• First look at 

• DataSafe review 

• Home Networks 
Part II 

• Eurofighter 
Typhoon reviewed 

Missed out on one 
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issues? Take this 
opportunity to bring 
your collection up 
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stocks are limited. 

Issue 208 
June 1 999 

• Film Trailer CDII 


• APDL games CD's 

• DigSigGen review 

• !ProCAD+ 

• Heretic & Hexen 

• Acorn Confidence 
Part II 

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November 1999 

Issue 210 
August 1 999 

• Nctpiilot Internet 
server reviewed 

• AAUG update 

• RiscStation report 

• Home Networking 




M for 



Issue 209 
July 1999 

• New Photodesk 

• Y2K compliance 
for your PC card 

• New programming 

• Caves game on disc 

Country . 

Postcode Tel 


Issue 206 
April 1999 

• !OHP uncovered 

• Acorn Confidence 

• ISleuth 3 Review 

• Java and !Impact-3 

w Nwwmnt *f*C Ot I 


wiwnusji 205 
flllwww March 1 999 

» UUJiirm^]pv 

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Do you do 


I n reference to your article on 

RiscStation's RS7500 PCI-slot capable 
machine, and announcements on their 
Website concerning Voodoo graphics 

An anonymous developer of drivers for 
3DFX has claimed that as far as drivers go, 
"the Voodoo 3 2000 is the only card feasible 
for the RS7500 PCI slot system". This is 
because the Voodoo 1 and 2 are 'loop back 
cards' which means they run through a 
separate base graphics card. The Voodoo 3 
2000 on the other hand is an 'all in one' base 
card and 3D Accelerator. The RISC OS 
drivers are apparently available on the 
Voodoo developer website. 

In a separate conversation an unnamed 
spokesman for Creative Labs - a company 
famed in the PC world for sound cards, DVD 
players, MPEG Cards and Graphic cards - 
was reported to have said that "the Acorn 
market's size is far more extensive than I 
realised. To ignore it would be passing up a 
great marketing opportunity, although much 
would depend on how the PCI system 
development progresses, the further 
development of the operating system and the 
potential cost for driver conversion". 

This is definitely food for thought as 
Creative is one of many companies using the 
NVIDIA graphic chipset - currently the PC 
markets Open Graphics Language Standard 
- and support from this area would be a 
major boost for the Acorn market. 

This is especially true when you take into 
consideration that, as well known a 
company as 3DFX are, their reluctance to 
licence the Voodoo 3 chipset to other card 
manufacturers in the PC market has raised 
questions about their long term future. This 
in turn has seen a rise in NVIDIA's profile 

Slayer correction 

Last month we ran an article on virus 
killers, and one of them. Slayer, had a bit 
chopped off it's Product box. The correct 
e-mail address for Slayer's authors is Dunstan Orchard 

and on the 31 January NVIDIA announced a 
new generation of GPU (graphic processing 
unit) cards. These are due to be released by 
most of the major graphic manufactures by 
the beginning of October 1999. 

A.D. Fector, by e-mail 

Podules, what fun 

I read in one of my game instructions that you 
can make a set of pedals and a steering wheel 
to plug into an old (but nice) A3000. One 
problem. I need an I/O Podule. What is an 
I/O Podule? Apparently without it the said 
pedals and steering wheel will not work. 

Secondly, is it possible to do some DIY 
software conversion? Thirdly why won't High 
Street steering wheels/pedals work on an 
Acorn (RiscStation R7500 and so on)? Fourthly, 
won't someone up there at Acorn User please 
create a series with a theme of game design/ 
programming or maybe some Run The Rises 
for the younger readers of the magazine - just 
like a certain Mike Cook did in the Let's 
Compute! magazine. 

Kevin McMullin (13), by e-mail 

An I/O podule is a card that plugs into your 
computer that gives you some input/output 
(I/O) ports that are the same as the old model B. 
Basically this is an 8-bit digital User Port and a 
4-channel 12-bit A/D (analogue to digital) 
converter. These cost about £50. 

The reason you can't plug in a High Street 
steering wheel is that there's nowhere to plug it in. 
PCs have a joystick which contain a simple bit of 
electronics that the software knows how to drive. 

So any scope for DIY? Well yes, I did an article 
in June '96 on how to use PC-type joysticks you 
can get it on the Web from http://www.doc.mmu. however 
remember any software will have to know how to 
drive it. Another one in October '95 showed the 
Acorn standard way of connecting joysticks you 
can find that on 
Physics/Acorn/ RT R95.html 

I do include some 'low tech' construction articles 
from time to time although I haven't recently, so I 
will think about a few. Hope that helps. 

Mike Cook November 1999 


'Mike Glover 

Bob Pollard 


'It's funny 
- people 
think of 
DTP as 

no one 
thinks of it 
on a novel 


JR person can fool you into thinking that 
Ift they're a nice guy if you meet them at 
^^k a show, but it's hard to keep up the 
^ ^^k pretence when you spend four hours 
in the same car. I spent four hours driving with 
Mike Glover and I can confirm he is officially a 
nice guy. This interview is a tale of two cities, 
Stamford and Holmes Chapel, and two 
partners in Icon Technology: Mike Glover and 
Bob Pollard. 

Most people will admit to doing a bit of 
DIY and many have a few tools or even a small 
workshop, but what you don't expect is to find 
a full tool shop complete with wood-cutting 
machines capable of making window frames. 
Mike and his wife Angela are renovating their 
'country cottage'. This not just painting, this is 
fitting windows, taking down walls and roofs. 

The first thing after the tour I am shown is 
the office, and then EasiWriter, which I have 
been finding out does exactly what it says on 
the box. 

'We started on the Mac, with Mac Author/ 
Mike explains. 'Douglas Adams used it to 
write Dirk Gently' s Holistic Detective Agency, 
and was probably the first author to typeset his 
own novel. It's funny - people think of DTP as 
making small documents, no one thinks of it 
on a novel scale. These days we are just on the 
Acorn platform but another platform as well 
would be fun ... perhaps when we've made 
more money. Both EasiWriter and MacAuthor 
are different from other programs because they 
are written from a writer's viewpoint, not a 

Mike met Bob through a mutual 
acquaintance when Bob was working for ICL. 
Bob lives in Holmes Chapel, and Mike gives 
me a lift over to Bob's house, telling me what 
he's done in previous lives on the way. 

'I have been to the same party as Bill Gates, 
back in 1979. Gates and Scully were wandering 
around saying hello to everyone. In those days 
I was living in Brazil. It was the usual story, I 

went for two years and ended up staying for 
nine. I was a regional manager for Dunlop. I 
looked after the whole of South America.' 

Mike tells me that he will show me what 
his factories used to make when we pass the 
next electrical transmission line. Another hour 
later we eventually see some; the black anti- 
vibrators which are needed when you 
conduct high voltage electricity. Without them 
the vibrations caused by conducting a high 
voltage alternating current would cause the 
conductors to fail and fall down. 

We eventually arrive at Bob's house: 'Bob is 
the chief programmer and I'm the other one', 
jokes Mike. 

'I worked for ICL straight from University,' 
says Bob, 'must have been for about 20 years. 
In those days computers were room-sized.' 

'Its your fault we got into the Acorn 
market,' Mike reminds him. 

'Acorn has been my hobby since the BBC 
Micro came out,' agrees Bob. 'I was actually 
working in the factory where they were made. 
Unfortunately no discount, but it was 

'What also happened was that someone at 
Acorn was using MacAuthor. So Acorn came 
to us and commissioned us to to do 
something with the functionality of MacAuthor 
and Formulator - something Bob wrote in a 
year by himself which just did mathematical 
formulae. As with all good software 
developers we were a bit late on delivering so 
Acorn asked us to drop the maths bit and 
come out with the word processor part, then 
get on with TechWriter. 

'Then Acorn decided that they really did 
not want to be in the business of publishing 
their own software, so they gave it back to us 
- which was nice. We have done other stuff 
for Acorn like the word processor in the 
Network Computer.' 

Icon would like to make more money so it 
could employ some people to program for 
them. It's Bob who does it all at the moment. 

'I program in C++, we have been doing 
C++ from the start...' 

'Now don't be modest,' butts in Mike. 

'On the Mac,' continues Bob, 'we used 
Object Pascal. We needed something object- 
oriented on the Acorn so I thought let's go for 
C++, but there was no compiler so I had write 
my own. Five years later Acorn got around to 
doing it.' 

The interview turns to chatting and I find 
out that Bob the hoarder still has his original 
Sinclair calculator. Bob and Mike chat a little 
about business and I get see how well they get 
on as a team. Then it's back to Stamford with 
Mike giving me a classical music lesson on the 

That 'nice guy' image Mike projects at 
shows? It's genuine. Trust me. 

Jill Regan 

November 1999 

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