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Acorn User Awards 1995 
Best product 
runner up - PublishART 

Y , 

Acorn User Awards 1996 
Best network software 
runner up - SerialNET 

Acorn User Awards 1995 
Best business software 
runner up - TableCalc 

Acorn User Awards 1997 
Best graphics software 
Winner * DrawWorks2 

DrawWorks Millennium On-line Help 

Tint of original colours 


Object tinting too* 

1 [Named Spot Colours 

DrawWorks Colounser 

Colour to tint object 
Colour Cyan (20*o) 

Colour model 

PureTint colours 

J PureTint/* Named j RGB-CMYK 

BWj >Var- G'j, 9 
War V 10 

' g ray 1 1 

Cco» Gr«r * 
Coo! Gray 3 
Coc< Cr ay •* 

** Cow Gra» t> 

' y„ CcdGf*»€ 
CoW Gray * 

% Coe- Gray 8 

CoW Gray 9 


CMYK balance tool" 

DrawWorks paper Simulator 

Alter colour levels 

Set brightness 

CM y K Seperator 

i® PureTint J Named 
J RGB CMYK colour peker 
Surface Coated 

|/ Cyan separation 
W Magenta separation 
V Ye«ow separation 
[✓ Key separation 

- qm tn rc TT Pc r 

Smiutate job on cotoured paper 

DrawWorks hie rr\ porter 

Typography 2100 

rr 2 1 


Teit style m formation 

Style Number 003 
| Make these seen 



Oop Me here 




Colour | 
% PureTint 

rightr**s loot 

>■» n a sm «*jy » ih*ccn»MMooi&ut »ter» me Cn^tness 

seecteo edeox A v*u « 

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<jnt«r « v*je t*«cw iQO*. S*t*njnr*t* 

Open pace 

Transformation Main* 


Change to 

C-jO D- ] 1 

E-fo F-jO 

| Make these settings transparent 


Cancel Save Changes 


Vl f.w Samtifs 

|FUr«T«tt 12SC 
|Pjr*Trt 1300 
RPureTrn 1310 
|PUf«T4e 1320 


Print Samitiv 

"... the best software...excellent... really 
makes a complete package.. .this is the 
right purchase. ’’Acorn User 

"...a Vantage beater...” 
Christoper Jarman 

‘...the best new CD-ROM for RISC OS that 
I’ve seen for a very long time...extremely 
useful... this is the company’s best value 
product to date. Buy it without 
hesitation.” Rise User 

‘...convenient and user friendly.. .very 
effective...superb value for money.” 
Acorn Publisher 


graphic design & Illustration 


Export Al 

Green mmmmmmmm 

wmmmmamm 100 

1 1 

Presenting Mr Clfipy's Print Pre 

All quoted prices (unless stated) 
are for single users versions only. 
Special offers relate to single 
user versions only. 

Overseas orders please add £2.00 carriage 

All details correct at the time of going to press E&OE 
NDT 8 Typography are trademarks of iSV Products, All other trademarks are acknowledged 
This advert was produced using NDT fonts 
and DrawWorks Millennium 

iSV Products 

86 Turnberry • Home Farm 
Bracknell • Berks • RG12 8ZH 
Tel 01344 455769 

Hands on 

H\ Run the Rise 

Mike cooks up a relaxing hardware 
project this month 



Complicated stuff, but you can use 
your machine from anywhere 


Digital Cameras 

Alasdair Bailey reviews three cameras 
and the supporting RISC OS software 


The beardy-fella's on hand to help out 
with any of your computer questions 

Published by 



Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP 

Tel: (01625) 878888 Fax: (01625) 859808 
Printed by The Manson Group Ltd, St Albans 

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


Alasdair Bailey, Walter Briggs, lan Burley, Mike Cook, David 
Dade, Andrew Green, Ben Ollivere, Max Palmer, Jill Regan, 
Pam Turnbull, Nick van der Walle, Paul Vigay 

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


0870 6060424 

13 issue subscription rate: £45.99 (UK), 
£51.99 (EU), £63.99 (World) 

Acorn Um*t is jv.iil.iblf .is speech from the 
Talking Newspaper Association UK 

IW Tau Press Ltd 

No material may In- 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 

All the latest on what's happening in 
and around the RISC OS world 

13 Comms 

Gimmicks from free ISPs; getting 
thumbnails onto Web pages; fruity 

24- Noticeboard Pro 

p au i Vigay takes a good look at this 
able piece of presentation software 

2Q Composition 

Is this the most flexible bit-map collage 
creator in the world? 

Graphic Equaliser 

Mike Cook and his rock 'n' roll son put 
this Rise PC based graphic equaliser to 
the test 








Graphics page 

Using digital stock photography from 
the Web plus news on PCA, the new 
challenger for OLE's title 

Public domain 

Desktop themes and utilities, checking 
your site links and chopping up images 
for the Web 

Cover disc 

No disc? DON'T PANIC - turn to page 
19 to find out what's going on 

Game show 

A look at a few of the games whose 
StrongARM patches are on the Acorn 
User Website, plus the latest news 


Get every issue of Acorn User delivered 
to your door and the back issues 


Our readers have their say in the 
Letters page 

The Regan Files 

Interviewing Tomislav Simnetl in his 
houseboat on the Thames 

Free ads Page 60 

Advertisers' Index Page 70 

Contact us Page 70 

Back issues Page 78 

Subscriptions Page 78 

Psion 5mx 

Ian Burley takes a gander at the new 
improved Psion series 5 

CQ Photodesk Plugins 

^ v Nick van der Walle reviews a product 
which he wouldn't give up "for love 
nor money" 

54 TopModel2 

^ “*■ Max Palmer rounds off his two part 
review of Sincronia's superb 3D 
modelling package 


Now you can store all your ancestors 
on your computer 




Education news 

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

Education reviews 

Keywords for the living world and 
more on basic number work 

Next month 

RISC OS '99 Show Report, Artworks plug-ins, 
ParaFS, Internet data logging and on-the-fly 
gif creation, digital projection, and a 
beginners guide to Draw. 

Christmas issue on sale 25th November December 1999 V/ 

EMAIL: hUp:// Tel - 01942 797777 Fax - 01942 79771 1 

Curriculum Training Associates 
Dept. AU 1 2, 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 warranties (minimum spend £8(M) inc Vat) 

nfTwofss RiscStation RiscStation 

Rise Based Technologies 

Networx 50 mip 
Ann75(X) system with 
built in Midi, sound 
sampler, lOhaseT 
network port, High speed 
serial tS: parrallel ports, 

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

Networx 14" system £479 + Vat (£562.83) 

Networx 15" system £499 + Vat (£586.33) 

Networx 17" system £549 + Vat (£645.08) 

See ww for more details 

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

Base only £499 + Vat (£586.33) 

14" monitor system £579 + Vat (£680.33) 

15" monitor system £599 + Vat (£703.83) 

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

Sec w w for more details 

SA233"T" Web Wizard 

34Mb/8G/DvdCD/ 1 7" mon/Stereo Spk, Ant 
Internet & Jarva with a 56K modem for only 

BbeTi I £1145 + VAT 

jj|| | B (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 heat your best offer 
We can supply any combination or 
configutrution you require. 

A7000 + Series Machines 

A7000+ Classic 29 Mips RO.L7 8M / 
IC» HI) /no CD £449.00 (£527.58) 
A7000+ Classic 29 Mips RD3.7 I6M / 
2Ci HI) /24x Cl) £499.00 (£586.33) 
A7000+ Odyssey NETWORK 
50 Mips RQ3.7 (4.0) I6M 
£525.00 (£616.88) 

A7000+ Odyssey CD 
50 Mips R()3.7 (4.0) 16M /4G III)/ 
40x Cl) £549.00 (£645.08) 
A7000+ Odyssey Primary or Sec. Pack 
50 Mips RO.1.7 (4.0) I6M /4Ci HI)/ 
40x Cl) £599.00 (£703.83) 
A7(XX) + Odyssey Surf 
50 Mips R03.7 (4.0) I6M/4GHD/ 
DVD £699.00 (£821.33) 

Aimer prices do not include monitors 
see se/mutte price II si 

£99.00 +vat 

\ (£116.33) place your 
order now 

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

Stock Available NOW 

All monitors inc 3 yrs 
wty unless specified 


14* SVGA 0 28 (3yr on-sito) 
14* SVGA 0.28 Mutti-Modia 
15" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 
15" SVGA 0.28 Multi-Madia 
17' SVGA 0 28 ( lyr RTB) 

17" SVGA 0 28 (3yr on-6ito) 
17' SVGA 0 28 m-media(3yr ) 
19* SVGA 0 26 (lyr RTB) 

19" SVGA 0.26 (3yr on-site) 
21" SVGA 0.25 (3yr on-silo) 
38" SVGA (lyr on-silo) 

15“ llyama Vision Mastor 350 
17* liyama Vision Master FST 
17* llyama Pro 410 
19* llyama Pro 450 
21“ llyama Pro Diamondtron 
AKF53 Multisync 14* lyrRTB 
AKF50 Multisync 14* lyrRTB 
AKF12PAL f4" return 90 flays 
AKF52/53 M/sync rofurb 90 days 
AKF60 SVGA 14 * return 90dnys 
Multisync A300/A3000 cable 

£99 00 
£149 00 
£329 00 
£1450 00 
£ 65 00 

Inc VAT 
£175 08 
£198 58 
£1703 75 
£1 16.33 

Show Specials 
170mb ill) & i/f 
£69 + Vat (£81.08) 


200 ml) III) & I/K 

£59 + Vat (£69.33) 

(hard drive mounts extra) 

(Above otters available 
while special stocks lust ) 


£29.79 + VAT 



A 3020 


RPC / A7000 / RiscStation 

Ex. VAT 

Inc VAT 

Ex. VAT 

Inc VAT 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 


nr VAT 



£99 88 


£57 58 

210Mb rofurb 


£29 38 






£116 33 






4 3Gb 
















£146 88 









£104 58 










16.8Gb * 











£117.50 ; 












£123 38 

25 0Gb * 




El 75 







£135 13 

36.4Gb * 


£334 81 

A3(XK)/A30I0 version includes CD ROM i/f 
which can also be used in A3020 or A4(XX). 
For external A3(M)() 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 + val (£29.38) 

Removable Drives 

IDE Drives 

11)1 Untrv injuirv* iliitvi* «« lurilwa/c 

Zip 100 tnt £65 00 (£76.38) 

Zip 2S0 int £85 00 (£99.88) 

Parallel Drives 

lUulkl drive* iixIuU.- Av< <n S'liv. ju- 

Zip 100 


(£116.33) Jaz 2G ext 

Zip 250 



Jaz 1G 



Jaz 2G 

£299 00 


SCSI Removable Drives 

(£99 88) 


540Mb • limited supply £40.00 (f47 00) 

1Gb £50.00 (£58 75) 

2Gb (5400 rpm) special £80.00 (£94.00) 

2Gb (7200 rpm) # £100 00 (£117 50) 

4.3Gb (5400 or 7200rpm) £140.00 (£164 50) 

9 1Gb (7200rpm) £196 00 (£230 30) 

18.6Gb (7200 rpm) £345.00 (£405 38) 

36 4Gb (7200 rpm) £640 00 (£752.00) 

l or EXT. SCSI I case £50.00 + VAT (me. cubic) 
for EXT. SCSI II case £55.00 ♦ VAT (inc. cable) 


Prices Start 
\ • * from 

£149.00 + 


( Please ring for latest prices ) 


Inc VAT 

Canon BJC 1000 colour 




Canon BJC 2000 colour * 




Canon BJC 2000 Scan 




Canon BJC 4650 colour » 




Canon BJC 4650 Scan #! 




Canon BJC 7000 colour « 




Epson Stylus 440 colour 




Epson Stylus 660 colour 




Epson Stylus 850 colour 




Epson Stylus 1520 colour 




Epson Stylus Photo 700 # 




Epson Stylus Photo EX » 




HP 6 10C colour 




HP 895CXI colour 













Photo dnvers for # 



Scanner dnvers for ! 



2x2x6x £149.00 

T 6x4x1 6x £199.00 

CD-BURN £49.00 

CD*SCRIBE 2 £49.00 






6 Drive 
(£ 58633 ) 

SCSI 8x 
£85.00 + vat 






















For external IDE or SCSI I add t'50.00 + VAT (me. cable) 
For external SCSI II add £55.00 + Vat. tine, cable) 

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

Removable Drive Media 

100Mb Zip 
Zip 5 pack 
2 50Mb Zip 
120M LS 120 
7SOMt> Nomat 
1Gb Jazz 
2Gb Jazz 
1 5Gb Syquesl 

ex VAT 
£8 00 
£12 78 


£38 00 

Ire VAT 
£22 33 

5 2Gb OVD RAM 

COR 10 pack 
CDR 25 pack 
COR 80mm 10 pc. 
CDR 80mm 25 pc» 
CORW 10 pack 

it VAT 
£25 00 

£1 28 
£12 00 
£25 53 


£40 00 

me VAT 
£29 38 

Interfa ce Ad a pters 

Des ktop FAX MODEMS 

• • 4 FREE Acnmi driver hv request* ‘ 

56k X2/V90 3Com USR 

Cl 18.30 


56k Flex/V90 (Rockwell) 



ISDN modem (external) 



ANT Internet Suite 



Webster XL 



IJava CD 



ArcFax Fax software 






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/A3010) 



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 yr Warranty on ALL Acorn MEMORY why Pay More?? 

High Quality MEMORY 


A3 10 4Mb Upgrade 
A310 RISC OS earner board 
A310 MEMCla upgrade kit 
A40Q/1 1Mb Upgrade (per Mb) 
A3000 1-2Mb Non-Upgrodonble 
A3000 1-4 Mb Upgrade 
A3000 Serial Pori Upgrndo 
4 -8Mb Up (A310, 440. 3000') 
A3010 1 -2Mb Upgrade 
A3010 1 -4Mb Upgrade 
A 30204000 2-4Mb Upgrade 
A 5000 2 -4 Mb Upgrade 
A5000 4 -8Mb 25MT & 33Mhz 

FPA10 for A5000 or Arm 3 Card 
Replacement VIDC or IOC chips 
* rework if required 

Inc VAT 
£22 . 33 
£64 63 
£52 88 
£64 63 
£52 88 


Also for A7000 


Inc VAT 




16Mb SIMM 



32Mb SIMM 



32Mb high clearance 



64Mb SIMM 



128Mb SIMM 









1-2Mb (exchange) 



RiseOS 3.11 Rom upgrades 

£25.()0 exc Vai (£29.38) 

33 Mhz Arm 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 


High Quality 
Acorn ERGO 
Mouse £12.00 


Acorn TracfcerbaU Mouse NEW 
Acc*n Ongnal Mouse 
Acorn ERGO Mouse NEW 
A 7000 replacement Mouse NEW 
Ergo (std) Rjsc PC Keyboard 
Ergo curved Rise PC Koyboard 
A40CA5000 replacement K/brd 
A400/A5000 Ergo Koyboard 

Ex. VAT 
£12 00 
£21 28 

Inc. VAT 
£35 00 
£14 10 
£69 33 


All scanners inc Acorn Softw are 

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

Mustek A4 600dpi £119.00 (£139.83) 

Mustek A4 1200dpi £149.00 (£175.08) 

Epson GT7000 £199.00 (£233.83) 

Epson GT7000P £249.00 (£292.58) 

Inuigeniaster A Twain also available 

Replacement Floppy Drives 

A 3000/400/500 £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 

Character Mouse Mats 

Southpark Kenny 


Southpark Cartman 


Dtsney Mickey. Pooh. Donald, etc 


X-Filos (four types) 


Gariiold or novelty 


Standard mat Cl .00 / Econ. £0.65 

Switch Boxes 

2-1 with cable £15.00 £17.63 

2- 1 Auto with cable £ 1 5.00 £ 1 7.63 

4-1 with cable £19.00 £22.33 

2-1 Monitor/K’board £29.79 £35.00 

R-Cump CD -I l ( )M Software 

ABUSE £22 00 I Ounke (due soon) £33 00 

Oescent £27 00 Syndicate £26.00 

Doom* Trilogy £30 00 Towers of Darkness £30 00 

(£32 50 with book) (Hexen Triple) 

Heroes of M^nt £32 00 Doom secrets Book £10 00 

and Magic 2 (CTA Special) 



Ex. VAT Inc VAT 
A3000 ini. 10baso2 or T. Access* £89.00 C104.58 

A400/A5000 10base2 or T Access-* £89.00 £104 58 

A40Q/A5000 10base2 & T Access* £99.00 £1 16.33 

A3020 10base2 Access*/exi. MAU £99.00 £1 16.33 

A3O20 lObasoT AccessWetx. MAU £99.00 £116 33 

Rise PC/A7000 10baso2 4 T Acc* £99.00 £1 16 33 
Rise PC/A7000 10bM«2 Access* £79 00 £92 83 

Ant Accoss* ROM upgrado £10.00 £1 1.75 

Network Hubs (more available) 


Inc VAT 

8 Port 1 0 base 



8 Port 100 ’special* 



8 Port 100/10 Auto 



18 Port 10 16T+ 2BNC 


£88 13 

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 


I0basc2 or lObuseT 

any size made to order 

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


Topcat sue sconce 
NTfiler site Sconce 
OmnscSeot s«e licence 
Lanman98 sngle user 
Wn95FS smgle user 
Unman or Win95FS 
to user site licence 
lanman or Wm^S 
20 user site kence 

£489 00 
C97 00 
£489 00 
£35 00 
£35 00 

(£113 98) 
(£587 50) 
(£41 13) 
£129 25 

£156 00 t '•«.* \ 


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 sizes available in C.M. Y.K 


DD Ro labol Acorn fml 10 
DD Re-label Acorn fmt 100 
HD bulk Acom 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 
Mouso cleaner 
3.5’ Floppy head cleaners 
CD-ROM cloanor 


Inc VAT 























Printer Ribbons, Inkjet 

New/Rccyclcd Laser Toner Carts 

Prices available on request 


Acorn networking for PCs 
£29.95 exc Vat £35.19 inc Vat 
sec 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 ( Aleph) £290.00 inc VAT 

586-133 (CJE 512) £300.00 inc VAT 

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

Refurbished RiscPCs 
Available now refurbished RiscPC 
Systems with AKF60 Monitors 

.niv £499 + Vat 

(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 ClipArl (various per pack) £8 00 
Birds ol War £20.00 

Boxing Manager £8.00 

ChildPlay (desklop) £14.95 

ColourSep (Colour Separation Software) £8.00 

Creator 2 £25.00 

D'File Font Pack (Academy) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Balmoral) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (FrooStyle Script) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Manhattan) £ 1 0.00 

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 (lor RPC) £13 00 

Galactic Dan £10.00 

Game ON (for RPC/ A7000) £1 5 00 

Global Effect £25.00 

Guile El 0.00 

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 £12.00 

My World Support Disc Anciont Greece £ 1 3.00 

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

Quest for GOLD 




Revolation 2 










TURBO DRIVER - Epson Stylus 


Visual Backup 




World Class Leaderboard (GOLF) 


Acorn CD-ROM Software 

Crystal Maze 


D’File PDCD 4 


D’File PDCD 5 


Hutchinson Encyclopedia 


Robert Duncan Cartoon KIT 


TopicArt CD 


Tots TV ABC 


YITM Electricity and magnetism 


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 basos from 



A 5000 4Mb basos from 



A7000 4Mb basos from 



A4 Portables (6 months wty) 



RPC basos from 



SVGA Monitors Various from 



Pionoor SCSI 4x 6x stack 



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

Alternative PC Bases 

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


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

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

Carriage charges inc. inv K packaging charged at cost 

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

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

Computer sy stems £13 + vat 

All prices are correct going to press. E&OE 

All goods arc fully guaranteed hut not supplied on 



Photo printer 

Canon has just launched revised BJC- 
5000 and 6000-series ink-jet printer 
models. The new A3-capable BJC-5100 
and A4 6100 are faster than before and 
print quality improvements, in the 
6100 in particular with its tweaked 
1440x720 dpi print head, suggest it 
could be a justifiable alternative to 
Epson's all-conquering Stylus Photo 
on photo-quality alone. 

The rather disappointing BJC-7100, 
with its complicated PPOP plain 
paper optimising system, remains on 
Canon's catalogue for the time being, 


but despite being positioned as its 
photo printing contender, print 
samples we've seen from the 6100 are 
decidedly superior - on photo paper 
at least. For mono printing, the 6100 is 
capable of delivering text documents 
at a rate of up to ten pages a minute. 

Canon is also persevering with its 
snap-in 300dpi scanner head, which 
swaps out the print head. At the much 
reduced price, it's now a more realistic 
proposition compared to a dedicated 
scanner. The 6100, which is now 
being assembled at Canon's 
Glenrothes plant in Scotland, also gets 
a USB port, the first for a Canon ink- 
jet printer. 

Another notable feature of the 6100 



is its use of separate ink-tanks for each 
individual ink colour, which Canon 
says will reduce waste and print costs. 
Most current ink-jet printers force 
users to throw away un-used ink 
when one colour is used up as the 
other colours are contained in one 

Oddly enough, Canon is revisiting 
the multiple tanks first pioneered in 
its BJC-600 model line about six years 
ago. The company adds that many of 
its future model releases will adopt 
multiple tank systems as well. Canon 
is also working to commence ink tank 
production in Glenrothes next year. 
Please note, RISC OS compatibility 
with the new BJC 5100 and 6100 was 
not confirmed at the time of printing. 
Please check compatibility before 

Subscription gifts 

All subscribers who had been 
expecting the latest batch of Acorn 
User subscriptions gifts should, by 
the time this is published, have 
received them. If you think you 
haven't, contact Richard Siggee at for 
advice. (If you ring you will 
receive a re-direction message to 
the new phone number.) 

Castle's ISDN bargains 

A very sad item of news, recently, 
was the demise of PMC Consumer 
Electronics based in Shipley, West- 
Yorkshire, which manufactured 
modems under the familiar Pace 
brand. PMC grew out of its famous 
parent company, Pace Micro- 
electronics, several years ago as a 
management buy-out, leaving Pace 
to concentrate on TV set-top boxes 
and digital TV products. Indeed, 
Pace recently acquired what was left 
of the old Acorn business after 
Element-14 was created. 

This was to strengthen its 
broadband networking expertise, an 
area Acorn had invested in heavily 

in terms of research and 

The Pace brand has been a 
familiar name in modems since the 
early '80s, but the market has 
become perilously cut-throat in 
recent years. Diversification into PC 
peripherals like TV tuners and 
graphics cards wasn't enough to save 
PMC. Despite the passing of PMC, 
some of us at least can benefit from 
bargain clearance stock. 

Castle Technology has secured a 
supply of PMC's Pace ISDN Pro 
terminal adapters and is offering 
them for the very attractive price of 
£99 including VAT and delivery. The 

product was previously on sale for as 
much as £149+ VAT. Castle is also 
throwing in a free trial offer for the 
Argonet Internet service, which is 
tailored especially for the Acorn 

The Pace ISDN TA has all the 
usual ISDN features, including 
multilink PPP for aggregating two 64 
kilobit channels to enable a 128 
kilobit throughput (16K bytes/ 
second or around a megabyte a 

For more information, check 
Castle's Website at http:/ /www., or phone 01728 
723 200. December 1 999 'KQ 


Photo printer 



Canon has just launched revised BJC- 
5000 and 6000-series ink-jet printer 
models. The new A3-capable BJC-5100 
and A4 6100 are faster than before and 
print quality improvements, in the 
6100 in particular with its tweaked 
1440x720 dpi print head, suggest it 
could be a justifiable alternative to 
Epson's all-conquering Stylus Photo 
on photo-quality alone. 

The rather disappointing BJC-7100, 
with its complicated PPOP plain 
paper optimising system, remains on 
Canon's catalogue for the time being, 

but despite being positioned as its 
photo printing contender, print 
samples we've seen from the 6100 are 
decidedly superior - on photo paper 
at least. For mono printing, the 6100 is 
capable of delivering text documents 
at a rate of up to ten pages a minute. 

Canon is also persevering with its 
snap-in 300dpi scanner head, which 
swaps out the print head. At the much 
reduced price, it's now a more realistic 
proposition compared to a dedicated 
scanner. The 6100, which is now 
being assembled at Canon's 
Glenrothes plant in Scotland, also gets 
a USB port, the first for a Canon ink- 
jet printer. 

Another notable feature of the 6100 


is its use of separate ink-tanks for each 
individual ink colour, which Canon 
says will reduce waste and print costs. 
Most current ink-jet printers force 
users to throw away un-used ink 
when one colour is used up as the 
other colours are contained in one 

Oddly enough. Canon is revisiting 
the multiple tanks first pioneered in 
its BJC-600 model line about six years 
ago. The company adds that many of 
its future model releases will adopt 
multiple tank systems as well. Canon 
is also working to commence ink tank 
production in Glenrothes next year. 
Please note, RISC OS compatibility 
with the new BJC 5100 and 6100 was 
not confirmed at the time of printing. 
Please check compatibility before 

Subscription gifts 

All subscribers who had been 
expecting the latest batch of Acorn 
User subscriptions gifts should, by 
the time this is published, have 
received them. If you think you 
haven't, contact Richard Siggee at for 
advice. (If you ring you will 
receive a re-direction message to 
the new phone number.) 

Castle's ISDN bargains 

A very sad item of news, recently, 
was the demise of PMC Consumer 
Electronics based in Shipley, West- 
Yorkshire, which manufactured 
modems under the familiar Pace 
brand. PMC grew out of its famous 
parent company. Pace Micro- 
electronics, several years ago as a 
management buy-out, leaving Pace 
to concentrate on TV set-top boxes 
and digital TV products. Indeed, 
Pace recently acquired what was left 
of the old Acorn business after 
Element-14 was created. 

This was to strengthen its 
broadband networking expertise, an 
area Acorn had invested in heavily 

in terms of research and 

The Pace brand has been a 
familiar name in modems since the 
early '80s, but the market has 
become perilously cut-throat in 
recent years. Diversification into PC 
peripherals like TV tuners and 
graphics cards wasn't enough to save 
PMC. Despite the passing of PMC, 
some of us at least can benefit from 
bargain clearance stock. 

Castle Technology has secured a 
supply of PMC's Pace ISDN Pro 
terminal adapters and is offering 
them for the very attractive price of 
£99 including VAT and delivery. The 

product was previously on sale for as 
much as £149+VAT. Castle is also 
throwing in a free trial offer for the 
Argonet Internet service, which is 
tailored especially for the Acorn 

The Pace ISDN TA has all the 
usual ISDN features, including 
multilink PPP for aggregating two 64 
kilobit channels to enable a 128 
kilobit throughput (16K bytes/ 
second or around a megabyte a 

For more information, check 
Castle's Website at http://www., or phone 01728 
723 200. December 1 999 


camera news 

Dorset-based RISC OS imaging specialists, Spacetech, 
have introduced some interesting new digital cameras 
and reduced the prices of some older favourites. The 
compact new 190g Olympus C-21 is priced £699.99. It 
sports a tiny, yet extremely robust aluminium alloy casing 

and despite its size is easy to 

> use and packs a 2.1 million 

^ * pixel l/2in CCD chip - 
t curren tiy the best resolution 

in the consumer digital 
camera market - to deliver 
1600x1200 resolution images. 

— J It also sports TTL focusing 

and light, metering. 

Meanwhile, the best-selling mid- 
priced Olympus C-900 ZOOM has 
been superseded by the new C-920 ZOOM. Improve- 
ments include manual ISO sensitivity adjustment and a 
4.5cm TFT display which now has a 
wider viewing angle. It also has 
increased memory for faster image 
saving and 
shooting for all 
quality settings. 

Its 1.3 megapixel 
provides 1280 
pixel wide images. 

Spacetech are introducing the new model at the same 
price as the out-going version. 

Olympus' entry level digital camera, the C-830L, has a 
similar resolution to the C-920 ZOOM, but doesn't have 
some of the newer model's extra features, like continuous 
shooting and an optical zoom lens. It's still a value 
contender at £349.99 and Spacetech also 
throw in a colour filter. 

Olympus' current 
flagship consumer digital 
camera is the C-2000 
ZOOM which is now 
available from Spacetech 
at £649.99. Like the 
compact C21, it has a high 
resolution 2.1 million pixel 
l/2in CCD but adds a formidable 3x optical 
zoom lens. For photo enthusiasts, the C-2000 
ZOOM also has a wide range of manual settings, plus 
external flash synchronisation. 

For further information 
contact: Spacetech Ltd. at 
http:/ /www.spacetech. 
co. uk, tel: 01305 822753, 
fax: 01305 860483, or e- 

— ■ 

5 rml 


Attention all 
Linux fans 

Keith Gaughan, from Aclare, Co. Sligo in Ireland, 
has contacted us to point out that he has started a 
project similar to the Linux Open Documentation 
Project by the name of Bibliotech. Full information 
is on the Web at 
dlm_design/bibliotech/ and submissions should 
be made via 

It had been pre-announced on Acorn 
newsgroups in the summer, but a technical 
problem involving Keith's college mail server 
meant that earlier submissions were lost. He would 
be very grateful if everyone who has sent 
submissions re-send them. 

Tau Press 
on the move 

After ten years as a hub of Acorn magazine production 
Media House is to be finally vacated. While IDG 
Media (previous owner of Acorn User) has been bought 
by Paragon Publishing and Europress (who owned 
Acorn User before that) has gone to Hasbro, the current 
publisher Tau Press is moving a few miles north of the 
Macclesfield address into Stockport. 

As the magazine went to press negotiations were 
almost complete to move the business into the same 
building as Desktop 
Projects - the 
Acorn dealer. 

Steve Turnbull, 

MD of Tau Press, 
said: "Since taking 
over Acorn User we 
had been planning 
to move and the 
opportunity to go to 
the Heapriding 
Business Park is 
ideal. Not only will 
we be right next to 
Desktop Projects, but our subscription mailing house is 
also just across the way. 

"The old green field site was very nice (except when 
the wind was from the pig farm) but now we'll have 
the advantage of being easy to get to by road, rail, bus 
or even plane." 

The move will happen just before the RISC OS '99 
show - just as this magazine is hitting the streets. All 
telephone lines will change (the old lines will be re- 
directed) but the e-mail addresses will remain the 

December 1 999 


Serving the RISC OS community 

_ t ssei sj? -j _ ? ' : • s n ^ v'^sssssssbhbhhhhhhbhbhhihhhhbh 



The first major event of the post-Acorn world, 

RISC OS 4 is now shipping. Compatible with RiscPC 
and A7000(+), it provides a whole host of improvements 
for the new millennium plus great new bundled software! 
Stand up and be counted as a supporter of our favourite 
operating system - place your order today! 


plus £25 fitting and data transfer if required 



The Data Store now provides the official 
Customer Support service for Sibelius Acorn programs. 

To celebrate this, we've reduced the price of Sibelius 7 
and we're offering one year's technical support free with 
every copy sold up to 30th September. 

Our specially priced PCs for Acorn Sibelius users 
moving to Sibelius for Windows are still available. 
Please call for details. 

Junior Sibelius! £ 55.00 

Sibelius 6 £105.00 

Sibelius 7 Student £320.00 

Sibelius 7 £525.00 

Optical Manuscript £275.00 

Sibelius for Windows/Mac £595.00 



Just a few examples of the effects 
that FontFX 6 can produce... 

Border effect 


Grow and shrink feature 

User-definable shadow length and direction 


Rainbow fill option 3D shadow effect 

For further details or to download 
FontFX Lite > please visit our web site 

£31*35 iiic, VAT mu i 

Site licenses and upgrades available 
Please phone for details 

Connected to the Net? 

Then why not visit us online? 


Company information, directions to our 
showroom, contact details, information on 
the range of Data Store Software, online 
price lists, downloads, Sibelius Software 
information and lots more... 






Telephone ( 020-8)460 8991 • Facsimile ( 020 - 8 ) 313 0400 


(all prices in this advertisement are inclusive of VAT at 1 7.5%) 

StrongARM upgrade service 

Memory and processor specialists, Simtec, report they 
have received a lot of enquiries about modifying 
StrongARM cards from users wanting either a faster 
233MHz part or to upgrade to a Rev T device. Therefore, 
Simtec has launched a service to meet this demand. 

For £100 inc. VAT and UK postage, Simtec will send 
you a suitable postage box with anti-static packing and a 
static-strap for you to safely remove (and reinstall) your 
card and post it to Simtec. On receipt, Simtec will test the 
card, change the chip to a rev-T 233MHz device and, on 
200MHz cards, make the necessary modifications and 
component changes to run the processor at 
approximately 233MHz. The card will also be tested 
before being returned. 

Simtec aims to turn orders around the same day. UK 
postage is included as First Class Recorded. An extra £3 is 
required for registered post. Contact Simtec directly if 
you are based out of the UK. Simtec provides a six month 
guarantee for the upgrade. 

Simtec very openly warns potential customers that 
because the process requires changing the processor 
and, thereby, the characteristics of the card, they point 
out that on some 'marginal' systems, like those with 
PC cards, and those that have already required 
adjustment, there is a small risk that the system will 
require retuning. 

Simtec ensures that the customer's original card is 

Hidden invaders! 

Robert Purchase (u8rp@dcs.shef. has found 
there is a space invaders game in RISC OS 4 hidden in 
the module IRQUtils. 

To activate it, use the following BASIC command: 
SYS"OS_Module" ,2, "IRQUtils". These amusements 
aren't that unusual in the software world. 

Microsoft's voluminous Office '97 suite even hid a 
comprehensive flight simulation type program. The 
question is, was Bill Gates amused? 

1 1 i i l M C \t t i \i 
i> e: 9 §. b; &, g; g. 

Scot. 16 ISISO U§ irwA-t : 




9 99 


9 99 

9 9 


returned, but re-tuning work is not included in the 
upgrade price. Contact Simtec at: Simtec Electronics, 
Avondale Dr, Tarleton, Preston, Lancs, PR4 6AX, 
tel: 01772 812863, fax: 01772 816426, or e-mail: 

ARM works 
with Microsoft 

Apart from the fact that you can now buy StrongARM- 
based Windows CE machines, the increasing 
importance of ARM hardware to Microsoft has 
been recently demonstrated by a joint project which 
involved the two companies in optimising ARM- 
specific support for Microsoft's Windows Media Audio 

Driven by chip manufacturer demand for ARM- 
powered digital audio products with Windows Media 
Audio support, the ARM implementation is the first 
embedded processor-specific Windows Media Support. 
ARM and Microsoft were able to decrease power 
consumption and memory requirements by a factor of 
four, resulting in reduced system costs for digital audio 
devices running the Windows Media Audio file format 
and codec on ARM cores. 

With the availability of Windows Media Audio for 
ARM, manufacturers of ARM core-based products 
can now provide CD-quality audio at twice the 
download speed and half the storage space of some 
competing audio formats, especially valuable as 
witnessed by the rapidly growing Internet music 
industry. Cirrus Logic will be among the first to 
implement the new audio standard in its range of 
embedded ARM solutions. 

Meanwhile, ARM has announced joint development 
work with Ericsson on developing Bluetooth support 
for mobile phones. Bluetooth is an industry-wide 
standard for cable-banishing wireless short distance 
communications. Bluetooth is closely associated with 
the Symbian mobile operating system group, of which 
Ericsson is a member. Symbian is currently dedicated to 
the ARM platform. Finally, ARM has announced that 
3Com, perhaps the largest player in the networking 
world, will implement ARM embedded cores in its 
next-generation networking cards. 


Thomas Leonard, a 3rd year computer 
science student at Southampton 
University, has announced the ROX 
desktop, a project which aims to 
provide a RISC OS style GUI on 
Unix/Linux machines. Leonard 
reports that the Filer code is mostly 
finished and the desktop already 
supports drag-and-drop loading and 
saving, application directories and an 

iconbar. You can download the core 
components (filer, session manager 
and text editor). Now Leonard is in 
need of some user-feedback. You need 
access to a Unix or Linux machine, but 
root access is not required. 

The ROX homepage is at: 
ROX/index.html Thomas Leonard can 
be contacted at: 

December 1 999 

London to follow 

As the legend goes, on 18th July 
1997, Tommy Lowe wrote to the 
comp.sys.acorn.misc newsgroup 
asking if anyone might be interested 
in the possibility of joining a new 
Manchester Acorn user group. He 
felt that twenty interested parties 
would be a reasonable critical mass. 
Over two years later, the Manchester 
Acorn User Group (MAUG) has 150 
members and is the UK's largest 
regional RISC OS user group. Its 
dozen-strong committee includes 
dealers, developers, students, 
teachers and enthusiasts from the 
north-west's thriving RISC OS 

The bad news is that Tommy 
Lowe has, along with some other 
notable MAUG founding members, 

succumbed to the lure of career 
opportunities down south. The good 
news is that there are now proposals 
to emulate the success of MAUG in 
London. Their plan is for a smaller 
and more informal meeting 
arrangement, moving around the 
area and even including lunchtime 
get-togethers if warranted. 

An informal initial meeting was 
scheduled to have taken place by 
now and hopefully the seed has been 
sown for the new London RISC OS 
User Group or suchlike. If you are 
interested in joining in too, e-mail for more 

Manchester Acorn User Group - 
http: / / w w w.acorn. manchester. 


RISCOS Ltd has issued a statement 
declaring their delight that 
negotiations with several sub- 
licensees for RISC OS 4 are nearing a 
successful conclusion: "The Board of 
RISCOS Ltd has established a pricing 
schedule that balances the 
development costs, past and future, 
of this high quality product with the 
needs of sub-licensees to be able to 
achieve competitive pricing. The 
schedule includes a progressive scale 
of discounts to reward those sub- 
licensees who are prepared to commit 
to volume purchases and which 
avoids subsidising individual 
equipment manufacturers at the 
expense of others. 

"RISCOS Ltd is committed to 
carrying the operating system 
forward into the new Millennium as 
a cutting edge product for ARM- 
based systems. We have already 
commenced work on hardware, 

VIDC and IOMD independence, the 
ability to run in 32-bit mode and are 
adding new features to the OS." 

Paul Middleton, RISCOS Ltd's 
Managing Director added: "I am 

delighted that sub-licensees have 
recognised the increased speed, 
stability and features that RISC OS 4 
brings. This new operating system 
complements perfectly the 
advanced technology being 
incorporated in the new generation 
of RISCOS computers that will soon 
be launched." 

Acorn Southwest Show 

The Acorn Southwest Show will 
once again be taking place, on 
Saturday 19th February 2000 at The 
Webbington Hotel, Loxton, nr 
Axbridge, North Somerset. 

The show is supported by Bristol 
Acorn Rise User Group. The doors 
open at 10am and close at 4.30pm. 
Entry will cost £2 for adults, £1 for 
ARM Club/RISC OS Foundation 
members, while children under 16 
are can enter free if accompanied by 
an adult. For information about the 
show: tel /fax: 01935 413170, 
or browse: 

Sail safely 
with RISC OS 

Stuart Nundy spotted a novel use 
for a Rise PC, recently. A BBC 9 
O'clock News item on Friday, 

17th September, covering the use 
of aircraft-style in-flight black box 
recorders for commercial 
shipping, like ferries, showed a 
Rise PC monitoring a prototype 
black box fitted to the Pride of 
Portsmouth ferry. With 
Windows' worrying reliability 
level, perhaps we shouldn't be 
surprised to find a Rise PC being 
employed to monitor a critical 
task such as this. If you have seen 
any other out of the ordinary 
Acorn/RISC OS applications, let 
us know. 

Contacting RiscCAD 

David Buck would like to remind 
everyone interested in the 
RiscCAD package that from 8th 
October 1 999, correspondence 
should be addressed to him at a 
new address: 33 Cromwell 
Crescent, Pontefract, West 
Yorkshire, WF8 2EG. In fact, 
by the time you read this, 
forwarding from the old address 
will have ceased. Alternatively, 
you can e-mail: david.buck® 

Acorn's FTP site closes 

Considering the fact that Acorn as 
an operating company no longer 
exists, this news is perhaps more 
surprising for its lateness than for 
its actuality. Since Friday 24th 
September, the Acorn FTP site 
( has no longer 
been available. Pace Micro 
Technology, who acquired the 
remnants of Acorn Computers 
earlier in the year, kindly 
continued to host the Acorn FTP 
site June. Fiowever, Pace did not 
acquire and domains. 

Clearly, the Acorn FTP site was 
living on borrowed time provided 
by Pace. Indeed its use has 
reduced over time to very low 
levels and most of its contents 
aren't very recent. However, there 
is a sentimental and historical 
archive value in the site and 
Acorn User have distributed 
snapshots of its site content on 
cover CD-ROMs, so it lives on in 
a sense. December 1 999 

Internet ready computers! 

Plug in, turn on, connect and surf! 

CJE Micro’s can now supply you a ready to roll 
Internet solution. The internet software is 
installed and set up with a free Internet service 
provider. Up to five email addresses 
and 15MB of web space. 

A7000+ 32MB, HD, 14" Monitor 
& Internet Pack £850 

RiscPC 32MB, HD, CD, 15" Monitor 
& Internet Pack £1300 

Internet Systems built to your specifications. 

Internet pack consists of Modem, ANT Suite 
installed and set up with free Internet access. 
(Telephone calls at local rate.) 

Free Internet! 

For existing RISC OS users we can register you 
with a free Internet account, provide the 
ANT Suite log on script and instructions. 

(Telephone calls at local rate.) 

5 email addresses & 15MB web space. 
Simple painless instructions 

Connection Pack Includes 

Registration, with free Internet Service Provider, 
script disc for Ant Suite and instructions. 

Connection Pack 

With the ANT suite 

With ANT suite and modem 




All prices include VAT & UK delivery 

Second Hand RiscPCs 

600s from £480, StrongARM from £700 

(when available) 

A7000s From £350 

A7000+‘Foundation’ or ‘Extreme’ £700 



Revision *T' 

Now available 


RiscOS 4 £120 

Fitting & HD reformatting Service 

£25 or £15 with New Hard Drive 
Courier collection & return also available. 

Plustek OpticPro A4 1200x600 inc. Acorn S/W £140 (with Slide unit £180 ) 

PC Card 5x86 133MHz 512k Cache £225 

5x86 With Part exchange:- £90 CJE586 128k, £125 Acorn 586 & £170 DX2/66 
IIYAMA 17” Visionniaster Pro 0.25nini ag £350 
32 Speed IDE CD ROM Drive £60 

CD ReWriter SCSI Yamaha 4416 with S/W (needs SCSI interface) £320 
Acorn C++ HALF PRICE £125 
100MB Zip Drives from £85, 56K V90 Modem £80 
10.2GB IDE Hard Disc £135 25GB IDE Hard Disc £280 

S/H Acorn 



250MB Zip Drive SCSI Ext. £185, Printer Port version with S/W £215, Int. IDE £165 
9.1GB SCSI Hard Disc £290 18.2GB SCSI Hard Disc £680 

Acorn Access+ Interfaces RiscPC NIC l0b2&T £110, 10b2 only £80 
DRAM SIMMs for RiscPCs 32Mb £60, 64Mb £95 & 128Mb £200 



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

Tel 01903 523222 Fax 01903 523679 


All prices INCLUDE VAT @ 1 7.5% 

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

Name that domain 


Dm fo> 

Free ISPs, Internet Service Providers 
offering free dial-up access, e-mail and 
Web space, are now so numerous that 
ever more attractive features are being 
devised to ensnare customers. Limited 
duration weekend unmetered calls on an 
0800 number are offered by companies 
such as IC24 (http:/ / 
while (http://www. requires you to change 
your telephone service provider to get 
free local evening and weekend calls to 
its servers. 

Totalise ( 
give you free shares in the company, free 
telephone support and Web access to 
your Totalise e-mail address, freenetname 
Ltd is one of several companies offering 
free connection, e-mail, Web space, free 

Minutes away from your own domain 

phone support and a free Domain Name 
registration. With freenetname you also 
get free DNS hosting with unlimited 
address e-mail and Web forwarding to 
your own exclusive or 
domain name, adding kudos and 
credibility to your Internet presence. 

Domain name registration with 
Nominet normally costs £94 inc VAT for 
two years, and DNS hosting, e-mail and 
Web forwarding - the cross-translation 
of e-mail and Web page addresses to 
machine IP numbers - usually incur 
extra charges, freenetname gives you all 
these free, and expects to recover the 
costs from the local-rate telephone call 
revenue and make a profit as well. For 
this reason, you must use their dial-in 
number to send and receive e-mail, and 
to upload pages to your domain's 20Mb 
Web space. 

One advantage for Acorn users is that 
you can sign up online for all these 
freenetname goodies without Windows 
or Internet Explorer. I was able to open a 
freenetname account and register a nice 
domain name using my Rise PC and 
ANT's JavaScript Fresco version 2.03 
with SSL. I spoke to a freenetname 
technical support advisor who 
recognised the Acorn brand, as he'd 
used BBC Micros all the way through 
school. Get your domain while you can 

Thumbs up for Web images 

ThumbHTML by John M. Jakobsson 
creates an HTML page of small 
thumbnail pictures from a directory of 
Web image files. The desktop program 
uses Acorn's ChangeFSI to make small 
JPEG copies of your 
original GIF and JPEG 
images, and creates a 
tabulated HTML page to 
display them on your 
Browser. You'll need 
version 1.15 of ChangeFSI, 
which can be found at 
webster / download / d load .h tm 

To include optional hyperlinks to the 
full size images, the program copies 
them to a new directory, which seems a 
waste of space unless you delete your 
originals. The resulting index page loads 
very quickly, but the thumbnails vary in 

size because they are scaled equally. 
Watch out for errant slashes in filenames 
that may result in blank thumbnails. You 
can find ThumbHTML at http://www. info/th.htmi 
Paul Vigay's AntUtils 
vl.22 uses a different 
approach to display 
thumbnail images more 
neatly, but the page takes 
much longer to load. Paul's 
program presents the full 
size images to the browser 
which scales them to a constant width 
on loading. AntUtils offers many other 
functions to enhance the ANT Internet 
Suite, including timed fetches, random 
sig. for e-mail, search engine selection 
and Fresco feature controls. Find it at 
Paul's shiny new site http:/ /www. 

Knitting your browse 

Carl Pfeiffer's Browse mailing list 
exists as a focus for support of 
Acorn's Browse Web browser. 

The mailing list is unofficial but 
has many members including 
some of the original authors of 

Recent discussion has covered 
impending version updates and 
even the practicality of starting 
new RISC OS Web browser 
projects based on some of the 
open-source browsers from other 
platforms, such as Amaya, 

Netscape and Opera. 

To join the list send an e-mail 
with 'subscribe browse' in the 
body of the message. 

Pete's receipt 

Peter Gaunt's been busy adding 
to his Internet utility software 
wildlife menagerie, 'rrt' isn't a 
frog call, but gives ANT Suite 
users the facility of automatically 
sending back confirmation that 
an e-mail has been received. 

These requests are embedded in 
the plethora of normally hidden 
headers that precede the e-mail 
text itself. 

Peter suggests that setting this 
up requires a moderate amount 
of thought, and recommends 
users read his help file and test it 
locally before going 'live'. 

You can badger Pete for the 
program by sending an e-mail to 
badger® with 
just 'get armadillo apps/rrt' in the 

Socketeer bears fruit 

Socketeer, the popular freeware 
Internet connection application 
by Matthew Bloch, is now being 
nurtured by Andy Carter. Andy, 
known as Fruit to his oldest 
friends, is a long-time Acorn 
enthusiast and has owned many 
Acorn machines, from an Atom 
to a Rise PC. 

For anyone setting up 
Socketeer with other freeware 
Internet programs, his Argonet 
Website contains useful 
information and resources. 

You can also find out about 
the Waterwheel plant and other 
carnivorous genera that Andy 
nurtures in greenhouses at his 
home by visiting http://www. 

Contacting AU J 

David Dade: 


http* December 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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The CD distributed with RISC OS 4 
contains a variety of digital stock 
photography images, all supplied by 
one of the major players in that 
industry. Photodisc. This 
acknowledges that they, at least, are 
iii teres ted in designers working on 
platforms other than the Mac. 

The advantage of using good 
digital stock photography is clear: the 
designer gets the flexibility of ready- 
made images to work from in much 

the same way as clip-art, but without 
the prohibitively high cheese factor. 

Many traditional stock 
photography traders insist on pricing 
a specific image to match the context 
in which the image is used: A mono- 
chrome print of an image used in a 
short print run will cost less than the 
same image printed in colour for a 
widely distributed magazine. And 
then there's the issue of how to charge 
for an image to be displayed on a 

Photodisc, and a small 
number of other 
companies, operate a 
much more 

straightforward pricing 
structure, largely based 
on the size of the digital 
file containing the image. 
The images are royalty- 
free so, having licensed 
them, you can use them 
in as many different 
projects as you wish 
(with one caveat about 
packaging materials, 
greetings cards and the 
like). Photodisc's 
Website, at www., makes it possible to 
search, license and download single 
images in a single session, although 
you'll need Secure Socket Layers 
available in your browser to be able to 
licence the images with your credit 

Their total image library runs to 
tens of thousands of photos, and 
contains a wide variety of objects 
photographed against a clean white 
background, making them ideal for 

One other royalty-free digital stock 
photography trader worth mentioning 
is Stockbyte, whose site at is in dire need of 
attention - although their advertised 
vacancy for a webmaster suggests 
they're looking to improve in this area. 
Nonetheless, it's possible to buy 
specific images directly through the 
site, and Stockbyte also offer a custom 
CD-burning service. 

Contacting AU J 

Andrew Green: 
Don't forget to send in your 
entries for Pic of the Month! 

The new OLE 

As a direct result of their involvement with the Xemplar 
NC, Clares Micro Supplies have developed a unique-to- 
RISC OS variation on the idea of OLE, called PCA. With 
traditional OLE, an object in one application (often a 
graphic in a DTP document) can be exported to an 
appropriate image-editing application, modified, and 
then saved back into its original place within the first 

The trouble with this approach is that it can prove to 
be highly memory-intensive, as two copies of the object 
are used by the computer until the modifications are 
saved back. 

PCA-compliant applications change this by allowing 
the object to be modified in situ by any PCA tools the 
system has available: the extra editing tools use the in- 
memory copy contained in the actual workspace of the 
host application. 

PCA tools don't have to be loaded immediately either, 
just available for the system to call when appropriate. The 
downside of this approach is that the PCA host application 
has to trust all of the tools available on the system not to 
corrupt the block of memory they share. The clear upside 
is that the system allows consistent editing features to be 

maintained across a whole range of compliant host 
applications, allowing each one to be extended in 
functionality as and when new tools become available. 

It's a very RISC OS way of doing things. The typical 
Windows approach of having to use a single application 
to make every conceivable adjustment to a document is 
rare as it stands on RISC OS - the OS makes things so 
easy to apply a range of small programs to a single 
project. PCA hints at a highly useful development of that 

Currently the only tools available are for editing 
sprites, although Clares envisage text-editing and other 
tools becoming available as the idea catches on. If Zap or 
StrongEd (assuming continued development of the latter 
by someone) were to become PCA compliant, it would be 
possible to edit a text object in one application directly, 
using your favourite text editor. 

Clares' own Composition and David Pilling's Ovation 
Pro (a perfect home for the technology) are PCA 
compliant, with TopModcl and DaVinci soon to follow. It 
remains to be seen whether many other applications will 
embrace the system - see for 
further news as it happens. December 1999 


application called LinkSure. LinkSure is an amazingly 
simple yet effective HTML link checker. I've subsequently 
decided that it's one of those applications that you never 
thought you'd need, but once you've used it a few times 
wondered how you ever made do without it. 

In a nutshell, it checks links on Web pages. It's pretty 
efficient at its job too - and so simple to use. Just double- 
click on it and it pops onto the iconbar. All you then have to 
do is to drag an HTML file onto its icon and it starts 
scanning straight away. 

Not only does it check any links to local files on your 
hard disc but is capable of checking remote links too, so you 
can quickly find out if any of your links are broken. Indeed, 
1 can easily check my various links pages to see if the 
remote sites are still where I thought they were supposed to 
be. The only slight limitation I could find was that just 
occasionally LinkSure would hang up if a particular remote 
site doesn't respond in the way LinkSure 
would like it to. 

This appear to be a problem with the 
various fetcher mechanisms because Richard 
tells me that he's tried it with other http 
fetchers and it behaves in the same way. 

Nonetheless, it's a useful utility to have to 
hand when checking a Web page to make 
sure all the links are correct and actually 
point to valid pages. 

LinkSure is available to download in beta 
form from http:/ / 
richard /programs/ 



LinkS u re's progress window 

Part of the 
HTML results 

C p o a in ci 

fc dtrd for VL>f urk.liitcrnct.d«isn,!niifK.* jnjyitcjndcvhinil 

ImvinuM 14 

H jlNfit'.lN.* him | 

H iKiujcNVuivniJJiaul 

First off this month is another visit to Richard Goodwin's 
'House of Mabel' Website. When downloading software 
from the Web to review in this column, one of my pastimes 
is spending a few extra minutes wandering around people's 
sites. This either lets me discover additional goodies or 
lesser known software to download and more often than 
not gives me a bit of fascinating background to the various 
RISC OS users on the Internet. 

One goody I discovered on Richard's site was a little 

LinkSure " 







. .ork .fntcmet.deMgn. ! mi ne Am ya tc. indc.Vhtm! 

http://u w w . arson et 


-.rnet.tlcsign.!miiK’. A jnysite.homepageJinks/gif 

Desktop themes 

Also on Richard's site is an interesting project he has just embarked upon - 
and one I'm surprised no one has done before. A desktop theme selector. 
What is this? I hear you ask. Well, it's probably more familiar to people in the 
PC world (possibly because they are not happy with the look of Windows on 
their desktop) and is a system whereby you can change the whole look and 
feel of your desktop environment with a simple click of the mouse button. 

For instance you could give your desktop an 
'Aliens' feel (why you should want to. I'm not 
sure, but anyway the choice is yours) complete 
with new icons, backdrop and window furniture 
(the scroll bars and window icons and so on). 

You can even assign sounds to various wimp 
events if you wish to be really irritating. 

Although in it's early development stages, 

Richard's implementation is looking good so far 
- as the accompanying screenshots should show. 

You will probably recognise it if you've been to 
the movies recently. Keep checking the URL 
above, and I'm sure Richard would be willing to 
include your own artwork if you've designed a 
theme of your own. 

f 7 Act vase 

r m Ft4 seated 
j Bad* colour 


[7 Foni j - 
f 7 Sam | 1 

f7 warn f 


17 sen** 




17 Paten* 

| Untong 

totnOMn Vi 


Reloa d CetauH J S*v»*sd*l | Hutnovo( 

Ouckjjrxtoj Redo 1 Hefr j | ~ OK j 

Theme configuration window 

The Matrix desktop theme 

December 1999 

ECS Utils 

Here is another useful little 
application which deserves a 
mention. It's slowly evolved over 
time to become a helpful collection of 
desktop enhancers, all housed in a 
single application. 

Its main features fall into several 
categories, including Filer additions, 
wimp additions, mode additions and 
an application launcher. A lot of ECS 
Utils' features are invisible to the 
user, activating themselves only 
when required by the use of a 'hot 
key' press. 

Most of the enhancements are 
valid while the mouse pointer is over 
the window you want to act upon. 
Move it over a standard RISC OS 
Filer window and you can then press 
the function keys to change the 
display mode or sort order, bring 
windows to the front, back or center 
of the screen. 

A useful option for non-RISC OS 4 
owners is the ability to open a 'notes' 
directory simply by moving the 
pointer to the right edge of the 
screen and clicking Select. This will 

also open automatically during drag 
operations so you have a convenient 
way of saving files when you've 
started dragging but forgotten to 
open a destination directory first. 

ECS Utils lets you toggle between 
frequently used screen modes at the 
single click of a button, as well as 
providing a function to turn off the 
hourglass - which might be useful to 
Zap users! 

You can also scroll a window up, 
down, left or right simply by holding 
the Alt key down and pressing the 
relevant cursor key. This works on any 
window, even if it has no scroll bars. 

Something unique, which the 
author claims is entirely new to any 
computer platform, is called a 
'Version Manager'. 

Drag a Filer object (file, 
application or directory) with the Alt 
key pressed and a new directory will 
be created with a name derived from 
the first five letters of the name of 
the Filer object followed by the 
letters 'Vrsns'. Inside this directory 
will be another, this one has a name 

derived from the Date/Time stamp 
of the original Filer object. Inside this 
will be the unaltered original Filer 
object. This is very useful when 
creating many versions of a program 
or file, as you don’t need to keep 
renaming them. 

Finally there are some invaluable 
miscellaneous functions of ECS Utils ; 
A rudimentary mouse speed control 
mechanism, a snapshot grabber and 
a fine pointer control. 

The window snapshot utility is 
handy very. Just tap both Shift keys 
simultaneously and ECS Utils will 
save a snapshot sprite of the window 
or menu below the mouse pointer. 

Hold Ctrl down at the same time 
and ECS Utils will strip off the 
window furniture (scroll and title 
bars and so on) and just save the 
actual contents of the window for 
you. Smashing! 

ECS Utils comes complete with a 
comprehensive IHelp file and even a 
manual in StrongEd format. It can be 
downloaded from ECS' Website at 


Rob Davison has come to the help of 
graphic Web designers with this 
handy little utility to chop up sprites. 
Web designers will know that it's 
sometimes desirable to have a big 
image made up from multiple image 
pieces, but up until now, creating 
these pieces has been 
a tedious job of 
cutting and pasting. 

SChopper lets you 
quickly divide any 
sprite file up into 
horizontal and 
vertical 'slices', 
before saving out as 
a collection of 
rectangular sprite 
pieces, which you 
can then convert into 
GIF or PNG format 
ready for uploading 
to your Website. By 
the time you read 

this, GIF, JPEG, and PNG support 
may have been added, but in the 
meantime download yourself a copy 
of Peter Hartley's InterGIF. 

SChopper is available to download 
Silicon Valley /7320/archives/ 

After chopping. The reassembled pieces on a Web page 

Contacting AU j 

Paul Vigay: 

The graphic being divided up for chopping 

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

• V 


Plus i/face 

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 



16.8 Gb 



18.8 Gb 5 #M 



'Plus i/face 

’price includes an 

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


IDE Hard Discs 

A 3020 


30 Mb 



80 Mb 



120 Mb 



170 Mb 



210 Mb 



250 Mb 



330 Mb 



420 Mb 



512 Mb 



1.8 Gb 



AM) 10/3000 includes APDL IDE 
interface . A3020 includes fitting kit 
Ijtrger sizes and HD+CD available 

Is here! 

The ultimate super fast IDE 
interface for your Rise PC. 
Over 6 M/b per second! 

SCSI Hard Discs 

210 Mb 


420 Mb 



1 Gb 


4.2 Gb 



4.2 Gb 


8.7 Gb 



IDE CD ROM drives 


Drive with all cables and drivers 
for RO 3.6+ where required 
36x £45 

40x £47 

Drive including APDL IDE interface I 
36x £92 

40x £94 


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

40x £151 

CD ROM driver software 

Works with most ATARI CDs eg.. Pioneer 
Goldstar, Panasonic. Lite-on, Mitsumi, 
Sony. Hitachi, NEC, Toshiba, Sanyo, etc. 
Includes CDES for use with RO 3.5. 
Intended for RPC hut can be used with j 
an A5IMX). Only £8 or £7 with a drive 




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 formal clip arl. For a lull catalogue on KOOK or 1 ,6Mb disc please send 50p or two I st class stumps or sec our web site. 

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

■ Phone: 0181 7782659 Fax: 0181 488 0487 

APDL Public Domain, Clip Art and other CDs 

The best PD CD from the best PD library. Over 1,800 programs and utilities, 
more than 100 novels, etc. No games, clip art, music, or other lion-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. 

ust £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 1*1) games of all types. Ready to run direct 
from the CD on almost any machine, flours of fun for an unbeatable price. 
1000’s of photo quality pictures, background textures, buttons for web pages, 
and much more. An invaluable resource for everyone. 

Our Games Collection No. I CD was so popular we’ve done it again. Another 
twenty of the best best games at a real budget price. 

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

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 
A Cl) 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 amount of data at a realistic price. 

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

Now with eight games. AlfaXLS, Pharoahs Secret Tombs, Last Cybermoch, 

Sea Trek, Caves of Confusion, Rohocatch, Gold Run and Jewels of Jc/abar. 

APDL PD-1 Issue 4 


APDL PD-2 Issue 4 


DTP-1 and DTP-2 




DTP-1 plus DTP-2 plus 

DTP-3, j 



Games CD 1 


The Grafix CD 


Games CD 2 


Skullsoft Collection 


Soft Rock Collection 


Fantasy Pictures 



Earth in Space 


Earth Data 


New Ergane 



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 


Datafile PD CDs 

PI) C D -3 


PD CD -4 


PD CD - 5 


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 CI)FS and ATAPI CD drivers for many popular Cl) 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 Cl) ROMs 

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

All these features for the incredibly low price of just £52 
A version for the A3000, A4000, A3010 or A3020 is available with all the 
above features. Supports two internal and two external devices - £02 

New - Orb 2.2 Gb Removable media drives 

The latest removable media hard drive. Fits in lloppy drive bay on the Rise PC’ and 
works from cither of our IDE cards. Bare drive with one disc - £2 1 9 

Special package deal, Orb internal IDE drive, two 2.2 Gb discs, 
plus our IDE interface - £219 Extra 2.2 Gb discs just £39 each 

Ancestor + 

Available at last! The long awaited successor to Graham Crow’s highly 8 
popular genealogy program Ancestry, previously sold by Minerva. Upgrades 
from Ancestry I and Ancestry 2 available. Can import Ancestry 1 and II, 
IFamily and GEDCOM files and export GEDCOM and HTML 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. 
128K to 512K cache upgrade (fits most cards with socketed processor) £99 

General software 

Faster VC - £20 The alternative XT PC 
emulator. Works on am model with 2Mb 
RAM from A3000 to Strong ARM RPC. 

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

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

\York I bp - £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. Podtde with one 9 
joystick £42 Extra joysticks £4 each. 

Connect 32 fast SCSI 

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

© Q 

(Data ©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” IDF 
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 IDF card) and then just unplug the 
drive from the RPC,' and transfer data to another machine using the Data Safe. 

Prices start at £99 or w ith 4.2Gb drive just £179 or with 10 Gb only £209 

No cover disc? 

Y ou can blame the Acorn User 
survey. So what's going on? 
Well, the story goes 
something like this: For a long 
time now the restrictions of an 800K 
disc, even with compression, have 
been proving a little tight. But quite a 
reasonable percentage of RISC OS 
users still own machines of the A300, 
A400 and A3000 vintage - a 
testimony to Acorn's build-quality, 
but a pain in the neck for disc 

So what to do? Occasionally we 
have been forced to go to 1.6Mb 
discs, and have run off a smaller 
quantity of 800K discs, but this is not 
a good solution. What we also find 
from talking to readers who need 
800K discs is that they do own CD- 

ROM drives. 

Along comes the Acorn User 
survey for 1999 and we take a look at 
the results. It is a fact that RISC OS 
people have the highest percentage 
of Internet connections than any 
other group of computer owners - in 
excess of 80 per cent. 

Ownership of CD-ROM drives 
comes in at a staggering 97 per cent - 
staggering because none of the early 
machines had them as standard, 
most of them have been bought as 

So why not put a CD on every 

The programmers in the RISC OS 
market just don't have the output to 
fill even a high proportion of a CD 
every month; within a couple of 

months we would have exhausted 
the available software. So instead we 
are launching a combination of CD 
and Internet support. 

For every issue, what would have 
been the cover disc will be put onto 
the Acorn User Website for 
downloading - satisfying those with 
the Internet connection who need the 
disc contents for that month. And 
every third issue we will put a CD 
on the cover containing not only the 
last three 'cover discs' but additional 
content as well, taking a particular 
theme, such as graphics, 
programming, DTP and so on. 

Inside the magazine that frees up 
that little bit more space for the most 
popular items in any mag: Hardware 
and software reviews. 

Survey results 

Here's a selection of the results that came through on this year's Acorn User survey. 






6 60 

§ 40 


Here you can see the level 
of Internet connection and 
CD-ROM drive 
ownership - although il is 
slightly skewed by the 
ease of replying to the 
survey via e-mail 


Alasdair Bailey turns David Bailey 
in this digital camera review 

D igital cameras have been around for 
quite some time now. Over the last 
few years things have improved in 
leaps and bounds and although 
photographic-quality hard copies are still 
expensive to obtain, for certain applications, 
digital is now most definitely the better 

This review covers three cameras for 
which software drivers are available to 
allow use with RISC OS machines. 

There are two generic camera drivers for 
Acorns, both include support for a variety 
of cameras within one host application. 
Although there is some overlap between the 
drivers, Spacetech's PhotoLink supports 
most of the Olympus range while Irlam's 
Snapshots supports a far wider range of 
makes and models. 


Spacetech's support of the Olympus range 
of digital cameras came about Olympus 
were able to see that having RISC OS 
drivers for their camera range would be a 

PhotoLink' s control window 

good thing. A couple of older models of 
Epson and Sanyo cameras are also 
supported by the software. However, 
Spacetech didn't find all the UK 
representatives as helpful as those at 
Olympus, and so are currently focusing 
(pardon the pun) solely on their range of 

PhotoLink was put to the test using the 
mid-range C830L and the rather more up- 
market C2000Z. Overall, the package 
proved very robust and supported all of the 
cameras' functions satisfactorily. The user 
interface deserves particular praise for its 
use of a nice tidy main window which, 
when enlarged, offers a toolbar allowing 
settings to be altered from the comfort of 
your computer, rather than with the 
sometimes fiddly on-camera controls. 

A live viewfinder can be enabled in the 
centre of this window, offering the user an 
alternative to the camera's own viewfinder 
when, for example, positioning the camera 
on a tripod in a tight corner or taking 
pictures of oneself. Support is also included 
for taking time-lapse 
pictures while the camera is 
connected to the computer. 

Time-lapse photography 
is where a series of pictures 
are taken of a subject at a 
specified time delay in 
order to show an 
accelerated animation of, 
say, a flower blooming or 
even a building being 
constructed. The pictures 
may be displayed on screen 
or 'hot-linked' to another 
application, for example a 
utility to upload the 

December 1 999 

Digital Cameras 

PhotoLink currently supports the 
following cameras: 

• Epson Photo500 

• Sanyo ImagePC 

• Olympus D200, D200L, 

D210L, D220L, D300L, D320L, 
D330L, D340L, C900Z, C840L, 
C830L, C820L, C800L, C420L, 
C400L, C400, C1000L, C1400L 
and the C2000Z 

(Note: the Olympus 'D' cameras are 
the same as the ' C models , but are 
grey imports and may have NTSC 
video instead of UK PAL) 

pictures to the Internet to form a live 

My only major gripe with 
PhotoLink is its naming of time-lapse 
pictures. For some reason, it 
preserves the cameras internal 
conventions and names the pictures 
first in single digits (1, 2, 3 ... 8, 9, 10) 
rather than 001, 002, 003 ... 008, 009, 
010 and so on. This means that 
images aren't properly sorted in 
filer windows as the computer will 
put a file of name '10' before one 
named '2'. 

The problem can be overcome by 

Olympus C830L 

Although this model carries the lowest price tag of the 
three (£345.99), it is by no means bottom of the range. 
Digital cameras can now be obtained for as little as £150 
but we decided that this camera represents the minimum 
standard which is acceptable for most uses. 

The camera features both an optical viewfinder and an 
LCD screen, useful for composition purposes as well as 
looking back at photos already stored on the camera. The 
resolution of the screen is good but it does make indoor 
pictures look significantly darker than they turn out on 
the computer. This can be remedied by adjusting the 
brightness on the camera but then a similar problem 
would exist out of doors, requiring the brightness to be 
altered again. 

A second small LCD display is provided on the top of 
the unit, giving details of how many photos can be stored 
at the current resolution along with battery charge and 

other mode information. This screen comes in very useful 
when trying to conserve battery life as the other full 
colour screen really does drain power at an astounding 

By default, the camera ships with a 2Mb memory card, 
this is sufficient for most users and the resolutions 
possible with this camera limit the size of files anyway. 
The card is able to store nine pictures on the high quality 
setting (1280x960), thirty in standard (640x480) and four 
in super high (again 1280x960 but with less compression 
so a higher quality image results). 

Overall, the C830L is a very nice little camera. As can 
be seen from the sample photographs, the picture quality 
is almost comparable to that of the slightly more 
expensive Agfa model, with resolution being the only 
downside. If you're looking for a well-priced quality 
camera to capture pictures for a Website or perhaps a 
computerised archive of some sort, you can't go far 
wrong with the C830L. However, if you want to obtain 
high-quality printouts or use the output in any 
professional publication, one of the higher-end models 
would be a better bet. 

Snapshot + from irlam currently 
supports the following makes and 
models of digital camera: 

• Agfa ePhoto 307, 780, 1280, 

• Epson PhotoPC 500, 600, 700 

• Sanyo ImagePC, Digicam 200, 
210, 300 

• Olympus D200, D200L, 

D210L, D220L, D300L, D320L, 
D330L, D340L, C400, C400L, 
C410L, C420L, D600L, C800L, 
C820L, C830L, C840L, 

C1000L, C1400L, C1400XL, 

(Note: the Olympus 'D' cameras are 
the same as the 'C' models , but are 
grey imports and may have NTSC 
video instead of UK PAL) 

borrowed to test Snapshot +, see 
elsewhere in this article for how the 
camera itself fared. 

Snapshots is able to carry out all 
of the basic functions which you 
would expect; it offers full support 
for remote adjustment of a camera's 

sorting the files by date but many 
freeware slide show apps don't 
support this, so manual rearrange- 
ment is necessary - Spacetech are 
aware of this problem, and it's one of 
several features being considered, in 
the meantime a program such as 
NumberFix by Jochen Lueg 
tudor/ should help you out. 

The hot linking feature which 
allows for photographs to be 
automatically passed on to another 
application is a nice idea. However, 
displaying the pathname of the 
directory it's set to and perhaps 
creating extra directories to 
overcome the 77 files per directory 
limit on older versions of RISC OS 
would be worthwhile additions. 


Irlam's generic driver, S)iapShot+ f 
offers support for a far wider range 
of cameras than Spacetech's offering. 
Some overlap exists between the 
packages, notably the C830L which is 
included in this review and was 
tested with both. 

An Agfa ePhoto 
1680 was also December 1 999 


included for use in positions where pressing the shutter 
release could jog the camera and blur the final image. 

As with the C830L, both optical and LCD screen 
viewfinders are provided. However, the optical 
viewfinder is offset from the main lens both horizontally 
and vertically so the composition is not quite perfect in 
the resulting picture (this is corrected in the C1400XL, not 
reviewed here). 

Photos of all resolutions produced by the C2000Z are 
that bit more crisp than those taken using the other 
cameras considered here. This is demonstrated to a 
greater extent upon closer examination, so do take the 
time to refer to the example pictures on the Acorn User 
and Spacetech Websites if you have access. 

All in all, the C2000Z is a very high quality, robust 
camera. With a price tag of £649.99, it'll set you back a few 
pennies more than the other two, but it is well worth it if 
you need a high quality output. 

Olympus C2000 Zoom 

The C2000Z is a very nice bit of kit. Although this is 
reflected in the price tag it is well worth the extra cost 
(mind you, it's been reduced by £100 recently, so price- 
wise it's very competitive with the Agfa). Olympus have 
basically taken all of the features you'd expect from a 
good film camera and applied them to this digital 
offering. A powerful 3x optical zoom is included along 
with features to give the more experienced photographer 
greater control over the final output. 

Shutter speed and aperture size may be manually 
adjusted, but the point and shoot support seen in the 
lower priced cameras is also preserved for those who like 
things simple. A handy little remote control is also 

‘n]>TA^s!!Hatm3i^4Tc?b up6 .aliAla sdair. \ DTrCtrTDifs AU .Cam eras .Res ultsDay p 



3 pictures taken. 27 pictures left. 1800K free, batteries at 25% 

PictureOOl Picture002 Picture003 

Left: An Album filer window Right: Snapshot + in action 

features along with previewing and 
downloading pictures from the camera. My 
main cause for concern with this package is 
that it opts for a main window which is 
very much in the style of Paint's sprite file 
window. This means that all options are 
accessed via a very large menu structure 
and is somewhat daunting at first. 

Irlam's software also includes support for 
capturing time-lapse movies. However, this 
is restricted to exporting the sequence as an 
Acorn Replai/ movie file, rather than storing 
a sequence of the original images. This is a 
good feature but some users would 
appreciate the ability to save the individual 

The Irlam drivers can be 
supplemented with a tidy little 
clip-art indexing utility by the 

name of Album. When activated, this simply 
replaces filer icons with a small thumbnail 
of the image contained within the file. This 
feature can be very useful, and while it can 
take a while to create the thumbnails, this 
only has to be done once per directory. 

Album also allows all of the pictures 
from a camera to be downloaded 
onto the computer at once - a 
handy utility. 

Overall, the Irlam drivers are 
Y\ very well put together and carry out 
all their functions correctly. 

However, the drivers were found to 
be slightly less stable than the Spacetech 
alternative and it was also necessary to 
manually flush the application's temporary 
store after a forced exit, otherwise it refused 
to re-load. 

Other issues... 

All of the cameras reviewed used four AA 
size batteries and none really stood out as 
being better than the others on power 
consumption. AC adaptors are available for 
all three but aren't included in the prices 
quoted here. The Agfa model does include a 
battery re-charger though which is very 
handy and saved many trips to the garage 
during testing! 

Each camera considered here also 


December 1 999 

included a video-out lead for 
displaying pictures on a TV, along 
with automatic flash and red-eye 
reduction mode. 

Most digital cameras on the 
market at present use a serial lead to 
communicate with the base 
computer. This system is good 
because every RISC OS computer, 
bar some A3000s, supports it by 
default, although things can be a 
little slow, with a limit of 115200bps 
being imposed by even a Rise PC's 
serial port. Some cameras are starting 
to make it on to the market with USB 
connectors. It would be very nice to 
see support for these under RISC OS 

in future, provided the Mico and 
RiscStation manage to support the 
relatively new protocol. 

Obtaining photographic-quality 
hard copies of your snaps is a little 
complicated at present. For best 
results you'll need a professional dye 
sublimation printer, but the cost of 
such a unit puts them well out of 
reach for most homes, schools and 

However, Olympus have come up 
with a smaller version which is more 
affordable and is currently available 
from Spacetech. The new breed of 
'PhotoReal' printers which are now 
available at around the £300 mark 

Agfa ePhoto 1680 

The ePhoto boasts a 

rather more 
innovative design 
than the Olympus 
models considered 
here. Its case is split 
into two sections 
with the section 
carrying the lens 
able to rotate 
through a full 360 
degrees. This is 
very useful for 
taking self portraits 
but does make the 
camera a little 
difficult to hold on 
to. Further, the lack of an optical 
viewfinder means that the battery 
hungry LCD display must be left 
on at all times. A battery re-charger 
is supplied though, along with four 
re-chargeable A A size batteries, so 
it's not so bad really. 

The quality of picture obtained 
with the ePhoto 1680 lies 
somewhere between that possible 
with the two Olympus models. The 
pictures aren't quite as colourful 
and sharp as those from the C2000Z 

vof n hicrhpr rpcnlntinn in nnssihlp 

than when using the C830L. 

However, I must add that the 
LCD screen on this model is 
superior to either Olympus offering 
both in refresh rate and colour 
quality, it almost makes up for the 
lack of an optical viewfinder. 

Agfa seem to have designed this 
camera as a digital camera rather 
than taking the approach Olympus 
seem to favour of perfecting the 
digital technology then packaging 
it in a very conventional-looking 
rasp. Thprp's nothing wrong with 
this but it does 
mean the more 
photographer is 
starved of some of 
the features he'd be 
used to. 

However, if you 
don't know what 
aperture and 
shutter speed are 
all about, you 
won't miss them 
anyway. The 
ePhoto 1680 retails 
at £618.05. 

also produce hard copy of an 
acceptable quality. Again, these are 
available with RISC OS drivers from 

And finally... 

So far as these three models are 
concerned, you most definitely get 
what you pay for. The best advice we 
can offer is that you spend as much 
as you can afford. As with all 
computer hardware it might be 
worth waiting a little longer to see 
what new technology becomes 
available in the next year or so as the 
manufacturers start to target the 
consumer market more and more 

If you want to buy now, the 
recently reduced C2000Z from 
Spacetech is a bargain, it's new price 
brings it into the same range as the 
Agfa, while it's output quality 
remains high. 

When it comes to software, 
Spacetech's PhotoLink is the better of 
the two but it doesn't support many 
non-Olympus cameras so . , 

Snapshot + still has its niche. 

Product details 


PhotoLink camera drivers 


£69 (inc VAT) 


Spacetech Ltd 


SnapShot+ camera drivers 


£59 (inc VAT) 


Irlam Instruments Ltd 




£31.14 (inc VAT) 


Irlam Instruments Ltd 


Olympus C830L camera 
and drivers 


£345.99 (with PhotoLink from 
Spacetech) £523 (with 

SnapShot+ from Irlam) 


see below for company details 


Olympus C2000Z camera and 
PhotoLink drivers 


£649.99 (inc VAT) 


Spacetech Ltd 


Agfa ePhoto 1680 with 


£618.05 (inc VAT) 


Irlam Instruments Ltd 




Spacetech Ltd, 1 The 

Courtyard, Southwell 

Business Park, Portland, 

Dorset. DT5 2NQ 


01305 822 753 


01305 860 483 




Irlam Instruments Ltd, Brunei 
Science Park, Brunei 

University, Uxbridge, 
Middlesex. UBS 3PQ 


01895 811 401 



http://www.irlam- j 

December 1 999 v 


I he superb graphics and text 
quality of Acorn machines 
make them ideal for 
demonstration and 
presentation purposes. Indeed, the 
anti-aliased font system was 
originally designed for optimum 
display quality on televisions and 
video output. 

NoticeBonni Pro is a 
comprehensive presentation package, 
enabling users to organise and 
display a collection of 'slides', either 
as an unattended rolling display, or 
as a manually controlled 

RISC OS users have long been 
waiting for an alternative to 
Microsoft Pozuerpoint for use on their 
platform. While not intending to 
compete with Pozuerpoint, 
comparisons are inevitable in this 
world of 'keeping up with industry 
standards'. Although lacking in some 
of the sophistication and extent of 
Pozuerpoint , NoticeBoard Pro does 
score in ease of use and, of course, 
the flexibility of the RISC OS user 

This is not to say that NoticeBoard 
Pro is by any means lacking in 
features. It contains an impressive 
range of controls and options. 
However, it's ease of use and non- 
daunting user interface will make it 
ideal for schools and colleges where 
teachers may want to create their 
own presentations with the 
minimum of effort and fiddling 

What you get 

NoticeBoard Pro is supplied on two 
discs and consists of a player 
application and a slideshow editor 
application. The idea of supplying the 
editor and player seperately is a good 
one because it means that not only 
can usage and control be kept simple, 
but it also means that you can 
distribute copies of the player with 
your finished slideshow. (Permission 


Paul Vigay moves into display mode 








is granted for users to 
distribute the player- 
only application.) 

Installation is a 
simple matter of 
running an install 
program and telling it 
where you wish to 
install on your 
harddisc. I did run into 
a few problems here - 
having just installed 
RISC OS 4. The installer 
program expects to find 
the various system 
modules inside your 
IBoot structure. 

However, many of these 
are actually inside the 
ROM in RISC OS 4, so 
I ended up with a 
duplicate set of 
modules copied onto 
my IBoot application. 

Personally I would 
have liked to be either 
given the option of 
installing these modules 
or, more preferably, NoticeBoard Pro to 
have recognised that I already had 
newer versions in the machine. This 
may be changed for future versions 
though, now that RISC OS 4 is widely 
available. This minor niggle aside 
though NoticeBoard Pro seems to run 
without problems on RISC OS 4. 

Anyone who owns the original 
version of NoticeBoard will be happy 
to find a conversion utility that will 



Homert on. Medium 

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04:33 PM 


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J Filled backgrounds 



Figure II: The clock configuration display 

tpjxl ADFS::Orac.$.Applicats.NBoardPro.!Excmple [r 







Figure I: The Control window 

take the old format and convert to 
the new one. 

Creating presentations is easily 
performed via the standard RISC OS 
drag and drop interface. There are 
two options here: you either create a 
pseudo’ application which will hold 
all the recources inside, allowing you 
to transport it as a single item; or 
you can have the single file’ option 
where all the resources are accessed 
from wherever they are on your 
system, but this form is not really 

Once you've opted to create a new 
slideshow, a control window will 
open allowing you to set such 'global 
parameters' as screen mode to run 
in, what 'furniture' to display on 
each slide and which fades are 
available. The furniture option lets 
you place various additional display 
features at any of the eight screen 

December 1999 

oard Pro 

positions (four corners and four sides). 

These include a clock, video-style controls 
or a variety of title/numbering options - 
most are user configurable. For example, 
you can define the font and size of the 
onscreen clock or titles or which video 
controls are displayed. The default option is 
no furniture, which will display the slide 
exactly as the original was drawn. 

The main option in the control panel is 
the 'groups' option. This is where you can 
effectively define a 'carousel' containing a 
set of slides. A group can have a set of 
parameters which will globally apply to all 
the slides in the current set, such as 
background colour, time schedules and 
colours. You can also use an image as a 
background image. This works in much the 
same way as the RISC OS pinboard in that it 
can be tiled, scaled or centred within the 
defined screen area. Again, the width and 
height of the actual displayable area can be 
defined by the user. 

As regards configuration, flexibility and 
ease of use, I would argue that it's certainly 
easier to create a presentation with this 
application than it is using PowerPoint. 

Having made a group in which to hold a 
related set of slides, you can then create 
them - each group has a specific 
background and the slides are displayed on 
that background. This is where the 
flexibility of NoticeBonrd Pro instantly 
becomes visible. 

Using the usual RISC OS drag and drop 
philosophy you name a slide, drag in the 
image to use and set various parameters. On 

Figure III: The Global configuration window 

a basic level you can 
simply drag a pre- 
designed image into the 
new slide window and 
click OK. However, if 
you want to be more 
ambitious you can 
schedule your slide to 
appear to at a certain 
time - useful if you 
wish to create an 
unattended display for 

The separate groups 
of slides can be 
displayed at random or 
in order, and within 
each group the slides 
can be shown at 
random or in order. 



Figure IV: The Groups option panel 

One feature which can add a new 
dimension to finished presentations is the 
ability to link sound effects to slides. This 
can spice up displays, especially if created 
with young children in mind. One of the 
example files contains slides of various 
animals. A lion's roar accompanies the 
drawing of a lion. This makes it ideal for 
use as a learning tool. 

If you have a sound sampler (such as the 
VTi printer port sampler) you can easily 
produce your own sound effect resources 
which will drop straight into NoticeBonrd 
Pro. By carefully selecting your sequence 
you could even provide a sound-track to 
your presentation. In a teaching 
environment, this facility can greatly add to 
the ability to keep children's attention 
focussed on the slideshow images. 

To create a whole slideshow, you just 
follow this process, naming a slide and 
dragging the image into the window. The 
list of slides will then be built up in the slide 
window. You don't need to worry if you get 
them in the wrong order either. Not only 
can you easily insert or delete slides, but 
you can simply drag a slide from one 
position to another. This will swap the two 
slides over and works in much the same 
way that you would alternate slides in a real December 1999 V. 

Figure VI: The ‘Group’ Preferences settings 
showing the range of controls provided 

slide carousel. In true RISC OS 
fashion, you can also select a group 
of images and drag multiple files 
into the group window in order to 
create a complete batch of slides. 
NoticcBoard Pro doesn't include any 
editing facilities itself, merely being a 
tool to create slideshows (although a 
double-click will load the selected 
image into a suitable editor). The 
artwork you use can be created in 
Artworks, Draw or any of the bitmap 
image manipulations packages 
available - anything from Paint to 

The import of drawfiles makes 
NoticcBoard Pro even more flexible 
because you can design quite 
complex slides by mixing images 
and text, perhaps utilising one of the 
many clip-art collections available. 

Indeed, using a read-only version 
of Fresco (supplied with NoticcBoard 
Pro) you can even design slides in 
HTML format and utilise Fresco's 
powerful 'save as Draw' option to 
produce the drawfiles for you. If you 
have access to the Internet you could 
incorporate Web-based resources into 
your final presentation. 

One thing that I did find that 
didn't appear to work as described 
in the manual was the range of input 
formats acceptable. 

According to the manual, 
NoticcBoard Pro will accept Draw, 
sprite or JPEG images, in addition to 
those created by ArtWorks. Although 
JPEG images are not catered for 

natively, they should be 
accepted when included 
in a drawfile. This didn't 
appear to work on my 
copy. Whether or not 
this was due to my 
having just installed 
RISC OS 4 I'm not sure. 

However, when I 
converted the images 
using ChangeFSl and 
used the resulting 
sprites, everything 
worked as it should. 

the change 

The transition from one 
slide to the next is via a 
random fade. This can 
be made from a wide 
selection of over 25 
different effects, ranging 
from simple wipes to complex flower 
designs or Moire lines. 

This is where my biggest, and 
perhaps only, complaint with the 
application lies, for the actual fades 
between specific slides cannot be set 
by the user. Each slide is faded using 
an effect chosen at random from the 
pool of fades available. You can 
choose which fades are used, but 
ultimately the actual one is chosen at 

According to the author, this 
shortcoming is likely to be reviewed 
should a future version materialise. 

However, until then 
you'll have to accept 
a random one. This 
point aside, the 
program performed 
very well and I would 
have no hesitation in 
recommending it to 
people who wish to 
produce an effective 
and highly visual 
presentation of 
images. It's certainly 
easier to use than 
applications such as 
Microsoft Powerpoint, 
and its simple to use 
interface and ease of 
use will make it ideal 
for busy teachers or 
for use as unattended 
point of presence 
'rolling demos'. The 
only real competition 
provided on the 

RISC OS platform comes from 
Spacetech's OHP application. This 
doesn't have the ability to add sound 
samples to slides, but it does allow 
you to choose which fade to use for 
the transition between slides. 

The main users of NoticcBoard Pro 
will probably be teachers or 
businessmen who want to quickly 
and easily create a slideshow 
presentation, either from their own 
resources and artwork, or by using 
freely available clip art or even Web- 
based information. 

They should find no problem 
creating impressive-looking 
demonstrations within minutes of 
installing the software. It's 
comprehensive, yet clear and easy 
to manipulate. 

The only real drawback is the lack 
of choice which selecting fade effects 
between specific slides, although this 
is likely to be rectified in a future 
version. Some demo examples are 
provided, along with a printed user 
guide which is concise and 
easy to understand. l=Wl»J 

Product details 


Noticeboard Pro 


£29.95 (£15 if upgrading) 


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


(+44/0) 1582 761395 


(+44/0) 1582 761395 



Figure V: Building a new slide 

y December 1 999 

Quality Performance 
Compatibile Expandable 


A/go KoU«»d 

The Voyage 

A*Wttl • hnrt* v> 


OS 4 computers 
o i,4Pi,.oo mmm, 

Telephone for full details and colour brochure or see our web site. 
Educational discounts are available. Schools can register at our web site 
to gain access to our education site. 

Mico is designed and manufactured by MicroQjgijal Limited 

MicmDigiial, MicroHus and Mico® MicroDigit&i Limited 
All other trademarks are acknowledged 

MicroDigilal Limited. 37 Titus Street, Saltaire. Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 4LU 
Telephone number 01274 618774 ’ FAX number 01274 619482 

email address web site 

Mico sets new industry standards for small 
computers. Excellence in engineering design, 
investment in leading edge technology, and 
our zero defect quality assurance programme 
combine with the new Rise OS 4 operating 
system, to deliver a fast easy to use reliable 
computer system preloaded with software that 
is ideal for the home, small business and 
educational user. 

Mico is powered by a 56 MHz ARM 7500FE 
processor with performance up to 50 MIPS 
and higher resolution screen modes. The 
processor has a built-in floating point maths 
co-processor and DMA. 

Mico uses fast EDO RAM, has a high speed 
32 bit EIDE interface, dual USB ports, 16 bit 
sound sytem with a built-in synthesizer and 

Other features include three MicroBus 
expansion slots which can support existing 
podules and one free ISA slot and the new 
Rise OS 4 operating system. These features 
combine to deliver performance 2/3 times 
faster than the existing RISC computer using 
the ARM 700 processor. 

You (tom to bo cn*T* to ver* manu* 

A/goNet Technical Support 


irwy hive rrtxmatai v\ 


K *' ‘ and '<-** 

ArgoNcl FAQ 

Argo Horne Page 

PaQ,v 1 WHWa»i 


Other useful addresses 

Try *so 

Yrfno | E»fi*c | lym 

Film ana TV »Mrch: 

S<ovcn lof « 1* ( . J 

w»; vwrch 

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B0C NWS | PA Pf^N O;or»e 
IVl<lnick tr-ynyr.^, 

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Tel: 029 2049 2324 E-mail: 




omputers are tools for 
accomplishing all kinds of 
processes - and humans just 
love to manipulate their 
environment. So Composition from 
Clares is just the program to allow 
you to indulge your wildest dreams. I 
am speaking metaphorically of course 
- I'm talking of creating fantastic 
collages using all manner of imagery. 

Composition is a totally bit-map- 
oriented program, but can import 
vector images and once they are 
suitably arranged, they can be 
transported into the bitmap world. So 
images from Draw, Artworks and so 
on, are welcomed. Once within the 
realms of the program, and in bitmap 
format, your images can be pulled, 
pushed, resized, masked, blended 
and illuminated - until they are 
altered beyond recognition. 

All of your images can be re- 
stacked, brought forward, sent back 
and re-shuffled since each one is 
floating over the canvas - not fixed. 
Composition was also one of the first 
bitmap programs on the Acorn 
platform to incorporate eight-bit 
masks. And it is here where it really 
comes into its own. There is only one 
possible drawback - the fact that you 
are adding a number of bit-map 
images, means that the file will 
quickly become very large. There are 
a couple of solution; Clares produces 
a good Virtual memory' program; or 
better still, invest in more RAM while 
prices are low. This is a review but for 
demonstration purposes, I will be 


Mr Bond 

Walter Briggs puts on various masks 

Figure 1: Mr Bond's mask window 

using some of the imagery from 
previous articles and especially 
Mr. Bond. 

Fading image 

In Figure I we can see the mask 
window overlaying Mr. Bond - this is 
the master manipulator of 007. 
Compositions forte lies in its use of 
masks. This allows the interaction of 
numerous images within the canvas 
window. There are of course many 
other options to apply to your 
composition, and since this is a 
review, I will try to cover most of 
them - including PCA (an applet of 
growing taste). 

There are five types of mask 
available for each image in Compo : A 
Blend mask, controlling the opacity; a 
Tint mask, which allows you to add a 
tinted effect to your image; and a 
Curve mask that appears when you 
want to alter the Gamma curve - the 
coloration of your image. 

The ability to create shadows for 
any of your images is made 
possible with the Shadow 
mask. By default, the shape of 
the objects within the Blend 
mask is used for the shadows, 
but an individual shadow 
mask can be created and 
manipulated to suit your tastes. 
Last, but not least is the 
Displacement mask, which 
allows the distortion of an 
image according to the amount 
of grey levels 
within it. 

In the foreground of Figure I 
is the blended and masked 
silhouette of 007. The mask is a 
highlight/ linear fill, which can 
be controlled by sliders, as in 

Figure II: Inserting the wave 

this case, to allow the light point 
(white is opaque - black transparent) 
to be central to the image, and so 
allow it to blend into the background 
on either side. 

At the bottom of this image is the 
Mask Toolbar, in this case for the 
Blend mask. The Blend mask can be 
chosen from a list of pre-set options, 
which opens when you choose a new 
mask. This allows you to choose the 
type of mask you want to apply to 
your image; here it was a modified 
linear one. At any time, you can 
switch between object and mask, with 
the current one visible in the display 

You may wonder why Bond's 
collar is black in the mask window. 
This is because Compo allows the easy 
removal of unwanted backgrounds; 

Figure III: Adding text December 1999 V 


but the process can also remove 
(make transparent) areas that need to 
be seen, since it selects a global 
colour. To remove unwanted areas, 
you need to see your original image. 
Clares has made this a very simple 
task; just click on the Eye icon on the 
tool bar and your image appears, next 
Adjust-click on the area you want to 
disappear or become transparent. 

In the Bond image, the white 
background was unwanted, but in 
electing to remove this, his collar 
disappeared as well. This is no major 
problem, since there are tools 
available to work on a mask, 
independent of the options offered at 
the outset of masking. All I did was 
spray white pixels (you can also 
spray black pixels) over this section, 
and gradually, with the lavish use of 
the various blend options, the collar 
gently re-emerged. 

Sea-ing clearly 

The next picture to be worked on 
(Figure II) had been introduced first 
onto the canvas, this was a 
photograph of an ocean wave - a 
powerful image I wanted as a 
backdrop to 007. 

This picture was not tall enough to 
fill the canvas, but re-sizing is one of 
the simplest tasks, Compo just calls up 
ChangeFSl and the ocean is re-scaled 
to fit the page. It is also possible to 
flip, trim and align images on the 
page. Compo also supports OLE 
(object linking and embedding) which 

Figure V: Tinting the glass 

Figure IVb: 
A radial 
blend mask 

Figure IVa: Adding the glass 

means, with a Control+double-click 
your image can be transported into 
your favourite paint package for any 
updates. The reason for this option is 
that while you can control the opacity 
of your image with all kinds of 
masks, you cannot edit the actual 
image itself. The only drawback with 
OLE is that all work on your masks is 
lost. Of course, if you don't have a 
good art program, PCA (more later) 
could be your next acquisition. 

This second screenshot shows the 
sky being removed with the click of a 
mouse button, and any distortions 
were airbrushed back. After this 
work, I realised the scene looked 
better with the sky. All these changes 
are dynamic - seen in real time, 
updating any changes as you work. 

The window in the top right is 
another view of the scene you want to 
mask - here is where you click on any 
unwanted sections, to make them 

Stirring shadows 

In Figure III, text has been added and 
given a pseudo-3D shadow. In fact, 
Compo deals with this feature very 
well, and the shadow can be easily 
altered to suit. You can choose your 
own shadow colour, which is really a 
tint, and it changes to accommodate 
the background colour. In addition, 
because the text is aliased, and the 
pixel colour of the shadow is 
calculated on a pixel by pixel basis - 
it means the shadow is altered to 
match the shaded colour of any part 
of your background. 

With this pseudo-3D effect, the 
shadow can appear to be cast along 
the ground. Also this simulated 
shadow can be manipulated further 
by allowing you the option to alter 
the X sheer and Y shrink - this simply 
means you can alter the length, angle 
and shape of the shadow. 

The text is entered into its own box 
and is available in any font that you 
have; and like so many other 
features, the text can be changed at 
will. Figure III shows how text is 

Figure VI: Editing the mask 

created, the colour, font, style, size 
and so on. It is also possible to alter 
the wording at any time by opening 
the dialogue box, making the 
modifications and clicking on the 
change button. A shadow is easily 
added, and can be designed to give 
the impression of light from most 

Because the text is set within 
certain borders, it is sometimes 
necessary to increase the parameters 
of the text area to accommodate a 
particularly long shadow. You can 
increase the surrounding area of the 
text using the trim menu, simply right 
click on the bump arrows to create a 
negative value and enlarge the 
boundary round the text. 

In Figure III, I have increased the 
righthand side of the text box to allow 
the shadow to extend to the right. 

You may notice an added toolbox on 
the left side of this window - PCA 
tools - a small applet of image editing 
tools added to Compo for work on any 
of the images that need a little 
enhancing. These plug-in tools are 
described at the end of the article. 

Blended malt 

Now we come to the fun part: It's 
time to add the glass to the crashing 
waves - of course slightly shaken but 
not stirred. The original glass was 
already a dark shade, tinted with red, 
(as seen in the bottom right hand 
corner of Figure IV) this colour would 
be enhanced later - but now I wanted 
to subtly blend the tumbler into the 
ocean background. 

I decided to use a straightforward 
linear blend, which was darker at the 
top and allowed the clear section of 
the glass to become more transparent. 
The sliders allow you to decide which 
direction that the blend is to go - dark 
at the top, or at the bottom. You can 
also select other types of blend; for 
example, a radial blend, as seen in 
Figure IVb. The idea is the same in all 
blend masks; it allows you to control 
the opacity of your image. Though at 
any stage you can select the opacity 
option on the toolbar and pull a slider 
to alter the overall transparency of a 

December 1999 

Figure VII: A simple collage 

particular image. 

Figure V shows a bright red tint 
being applied to the contents of the 
glass. When selecting the tint mask it 
is again possible to see the sprite you 
are working on. Here the original 
glass, which appears in the window 
on the right, has a white dot in the 
centre - this represents the centre of 
the applied tint. It is still governed by 
the radial blend that was applied 
earlier, so now the tint radiates out 
from the centre of the circular tint 
mask. It is possible to move the 
position of the tint, by Controld- 
dragging the centre of the mask 
around. It is also possible to have 
more than one point of tinted light. 

Glass agent 

It was of course always my intention 
to introduce Mr. Bond into the scene, 
and probably behind the glass. Figure 
VI shows the needed adjustment to the 
mask to allow his weapons to show. 

It was the blend mask that needed 
to be altered to create more opacity to 

glass, and especially to 
the base of the tumbler. 

There are number of 
tools that can be used to 
work on the mask - 
brushes, spray cans, 
drawing tools, to 
mention just a few. I 
simply sprayed black 
over the section I wanted 
to make invisible and 
gently blended the edges 
to allow a softer 
transition. It's often good 
to blend the mask since 
sometimes your image 
can have a ragged 
outline, this can be 
smoothed completely away with such 
options. I wasn't happy with this 
composition since Mr. Bond's face was 
cut through by the top of the glass. I 
decided it was time to move the 
special agent to another locality. 

Bonded whiskey 

Though this simplistic collage (Figure 
VII) held a measure of dynamism with 
the wave and glass, I wasn't 
completely happy. I felt the whole 
scene needed a complete 
transmogrification. First 1 flipped the 
ocean horizontally, and moved it so 
the crashing wave appeared to be 
pouring into the glass. 

Mr. Bond was hustled right, and 
some new text added. You can see by 
the lower legend how well the anti- 
aliased shadow works on various 
colour combinations. Though this 
composition worked reasonably well, 

I still wasn't happy with the impact of 
the image. What it needed was the 
addition of some more points of 
interest - old Connery just wasn't 

enough - sorry girls! 

At least I could add more liquor - 
in the form of the bottle from the 
second article in my series. A new sky 
complete with planet was warped in, 
along with a metallic podule and 
suitable 007 text - it made a world of 
difference. There was still a bit of 
work to do; increasing the contrast of 
certain images, brightening colours - 
all done within Compo. The package 
has a number of Special Effect options 
which allows most enhancements to 
be made. What Compo lacks are 
Creative, Editing and Painting tools 
for the images, not just the masks - 
until now that is. Enter PCA. 

Tools on tap 

The idea of having a set of special 
effect tools attached, and available for 
almost any program that contains 
images, is a great idea. But what if that 
program also doesn't need to know 
anything about the attached tools or 
the work they do? That's PCA. 

PCA is a plug-in system which 
allows objects to be shared between 
applications. Graphic objects in 
Compo, or other software supporting 
PCA, can be edited using PCA 
applets, which are plug-in tools that 
can manipulate that type of object. In 
fact each of the tools is a separate 
program running on the machine and 
can provide their capabilities to any 
program that uses PCA. 

This PCA plug-in system allows 
images and masks to be edited 
outside Compo, without actually 
moving them out, in a variety of 
ways. It is designed to be an open, 
extendable protocol so that plug-ins 
written for it, can be used with any 
program that supports the protocol. 

To sum up, Compo provides a 
powerful, yet straightforward means of 
creating dynamic compositions from a 
variety of images. Now with the 
availability of these PCA applet tools, 
the main criticism of this Clares 
product can be erased. These add-on 
tools which allow ’in-program’ editing 
is just what the package was crying out 
for. Look out for a ’Preview’ of 
PCA in the near future. 

Product details 




£75 (on offer, 
usual price £99.95) 


Clares Micro Supplies, 

75a Webbs Lane, Middlevvich, 
Cheshire CW10 9DS 


(+44/0) 1606 833999 


(+44/0) 1606 836111 



\ v wwyrl a res m i c ro . com j 



Mike Cook adjusts his frequency amplitudes for better effect 

L ei's face it, when it comes to 
computers, sound has always 
taken second place to 
graphics. In fact second place 
might be pushing it somewhat. The 
tiny speakers fitted to most 
computers have always ensured 
there is a market for external ones 
but surprisingly they are still a 
minority purchase and, even if 
bought, they are seldom used. 

I know I don't use them much 
because of the trouble of where to 
put them, remembering to power 
them up separately, and the general 
reluctance to have a powerful beep 
blasting out at you with every 
syntax error. 

Nevertheless there are those 
whose main use of the computer is 
enhanced by good sound, not only 
games players but also musicians. 
When my son Alec, who is studying 
music for A-level set his eyes on the 
3D Surround sound Equaliser he 
was drooling over not only the 
prospect of enhanced sound but 
also the cool look of the thing. 

This unit has been designed for 
the mass PC market and as such is 
built in sufficient quantities to be 
affordable. It is the same size as a 
CD player and fits in a standard 
slot. This means it is ideal to fit into 
a Rise PC although you might need 
a two-layer one if you already have 
a CD-ROM fitted. There is an 
Acorn-specific back panel which 
fits in place of a standard podule 
with a slip of paper saying how the 
* plugs are labelled wrongly. 

You have a high and low level 
input with a slider switch to select 
between them, plus a speaker 

output and microphone input. All 
these are on 3mm jack sockets. 
Round the front is a headphone 
socket and microphone input again 
all on 3mm jacks. The equaliser has 
a disc drive-type power socket that 
you can plug into a spare power 
loom. However, if you have another 
sort of RISC OS machine fitting 
might not be so straightforward. 
Essentially you would need an 
external disc drive case and power 

The business end consists of a 
main volume control, seven 
graphics equaliser sliders and a 
microphone input level slider. 

Either side of these is a red 10-bar 
LED display; coupled with the 
green LEDs on the sliders and a red 
one on the volume control you have 
a very cool looking addition to your 
computer setup. 

The graphics sliders have a 
central click position indicating 
OdBs or no effect. Sliding up and 
down gives a +/- lOdB range but the 
physical range is smaller than 1 
would like. I got out my 
oscilloscope and signal generator 
and measured the range of the 
controls. At the low end, at 60Hz, 
the controls gave a range of -11 dB to 
+14dB; in the middle, at IKHz, it 

ranged from -9.5dB to +16dB; and at 
the top end, at 15KHz, it went from 
-lldB to +lldB. So not exactly 
consistent across the range but they 
gave mostly the range they should. 

The frequency response however 
drops off a little too soon for my 
liking, by 100Hz it was nearly 3dB 
down and this had dropped to 6dB 
by the time 60Hz was reached. I 
suppose this is partly compensated 
for by the extra gain in the lowest 
equaliser control, but it means a flat 
setting of the controls does not give 
you a flat response which 
somewhat defeats the object of the 
graphics nature of the beast. 

When setting up any graphics 
equaliser the sliders end up looking 
like some sort of a smile, albeit 
crooked. An upside-down smile is 
definitely wrong and there is 
enough range on these sliders for it 
to sound very wrong as well. 

Does it work? 

Yes, very well indeed, and the 
pulsating left/right volume bars 
look very flash. However, once you 
have set the controls for your 
speakers/room there is little else 
you need do with them, but this is 
where the enhanced sound button 
comes in. This switches on the SRS 


surround effect, I don't know what 
that stands for but the practical 
effect is that the sound is made 
larger and fatter. It sounded like a 
bit of reverberation and does 
definitely improve the sound 
accompanying any arcade game. 
Explosions have more boom, guns 
have more zip and peeongs are 

I am not so sure about enhancing 
music, yes it's more expansive but a 
composer really needs to be in 
control of any reverberation effect 
as the ears quickly tire of the full- 
on effect this box gives, thus 
reducing its impact, I suppose that's 
where the off button comes in. 
Nevertheless it sounds impressive 
when first switched on, making a 
much bigger sound. 

I can't see how it can give a true 
3D effect as this is really a physical- 
acoustic effect that places a sound 
anywhere. That includes not only 
left and right but up, down, front 
and behind. This is done by subtly 
modifying the volume and phase of 
a sound between the left and right 
speakers. It's something that can't 
really be tagged on afterwards but 
has to be an integral part of the 
initial sound. 

’Real' surroundsound is a very 
subtle effect and I have heard some 
convincing demos such as 
helicopters flying round the room, 
however most of the time 1 find it 
difficult to spot the effect. I did visit 
the surround sound room in the 
Sheffield Museum of Popular 
Music. That was in a circular room 
with 18 very large speakers, but 
most of the time the sound 
appeared to be coming from over 
my right shoulder. So, at best, you 
can call the Equaliser pseudo-3D. 

Anyway I dragged out the 'scope 
to see what it was doing to a simple 
sine wave. Pressing the effects 
button made a righthand mono 
signal appear in the left side as well 
but reduced in amplitude and 
phase-shifted. The phase-shifting 
altered with frequency which 
shows it is doing something. 

Whatever the merits of true 3D 
sound this processor did give a 
feeling of being immersed in the 
sound rather than having it thrust at 
you, so I guess it was doing its job. 

Although this is a piece of 
hardware designed for a PC, Eesox 
have provided a RISC OS desktop 
application to control the volume as 
well as an information sheet 
detailing how to set it up with the 
innards of a Rise PC. I had the 

graphics equaliser a few weeks 
before the second part of the 
package arrived, the three piece 
subwoofer speaker system. The idea 
is that at low frequencies your ears 
are not sensitive to the direction of 
the sound so you can have that 
coming from a central speaker. Two 
other speakers provide the 
conventional left and right sounds. 

Woofers are the name given to 
speakers handling the lowest 
frequencies and sub-woofers 
handle frequencies that are in 
theory too low to hear. The idea 
being that low frequencies are more 
felt than heard. By this definition 
it's not a true sub-woofer because, 
according to the box, its frequency 
response only goes down to 50Hz, 
something you can hear. The effect 
however is quite pronounced, Alec 
said "That's the way music should 
sound" as Metallica boomed out of 
the newly connected speakers. "It 
has a good kicking bass" he said as 

he picked up his bass guitar and 
played along. The side speakers, 
however, gave a bit of a thin sound 
at times, I thought. 

On the technical side each of the 
side speakers gives 3W output with 
10W from the sub-woofer itself. 
These are also magnetically 
shielded so that you shouldn't have 
any problems when placing them 
close to your monitor, not that you 
would want to anyway. One of the 
side speakers also has a power 
switch/volume control and a bass 
and treble control. This is a bit 
redundant given a graphics 
equaliser, so many combinations of 
settings can give the same sound. 

The equaliser and speakers are 
sold separately but together they 
form a good combination not onky 
in sound but looks. It looks 
cool, it sounds cool - sorted. 


Product details 


3D Surround Equaliser, 3 

Piece Multimedia Subwoofer 
Speaker system 


Equaliser, £47.50; Speaker set 
£45.50; both £87.50; including 
VAT; Carriage extra. 


Eesox, Century House, Market 
Street, Swavesey, Cambs, CB4 


(+44/0) 1954 208208 


(+44/0) 1954 208208 





Rise PC for ease of use but 
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The object of Cataclysm is basically 
to get all of the liquid from the top 
of the screen to the bottom. Simple, 
eh? It's actually more difficult than it 
sounds, as the liquid has to fall into 
the collector at the bottom - any 
liquid that doesn't fall in reduces the 
amount of time you have left on the 
level, which means you have to place 
blocks in the right places to make the 
liquid go the right way. 

This is made even more difficult 
on later levels because there are 
different types of liquid; acid is fatal 
on contact, and the blue and yellow 
liquid must be mixed before being 
collected, plus the puzzles become 
more fiendish. 

You have to look very carefully to 
make sure that the water will 
definitely get to the collector before 
releasing it, this is made even more 

Alex Macfarlane Smith takes a 
look at four games from yesteryear 

the time (except when you are 
hidden behind water). It can get a bit 
repetitive at times, but if you leave it 
for a while and go back to it, it's still 
very good and addictive. Cataclysm 
is great fun to play, especially if you 
enjoy arcade puzzle style games. 

Cataclysm is still available from 
The Fourth Dimension, see their 
contact details in the CJE Micros 
advert elsewhere in this issue. 

difficult by various valves, 
dissolving blocks and remote control 
doors. There are also guns and aliens 
which will either try and shoot you, 
or follow you around as you 
progress. There are a total of 40 
levels, so plenty to keep you 
entertained - some of the later levels 
are particularly difficult. Another 
feature of the game is that it also 
records your scores and times for 
each level, so you can go back and 
try to beat your best score and time, 
or compete against your friends. 

The only feature that I felt would 
have been nice is a level designer. 
The graphics are quite good, you can 
easily see what is happening most of 

Elite has become one of the most 
widely known games since its 
release on to a number of different 
platforms (the first being the BBC 
Micro). The RISC OS version is 
considered by most Elite fans to be 
the best version on any platform. 

Elite is a space adventure with a 
variety of gameplay which includes 
trading, combat and missions which 
involve hunting down pirates, or 
saving planets. 

Initially you have to trade 
between planets to improve the 
specifications of your ship, and then 
you can choose what path you want 
to go down - trading, overcoming 
pirates, or even become a fugitive by 
attacking friendly ships, shooting 
down the police ships (Vipers) and 
so on. The layout of the eight 
galaxies are identical to the original 
BBC version, but in almost every 
other way the game has been 

All of the graphics use filled 
polygons (unlike the wireframe 
graphics of the original), there are 
now moons around some of the 
planets, and the varied ship routines December 1 999 

Wild, wet fun in Cataclysm 

/I brief flashback to Flashback 

are much better - you can be flying 
along and find pirates attacking each 
other, or a transport ship which you 
can either destroy, or defend from 
attacks from pirates [lots of pirates 
then - Ed]. If you're being attacked, 
sometimes Vipers will come and 
help you - depending how 'clean' 
you are. If you are a fugitive. Vipers 
will actively hunt you down. Not to 
be recommended before your ship is 
of a reasonable status. 

Once you have got your ship well 
equipped, or have the appropriate 
number of kills, you may be 
contacted by an organisation or 
individual to carry out one of the 
four missions in the game, which on 
completion will award you with 
money to upgrade your ship, or 
special additional equipment. The 
ultimate goal of the game is to have a 
fully equipped ship, completed all of 
the missions and to be Elite. 

Elite is now freeware and was on 
the cover disc of Acorn User a while 
back. An updated version to run on 
StrongARM Rise PCs may be 
downloaded from the features 
section of Acorn Arcade by following 
the links from http://www. 


Flashback is probably one of the best 
arcade adventure games available for 
RISC OS. The intro sequence is slick, 
and introduces the story line - Aliens 
want to take over the world. They 
chase you. Shoot your space bike 
down. They assume you're dead, but 
you're not. The fools. 

Your first task is to find out more 
about yourself - as you become 
conscious again, you knock a 
holocube off a ledge, picking this up 
and examining it gives you 
information about who you are and 

what you should do. The 
eventual aim of the game is 
to save Earth from invasion 
by the aliens. The graphics 
in the game are excellent - 
the way that the characters 
within the game are 
animated, particularly the 
hero, are superb [I spend 
most of the time making 
him do forward rolls or 
pulling his gun out the 
holster, shooting a tree, 
then putting it back. It 
really is very good - Ed], 
The backgrounds are also 
very well put together. 
There are a number of 
puzzles or tasks to solve; for 
instance, on the first level, you must 
help a man get to hospital, where he 
will give you an ID card allowing 
you access to the next section of the 

Mostly you have to run around 
avoiding or killing your enemies, but 
it gets interesting later on when you 
have to complete certain missions to 
receive credits and also take part in a 
gameshow to get back to Earth. 

The monsters and other 
inhabitants get increasingly clever as 
you progress through the game, and 
you have to learn when to use your 
forcefield. You can be hit a maximum 
of four times before your shield runs 
out, but there are recharge points 
scattered throughout the levels 
which will regenerate your shield. 

The game is spread over seven 
levels with movie sequences 
scattered throughout the game. 
Flashback is an excellent game, with 
a superb blend of puzzles, action and 
skill. Sadly, stocks of Flashback are 

somewhat hard to locate at present. 
The main distributor, CJE, has sold 
out, but keep an eye on the free ads 
and second-hand games advertised 
on the Internet newsgroups and you 
could get yourself a copy. 


Populous is a God style game, where 
you have complete control over all 
your people. The object is to build 
up your empire and eventually attack 
neighbouring tribes and wipe them 
out. You have a certain level of 
Manna which will increase with the 
number of people you have, and will 
decrease when you perform certain 

Earthquakes which destroy the 
land and may cause people to drown, 
volcanoes which cause the enemy to 
spend time dropping the land back 
down to a reasonable level, swamps 
which people can sink into, and 
floods which cause the entire 
landscape to be dropped by one level 
must all be faced and survived. You 
need to be careful of these on later 
levels when the computer uses them 
to its advantage. 

Your people are able to construct 
buildings, gather together to become 
stronger, travel to find enemies to 
fight, or you can create a knight who 
will go and find enemy walkers to 
kill or buildings to destroy. There are 
over 500 worlds in conquest mode 
where you battle it out against the 
computer - with varying levels of 
difficulty, and varying skills 

Alternatively, you can just try 
custom mode which allows you to 
customise all aspects of the game - 
what skills good and evil can have, 

December 1 999 


the way the landscape looks and so 
on. You can then either battle it out 
with the computer, or watch the 
computer play against itself. There 
was to be a serial link option so that 
two people could fight it out 
between them, but sadly it was never 

i To sum up, Populous is a very 

enjoyable and varied strategy game. 

It may not appeal to everyone, but if 
you enjoy planning attacks on the 
enemy, or just playing God, this is 
the game to look for. As with 
Flashback , nobody seems to have 
stocks of Populous any longer. Keep 
an eye on the second-hand market if 
you're really keen to get hold of this 


In a break from the norm, there's 
actually some gaming news this 
month. Firstly, I bring the sad news 
that programming group GEK has 
left the RISC OS scene. 

Their Website says that this is due 
to all of the members "buying PCs". 
GEK's two current projects, CliopX 
and Sumitsu Sun were nearing 
completion, so anyone who fancies 
taking these on should e-mail for details of 
how to contact GEK directly. The 
good news this month is that 
Nintendo has announced they intend 
to use an ARM processor in their 
next generation GameBoy. This isn't 
strictly anything to do with the RISC 
OS market but it does go to show 
that had things happened differently, 
ARM-based Acom machines could 
have been a lucrative gaming 
platform. The news will mean that 
emulating the new hand-held 

console under RISC OS should be 
easier than those consoles which use 
other processors. Look out for a full 
emulation round-up on these pages 
in the next few months. 

It has been rumoured that R- 
Comp Interactive are close to 
receiving their order of the Heroes of 
Might and Magic 2 expansion pack, 
The Price of Loyalty. This pack was 
due for release at the 
Wakefield show in May 
but delays in shipping 
the boxes over from the 
US put the schedule 
back by several 
months. Unlike some 
other expansion 
packs, this one is 
set to add new 
features as well as 
offering new 
missions. For one, a 
random map generator 
is now included 
along with 
some very 
good music. 

Keep an eye 
out for a full 

new release. 

Toy Chronicles , is 
also still on the 
cards for the new year. 

Billy from the Greek coding group, 
Fantasia Fan, posted 
to the gaming newsgroup to 
announce that the project is still 
being worked on but is being held 
back by the absence of TopModcVs 
animation plug-in which was 
promised many months ago. 

It's still hard to tell what this 

game will be all about, but a few 
examples of the stunning artwork are 
included this month. 


Since Archimedes World magazine 
stopped earlier this year, there's been 
nowhere for you no-good-cheats to 
send your wares for publication. Just 
so you know, cheats are equally 
welcome here but unfortunately we 
can't offer you any earthly reward 
other than having your name printed 
in this little 'ol mag. So if 
you have a cheat, level 
walkthrough or even a 
CheatMod from Desktop 
Hacker ; e-mail it to or 
send it on a disc to the usual 
editorial address. This month, 
we have a previously undiscov- 
ered cheat for Chocks Away 
Extra Missions submitted by 
Keith McKillop: 

Go to practise map 'C', 
go into practise , pause, 
then hold T 'E"T' and 
'M', and press Space. 

With luck, it should de- 
pause and give you 
infinite speed limits and 
crashing will raise you 
about 100ft from where you last 
were. The necessity to refuel is also 
removed. Oh, and if you're on inside 
view when it happens, you're 
suddenly looking left 1 think, so the 
plane may appear to act oddly (it 
isn't though) until you change view. 

A second cheat this month allows 
progression through the devilishly 
hard BotKiller 2 from Wag Software. 
This one was contributed 
anonymously and is being published 
as revenge on the author for using a 
girl's name rather than my name, as 
it was in the pre-release versions: 

Enter a password of 'CLAIRE' from 
the main menu and the text 'CHEAT 
MODE' will hopefully appear at the 
bottom of the screen accompanied by 
a sound sample. Once in the game, use 
the following keys to gain your 

keypad 1 - level skip 
keypad 2 - all three key cards 
keypad 3 - full ammo and weapons 

Alasdair Bailey 

Some images from Toy Chronicles December 1999 

- :• 

Business and Utilities 

Ant Internet Suite II 110.51 
ArcFax 35.00 

ArcFS2 25.00 

ARCshare 49.95 

Artworks 104.69 

CD Burn 58.75 

Complete Animator 94.05 

DataPower 1 110.00 

DataPower2 166.32 

Da Vinci 90 81.08 

Digital Symphony 56.95 

Disc Doctor 28.45 

Disc Rescue 45.00 

Draw Works Designer 31 .50 
Easy C++ 116.32 

EasyFont Pro 59.95 

Eureka 3 110.51 

FastSpool+ 17.62| 

Fireworkz Pro 166.31 

Font Directory Pro 65.00 

FontFX6 29.95 

Game On! 2 15.00 

Holy Bible (lllus.) BP(KJV) 82.25 
HTML Edit 4 53.00 

ImageFS 2 44.59 

IMaster & TWAIN Driver 35.00 
Impact Pro 100.00 

Impression Publisher 136.41 
Impression Style 83.54 

LanMan98 41.12 

MellDI 129.00 

MIDI Synthesizer 46.94 

Midi Works 151.95 

OHP (Presentation) 29.95 
Ovation Pro 1 58.62 

P'rllel port Zip driver (Argo) 34.08 
PC Pro2 39.00 

Personal Accounts V4 49.00 
Photo Link 65.55 

Photo Real (Canon/Epson) 65.86 
Photodesk 3 299.50 

ProArtisan 24 (RPC Only) 89.95 
Prophet 3 179.77 

Rhapsody 4 94.95 

Schema 2 121.50 

Sibelius 6 116.00 

Sibelius 7 599.00 

Sibelius 7 Student 345.00 

Sleuth 3 116.32 

SparkFS 25.00 

StrongGuard 25.00 

Studio Sound 113.95 

Tablemate Designer 60.00 
TopModel 2 145.11 

Turbodrivers (Can/HP/Eps) 54.69 
WebSpider 40.00 

WebTool for ANT Suite 2 29.38 

WIMP Basic 44.99 

Win95FS 41.12 

XStitch 2 35.00 


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

Calabash Pirates 25.98 

Crystal Rain Forest 50.17 

DataSweet 3 69.33 

Dazzle + 83.71 

Dinosaurs ( 1 0/1 0) 1 3.49 

Doodle 32.37 

English (10/10) 13.49 

Essential Maths ( 1 0/1 0) 1 3.49 

Essential Science 13.49 

Expl with Flossy the Frog 28.79 
First Logo 38.95 

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

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

German (10/10) 13.49 

Granny's Garden 


James Pond Run. Water 


Maths (Geometry) (10/10) 


Maths (Number) (10/10) 


Mega Maths 


Micro Maths 


My World 2 + 2 


Naughty Stories Vols 1-6 


New Teddy Bear's Picnic 


Nursery Rhyme Time 


Oxford Reading Tree 3 


Pendown DTP 


Playdays age 3-8 


Playground (Freddy teddy) 23.50 

4 Smudge the Spaniel 


p Spelling & Punctuation 


Splosh+ (1-5 users) 


Table Aliens 


Tiny Draw/Tiny Logo 


Tizzy's Toybox 


Watch Magic Grandad 



Alone in the Dark 


Anagram Genius 


BHP Brutal Horse Power 


Birds of War t 


Black Angel 


Carnage Inc. 


Chocks Away Compend. 


Cobalt Seed 


Crystal Maze, age 7+ 


Cyber Chess 




Demon's Lair 


Drifter (DD/HD) 


Dune II (CD -£31.50) 


Dungeon t 


E-Type 2 t 


Eclipse Collection 


Enter the Realm 




Fire and Ice 


Global Effect 




Haunted House 


Holed Out Compendium 


James Pond 2+ 


Logic Mania 




Pandora’s Box 


Patience Addict 


Play It Again Sam 3 


Play It Again Sam 4 


Real McCoy 2/3/4 (each) 


Real McCoy 5 


Rick Dangerous 


Saloon Cars Deluxe 






Shovy 3D 


Silver Ball 


Simon the Sorcerer 


Small t 


Spobbleoid Fantasy 




Stuntracer 2000 t 




The Time Machine 


Virtual Golf 


CD business & Utils 

Arm Club PD CD 1 


Arm Club PD CD 2 


Artworks ClipArt 1 or 2 


Bitfolio 7 


Font Emporium 


PDCD4 (Datafile) 


PDCD5 (Datafile) 


ProArtisan 2 


Rise Disc Vol.1 


Rise Disc Vol.2 


Rise Disc Vol.3 25.00 

Rob Duncan Cartoon Kit 42.74 
Task Force Clip Art 33.20 

Tekkie Disc (PRM's etc) 47.50 

CDROM Education 

Ancient Egyptians 42.30 

Ancient Lands 50.53 

Anim Talking Alphabe 33.43 
British Isles from the Air 42.30 
Castles 42.30 

Crystal Rain Forest 2 50.17 

Dangerous Creatures 50.53 
Dinosaurs 50.53 

Era of the 2nd WW 81.08 

Garden Wildlife 42.30 

Guardians of Greenwood 58.16 
Hutchinson's Encyclopedia 52.82 
Illustrated Shakespeare 29.32 
John Cabot & Merchant V. 42.30 
Kingfisher Micropedia 76.38 
King Arthur 58.69 

Kiyeko with Acorn reader 36.43 
Map Detectives 50.17 

Musical Instruments 50.53 
My 1st Incrd. Amaz. Diet. 41.13 
Number Time 2 28.99 

Oxf. Talking Infant Atlas 22.32 
PB Bears Birthday Party 41.13 
Perspectives Francais 81.08 
Romans 42.30 

Science Explorer 66.96 

Seashore Life 42.30 

Science In Action 13.73 

Settlements 81.08 

Space Exploration 13.73 

Survival: Mysteries of Nat. 42.30 
The Way Things Work 50.53 
The World's Weather 52.87 
Tizzy's Toolbox 44.65 

TOTS TV 19.95 

Ultimate Human Body 50.00 
Understanding the Body 42.30 
Vikings 42.30 

World of Robert Burns 93.94 


Abuse 25.00 

Ankh 25.00 

Crystal Maze 28.45 

Doom Trilogy 35.00 

Dune II 31.50 

Heroes of Might & Magic II 35.00 
Simon the Sorcerer 32.40 

Syndicate 29.00 

Wizards Apprentice 24.95 

1500 titles Available!! 

Some dealers may not stock all 

Minimum delivery £ 2 

Credit Cards and Official 
Orders welcome. H&OE 

All Prices Include 
VAT @ 17.5% 

New & Featured 


Texteasc Multimedia I 

Award winning 

Offer price £85 

Acorn Advance 

RISC OS4/SA compat. 



R/W compression 
filing system 


Alone In The Dark 

Walkabout game not SA 

Offer price £20 


Relational database 
New Publisher! 


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

Order from a participating dealer 


Tel 01222 464020 Fax 01222 440071 

Davyn Computer Services 

Tel 01924 254800 Fax 01 924 254036 

CJE Micro's / NCS 

Tel 0 1 903 523666 Fax 0 1 903 523679 

email CTA Djrect 

Tel 01 942 797777 Fax 01 942 79771 1 

The Data Store 

Tel 0181 460 8991 Fax 0181 313 0400 

email , . . . 

Liquid Silicon 

Tel 01 592 592265 Fax 01 592 5961 02 
Kc-xisio., '<> email 

• ’ 

RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 

RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 


[ Page 2 

The Latest RiscStation News 


Page 3 

Introducing the RiscStation NetWORX 


Page 4 

Introducing the RiscStation R7500 Lite 



Page 5 

RiscStation R7500 Lite Software Pack 


Page 6 

Introducing the PCI PROJECT 


Page 7 

PCI PROJECT Upgradability 


Page 8 

RiscStation Dealer Contact Information 

NetWORX And R7500 Lite Now Shipping 

Following the delay of a vital PCI component back in August the PCI-less 
projects, originaly scheduled for release during the first quarter of 2000, 
have been brought forward for release before the R7500 and are now 
ready to find their way into many happy customers' homes and businesses. 
Initial feedback from customers on the NetWORX and R7500 Lite is 
extremely encouraging. 

"RiscStation would like to thank our customers for their comments, we look 
forward to entering the new Millennium with you . " 

Projected sales figures are high and just as importantly, interest from the 
United States (bearing in mind no marketing whatsoever has been 
undertaken there) indicates a further increased user base for the new 


R7500 Evolution 

The advanced release of the NetWORX and R7500 Lite computers has 
allowed the R7500 PCI variant to be completely re-designed to achieve 
maximum performance, for those users who require even more power. 
Due to these major re-designs the RiscStation R7500 has been renamed 
"PCI PROJECT" and has swapped release dates with its PCI-less 

"The PCI PROJECT is expected to be completed by early 2000. " 


64bit PCI and Mega I/O for PCI PROJECT! 

RiscStations hardware partners are currently producing new silicon to 
allow the PCI PROJECT to use an enhanced PCI based I/O chip in 
place of the current super I/O processor. This results in vastly improved 
I/O over the original R7500 and previous RISC OS compatible systems. 

It is also envisaged that 64bit PCI will be a part of the PCI PROJECT 
as standard. This will result in an I/O bandwidth of a superior 264Mb 
per second. This bandwidth makes possible the use of the latest in PCI 
cards such as the new Simtec multi-processor boards, Gigabit Ethernet 
interfaces and the latest RAID controllers. 


^Qg(£Si^O®fD 2666 

RISC 05 compatible products for the new Millennium 



From £399 + VAT 

56 Mhz ARM7500FPE (with integrated floating point 


8/1 6Mb 60ns EDO System Memory 

6Mb Flash Memory containing RISCOS 4 and Utilities 

Micro ATX Desktop Configuration 

PS2 Style Keyboard Input 
PS2 Style 3 Button Mouse Input 

2 x Serial Port 'Rated at 460k baud 
2 x PC Style Game Port supporting Midi In/Out/Through 

2 x High Speed EIDE Ports 'Supporting up to 4 devices 
1 x lObaseT Network Port with Wake On Lan Support 

1 x EPP/ECP Fast Parallel Port 
1 x IRDA Infrared Interface Support 
1 x High Density Floppy Drive Port 
1 x 15Pin VGA Connector 

Full 16Bit 0PL3 Stereo Sound Sampler & Mixer with FM 
Synthesizer, Midi, Wavetable and 2 CD Mixer Ports 

3 x 3.5mm Jack Sockets for Line in/Mic In/Headphone & 
Speaker Out 



Network Ready Free Software 



RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 

R7500 Lite 



From £499 + VAT 

56 Mhz ARM7500FPE (with integrated floating point 


16Mb 60ns EDO System Memory 
4.3Gb EIDE Hard Drive 

2 x Serial Port * Rated at 460k baud 
2 x PC Style Game Port supporting Midi In/Out/Through 
2 x High Speed EIDE Ports * Supporting up to 4 devices 
1 x lObaseT Network Port with Wake On Lan Support 
1 x EPP/ECP Fast Parallel Port 
1 x IRDA Infrared Interface Support 
1 x High Density Floppy Drive Port 
1 x 15Pin VGA Connector 

48X Atapi EIDE CD ROM Drive 
6Mb Flash Memory containing RISCOS 4 and Utilities 
Micro ATX Desktop or Mini/Midi Tower Configuration 
Minimum 60 Watts External Stereo Speakers 

Full 16Bit 0PL3 Stereo Sound Sampler & Mixer with FM 
Synthesizer, Midi, Wavetable and 2 CD Mixer Ports 
3 x 3.5mm Jack Sockets for Line in/Mic In/Headphone & 
Speaker Out 

PS2 Style Keyboard Input 
PS2 Style 3 Button Mouse Input 


Available as Desktop 

•-V-* 1 1 

Network Ready Free Speakers Free Software 

RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 


RISCOS 4, the operating system of the R7500 Lite, comes with 
applications built in. A personal organiser, text editors, drawing 
applications and music software can all be found as part of the 
RISC OS 4 package. As well as the standard installed RISC OS 4 
software, there is a bonus CD with even more too! Games, 
demo's, graphics and utilities can all be found on here. 

As well as software that acompanies RISCOS 4, every R7500 Lite will 
arrive with a top selection of software preinstalled ready to use. Whether 
you want to work or play, there are programs for everyone on the R7500... 



f ; ‘ ^ 

A great graphic design package that comes with 
a complete set of 2100 fonts and even a set of 
over 1000 clips to use with your designs! With a 
host of graphic enhancers as well as a complete 
font editor, DrawWORKS Millennium is a great 
tool for that creative job. 

®Sg3^nB3f^t3iX3{Kggi3 S5 ®c9*1 

<§> 037 prscitosGs fl©©© 



r\ / # i 

EasiWriter Professional is quite simply a brilliant Acorn compatible 
word processor. As well as being extremely user friendly, it can 
utilise the many fonts supplied with DrawWORKS Millennium. 
Combine this with MS Word compatibility, the European spelling 
checker and the many utilities found in this professional package, 
and you have a strong stand alone word processor. 

Fireworkz Pro is a versatile office suite consisting of a 
word processor, a spreadsheet application and a database 
editor. A great all in one office package that is well laid 
out and easy to get to grips with, Fireworkz is a great 
solution for home office or business alike. 

Back by popular demand, PipeDream is best 
described as an open plan office utility. Create 
a letter, a spreadsheet or a new database all in 
the same program, easily. A great introduction 
program for children due to the simple layout, 
yet a very able program never the less. 





Aside from the serious applications, RiscStation have 
installed a selection of games in the GAMEZONE. Ankh, 
Botkiller and the nostalgic Frak! can all be found here. 
Also a selection of shareware and demos of up and 
coming titles can be found in the DEMOZONE, another 
place to visit if your seeking fun and games! 



Even more titles to appear soon. 



RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 


PC / Project 



Minimum 56 Mhz ARM7500FPE (with integrated floating 
point co-processor) 


Minimum 16Mb 60ns EDO System Memory 
Minimum 4.3GB UDMA Hard Drive 
Minimum 48X Atapi UDMA CD ROM Drive 
6Mb Flash Memory containing RISCOS 4 and Utilities 
ATX Desktop or Tower Configuration 

Enhanced 64bit PCI Bus 
2 x Serial Port * Rated at 460k baud 

1 x PC Style Game Port supporting Midi In/Out/Through 

2 x UDMA/ATA66 IDE Ports * Supporting up to 4 devices 
1 x lOObaseT Network Port 'Optional 

1 x EPP/ECP Fast Parallel Port 
1 x High speed Infrared Interface Support 
1 x High Density Floppy Drive Port 
1 x 15Pin VGA Connector 

Full 16Bit OPL3 Stereo Sound Sampler & Mixer with FM 
Synthesizer, Midi, Wavetable and 2 CD Mixer Ports 

3 x 3.5mm Jack Sockets for Line in/Mic In/Headphone & 
Speaker Out 


RISC OS compatible products for the new Millennium 


Returning to the original R7500 designs and enhancing the PCI Bus and other areas of the 
motherboard has presented us with the ability to use very fast PCI card upgrades, the likes 
of which would not have been as functional on previous designs. The new PCI PROJECT 
will boast a 64bit PCI Bus for a bandwidth of around 264Mb per second, more than enough 
for most PCI upgrades. 


StrongArm Upgrade - Upgrade to the faster StrongArm processors for increased 
power under general operation and for an overall quicker performance. 

Multiprocessor Upgrade - Available with between 2 and 8 processors installed. Up 
to 3 cards can be used in any one machine, totaling 24 StrongArm processors! 
Powerful multithreading useful for many an application. 

PC Card - Plans indicate the use of on board memory, and the ability to utilise up to 
a 500Mhz processor, and beyond. PC Cards have NEVER been as powerful. 

32bit SCSI Card - Up to 15 high speed devices can be connected to the R7500 via 
this low cost, high performance card. SCSI Scanners, Hard Drives, Removable 
Drives, CD Writers and a host of other devices will be available to the RiscStation 

lOObaseT Network Card - For increased performance over a network, this card can 
be added to the R7500's PCI bus enabling faster transfer between systems. 

USB Port Expansion - USB, the new multipurpose port available to PC systems for 
some time now, will be available for the RISC OS user. WebCams, Digital cameras, 
and an increasing range of products can be connected via USB to the PCI 

Internal 56k & ISDN Modems - Connection to the internet will be possible via an 
internal modem. Connecting the modem to the internal PCI bus results in a faster 
data transfer from modem to computer as well as cutting out the need for a bulky 
external box, a neat solution for the internet user. 

3D Graphics Accelerators - Soon the RISC OS user can experience the power of 
a 3D accelerator card. Enhanced 3D gameplay in high screen resolution will be 
possible on the R7500 with this breed of card, as well as the possibility of special 
lighting and smoke effects being added real time to an intense 3D game. 

ATA 66 IDE Upgrade - An extremely fast IDE expansion catering for those people 
wanting more low cost yet high speed IDE devices. More Hard Drives, CD ROMs 
and the like can be attached with this upgrade for very little expense. 

MPEG Decode/Encode - MPEG encoded movies decoded on a RISC OS machine 
quickly for high quality entertainment and presentational purposes will soon be a 
reality with this upgrade. As well as this, the ability to encode your own material in 
high quality MPEG format should be possible with this exciting project. 

"PCI, the future of RISC OS computing. " 




Rise Based Technologies 


ACC Computers 

Herentalsebaan 212 




+32 323/366.50.80 


39 Knighton Park Road 



SE26 5RN 

0181 778 2659 

Cannon Computing 
Dunmow Road 
Hatfield Heath 
Bishops Stortford, 


CM22 7ED 

01279 730800/900 

CJE Micro's 
78 Brighton Road 
West Sussex 
BN1 1 2EN 

01903 523222 

CTA Direct 
168 Elliott Street 
M29 8DS 

01942 797777 

Cumbria Software Systems 
Unit 3A 

Townfoot Indus. Est. 

01697 73779 

The Data Store 
6 Chadderton Road 

BR2 9QN 
0181 460 8991 

Datawave Nederland 
Christinalaan 31 
3761 BR 

Davyn Computers 

The Workshop off Princes Street 



WF1 5NV 

01924 254800 


Sierbloem 3 

3068 AP Rotterdam 


+31 010 2860541 


58 - 60 Hexthorpe Rd 
South Yorkshire 

01302 342818 

Explan Computers Ltd 

PO Box 32 



PL19 8YU 

01822 613868 


21 Glenfield Road 
PL6 7LL 

01752 777106 

Levens Software 
Kable House 
Amber Drive 
Langley Mill 
N916 4BE 

0500 121 242 

Liquid Silicon 
2 Forth Avenue 

01592 592265 

Orcom System Haus 
Leipziger Str. 70 
06766 Wolfen 

+49 3494 6950 

Pineapple Software 
Suite 1, South Park Business Centre 
310 Green Lane 

0208 599 1476 

Simnet Computer Services 

'Mir Ham Wharf 

the Ham 



TW8 8EX 

0181 568 5393 

Starlight Corp. 
Amerikalei 84 BIO 
B-2000 Antwerpen 

+32 3 238 5245 

Uffenkamp Computer Systeme 
Gartenstr 3 

D-32130 Enger - Dreyen 

+49 5224 978075 

3 Clarendon Road 
CF3 7JD 

01222 464020 

X-Ample Technology 
PO Box 77 
5340 AB Oss 

+31 412 634433 


^ \ 

Hardware Partners 


Registered Developer 

RiscStation Ltd. 

168 Elliott Street 
Greater Manchester 
M29 8DS 
United Kingdom 

Tel: +44 (0) 1942 797777 
Fax: +44 (0) 1942 797711 


P sion's Series 5 hand-held 

computer has been around for 
just over two years. It has 
always had much to tempt an 
Acorn user as, sentimentally at least, 
it's a British design using an ARM 
processor. Like RISC OS, the Series 
5's powerful in-house developed 
operating system, EPOC, is 
staunchly VVintel-independent. 

The Series 5 is a stylish and 
innovative product, but it's by no 
means perfect. Now Psion has 
introduced a face-lifted model, the 
Series 5mx and it successfully 
addresses many, if not all, of the 
original's faults. 

Ask a seasoned Series 5 owner 
what they would like Psion to 
improve and the list would 
inevitably include a clearer, brighter 
screen, more memory, slightly less 
lethargic applications, integrated 
Internet support and a case finish 
which didn't start to flake and peel 
after a few months. 

The new mx does have a revised 
screen - well, according to Psion at 
least. Compared to a fairly new 
standard Series 5 I couldn't see any 
difference. Because of the touch 
screen laminate, the screen remains 
lacking in contrast, especially in dim 
light. However, I suspect that all 
more recent Series 5s, mx or 
otherwise, have slightly improved 
screens compared to original models. 
The backlight is different, however. 
It's no more brighter than before, but 
it doesn't buzz like the old one and 
Psion says it uses about a third less 

16Mb of system memory is now 
standard compared with the 
previous maximum of 8Mb, 
which is just as well, 
because if you load 
like the 
Java add-in 
- which 
3Mb on its 
own, 8 Mb 
would be 
barely adequate. 

As the mx has a 
speed-doubled 37MHz 
ARM 71 OT processor, 
applications are notably faster. For 
example, one particular address 
database search used to take 5 
seconds to locate 55 records out of a 
total of over 700. 

Now on the mx it barely takes 2 

Ian Burley sees some improvement 

seconds. Navigation of menus and 
folders is noticeably a more crisp 
affair. Best of all, the new processor 
consumes no more battery power 
than the old one. I typically get 4-6 
weeks use from a pair of A A alkaline 

You can use NiCad rcchargeables, 
or even better, more modern Nickel 
Metal Hydride (NiMH) types and 
the latter will last almost as long as 
ordinary alkalines, but they die 
almost without warning at the end of 
their charge, whereas alkalines fade 
out more gracefully. Internet e-mail, 
a Web browser and PC file 
synchronisation software used to be 
an expensive optional extra. 

It's now bundled for free and the 
e-mail portion is even on ROM with 
its own iconbar button. The e-mail 
client was, from the word go, a 
pretty agreeable affair. It can now 
open Microsoft Word 
attachments natively. 

Web browsing is still a 
rather sluggish and 
un fulfilling 

are still 

so it's an 
only option really. 
Multiple accounts are 
supported; useful with the 
c plethora of 'free' Internet 
offers currently available. Java, 
which works in conjunction with the 
Web browser, is supplied on CD- 
ROM, which could be important for 
some business users. Psion has made 

a big commitment to Java and 
expects thousands of Java 
applications to attract all sorts of 
users eventually. If there is one major 
distinguishing feature of the mx, its 
metallic grey paint job is it. 

The old Series 5 was dressed in a 
dark grey or occasionally a special 
edition British Racing Green 
rubberised finish. Unfortunately, the 
exposed sharper edges of the case 
soon lost their paint, leaving 
otherwise reasonably new Series 5s 
looking prematurely tired. 

The new finish looks hard 
wearing but only time will tell. So 
what else has changed? Support for 
Microsoft Office file compatibility has 
been stepped up and there is even an 
Outlook Contacts database application 
in addition to the original 'Data' 
database. Information exchange 
using platform-independent 
standards like vCard and IrObex are 
now supported. 

To summarise, the Series 5mx is 
smarter, more capacious, faster and 
more versatile than ever before. It 
has evolved, but not radically. As a 
Series 5 original edition user I look 
longingly at the mx but my financial 
conscience orders me not to part 
with the £429 inc. VAT asking price. 

However, if you're in the market 
for a powerful pocket computer with 
a great keyboard and digital 
voice recorder - go for it! 

Product details 




Psion 5mx 
£429 inc. VAT 
Most High Street 
electrical retailers December 1999 ^ 

ik | g I Ben Ollivere 

1^^ I /^\ T\ A / I ^ \X uses his machine 

I Ncl VV U I IV at a distance 


L inux is a bit of a buzz word in 
the computer industry these 
days. It's a free operating 
system that is a derivative of 
Unix and was initially written by 
Linus Torvelds, who still heads one of 
the development teams. The most 
common derivative (RedHat Linux - is available 
for RISC OS, in the form of ARMLinux 
(http:/ /www.arm. 
though installing it is tricky and 
involves reformatting your harddisc. 

An alternative is to use a 
Unix/ Linux machine over a network 
from your own computer. This is most 
commonly done by installing an X 
server - a piece of software allowing 
you to run programs on a remote 
computer while the output is 
displayed on your machine. 

The most common software for this 
is Humming Bird's Exceed (which I 
have run successfully on my PC card 
using NetLinks). Another common 
method is to connect using a telnet 
client, which gives you a text-only 
command prompt. 

But what if you want to use an X 
windows session on RISC OS? Gnome 
Computers produce /X which is 
equivalent to Exceed , but it is single- 
tasking and costs £199 
( However 
it is possible to get a completely usable 

VNCViewer set-up options 

X session using free alternatives. 

IXserver is a freeware X server 
under development by Vincent 
Sanders, and is equivalent to /X. You 
can get it from http://www.inkvine. 

Athough only at the 'alpha' stage of 
development, it does work, but won't 
really run anything useful at the 


Virtual Network Computing is a 
system similar to X, but allows you to 
run it on a variety of operating systems 
- clients and servers exist for almost 
every OS (including Windows, MacOS, 
Linux/ Unix, RISC OS and BeOS). 

In order to get a running X session 
under RISC OS you need to download 
the Linux client software from follow the download 
link and select the OS installed on the 
remote machine you wish to connect 
to. Download the archive and save it 
to your directory. 

The following instructions assume 
you are using a Bourne-type shell and 
a Linux box. You should telnet to the 
remote machine and enter the 
following at the command prompt: 

[ollivere@xserver ollivere] $ unzip vnc- 

This will extract the program to a sub- 
directory called vnc_x86JinuxJ2/0 

[ollivere@xserver ollivere] $ cd 
vnc_x86_linux_2 . 0 

Changes directory, 

[olliveretaerver vnc_x86_linux_2*0] $ 
chmod u+rwx * 

Sets the file permissions, 

[ollivere@xserver vnc_x86_linux_2»0]$ 
,/vncpasswd .auth 

Constructs a password file 

Password: [enter desired password] 
Verify: [re-enter desired password] 

The next task is to start the VNC 
server and get a window manager 
running. Unix has a system of display 

screens, this is where several display 
systems can function at once. It is very 
likely that your server machine will be 
running X windows on screen 1. So 
you will start VNC on screen 2. 

It is usual to specify a screen like a 
port number, so 
would be screen 1 on the machine I 
use, and would 
be screen 2. We also need to set the 
display to output to VNC, and start a 
window manager: 

[ollivere@xserver ollivere] $ ./Xvnc :2 - 
geometry 1024x768 -depth 16 -rfbauth 
./.auth & 

Start VNC, 

[olliveretoerver ollivere] $ export 
DISPLAY=xserver . s j c . ox . ac . uk : 2 

Set display to VNC or, if you are using 
tcsh or other c type shell: 

[xserver]% setenv DISPLAY 
xserver . s j c . ox . ac . uk : 2 
[ollivere@xserver ollivere] $ wmaker & 

And start window maker window 

The initial command ./Xvnc sets 
the VNC server running, you can get a 
full list of options with: 

./Xvnc -help 

You must add the '-rfbauth ./.auth', or 
anybody will be able to log on to your 
account without entering a password, 
which represents a major security risk. 

Your system may not have window 
maker installed (my window manager 

Changing shell 

If you are not using a Bourne-type 
shell (bash or derivatives), you can 
change shell by typing ssh at the 
prompt, and selecting bash from the 
available options. 

Obviously the system is limited 
in performance by the network you 
use, however you can alleviate 
network load by choosing a 
window manager that requires less 
redraw, 1 find afterstep or zuindow 
maker to be the quickest, and fvwnil 
to be particularly slow. 

December 1 999 

of preference), if you get an error, 
something like: 

[ollivereOxserver vnc_x86_linux_2 . 01 $ 
bash: wmaker: conmand not found 
[1] + Exit 127 wmaker 

Then try a different window manager, 
either twin or fvwm. 

Client software 

Now you have a working VNC server, 
you need to get hold of a RISC OS 
client to connect to it. There are two 
currently available: VNC by Simon 
Truss (http://www.bigblue. and 
VNCviezuer by Leo White (http:// 

Connect to your server on screen 2, 
and enter your password when 
prompted. Hopefully you should now 
be presented with an X windows 
screen. Now you have your VNC server 
running successfully, it can be tweaked 
a little to make it run a more efficiently. 

If you are running a fast network 
(such as an ethernet) and the remote 
machine is on the same hub, or across a 
couple of hubs, you will be able to 
increase the performance of the VNC 
desktop by increasing the network 
traffic, this will increase the 
performance of your desktop, but slow 
down the network for other users. 

There are three changes that can be 

Screen Update/Poll Time 

These settings set how often your 
local screen is updated. The lower 
this value the more responsive the X 
desktop will become. 

Mouse Update 

This sets how long the program 
waits before sending updates to the 
mouse position on the screen. The 
lower this value the more 
responsive the mouse will feel. 
WimpPoll (VNC only) 

This option sets in (centiseconds) 
how long a time slice VNC may use 
before other tasks are swapped in. 
Setting this as high as possible (100 
cs), will devote more time to VNC 
than to other tasks. 

Disable Nagle Algorithm 

(VNCservcr only) This disables 
grouping of packets (information 
sent over the network). Selecting 
this results in less efficient, but 
faster, networking. 

There are various other methods for 
increasing the performance of VNC. If 
you don't need 16bpp colour reducing 
the number of colours will reduce 
network traffic. Rather than doing this 
on the viewer, if you start the VNC 
server with '8' rather than T6' to 
specify the colour depth you will not 

only get better dithering, 
but a much faster display. 

You can also make life 
easier by not selecting 
textured window tools 
and backdrops, as plain 
colours compress better 
and will therefore be 
quicker to update. 

VNCviciver is the most 
fully implemented of the 
two RISC OS clients, 
sporting features such as 
full screen and single- 
tasking modes, as well as 
having an easy to use and 
understand configuration window. 

Connecting is simply a case of 
clicking Select on the iconbar icon. You 
do need to specify the screen number 
though, which is 2. VNCviezuer also 
has the edge in terms of ease of 
configuration with an easy to 
understand, nicely laid out configure 

VNC is more fiddly than 
VNCviezuer, and you must set up many 
of your choices through editing the 
config file, it also lacks a full screen 
mode. However, VNC sports a toolbar, 
is quicker, and so is my client software 
of choice. 

VNC vs X 

So far VNC has been presented a little 
as a 'poor man's X server', however 
there are quite a few advantages to 
using VNC rather than an X server. 

The first and largest advantage is 
that you get a persistent desktop. 
Logging off and closing your window 
does not kill your tasks, or change 
anything on your desktop, as VNC is 
still running, while under an Xserver 

How does it work? 

VNC is not an emulator, when you 
run a program under VNC you are 
running it on a remote machine 
over a network. This means that 
applications run at full speed, what 
doesn't run at full speed is the 
screen update. 

In a VNC system you have client 
software and a server software 
which communicate with each 
other over the network. The client 
software detects the mouse-clicks 
and keys you press on your 
machine and transmits them over 
the network to the server software 
which 'inputs' them for you on the 
server machine, and then transmits 
the information back over the 
network so the client can update 
it's display. Various tricks are used 
to ensure that the client runs as 
quickly as possible. 

the window manager and tasks would 
usually be killed, and if they weren't 
there would be no way to re-connect to 
your new display. Hence it is possible 
if you (like me) move to many different 
locations on the same network, or 
locations with fast Internet access, you 
can simply open your VNC display to 
find the desktop as you left it. 

VNC also allows multiple 
connections to the same session, this 
means that two people may connect to 
the same desktop at different locations 
(and on a fast enough network 
connection even in different countries). 
This is very useful for demonstrating 
software or multiple use. 

VNC (unlike an X server) may run 
on any desktop system. Hence it is 
possible to use a PC, Mac (or even 
Amiga) with a VNC client simply by 
running server software on that 
machine. There is now even a Java 
version which will run embedded in a 
Web page, hence machines such as a 
Psion may still run VNC. 

Equally, (and possibly more 
usefully), it is possible to run a 
VNCserver on the Acorn. This allows 
you to use your RISC OS machine 
across the network. VNCserver 
is the only server software available, 
and is fairly rudimentary, but it does 

Useful software 

So what is actually worth using on 
VNC? Pretty much anything will run 
(aside from games, you won't be 
playing Quake for example) at an 
astounding speed considering what is 
going on. Software I find particularly 
good includes: 

The GIMP (GNU Image 
Manipulation Package) is a complete 
fully featured art/image manipulation 
package, and best of all it's free. 

Wordperfect 8, the definitive word 
processor for Linux (http://www. and Netscape. 
( ll3l?lrJ December 1999 V. 


Nicholas van der Walle of Astute Graphics 
returns to Photodesk with some optional extras 

D on't blame me. I freely admit 
to the fact that Spacetech's 
two 'FX' plug-in packs for 
Photodesk are nothing new. I 
had my hands on them a year ago 
and even then they had been 
available for some time. 

The delay in getting them 
reviewed lies squarely on the 
shoulders of Acorn User's Deputy 
Editor - the contact address being at 
the front of the magazine if you wish 
to complain [and to think I got him 
this job - Ed]. Well, that may not be 
perfectly true but it does make for a 
more watertight excuse. 

I reviewed Photodesk 3 what seems 
like a year ago now (my filing 
system does not allow for 
spontaneous checks of any nature) 
proudly displaying my then latest 
self-proclaimed masterpiece. 
Convergence , created with the 
aforementioned program. 

While a lot of hard graft went into 
that one drawing (on the assumption 
that if I put that comment in, more 
people will fooled into thinking I 
work for a living), I must confess to 
having created many effects within 
Convergence using the special FX add- 
ons. Back then I found them 
indispensable. A year later you 
would not be able to take them away 
from me for love nor money. 

The FX packs 

Officially, I should refer to the 
Photodesk add-ons as Photodesk Plug- 
in Effects Collection FX1 (and 2). But 
as I haven't got all week to write this 
review, from here on the products 
shall just be referred to as FX1 and 

It's all very well to give them a 
more efficient title, but what are 
they? Well, Photodesk 2 and Photodesk 
Light acquired an ability that the 
original product never had - that of 
being able to add to the package's 
functionality by supplying a small 
application that would work within 

the framework of Photodesk. 
Modularity is another name for this 

Like all the other applications that 
have this ability to be expanded 
(ArtWorks, Photoshop , and so on), 
Photodesk's plug-ins are invisible to 
the Filer after installation, unless 
you dive into the contents of the 
program (for which there is no 
reason to do so). The matter of 
installation is simplicity itself being a 
case of just running a foolproof 
install program. 

As the FX packs are not full 
programs in their own right, they are 
very compact and are supplied on 
single floppy discs. In fact, the 
majority of the disc space (95+% if 
you want to be pedantic about it) is 
taken up with the supply of the 
public domain Web browser Webster 
and the FX's accompanying Web 
help file. Yes - your only source of 
documentation is a disc-based 
HTML document, but this is never a 
problem as the plug-ins are so easy 
to use. 

FX pack one 

Each pack comes with a distinct list 
of additional effects that may be 
achieved over and above what is 
supplied as standard with Photodesk, 
which may be seen as precious few 

Figure I: The ''Special" effects window 
showing its preview option 

Figure II: The Original image 

in the classic 'FX' sense. FX1 brings 
the following list to the party: 

• Lens simulation 

• Spin and zoom blur 

• 3D ripple 

• Diffuse map 

• Outline glow 

• Sharpen edges 

• Hatch 

• Pixelise 

• Crackle 

All new facilities listed above, just as 
with the second FX pack, may be 
accessed through the FX icon on the 
Photodesk toolbar. It is a great relief 
that all effects may be found through 
a similar user interface with the 
minimum of fuss, which makes any 
sort of documentation unnecessary. 

The truth is that probably the best 
way to explore the potential of these 
additions is to load one of the 
hundred example JPEGs supplied 
with RISC OS 3.5, especially one 
with a great range of colours like the 
fruit bowl, and start manipulating all 
before you with these new toys. 

Common interface 

Each effect is controlled through a 
similar compact 'Special effects' 
window as shown in Figure I. The 
top half of the window (along with 
the ability to select the type of effect 
available) is always shown, with the 

December 1 999 

Figure VI: The 3D ripple effect at 35% amplitude and a frequency of 5 cycles 

Figure IV: The image after a positive lens 
simulation of 500% distortion and 250% 
magnification has been applied 

eye icon giving the choice to view a 
preview of the effect you intend to 
apply. The variables controlling the 
particular effect differ from type to 

If you opt to see the preview 
portion of the window (as depicted 
in Figure I), the left window may 
contain either a sample snapshot of a 
particular area or a global view of 
the whole image. Whether a 
snapshot or global view is depicted 
depends on the suitability for the 
chosen effect. To the right, a 
complete scaled view of the whole 
image is always visible. 

If a snapshot preview is deemed 
to be suitable by Photodesk, it is 
usually because the option applies 
localised effects (such as rain drops) 
as opposed to a global effect (such as 
twisting as shown in Figure I). 
Navigation around the whole image 
to select an area to snapshot preview 
is available in three handy ways; 
clicking on the area of the global 
preview (lower right of the window), 
manually scrolling the snapshot 
image (for more precise movement) 
and clicking on the exact spot of the 
main canvas image. The Preview 

button applies the 
effect to the snapshot 
or global preview 
image. This does not 
alter the main canvas, 
which is thankful, as 
some of the effects are 
quite processor- 

Once you are 
happy with the effect 
you wish to apply, the 
appropriately named 
Apply button forces 
the effect upon the 
whole image on the 
canvas, apart from the 
masked areas. Simple. 

Using FXl 

The effects provided 
on FX'l are all pretty 
self-explanatory in the 
function they are likely to provide. 
The benefit of this is that they all 
have a very clear use, so these extras 
are more than just toys. To 
demonstrate this, I shall use the Lens 
Simulation to create a, erm... lens 

The classic scenario is drawing a 
timeless magnifying glass above an 
exciting image, letting the new 
Photodesk effect warp the section of 
the image that may be viewed 
through the glass lens area. 

Figure II shows the square 
original image taken from the 
example images supplied with my 
Rise PC. When I then apply a 
positive lens simulation of 500% 
distortion and 250% magnification to 
the image. Figure IV is created. 

The fact that the whole image 
becomes affected can, on the surface, 
seem a bit limiting. However, all 
effects respect any mask present, 
with Hatch even being able to 
interact with a mask. In practice, 

though, the best results are 
often achieved by cutting 
and pasting the area you 
wish to be affected and then 
using masks to help control 
just how the affected area 
can return to the original 
canvas. This method should 
be familiar to most people 
who use Photodesk , with its 
fluid cut and paste abilities 
aiding the process. 

Returning to the lens 
simulation effect, we can see 
just how versatile each new 
tool is. In order to change 
Figure II into Figure V, I 
conducted a positive lens 
effect. By altering this to its 
default negative one, the 

more conventional lens 'bulge' may 
be generated. 

Figure V was created by cutting 
and pasting a circular area of the 
canvas to a new file, applying the 
negative lens effect to that, then 
pasting it back to the original canvas 
(with Replace selected). This left the 
area of the image outside the 
supposed glass lens unaffected. To 
finish the image, I drew a metallic 
lens ring to highlight the extremes of 
the effect, lightened the original 
background to increase contrast and 
applied some simple shading. 

Being picky 

Picking out my other favourites in 
the FXl collection brings me on to 
3D ripple. Imagine placing an image 
under the water of a puddle - look 
directly down from above and then 
drop something in the water. The 3D 
ripple tool creates what the puddle 
scene describes, except you don't get 
wet or have to retrieve a soggy 

To illustrate this, Figure VI is of 
the Convergence print manipulated 
through the 3D ripple Photodesk effect 
at an amplitude setting of 35% and a 
frequency of 5 cycles. Varying just 
these two settings can create wildly 
differing results. I have also found 
that by adding a border to the image 
(using the extend feature built into at 
least Photodesk 2), the end result may 
be controlled as the amplitude 
setting takes the canvas as a whole 
into consideration. 

Another favourite from the FX’l 
selection is that of zoom blurring. 

For this one, discard the imaginary 
puddle and just navigate your head 
very quickly towards a picture. 
Noticed how the image seemed to 

Figure V: Creating the ubiquitous ' magnifying lens' effect December 1 999 

Figure VII: A zoom blur of 1 00% strength and 
75% speed with a rod ini mask applied 

zoom towards you? No? Well, just 
apply this zoom effect to see what I 
mean. Figure VII was again 
originally taken from the stock 
images. Before I applied the zoom 
effect, I first specified a little outline 
glow (another FX1 feature) so that 
the tips of the petals would be 
highlighted, then set a radial mask 
followed by a mask inversion so that 
the centre of the rose head was 

The applied zoom blur of 100% 
strength and 75% speed affected the 
extremes of the rose and 
background, leaving the centre 
largely in focus. I found that 
applying a global zoom without the 
use of a centre focal mask would 
lose all detail leaving a confusing 
blurred image. 

All other effects from FX1 that 
haven't been touched upon so far are 
illustrated in Figure VIII. Of these, I 
can only find two limiting factors; 
the Spin blur can not be spun any 
further than shown and the Hatch 
tool can only hatch from NW to SE 

(although of course you could flip 
the image before applying it). 

The Crackle effect is a nice one in 
that it can give an 'old master' effect 
to any image, while the Diffuse map 
option can mimic certain painting 
styles as well as rough sketches 
(especially for mono images). 

The final effect for this first pack - 
Pixelise - is the ideal one for hiding 
any informant's identity. The person 
you want to disguise the identity of 
may even specify whether their face 
be pixelised to a mask threshold 
(giving a jagged pixel border) or not 
(giving a much smoother pixelated 


The second effects pack is identical 
in style to the first, but delivers a 
whole new batch of options and 
buttons to mess around with. 

The list of additional features are as 

• Chrome 

• Posterise 

• Colour contour 

• Twirl 

• Glaze 

• Raindrops 

• Dimple 

• Channel map 

• Median filter 

• Crystallise 

Again, I will choose three of what I 
consider to be the more sophisticated 
effects and put them through their 

To start this off, I will tackle what 
is probably the most versatile of the 
twenty tools found in both packs, yet 
looks docile if the user interface's 
options are anything to judge it by. I 

must confess to initially ignoring the 
Channel map tool as when I just 
aimlessly prodded around with it, 
the results were disappointing. 

The trick was to use the mask 
channel to cause a distortion effect. 
The profile of the mask determined 
just how the image on the canvas 
would be stretched and manipulated 
- with full control over just how 
much this tool should pull the image 

I found one great result that 
appears to be very convincing. By 
filling the mask channel with a 
coarse texture prior to entering the 

Figure IX: Using the Channel map 
tool to create a stone texture 

FX tool, I would then select channel 
4 (the mask, by default) as the 
controlling channel for this effects 

Requesting a low distortion value 
(of say, 3) and a radius of around 6, 
with 50% highlight, I was able to 
create Figure IX; what I would 
consider to be the ultimate stone 
design effect. The difference between 
this and just superimposing a texture 
is that this actually distorts the 
original image rather than just 
adding or subtracting brightness 

All in a spin 

Practicality can take a pause while 
the more gimmicky, but truly 
wonderful Tioirl effect can make an 
appearance centre stage. I had been 
awaiting the re-emergence of this 
facility ever since Oregan's quietly 
laid-down Photo Touch package was 

Again using my Convergence 
image, in an apparently never- 
ending shameless plug, I subjected it 
to a 120° twirl effect. The result may 
be seen below. The twirl constraint is 
between -720° to 720° (two twists 
clockwise to two counter-clockwise, 
respectively). At these extremes, a 
very savage whirlpool may be 
generated. But, back to a more useful 




jpg ' jjj 

Spin blur Diffuse map 

Figure VIII: The remaining FXI effects 

Sharpen edges 

V December 1 999 

tool, the last effect I shall look at in 
relative depth is the ultra-realistic 
Raindrops effect. This was the tool I 
utilised almost everywhere 
throughout the development of 
Convergence. Not only does it make 
for some great raindrop effects but I 
also found that it was the best way to 
create a rough, random texture over 
a large area. 

The problem with normal textures 
(on any system of this type) is that 
they are based upon a sample square 
greyscale image, usually not more 
than 200 pixels square. Whereas 
some of these are very convincing 
when applied in relatively small 
areas, over a greater distance the eye 
can quickly pick out the repetition. 
Therefore when I had to generate a 
gravel effect over a large (pixel-wise) 
area, I opted to use the Raindrop 
effect tool, setting the drops to a 
minimum size and almost 100% 



Colour contour 


Figure XI: The remaining FX2 effects 



The rest 

The six remaining tools in the FX2 
pack are not necessarily less 
significant, but either do as 
their title describes on 
the tin or I've never 
found a real use for 
them (yet...). 

Referring to 
Figure XI, I kick 
off in this final 
round with 
Chrome - great 
for creating sci-fi 
look creatures. 

Dimple is one of 
those tools that 
you will find a real 
use for once in a 
lifetime. Colour contour 
is, well, bright. Again, more 
of an occasional tool for photo- 
retouching. Glaze is quite unique in 
that it is one of those effects that 
would be very hard to create in any 
other way. Just load in that bowl of 

Figure X: The Raindrops effect 

fruit image as supplied with your 
computer, click Glaze and watch the 
liquid icing just pour on. 

Crystallise is very much a 
'style' effect and a 
very convincing 
one too. The 
resultant paint 
effect is 
realistic and 
not over-done 
as many 
packages tend 
to produce. 
Posterise is in 
the same class 
as Crystallise, 
producing a very 
believable effect. 

The final effect is that 
of Median filter which sounds 
less interesting but serves an oft- 
requested purpose. It is extremely 
good at removing sharp colour noise 
as is often generated when capturing 
video pictures. 
Apparently this 
tool was requested 
by many of 
customers who cut 
their teeth using 
their original 
satellite data 
display packages, 
where this feature 
was first present. 
Never needed it 
personally, but 
upon testing it on 
an artificially- 
generated noisy 

picture, I had to admit it removed it 
cleverly, leaving very few problem 

To top it all 

It's been a bit of a strange review; on 
their own, each effect amounts to very 
little, but when you gain access to all 
twenty new tools your list of 
possibilities does open dramatically. I 
did not use the tools immediately (and 
at the start I wondered if they were 
worth it), but once you get on with 
pushing Photodesk more and more, 
you'll find that you start to 
subconsciously use the tools as if they 
were always there. If they were 
removed from my setup now. I'm sure 
that I would be lost in the first fifteen 
minutes of booting Photodesk up. 

The best compliment is that they are 
so transparent in use. There is no need 
to flick through manuals, attack alien 
interfaces or get to know the 
mathematical formulaes involved. Just 
select and click. Then try it again with 
another one. Then another, just 
to see. And another... 

Product details 


Photodesk FX 1 and 2 
(require Photodesk 2 or 3 or 
Photodesk Light to run, also 
available from Spacetech) 


£19.95 each 


Spacetech Limited 


1 'Hie Courtyard, Southwell 
Business Park, Portland, 
Dorset, DT5 2NQ 


01305 822753 


01305 860483 


Web: December 1999 


Pa/t 2 of Max Palmer's TopModel2 review 

L ast month I looked at the basic 
features of Top Model! , 
Sincronia's excellent RISC OS 
3D modelling package. This 
month I'll be finishing my review by 
looking at some of its more advanced 

The environment 

While the creation of 3D objects can 
yield satisfying results, it is clear that 
a simple wire mesh lacks the realism 
we have come to expect from today's 
crop of graphics packages. To 

we need to turn to TopModeVs 
environment tools which enable us 
to assign attributes to objects within 
a scene. By attributes I really mean 
material types such as plastic, glass 
and metal, colours and texture maps. 

In brief, a material type governs 
the physical properties of an object, 
such as how light reflects off the 
surface, whether or not it is 
transparent, its ambient colour and 
so on, whereas texture maps permit a 
picture to be warped over the surface 
to provide a high degree of realism. 

of a scene. Since the textures 
themselves are not saved as part of a 
TopModel scene file, TopModel copies 
any textures used during a session 
inside Top Res , its central resources 
folder. This also reduces the risk of 
problems associated with images 
disappearing or moving between 

Once loaded, textures are 
assigned within the attributes 
window using one of several 
mapping modes, polygonal, planar, 
spherical or cylindrical, the choice of 

For instance, a rectangular block can 
be made to look like a brick wall by 
applying a repeating image of a brick 
pattern to its surface. (Figure I) 
TopModel allows users to assign 
attributes to objects by first selecting 
the desired polygons or primitives 
and then using the attributes 
window to set their properties 
(Figures II and III). Attributes 
may be chosen from a 
number of predefined 
materials and named 
t colours, or a new type 

♦ can be created by 
defining the necessary 
parameters and 
assigning a name. 

New materials can also 
be exported for use in 
A other scenes using the 

\\ new resources editor, 

which also allows user- 
& defined views and 
paths to be saved. 

^ TopModel is able to 

use any graphics 
format that is 
supported by 
ChnngeFSI as a 
texture map and 
maintains a 
numbered list of all 
the textures that 
| have been loaded 

1 during the creation 

which largely depends on the 
geometry of the object to which the 
map will be applied. It is also 
possible to flip the orientation of the 
image, specify the number of times a 
texture is to repeat across the surface 
(in both the horizontal and vertical 
directions), and select a colour which 
will be transparent when rendered. 

If that weren't enough, you can 
apply a texture as a chrome map, or 
select an additional image to use as a 
bump map. Bump maps are typically 
greyscale images, with the intensity 
indicating the elevation of the 
surface, and are used to simulate the 
effects of relief when the object is 
shaded - hence the term bump map. 

In general, the texture engine 
produces good results and is very 
fast, particularly when you consider 
the lack of floating point hardware. 
However, occasionally small glitches 
appear in the rendered display, as is 
common with many fast mapping 
routines. So care must be taken when 
applying a texture to the model to 
account for the orientation and 
viewing angle in order to eliminate 
texture smearing. 

As well as permitting colours and 
materials to be assigned to an object, 
the attributes window enables the 
display style used to render 
individual objects to be specified as 
either wireframe or solid; flat or 

Make selection. 

Read attributes 


l\*nts 396 

Set texture 


Points | 48~ 

Objects | 56 

Groups I 0 
Lights | 0~ 

Read attributes 



1 me 


Figure II: The attributes 
window allow s properties to be 
assigned to objects, including 
the material type. This 
example , supplied with 
Top Model, shows the effect that 
changes in diffusion and 
reflection have on the 
appearance of a material 

Figure l: An example of texture mapping 

smooth and light or opaque. These 
styles override the currently selected 
render mode and can be used to 
improve the appearance of objects or 
make the machine more responsive 
by reducing the load on the 

For example, Phong shading 
interpolates between vertices to 
improve the appearance of objects, 
making them appear smooth instead 
of composed of flat surfaces. 
However, this style of shading can 

look odd when applied to large, flat 
areas, such as walls. In this case, a 
user might choose to override the 
default rendering style by switching 
the particular object's attributes from 
smooth to flat. 


Once you have created, imported, 
adjusted and distorted the objects 
required for your scene, it's time to 
think about how you can add polish 
before you output your results. Key 

areas here include use of lighting, if 
you're thinking of exporting a 
bitmap image, and choice of viewing 

Unfortunately, while the object 
creation and manipulation facilities 
within TopModel are pretty good, the 
lighting facilities are somewhat basic. 
General lighting options include 
being able to specify the intensity 
and colour of the front light and 
ambient conditions, while the lights 
menu allows you to add additional 



lj s ,us 


4KT Plug-ins 

Click to use available Plug-ins. 

Colour & material 
Texture J Various 

Textures... | Delete | 



fcj], Dcloitn 

V Special 

Sr leci 




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Texture j Various 
Colour & material 

fllilPB Edit- 1 

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Set colour 


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Dim X 

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Colour & material 
Texture | Various 


Metallic " gj 
Set material 

Read attributes 

^ Select 

Del or m 



Lights jf[^ Library in Animate Virtual U|jr Plug- 

Magnetic force: dick toactivate/deactivatc it. 




Figure IV: The path of lights may he made visible for maiti/mlnlion 
(main /net lire) or turned off for the final image (inset) 

spot lights, extra 'sun' type lights 
(essentially directional, parallel beam 
sources of light) and point sources. 

While you can adjust the intensity 
of the extra lights, move them about 
and create primitive lens flares, 
rather strangely there's no obvious 
method of setting their colour or 
adjusting other properties once they 
have been created; an obvious 
deficiency. Lights aside, TopModcl 
allows the viewpoint to be set up 

using either the manual 
rotate/zoom /translate tools or by 
entering values into a dialog for 
more precise control. Once a useful 
angle has been obtained it can be 
saved ns a named view and recalled 
at a later date. 

While most editing and creation 
of objects is likely to take place with 
perspective off, more often than not 
you will want it to be enabled to 
produce a better looking final scene 

and this may be done by toggling the 
perspective icon on the TopModcl 

Other nice features which can be 
used to improve the appearance of 
the rendered output are the ability to 
use an image as a backdrop and 
enable fog, which can be chosen to 
match the background colour and 
have the intensity and drop-off rate 
adjusted to suit. Putting all these 
effects together enables some pretty 
good-looking results to be obtained 
within TopModcl - as shown in Figure 
V - however, to get the best from 
your scene I would recommend 
using some of the alternative output 
options available to you. 

TopModcl supports a number of 
output options in addition to its own 
native file format, and includes the 
ability to export the scene as a 
picture, a drawfile (either wire frame 
or flat shaded, but not textured), an 
ASCII file and its own 3DScene 
filelype, which is compatible with 
the freeware TopModcl file viewer 
(TM Viewer). 

The picture export option creates 
an image using the current rendering 
style and allows the size of the 
output image to be specified, at sizes 
up to 2048 x 2048, as well as the 
filetype (either sprite or targa) and 
colour depth. While TopModcl does 
not anti-alias the output image, an 
option is available to export at 
double or quadruple the current 

Figure V: A TopModcl scene with coloured lights and a background image 

December 1 999 

Save fikr(F3) 

Save file <P3) 


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(5 SpnidFW) 

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1 ' Type | Animal mi Type j ASCII *B| 

pModdiupmodel.vtufrpiovCk^T^I^^P^loddLiopcnodclMulT.pit^.DogTo) | 



pModcl lopiiKHlcUturf.picvDogTu) 

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SpntdFW) J Targ469D) 
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Save view parameters 

Save selevtiia 

Save menials to vertices 

Tins file i)pe cannot he re-loaded in 
!Top Model. It can unly be seal (Kit 
not edited) in ITMViewer. Use it to 
distribute your wuks: they caraicx 
he altered tx used in anyway! 

(9 Wireframe 

Filled ♦ wireframe 

<9 Muuxlxutnc 
J Colours 





Figure VI: The sUuuhrd tbpMoilcl output options 

work area dimensions, resolution Acorn and recent PC all is not the RISC OS logo hopefully 

limitations permitting. You can then 
produce an anti-aliased version of 
the picture, at the original work area 
resolution, by halving the scale of the 
image using an image processing 
application such as ClmngeFSI. 

One of the obvious limitations of 
TopModel is that while the final 
output image is quite good, it is still 
tied to the capabilities of the 
rendering engine. As such there is no 
support for advanced features such 
as ray-tracing, which enable 
impressive results with physically 
accurate reflections and shadows to 
be produced. In many respects this is 
not all that surprising, since the level 
of computation required for accurate 
ray-tracing demands a machine with 
a decent floating point unit which, if 
we're being sensible here, rules 
Acorns out at present. 

However, for those who are 

completely lost, since TopModel 
provides a utility to convert TopModel 
ASCII files into other formats, 
including VRML and DXF. In 
addition, 1 have created a fairly basic, 
'rough and ready' PC-based utility to 
convert TopModel ASCII files into OBJ 
files, which I may consider releasing 
once I've cleared up potential 
distribution issues. 

While, regrettably, none of these 
export options preserve texture 
information, they do provide a 
relatively painless method for 
importing your creations into many 
3D packages on other platforms, 
enabling you to use TopModel as a 
design tool, which it is good at. Once 
you have imported your models you 
will need to add textures, however, 
assuming your package of choice has 
a good ray-tracing engine, the results 
definitely justify the means, as the 

demonstrates (Figure VIII). 

Into the future... 

One of the great things about 
TopModel is that unlike many other 
packages that have come along, its 
creators, Sincronia, have tried hard to 
listen to users and continually 
enhance their offering. Although 
development of the core engine 
continues, Sincronia have opted to 
enhance TopModel ' s feature set by 
providing a plug-in system, which 
allows extra modules to be loaded at 

Two such modules are currently 
commercially available, TopDefonti 
and TopFottl, while? others are under 
development. TopDefonti provides an 
extra set of deformation tools that are 
split into five categories, fractal, 
enlarge, envelope, displace and 

accompanying box on the creation of 

These allow various types of 
distortion to be applied to a mesh, 
for instance an image can be used to 
displace points within a mesh (a bit 
like emboss in a 2D paint package), 
alternatively objects can be exploded 
or have fractal noise added to make 
the surface appear rough or 
crumpled (among other effects). 

Probably of more interest however 
is TopFonts, which comes on CD- 

fortunate enough to own both an December 1999 

Figure VIII: Steps outlining the creation of the RISC OS 4 logo 

Stage 1: First the basic RISC OS 4 logo was created in 
Artworks using four rectangles and three circles. Once made, 
the five pieces of the logo were created from the original using 
Martin Wuer timer's excellent Intersect plug-in tool for 

drawfile. Two copies of the face were then made and rotated 
to lie in the correct positions. Finally, colours were applied to 
each of the pieces, which were then grouped by colour. 

Stage 3: The TopModel file was exported as an ASCII file and 
converted into an OBJ file using a PC-based conversion 
application written by myself (see main text). The OBJ file was 
imported into MetaCreations' Bryce4 on a PC and the colours 
and material settings reapplied to the groups. Finally, a radial 
light source was placed at the centre of the logo and the scene 
ray-traced in Bryce. 

Stage 2: Next the logo was exported from ArtWorks as a 
drawfile and loaded into TopModel as an extruded object. 
TopFont was then used to create the RISC OS text, with a 
simple cut-away bevelled edge selected. The text was then 
rotated and scaled to match the dimensions of the extruded 

1 * IbMtoct port 

Bring to canto ||g&* Akgn groups 

o S elect pnwBves 

||l(| Select per colour |T2 Grouo Grotps j 


* . 

1 Ql Select entire nets 

jl% Select per metenel SHmU j De select ( 

CJx* in 'dhiri *1 rh* corur.ti 2;c current rr.iter.di set 



















ROM and adds the ability to create 
3D text. Once selected you simply 
choose a font from the list, select a 
bevel style and type the text you 
wish to display into an edit box. You 
then drag the text into the main view 
and reposition it using the standard 
selection tools. 

While this process works very 
well, you should be aware that you 
can only select from the list of fonts 
that are supplied on the CD-ROM 
and of those fonts, only numbers and 
letters (upper and lower case) are 
permitted, although one font, Fences 
Plain, does appear to consist of 
symbols. These slightly annoying 
restrictions notwithstanding, the 
variety of effects that can be created 
using TopFonts is impressive, a few 

45 degrees Round 6 Gothic sharp Cut 


b b b b 

c c c c 


Figure IX: TopFonl in action. The illustration 
shows the effect that different bevel styles have 
on the appearance of some of the fonts supplied 
with the plug-in 

examples of which are shown in 
Figure IX. 

In addition to TopDcform and 
TopFonts, two more plug-ins are 
currently under development. 
TopBones will allow 'skeleton-like' 
control points to be added to meshes, 
allowing complex models to be 
created and sections repositioned 
much more easily than is currently 
possible, while TopMotion looks set to 
add a stunning array of features for 
producing animations, including 
particle effects and complex linked 
actions. After sneaking a few 
glimpses at Wakefield, all I can say is 
I can't wait. 

Round up 

In the preceding sections I have 
touched upon some of the ways 
objects can be created, imported, 
distorted and edited using TopModel. 
However, I must emphasise that 
there are many other features which I 
simply haven't had space to 
introduce, let alone describe. 

Indeed, it is illustrative that 
despite the fact I have been a regular 
user of TopModel since it first came 
out, some years ago, I still come 
across powerful features which I 
never knew exist, and therein lies 
Top Model's beauty, and also it's curse. 

It is so laden with features, which 
to a certain extent have moulded the 
development of its own, distinctive, 
user interface, that it is sometimes 
difficult to spot the wood from the 
trees, especially when things don't 

work quite as we have come to 
expect them to. This can be 
frustrating at times, nevertheless, 
despite its flaws - a few of which I 
have mentioned in the text - it is an 
incredibly powerful and rewarding 
package if you take the time to 
investigate its features. 

It is also worth remembering that 
the world of three dimensional 
design is an inherently complex 
subject. Hopefully, during the course 
of the next few months, I will be able 
to ease the learning curve and enable 
others to get the most from this 
elegant, occasionally frustrating, 
graphics package. 

With the prospect of further 
development and new plug-ins on 

the horizon the future looks 

bright. Bravo Sincronia! 

Product de tails J 

Product: TopModel2 

Price: £152.75 

Product: Top3DFonts (Plug-in) 

Price: £58.63 (includes CD 

collection2 and free v2.14 

Product: TopDeform (Plug-in) 

Price: £28.79 

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

Fax: (+44/0) 1305 860483 




December 1999 



NoticeBoard Pro is one of the 
most advanced programs for 
creating and running stand-alone 
rolling displays and slideshow 
presentations on RISC OS 

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! 

A 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: 

A 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 


The affordable alternative to 
hardware memory upgrades! 

Do you ever find yourself running short of memory? 

Have you ever found yourself switching between two programs by 
quitting one and starting the other? 

If the answer is yes, then RAMplify is the program for you! 

With RAMplify, programs can be frozen to disc, freeing precious 
memory for use in other jobs , saving you time and allowing you to 
continue with your work faster. 

With just two clicks of the mouse, RAMplify will clump the whole of an 
application's memory to your harddisc. RAMplify can also be 
configured to automatically freeze programs after a defined period of 
inactivity. An exclusion list of programs not to be frozen can be set up 
and all configuration options are performed using an easy to use 
desktop interface. 


i r J i r 

RAMplify runs on any Acorn 32-bit 
computer with RISC OS 3 or greater. 
Rise PC and StrongARM compatible. 

RAMplify costs ONLY £19.95 and is 

available from Werewolf Software. Please add £1 .50 for P&P. Most major credit 
cards are accepted. Please call to order or send a cheque/P.O. 

Other products available from Werewolf Software include: 
TANKS - An exciting strategy game (fun for all the family) 
Shuggy - A fun and thrilling graphical adventure game 
Each available at ONLY £19.95 - 24% off (plus £1 .50 P&P) 

Werewolf Software • 23 The Spinneys. Bromley, Kent. BR1 2NT • Tel: 0181 289 6003 
E-mail: • WWW: 

RED HOT Networking 



Works with oil machines fitted with a bi-directional 
parallel port (A30xO/A400Q'A5000'A4'A7000/RiscPC). 

Implemented as a filing systom for transparent 
filo-shanng across machines. 

No need for cumbersome and slow transfer programs. 

*1 found ParaFS easy to install and straightforward to 
contigure and It has worked without a hitch I ike it.’ 
Philip Perry. Archive 12.10. 

£29.95 with a RED HOT connection cable, or £22.95 
for the program alone 

Mouse Interfaces, Trackballs etc 

PS3Mous« Use PS/2 mie# on your R*c OS machine 
P S3 Mouse. Win through port to k»op Acorn mouse 
Touchpad fAouse replacement Us* with PS2Mou$«. • C.u • 

Trackball Large heavy ban No interface 
Mouse bal Replacement heavy mouse bi 

Easy Sharing! 

Game Interfaces, Joysticks etc. 

PCJoy Analogue joystick interface gives you a gamoport! 

PC Phantom Joystick (or above (4x nuto hro, throttle etc) 
Tlgon Alternative joyaick for above. 

Solo budget joystick interlace tor utaM style digital slicks. 
Apache Joystick for above (microswitclHid) 

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

Obsolete Drivers Disk 


Isk for old joysticks/ joypad* o 

CM, 95 

£7 95 

Keyboard, PS/2 mouse and serial switch 


Access Products 

PS2Mouse. also has switch Inputs • ask (or d«tail*' 

Key switch. Swech keyboard replacement (advanced order)>4 ■_ 

(ideal if your monitor has two Inputs) £3® 
15HD to 5xBNC monitor coble for above £'9-93 
Keyboard & Monitor switch £^9 95 

Keyboard. Monitor and PS/2 mouse switch £A9-95 
Printer (1 machine->2 devices) 95 

Printer (2 machinos-> 1 device) £22-^ 

Donations are available - call for 

Stuart Tyrrell Developments 
PO Box 183, OLDHAM OL2 8FB 
Tel: 01706 040 600 (9am-9pm) 
Fax: 0070 164 1604 (nalional rate) 
Email: lnfo@stdovcl.domon. 

V n, • 

deta : 

Phono, Fax or email for a 
free product Information flyer! 

All prices include P&P 
Delta ‘Visa Mastercard welcomed. 
All trademarks acknowleged. E&OE. 

• ESP MIDI Synth Plus. Play MIDI 
files in Software! Includes 5 
floppies. Instrument CD 1 and 
manuals. £45 inc postage. Contact 
Craig. Mobile: 07990 524 507. 


• RPC 700 with SA upgrade, DX4-100 
pC card + software, CD-ROM, 
540Mb HD, 32Mb RAM, 2Mb 
VRAM, SCSI MKII Epson stylus 200 
colour printer, A4 colour flatbed 
scanner, 18 months old, perfect 
condition with monitor. £1000 ono. 
(S. Yorkshire) Tel: 01709 770 052 

• A5000, 4Mb RAM, 428Mb HD, FP 
chip, VGC. £150. Tel: 01276 65 512 
(Camberley, Surrey) 

• Rise PC 600 AKF60, Min Monitor, 
12Mb RAM, 2Mb VRAM, Mozart 16 
Bit Soundcard, 486 PC card, 25W 
Speakers, 4x CD-ROM, all manuals. 
Impression Style, HP Deskjet 360C 
colour printer, £575 ono. (Burton) 
Staffs. Adrian Hanlon, 

tel: 01283 517 088 

• Acorn Rise PC 700 with: 48Mb 
RAM, 2Mb VRAM, 1.2Gb Hard 
Drive, 8x CD-ROM and Monitor 
£350. CJE 586 133MHz 512Kb cache 
PC card plus PCPro3 software. £150. 
Also Windows 3.11, 95, and 98 if 
required, plus 12 Games, £Offers. 
E-mail: or tel: 
01703 868 695 

• Olympus C1400L Digital Camera 
(1280 x 1024) + 2 x 8Mb 
SmartMedia, Serial Cable, PC 
Software & Snapshots for RISC OS 
(Irlam Instruments), £450 ono. 

Works fine with RISC OS 3.6, 3.7 & 
RISC OS 4.0. Call Paul on 0171 202 
3309 or e-mail 

• Would anyone be interesting in 
buying an old Acorn Computer, 
with no Model No. on it, (but 
around the 1980's in age)? The Serial 01 -AMB1 5-0339675. BBC 
Master Series Microcomputer. I live 
in Kent, in the UK. Thank you. 

• PC software for windows, TextEase 
Std Ver 4.0 unregistered CD, 
manuals £30; Fireworkz for 
windows £25.00(no manual) 
DX4/100PC card manuals, DOS7 
£75. Tel: 01706 812 516 

• A3020, 2Mb RAM, RISC OS 3.11, 
AKF40 colour monitor, hi-fi sound 
upgrade, £120 including delivery. 
Also have 4Mb machine, specs as 
above, £150 including delivery. Call 
Glenn on (01453) 844513 or 
preferably e-mail: glenn@squirrel- 

• Acorn A5000 ARM3 with atomwide 
8Mb RAM 210Mb HD. With 
keyboard, mouse, manuals. 
Artworks, Impression, Ant Internet 
Suite v2, Games. £120. Telephone 
Barny in Taunton (01823) 490322. 

• Acorn Qume Calligraph laser 
printer and laser card, cables, 
manual and spare brand new laser 
toner, £125. Wanted: Ethernet card 
with access+. Tel: 01268 734 215 

loads mote 

„ jpfiW toiir 

j*ublishe£ -.vvG CaB 0142 s ' 61 colollT # .4 700 0, RjV 

’"'foTon not keyhw c < l4W M«J‘*£ c eUent 9H2 { <25HD 

Qjirst Impression, lUtoi, °-^ p T bo x and tor - manuals ^ 

rj ), 1 Anc j Outline Pont), 1 _ ~p_ J Ljdic.. 

?. nd tession (newi ^ com u ser Free Ads Service 

Pr. Man. £8j 
£20; Q4G 

, J^Or r v - 

if' lb ts 

°f soft 2 v n 
magazine discs, 

PI .. ' . « azme ” a b °*es. £700. Tel: {l Jr A 
_ T ft^ a _ C _ k _ _ _ _0ja82-61S18JJ jjtnn. n 7 00 

!“> (Audio Works j 

/{ 7 . HaidDisc (j 
c o//>bug)/ £25. Arj 
sc/, 0 j°n), £ 24 . Plai) 
»C/ .18- Image Mai 
tab/,, vid PnUng)j 
s °ft 'if' 

Sr ‘A 

Why not take advantage of our free reader ad service? Fill in 
your details on this coupon (25 words maximum, one word per 
box below) and send it to Free Ads, Acorn User, Tau Press Ltd, 
Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP or by e- 
mail to: Only one ad per reader please. 
Although we try to publish every ad we receive, we can make no 

guarantees; publication is entirely dependent on space and time 
constraints. Please fill in your name and telephone number 
below - these will not be published, but they enable us to 
contact you in case of any queries. Please include your 
town/county in each ad to help other readers with their 
purchasing decision. 

Your name: Telephone no:. 

!m. erface > akh 

•b/c : 

tick n„ ,4 

° n HD.\ 

ssa? i 

:7soo ’Z 

"TTiTT, December 1999 

Century House 
Market Street 
Cambs. CB4 5QG 
Tel/Fax 01954 208208 





















Eesox have some offers too good to miss... check out our web-site now... 


See Mike Cook's article 
'Getting Balanced' 


£ 47.50 


£ 45.50 

4-Piece Set 

£ 87.50 

Prices include VAT 
Carriage extra (£11.75) 

Graphic Equaliser 

3D 600W Subwoofer 
Speaker System 


Iiyama 15" 350 
liyama 17” (S702GT) .28dot 
Iiyama 17" 400 Pro .25 dol 
CTX 14" Digital Scan 
CTX 15" Digital Scan 
CTX 17". 28 70Khz Digital 
CTX mens have (3 year on-site warrty) 
Many other models available 







Switch Boxes 

Parallel 2 way (25w 'D' skis) £ 1 6.99 
Parallel 4 way (25w 'D' skis) £19.99 
Serial 2 way (9w 'D' skis) £ 1 9.99 

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 C 1 35.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 850 £199.00 

HP Laserjet 1100 (laser mono) £289.00 



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

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

Joining fee just £28.20 

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

Inexpensive multi-user licences 

Parallel to 
SCSI adapter 

S <st? 

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 1 0/3020/4000/5000/ 
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 I nmgc master and Twain software. 
Epson GT7000 - SCSI £259.00 

Epson GT7000 Photo - SCSI £299.00 

Plustek 9636P - Parallel Port £139.00 

Plustek 9636T - Parallel Port 
(with transparency adapter) £189.00 

Pineapple Software 

Suite 1, 310 Green Lane, ILFORD 
Essex IG1 1XT 

Tel 0208 599 1476 Fax 0208 598 2343 


Terms:- All prices include 

17.5% vat. Carriage £5 on most 
hardware. Small items £3 (or 
less). Phone for quote outside 
UK. Official orders, cheques 
and all major credit cards 
accepted at no extra charge. 


'Many Acorn User front covers have 
been created from scratch using this 
program alone, concrete proof of the power of 
this creative tool' - Acorn User Mnr96 

New low price - £59.00 inc vat 


No matter which scanner you buy, if it was 
originally intended for use on a PC or Macintosh 
you will almost certainly be given a 'lite' 
version of an OCR package. This is almost 
always effective to a point, but when you 
demand accuracy it's no good. So what's the 

Sleuth 3 is the latest version of the acclaimed 
OCR package for RISC OS computer systems. The editor has been 
enhanced (above that of Sleuth 2) to allow greater control over the 
OCR'd text including the ability to insert/remove paragraph breaks 
and amend identical errors easily. Greater accuracy has been 
achieved, especially with degraded images. New font information - 
a total of 114 fonts and styles - has been added including more 
mono-spaced fonts and has the ability to output them in Rich Text 
Format (RTF), which can then be loaded into any word processor or 
DTP package that supports RTF (including Ovation Pro and 

While Sleuth 3 can be used on any machine with RISC OS 3.1 and 
4Mb of RAM, we recommend use on a Rise PC, A7000+ or similarly 
specified machine for the best performance. 

Ktwwd l»4 

r wet i. U 




Tkt 1<?COO UHI pc*p.->» 
jWvyxKl «**»«!•» 

ADAPTORS) • i , ; - 

AND -t OC- 
u 6 '«« 

ord ffeih tr* 
added f ,.l .j,.-, a/. 

cj\ <*»* W«t> cu \„\i WWpkv: w 

Lloyd Research Ltd 
Te\: (01489) 574848 
uuu Jloyclres-couk 



The L9000 uses purpose 
designed plug-in nodules 
ADAPTORS) to gang progran 
a wider range of 
nicrocontrollers than any other 
known stand-alone 
programmer. AND we don’t 
stand still-., new devices 
including eprons and flash are 
added nonthly. Full details are 
on the \Heb or just telephone. 

The key new features of Sleuth 3 are: 

Full multitasking editor, allowing you to correct mistakes while 
the OCR routine is running 

Ability to achieve over 90% accuracy on recognised fonts, 
using good quality 300-400dpi images 

Text conversion at between 80 and 250 words per minute 

User-definable or automatic zone creation can be used to 
choose which part of the image to convert 

Editable user dictionaries 

Foreign language dictionaries 
Batch processing 
Import of grayscale sprites 
Editor enhancements 
Automatic page orientation 
Improved accuracy 

The usual RRP of Sleuth 3 is £116.33, 
but we have negotiated with Beebug Ltd 
^Loffer Sleuth 3 to you at just £105 



Iwlfl I r| t 1 

•Tl ■nil 1.1 













Basic & Wimp 
Programmers’ Toolkit 

be just that little bit easier. 

In this exclusive new reader offer, 
ProAction are offering Acorn User readers 
a choice of two special programmers’ 

the Basic & Wimp Programmers’ Toolkits 
(supplied with full documentation) will 
serve as the ideal set of utilities to cater 
for your programming needs. 

AU Binders 

Either way, it costs jtis 
£13.50 or £10 for Aeon 
User subscribers. 


Irrespective of where you work, you will probably 
have come across a first-person shoot ‘em up 
game in the same vein as Doom, Quake and so 
on. Up to now all these games have all been PC 
imports ...enter Destiny, the first original game 
of this type for the RISC OS platform. 

The culmination of four years work, Destiny features high resolution 3D 
graphics, a huge variety of levels, serious fire power, intelligent 
enemies, original music and much much more. 

The game requires either a Rise PC or A7000+ (a StrongARM is 

highly recommended) with 
8Mb RAM and a CD-ROM 

riced at £30, or £25 to, A 
Acorn User subscriber? ^ 

Acorn User 
past CD-ROMs 

With the immense success of 
our CD-ROM offer, we’re now 
out of stock of the January ‘96 
Cover CD-ROM. We are, however, ' 
pleased to announce a new offer 
with a slight twist to it: you may 
choose any THREE items from those listed, 
for £5. We’re offering a little more choice this time; but do note 
we're not able to supply anything less than three items. 

i may choose any three from: 

August ‘96 CD-ROM (Collectors CD-ROM 2 - lots of Web 
stuff, utilities, games and much more) 

December '97 CD-ROM (Collectors CD-ROM 3 - Huge 
Destiny demonstration, past cover discs and much more) 

TWO past cover discs (of our choice - 
they will be over one year old) 

BOTH film trailer CD-ROMs 

This three-disc 
set costs just £5 

• The Evolution CD-ROM 

We folks at Acorn User know you like to 
program - that is plain enough for anybody 
to see. But we also know there are a few 
of you who perhaps don't have the time 
to sit down and learn, or would like it to 

packs: if you 
only have 

opnnpo In n flnnmr rlicn rlriun 

Prices: £7 (one off), £6 (2+) 
Postage: £2 per binder (UK), 
£3 (Europe), £4 (Rest of World) 


I Please send me the following products: 

□ Sleuth 3 £116.33 

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E very once in a while, we all 
get the urge to research our 
family's past. Whatever the 
reasons, it can be a long and 
arduous task but it can be very 
rewarding to find out interesting 
details about the lives of those who 
went before you. 

In the past, family trees would be 
written on pieces of paper but in 
these days of in ter webs and 
millennium bugs, there's another 
method of nurturing your family 

Alasdair Bailey 
finds out where 
he came from 

tree: from the comfort of your RISC 
OS desktop. Ancestor +, published by 
APDL, is the grandchild of Ancestry, 
the late Graham Crow's first stab at 
family tree software which was first 
written in the days of Arthur OS and 

single-tasking applications. 

Ancestry was published by 
Minerva, as was Ancestry II which 
was written by a different author. 
This latest offering was written 
partly by Graham Crow but was 
taken on by Dave Holden of APDL 
after Graham's untimely death. The 
subtle name change from 'Ancestry' 
to 'Ancestor' came as a result of 
Minerva's claim to sole rights on the 
name when applied to RISC OS 

Ancestor+'s main window, nice. 


Installing the program is a doddle - 
just copy it onto a hard disc and 
you're away. It will even run from 
the floppy disc on lower-spec 

It's very easy to start using 
Ancestor + without referring to the 
manual. This is a bonus in any 
software package. Although a few of 
Ancestor's buttons are a little cryptic 
to begin with, interactive help is 
supported in most windows. This 
could do with some more work 
though because not all areas of the 
program are yet covered. 

Entering data on members of your 
family is relatively easy. In operation. 
Ancestors, is very much like a 
customised database. The plus icon 
on the toolbar opens up the 'Add 
Person' window into which data 

December 1999 

about the person is entered in the 
appropriate fields. 

Data is entered in a fairly routine fashion, 
all the usual fields like name, surname, date 
of birth and so on, are included along with a 
few useful extras. 

Provision is made for including details of 
the locations of births and deaths along with 
a field to allow a record to be made of any 
bynames which a person may have been 
known by during their time. 

Some useful date prefixes are supported 
throughout Ancestor+. Once a date is 
entered, an option exists to prefix it with 
one of five date codes. 

These can be used where a date is not 
precise in order to indicate that an estimate 
has been used. Dates may be entered in 
almost any numerical form and the program 
will calculate ages accordingly, either by 
using the death date if there is one or the 
computer's calendar for those still alive. 

Relationships between people are entered 
in a similarly straightforward manner. 
Families are created by entering details of a 
marriage between two people then children 
may be added either by record number or 
by dragging their icon from the main 
window into the family window. This drag 
and drop functionality is a nice feature and 
is also supported in other areas of the 
application. Some clever date checking goes 

The latest addition to the Cook and Ball family trees 

on when entering families. The program 
watches out for errors and alerts the user 
when one is detected. For example, when 
entering data it is easy to accidentally select 
the wrong person as a child of the marriage, 
in which case the program will point this 
out by monitoring the mother's age at the 
birth and also whether the 'child' already 
has parents defined. This error checking can 
be quite useful when constructing large 
trees. Were it not present, your grandmother 
could end up as your daughter and future 
generations would forever wonder why you 
didn't patent that time-machine. Ancestor's 

Finding a Family 

So, you have a family tree editing 
tool, now you need a family tree. 

The first stage in researching your 
family tree should be to make a 
written record of the birthdates, 
deathdates and other useful data on 
your immediate family. Once that's 
done, enter it into the computer and 
look for where gaps exist. 

It's more than likely that it will be 
relatively easy to take the tree back 
three or so generations but once you 
get to your grandparent's parents, 
things become a little more tricky. 

So once you reach this stage, it's 
best to find the oldest person in 
your family and retrieve whatever 
information you can on their parents, 
grandparents and perhaps even 
brothers and sisters. If your family 
tree is going to go on a Website or 
even just retained for future 
generations, it's vital that you make 
it interesting to read. Research and 
make a record of any details of the 
lives of those individuals who have 
gone before you. You never know, 
your questioning might even reveal 

some of your family's deepest 
darkest secrets. While researching 
for this article, I discovered that a 
member of my family had been 
involved in a major tabloid scandal 
in the 1970s. 

I won't give you all the details 
because some things are best kept 
within families but it was amusing 
to be let in on this skeleton in the 
closet so to speak. It's also a fact that 
the owner of this journal is 
descended from sheep-rustlers and 
Romanies - which explains a lot. 

Once you've gleaned all the 
information you can from living 
relatives, things get a little gritty. 
Now, it's time to refer to public 
records offices and other archives. 
These are only of use if you know 
the place and date of birth of a 

They can be used to confirm 
dates, marriages and all sorts of 
other particulars which are stored in 
the public archives. Talk to your 
local registry office or library for 
more information on accessing the 

archives. Another potentially 
excellent resource, if your family has 
one, is the family bible. Many 
families have kept a record of births, 
deaths and marriages in the family 

As with many other fields, the 
WWW is a very useful tool when 
researching family trees. However, it 
must be used properly else you'll 
end up with a load of irrelevant and 
possibly mis-leading information. 

A good starting place for UK 
genealogy research is the Public 
Records Office WWW site at The site 
contains many useful links and 
details on how to access such things 
as military personnel archives and 
UK public records. 

If you (or an ancestor) have a 
distinctive name you may find a 
Website detailing that names 
genealogy as researched by others, 
for example there is (to mention that 
man again) a 
which gives quite a lot of 
information and source material. December 1999 

Family tree 

Alasdair John Joseph 



Sex [m] Status 1 
Birth date 
Birthplace | Leicester. UK 
Date died ' 

Place died 


Make a note of it, I’ll he expecting lots of birthday cards now! 

y December 1999 

marriage window includes a handy field 
into which the exact nature of the 
relationship may be entered. If, for example, 
your Uncle Bob has a lovechild by a Miss 
Melinda Cheap, a second relationship can 
be added involving Uncle Bob into which a 
suitable code is added to reflect this. 

Ancestor + doesn't dictate what codes are 
used for this purpose, any letter may be 
used and it's left to individual users to set 
their own conventions for use within trees. 
Re-marriages to the same partner are also 
catered for along with same-sex 

My main criticism of Ancestor+ stems 
from the method it employs to display 
family trees. Rather than using the 
traditional tree formation, it opts for a more 
compact approach whereby only three 
generations are displayed at any one time 
and children are displayed as a stack of 
record cards which must be viewed 
individually rather than in a line below 
their parents all at once. It could be argued 
that this approach simplifies things but from 
my experience, programs which display the 
whole tree in a larger window are far easier 
to work with. 

I'm told that this option is being worked 
on and in the meantime, it is possible to 
display the tree as a sort of text file with the 
branches fully expanded. The tree can be 
edited from this window but it looks a little 
ugly and there's no nice tool bar as is seen in 
the main window. One very useful feature 
found in Ancestor + is the resource directory 
where text files, pictures and any other 
digital resources you might happen to have 
on an individual or family may be stored. 

Once constructed, the data within the 
resources directory structure is easily 
accessed via buttons on the toolbars of both 
the family and person editing windows. The 
manual does a good job of explaining how 
to create and then link a resources directory 
to an Ancestors file. The process is trivial 
but perhaps that's more reason for it to be 
automated - a 
conventional 'save as' 
box could be used to 
set up the path 

Ancestor + is able to 
export the contents of a 
tree in various ways. 
Data can be saved as a 
text file which displays 
the whole tree in a 
sideways orientation 
including names, dates 
and all the usual 
information. This is a 
nice feature but as I 
mentioned before, a 
complete tree in a more 
presentable style 
would be nice. The 

]| 10-1 2-1980 ~1 B 1 1 18y 9m 


database may also be saved as a CSV file or 
in HTML form. 

The HTML form is quite novel in that 
each person's details are listed with their 
data fields followed by hyperlinks to their 
spouse, parents and children where 
appropriate. With some editing, such a 
document could be a nice addition to a 
personal Web page. 

The other major family tree program for 
RISC OS is the PD application Family, this 
hasn't been updated for a few years now 
but is a competent application that is used 
quite extensively. Ancestor + will import 
Family files quite happily and can export 
standard GEDCOM format files which 
Family and applications on other platforms 
will read. 

The ability to import GEDCOM files is 
being updated continually and as people 
find ones that won't load APDL make the 
necessary changes to make it work. For 
example initially Ancestor + would discard 
any notations attached to particular people 
in GEDCOM files, now it's possible to put 
this information into user-defined fields in 

One thing Ancestor + won't do is print. 
This is a potentially serious problem since 
you can't get a hard copy in the traditional 
'tree' layout. All is not lost, however, 
because by exporting your information in 
GEDCOM you can load it into Family and 
get your tree from there. APDL say that the 
printing situation is being addressed but 
users have said that other things are more 
important first. 

Some useful example files are included 
with Ancestor +, one of which is very 
comprehensive tree charting the British 
Royal family from the 15th century to the 
present day. 

Overall, Ancestor + is a very stable 
application which does the job it's designed 
to do. Bear in mind that, as with any good 
application, development is still ongoing 
and updates are free of charge. If you're 
interested in researching your family's roots, 
it's well worth the £59 price tag. With 
cheaper upgrades also available from 
Ancestry and Ancestry II, there's no 
excuse for not upgrading today. 

Product details 

Product: Ancestor* 

Price: £59 (upgrade from Ancestry: 

£39, Ancestry II: £49 ... yes, it 
does cost more to upgrade 
from Ancestry II) 

Supplier: APDL, 39 Knighton Park 
Road, Sydenham, London. 
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N aturally following the areas 
covered in the Numeracy 
Hour framework for Years 3 
and 4, this is an adventure set 
in an old factory, and is reminiscent 
of New Media's earlier CD-ROM 
fantasy. Here, all the numbers have 
been stolen from a town, and it is 
down to you to restore them, and so 
get the toasters and microwaves 
working properly again. 

Classes can run the activities in 
adventure format or, taking the 
teacher route, concentrate on specific 
areas covered in earlier sessions. 
Taking the latter option, children go 
directly to the machine they want to 
repair, by simply clicking on it. Each 
machine mended is noted in the 
record-keeping section which 
teachers can access at any time. 

Your ally in this venture is a robot 
called UNIT, who guides you 
through the old factory where you 
repair the machines; this involves 
correcting those machines which 

and place value activities with such 
machines as the Fraction Contraption 
and Order Recorder. Moving to the 
first floor, your quest reveals 
machines dealing with relationships 
between numbers and computation, 
in particular the Adder Upper, where 
you learn and practise adding two- 
digit numbers. 

Puzzles are all available at three 
levels, so at Level 1 you're adding 
two-digit numbers without 
exchange, while at Level 2 exchange 
is introduced, and at Level 3 you're 
adding two-digit numbers with 
exchange into 100's. 

On the first floor, manoeuvring is 
a matter of entering the correct 
coordinates for each doorway. If you 
discover a room containing a broken 
machine, you must mend it before 
moving on to the Attic. There are 21 
machines in total, but you can 
wander around the factory even if 
you don't manage to fix them all. 
However, you only use the 

The number 


Pam Turnbull puts the number 
cruncher to the test 

have forgotten how to divide in half 
or multiply by ten. On the first level, 
you must guide UNIT to the broken 
machines across a square-patterned 
floor, using a remote control to input 
numbers: positive for forward, 
negative for backward; other inputs 
turn him to left or right. The ground 
floor concentrates on number system 

navigation controls within the 
adventure context. 

Access to the Attic is also to be 
found on the first floor; here, you'll 
find a host of numerical problems to 
solve. Navigation here is slightly 
different too, with UNIT having to 
move around cardboard boxes 
shelved to look remarkably like a 

Children move around by 
entering two-figure coordinates 
to reveal machines such as the 
Broken Calculator and Estimator 
Guestimator. Estimation is an 
essential but difficult concept for 
many children and here the 
approach is to teach children 
how to approximate an answer, 
then check if it is within the 
correct range. This is taught 
using additions with two digits 

at Level 1, subtraction with two 
digits at Level 2, and sums such as 
23 x 7 at Level 3. 

You can tell a lot from a program 
by how it deals with incorrect 
responses. Here there are three levels 
of response. On the first mistake 
UNIT points out that the children 
have made a mistake but have the 
opportunity of trying again. Second 
time around, the help button is 
suggested: clicking here reveals extra 
support by explaining the concepts 
involved in what they are 
attempting. If they enter a third 
incorrect answer (depending on the 
activity) children will be presented 
with a new, simpler puzzle. 

As well as the software and 
detailed manual there are a set of 18 
Number Works Worksheets as well 
as a full-colour board game sheet for 
use away from the computer. These 
masters are mostly based on the 
machines: for instance, one of them 
is a blank representation of the 
Multiple Machine. You can give one 
to each child and call out numbers 
for children to write on to their 
machine in the correct place 
according to whether they are a 
multiple of that number or not. 

This is an excellent package, 
whether you opt to use the 
adventure or activity route. The 
introduction is a little long but there 
is a skip button for the impatient. If 
children are unsure of coordinates 
and negative numbers then it is best 
to avoid the adventure's navigation 
options as there is not enough advice 
and information within the program 
for those unfamiliar with such 

The entire curriculum isn't 
covered here, especially insofar as 
we're looking at number rather than 
shape and space, but the activities 
are varied, interesting and relevant 
to everyday experience. 

This is particularly true of the 
very popular Drinks Machine, where 
children total coins and practise 
decimal notation. A welcome 
addition to any Numeracy 

Product details 


The Number Works 


7-9 year olds 




Sherston Software, Angel 

House, Malmesbury, Wiltshire 


(+44/0) 1666 843224 


(+44/0) 1666 843216 


E-mail: ^ 

December 1 999 

Pam Turnbull 
looks at a joint 
resource for pupils 
and teachers 

a 9 

These are joints in the 
human arm and hand. 
They are where bones 

Joints allow the body 
to move. 

Movement is one of 
the living processes. 

T he first in a new series from 

Sherston, this provides the key 
vocabulary required by Key 
Stage 2 pupils. The emphasis 
here is on The Living World. 

In essence this is a simple but 
specific encyclopedia. From the main 
menu you can choose three routes 
into the information: the a b c index, 
word search or picture index. The 
alphabetical index is very 
straightforward allowing you to 
scroll through the alphabetical listing 
or jump to the first entry for each 
letter by clicking on the relevant 
letter of the alphabet - all presented 
in a large and clear font. 

Along the top of the screen are 
simple icons allowing you to revert 
to the main menu, ask advice on 
using the CD-ROM or find 
explanations on what each icon 
actually means, all presented in 
simple and very child-friendly 
language and layout. Other icons are 
self-explanatory but everything is 
detailed here if you need to check. 

Having found your entry in the 
index, you can click on the ear icon 
to make sure of its pronunciation, 
and double-click or press OK to open 
the entry. This will be accompanied 
by three icons, one to hear the text. 

another to see 
the links to other 
entries and a 
third to access a 
diagram or 

Having clicked 
on a link, you 
can use the back 
arrows to find 
your way home. 

You can also 
print out the 
information or 
export the entry 
to another 

The second route to information is 
to search for a specific word or 
words. Type in the words and click 
and or or and the find button. A list of 
matching entries will then appear. 
Highlight one and click the blue 
sound icon to hear it or click the OK 
button to go to the entry. A very 
simple search mechanism but all that 
is required here - just make sure you 
get your spelling right. 

Then there is the Picture Index 
which looks like and works in a very 
similar way to the A-Z listing. 

Choose your word to get a screen of 
thumbnail pictures. Make your 

choice to get a full- 
screen image and 
caption icon. Click on 
this to read /hear a 
description of the 

This is a very 
simple but effective 
reference which 
children can access 
totally on their own 
within ICT or Science 
lessons. The major 
areas covered in the 
QCA Science 
document are 

covered and though not 
comprehensive the diagrams and 
explanations are clear and well 
thought out. 

At times the language is a little 
high for the majority of Year 3s, and 
it would have been nice if teachers 
could have had the option of setting 
the level of language and detail. As 
an extension, research and discussion 
tool, however, it definitely earns its 
place in the classroom. The cross- 
referencing works too, sending 
children off in pursuit of concepts 
such as metamorphosis or 
photosynthesis. Not only a useful 
resource, but one designed 
with classrooms in mind. M =4 1 

Product details 


Science Keywords - 
The Living World 


7-11 years 




Sherston Software, Angel 
House, Malmesbury, Wiltshire 


(+44/0) 1666 843224 


(+44/0) 1666 843216 


E-mail: j 

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If you have been tempted by 
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advantage of their offer of a free two- 
month trial? AngliaCampus is 
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The report responsible for this 
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Interestingly a third of children 
questioned said that if they had to be 
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would like to receive help with their 
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Rob Lawson, from NOP, who 
researched the findings, 
comments: "Our findings 
suggest some significant shifts 
in patterns of use of the 
Internet among British 

If they have access from 
home they prefer using it from 
there - they're on for longer, 
they get control of the mouse 
and, of course, they don't have 
the teacher looking over their 
shoulder. The findings also 
indicate that usage is going to 

end up pretty close to one hundred per 
cent in the next couple of years." 

As an incentive for using the Internet 
at home, AngliaCampus for Homes is 
now available at http://www. The service is 
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It also has a 'learning exchange' 
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children can browse for extra resources. 

Welcome to AngliaCampus a J 

AngliaCampus is the UK\ major online education 
amice. Written exclusively to support the National 
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used in thousands of UK schools and homes. 



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Granada Media Group, has acquired Letts 
Educational. This is the latest step in the 
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their new Internet entertainment service, 
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line educational service when it launches 
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Granada is also currently in negotia- 

tions with the DfEE to trial a new 
interactive educational television service 
called Result with a proposed national 
roll-out in 2000. 

Diary date J 

Bett 2000 - The Educational 
Technology Show 
12-15 January 2000 
Grand Hall, Olympia, London 
Admission: Free 
Contact: 01203 426458 

Rhyme and reason 

Sherston Software (01666 843 
200) are about the release 
Volume B of the Oxford 
Reading Tree Rhyme and 
Analogy Activity Software. 

This second volume will 
feature 18 interactive phonics 
activities based on the Rhyme & 
Analogy strand of the Oxford 
Reading Tree Scheme. Carefully 
graded to support children's 
knowledge of rhyme, letters 
and sounds while helping them 
to develop listening, reading 
and writing skills, the software, 
priced at £40, has been 
developed in collaboration with 
Professor Usha Goswami, 
editor of the Rhyme and 
Analogy series. 

All the activities in this 
volume are based on the 
photocopy masters by Dr. Clare 
Kirtley and include lively 
animated feedback to reinforce 
correct answers and gently 
correct mistakes. The software 
is fully adjustable through the 
teacher control menu and 
includes a record keeping 
facility to tracks pupils' 

ICT courses 

Meanwhile, The Advisory Unit: 
Computers in Education (01707 
266 714) are offering in-service 
Primary School Courses to help 
teachers undertake a supportive 
role in policy, planning and the 
application of ICT to the 
curriculum, with such courses 
as Supporting the Numeracy 
Hour with ICT aiming to 
demonstrate how ICT can be 
used to introduce mathematical 
topics into the Numeracy Hour. 

Secondary School Courses 
are mainly subject-based; this is 
for teachers who want to 
update their knowledge of 
current ICT practice and 
requirements in their own field. 
With an emphasis on practical 
sessions, these courses aim to 
perfect skills and to increase 
the understanding of how ICT 
applies to a given subject. 

Contacting AU J 

Pam Turnbull: 

J December 1999 

Mike Cook turns 
in and tunes on 



M y projects have been at the 

hi-tech end of things the past 
few months so I thought I 
would redress the balance 
with one suitable for the most basic 
of beginners to the world of 
interfacing. I got the idea visiting last 
summer's music festival at Leeds. 
Several stalls had what they claimed 
were 'brain machines' but were in 
fact no more than this month's 
project: The Relaxathron. 

To give it the advertising spiel: 

The Relaxathron cuts out the stresses 
and strains of everyday life by 
providing sensory protection for 
disturbing stimuli. Removing stress 
and allowing the user to experience 
the ultimate in relaxation therapy. Or 
to use more technical language, 
slowly flashing LEDs in blacked out 

The idea is that all you see are 
lights changing in a slow random 
fashion. Coupled with earphones 
playing your favourite ambient or 
classical CD track or even slowly 
whooshing white noise heard 
through padded headphones. 

The electronic side of the 
hardware is simplicity itself and is 
shown in Figure I. It consists simply 

of a resistor and an LED on each bit 
of the printer port. By using low 
power 3mm LEDs there is enough 
power from the printer port buffers 
to light the LED without any further 
buffering or power supply. Different 
colours of LED require different 
values of limiting resistor to give the 
same brightness, that's because the 
efficiency is dependent on colour. 

Therefore different resistor values 
are indicated for different LEDs, you 
might like to change this to suit the 
types you have, in any case in this 
application you don't want them too 
bright, so you might even double the 
values shown. 

It does no harm making these 
values bigger. You can have any 
mixture of colours you like but I 
would recommend using two of each 
- red, green and blue - in a diffused 
package. The presentation side is a 
little more time consuming to make 
but is not too tricky. 

Start of with a pair of plastic 
safety goggles, the type that fits close 
to the face rather than the spectacle 
type. Next spray the inside of these 
with black paint so that no light 
shows through. When dry, line the 
inside of the goggles with aluminium 

foil, the shiny side out. Don't worry 
if there are a few wrinkles in it, in 
fact a few wrinkles make it a bit 

Drill four 3mm holes dotted about 
in front of each eye, and push the 
LEDs through so that they just 
protrude into the goggles. Distribute 
the colours evenly for each eye. Now 
take some epoxy resin and fix the 
LEDs with a little glue on the outside 
and, when set, paint round them so 
no light gets in. Cut the leads from 
LEDs off close to the body and wire 
up using thin wire to a piece of 9- 
way ribbon cable attached to one 
side of the goggles. 

Mount the resistors directly onto 
the appropriate pins of the 25-way 
plug and attach the ribbon cable to 
the other end of the resistors. In 
Figure I the parts mounted on the 
goggles are shown enclosed in a 
dotted box. Make sure the ribbon 
cable is long enough to reach round 
the back of the computer and still 
allow you some degree of movement 
while wearing them. 

If you wanted to make a really 
good job you could cut some printed 
circuit board to fit inside the goggles 
and use surface mounted LEDs, 
but that is a bit adventurous. Just a 
word of warning here, before you try 
the goggles on make sure the paint is 
really dry. I failed to notice that it 
was still slightly wet and when I 
removed them I had a line of black 
paint round my face - 1 got some 
odd looks. 

You can test the wiring with my 
port monitor application, for those 
of you who missed it last time its 
on the Acorn User Website. It powers 
up with the printer port in input 
mode so you first have to click the 
logic one in bit five of the control 
register to get it to be an output, then 
as you click each bit on the output 
port you should see the LED light up 

December 1999 htt|i://www.« 

Mark Space 

50% Mark / Space ratio = Half power 

High Mark / Space ratio = Bright LED 

Figure II: Altering the brightness with the mark/space ratio 

when there is a logic one in the 
appropriate bit. If not, check your 
wiring and make sure that you have 
wired the LEDs the right way round. 
When they are new and have long 
leads the earth should be wired to 
the shorter of the two. 

Now on to the software, it is 
perfectly possible to write some 
simple software to just turn the LEDs 
on and off in a random order. All 
you have to do is to generate a 
random number with a maximum of 
255 and send it to the printer port. 
You also need a delay loop to stop 
you doing this too often otherwise it 
will look like they are all on at once. 
Such a simple program is on the 
cover disc called Flash! . It uses the 
system timer to change the flashing 

You don't need a bidirectional 
printer port to use this but if you 
don't have one you should load the 
module monoji from the disc first. 
This is because the operating system 
doesn't recognise the port driver 
commands on a machine with an old 
printer port, my module rectifies 

Flash2 shows how we can define a 
sequence, the state of each light is 
stored in an array called Look% and 
then at each time-change the next 
pattern is output. 

Notice how we don't have to 
specify how many steps we use in 
the sequence, the routine stops 
putting in data patterns when it 
finds a number bigger than is 
represented by all bits being set. This 
is 256 or &100, it's better to use hex 
as you can see more clearly the 
relationship between the bit pattern 
and the number. 

However, we can be a little more 
adventurous than that and actually 
control the brightness of each LED in 
turn using no extra hardware. The 
secret of this lies in using a variable 
mark-space ratio signal to turn the 
LEDs on and off. The basic idea is 
shown in Figure II. 

If we feed the LED with a signal 
that spends half it's time high and 
the other half low you might expect 
to see the light flash. However, if this 
signal changes fast enough the 
persistence of vision of the eye 
will make it appear to be on all the 
time but only at half the brightness. 

If we have a low mark-space ratio, 
that is the signal spends most of it's 
time low and only a short time 
high, the LED will appear dim. 
Conversely we get a bright LED the 

more time the signal spends high. 

So what we need to do is to write 
a routine that will count how long an 
LED is on then turn it off and count 
how long it is off. To do this you 
need two constants and two 
variables, one constant is used to 
hold the maximum number of counts 
the LED is on for, the other to hold 
the off counts. Then the variables are 
used to hold the current count for 
that state. 

Suppose the light is to be on for a 
count of 10 and off for a count of 10, 
when the routine is first entered the 
light will be turned on and the on- 
time constant will be transferred to 
the on-time variable. Next time the 
routine is called the on-time variable 
will be decremented and the light 
will still be on. 

Subsequent calls decrement the 
variable until it reaches zero, the 
light will then be turned off and the 
off time constant transferred to the 
off time variable. This is 
decremented on each call to the 
routine until it reaches zero and then 
the light is turned on again. 

On a Rise PC with a Strong ARM 
processor BASIC is just about fast 
enough for this without you being 
able to see flicker, but as each of the 
eight LEDs will need looking after 
like this we have to resort to machine 

The storage locations for the 
variables and constants are in the 
area of memory before the code in a 
block of four for each LED: On 

constant. Off constant, On count, Off 
count. Now the rest of the program 
is a loop that keeps on calling this 
routine and occasionally times out to 
change the brightness. 

When this is running if you wave 
the lights backwards and forwards 
quickly you will see the LEDs not as 
smears of light but dashes of light. 
The length of these dashes depend 
on how fast you wave the lights 
about and how fast they are flashing. 
This program is called Flash3 

I did think of making this a multi- 
tasking program but the point is that 
you are supposed to be relaxed when 
this is happening, so the final 
program Relax blanks out the screen 
and plays random white noise at 
you. Alright, I admit that this bit of 
the software really needs improving 
as the noise sounds a bit like 
gunshots - not too relaxing. 

What you really need is some 
pink noise, that is white noise with 
the spectrum peaking at the lower 
end. If you put noise through a band 
pass filter and vary its frequency you 
get a howling wind effect or a waves 
breaking on the shore, depending on 
how you move the filter. 


As a final point, some epileptics can 
have fits triggered by flashing lights 
and although the frequencies involved 
here are much higher than the trigger 
thresholds, if you do fit into this 
category you are probably . .. , 
best avoiding this project. “BE# December 1 999 ^ 

Mike Cook 
gets noticed 

F inally I have an Acorn machine 
on my desk at work, although 
now with two machines 
there's not much room for 
anything else. When Pace acquired 
Element 14, 1 was sent up to Saltair to 
help evaluate RISC OS, but as 
RISCOS Ltd have an exclusive licence 
to develop the operating system for 
desktop computers don't expect to 
see any from Pace. I think their 
interest lies mainly in the operating 
system for embedded processor 
systems and they may even port it 
for use with another processor. 

Anyway that's by the by because 
its arrival on my desk has prompted 
quite a bit of comment from various 
quarters. Mainly along the line of "I 
didn't know they made modem 
computers" and "Oh, you're that 
Mike Cook". Anyway everyone has 
been quite impressed at the time it 
took me to knock together an infra- 
red transmitter that worked with a 
new encoding system we are looking 
to use. 

Then the software was quickly 
modified to produce a zapper for our 
current OnDigital boxes, this played 
back a sequence of control key presses 
so we could do long term testing on 
them. So the computer is earning its 
keep. I did have a bit of trouble with it 
at first, the screen would go 
completely blank after about three 
minutes of operation. This was cured 
by removing the ethemet card from 
the machine as it wasn't connected to 
anything. Sadly however I don't think 
I have converted anyone else into 
using them. Let's start with some 

feedback from A. R. Triggs concerning 
Simon Lee's CD drive empty problem, 
he writes: 

"Being well known among 
colleagues and family as a 
person who can get any 
software to malfunction in normal 
use, I often get the error message 
'drive empty' when trying to access a 
CD. As with many other 
peculiarities, this usually occurs 
after using the PC card. My normal 
fix is to click Menu over the CD 
icon, then select 'Dismount', (this 
seems to toggle between on and off). 

"1 first encountered this when I 
had the original motherboard and 
610 processor. It has continued with 
a later board, and 200, then 233 
StrongARM processors. The system 
then works normally. It only seems 
to reoccur on the odd occasion, but 
does tie up with PC card usage." 
asgftflft Thanks for that, it is a useful 
work around even though it 
WM doesn't completely fix the 
problem. Are you shutting the PC 
environment down properly 1 

The next bit of feedback comes from 
Richard Grant who remembers a reply 
I made to a letter asking about a 
project using a laser pointer, he writes: 

"In connection with the 
question and answer in 
your Rambles column of 
the July issue of Acorn User, I can 
provide small very high-quality 
front-silvered mirrors suitable for 
incorporating into laser lights. The 
glasses are about 22mm across. 

about a millimetre in thickness and 
only a couple of grams or so in 
weight. A coil of 40swg or similar 
wire should be hand-wound and 
glued to the back of the mirror with 
Araldite or similar. 

"Ensure that the lead-in and 
lead-out wires are 180 degrees apart 
and suspend two such mirrors, one 
vertically and one horizontally near 
a strong bar magnet or better still, 
in the field of a large horseshoe 
magnet. Shine your laser onto the 
mirrors so the beam bounces off 
both mirrors. Feed the coils with a 
suitable AC voltage and hey presto, 
a laser light display. 

"I am no physicist but would 
imagine that a suitable program 
could weave all sorts of interesting 
shapes. This I leave to you. I have a 
small supply of these mirrors which 
I can supply in pairs for £12 per 
pair, all inclusive. I can order 
further supplies but my suppliers 
will supply only in quantities of 
125 or above. In the meantime, it's 
first come, first served until current 
stocks are exhausted. Contact me at 
BgOT&tf Thanks Richard that 

certainly sounds interesting 
but I suspect that the 
mechanical part might be tricky to 
do. Now I have left Manchester Met 
university 1 don't have access to a 
workshop so I am a bit reluctant to 
take on this project. Also the mirrors 
will need mounting with some 
material with a bit of a twist 
restoring force. A thin steel wire 
might be fine but how would the 

magnetic field affect this? Maybe it 
needs to be of some other material. 

As you say I can foresee the 
electronic side of things presenting 
no problem, just two latching D/A 
converters on the printer port 
connected to a driver amplifier. The 
software could then just step through 
a look-up table and shunt values to 
the D/As at regular intervals. If 
anyone could come up with a 
suitable mechanical design 1 am sure 
we could sort out a joint article. 

Neil Rodger who signs himself 
G4RQN says: 

"I have an A3000 running 
RISC OS 3.10. My problem 
is that I want to build an 
adaptor to fit a normal 'podule' to the 
Mini Expansion Card's socket. The 
podule socket on the rear is needed 
for a hard drive. "The normal podule 

Interface wiring 






SKll pin 








































SK3 pin 











LA [2] 
































Power connectionsi-O volts SK11 
pins 1, 9 & 17, SK3 pin 16, Euro 
Card pins la, lc, 3c, 4c, 26c 5 volts 
SK11 pin 2, SK3 pins 1, 17, Euro 
Card pins 30c & 32a 

that I want to fit is a simple one (it 
isn't one that shows up when I type 
*podules and it's sole purpose in life 
is to do something called Slow Scan 
TV). Can you help with the adaptor 
connections/circuit please?" 

I know about slow scan TV, 
there was an article about it 
in the October '98 Acorn User 
and besides I am G8HBR and 
designed a lot of slow scan stuff back 
in the mid 70's. Anyway I did look at 
making an A3000 internal module 
fit a normal podule slot for a MIDI 
interface card you can get it on the 
net from:http:// 
uk/ Physics /Acorn /articles/ 

In the article I think I referred to 
the socket numbers on the internal 
module, in the table below I have 
changed them to match the socket 
numbers in the A3000 manual (those 
on the board). Pin 1 is at the 
righthand end when viewed from the 
front of the computer. Also note that 
the A3000 does not have any -5V or 
+12V supply and if your podule 
needs this then you are stuck. As the 
internal expansion is only a subset of 
the main podule signals there might 
be signals that you need on the 
podule but haven't got on this list. 

Electrically it's simple enough to 
wire them up, but you might have a 
bit of a problem with the physical 
layout. Also remember that some of 
these lines carry high speed signals 
so you run the danger of introducing 
interference and distortion if they are 
not kept as short as possible. Best of 
luck with the project - I think you 
will need it. 

Chris Grant wants to upgrade his 
hard drive capacity: 

"I wonder if you might be 
able to help me out here. It's 
my harddisc. It's currently 
residing in a old and friendly A5000 
which I use almost daily, but I'm 
now finding that its 40Mb just isn't 
cutting the mustard any more. It's 
getting to the stage where I've got so 
many floppy discs that I have to 
shovel my way to the keyboard. 

"I understand that I can easily 
buy a 3.5in IDE harddisc with oodles 
of storage space, but I am a little 
confused over the interface situation. 
Most of the drives have two price 
columns, one with and one without 
the interface, with an appropriate 
price difference, yet I'm still not sure 
I actually need it. "My guess is that 

if I simply replace my old harddisc 
with a new one I don't need a new 
interface, but if I wanted it as a 
second drive then I would? 

"I hope I'm not insulting your 
intelligence by asking such a trivial 
question, but I'm on a very limited 
budget here and I don't want to 
make a mistake. I can't wait to get 
rid of my floppies." 

Well the first computer, I had 
with a harddisc had a 
staggering capacity of 5Mb, 
mind you that was when a floppy 
held 100K. As Marvin from The 
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' 
said "I don't know how anyone can 
live in anything so small". 

Yes, if you just want to replace the 
drive go ahead and get a replacement, 
although if you get a drive bigger 
than 2Gb you are best partitioning it 
into smaller drives so you will need to 
pay for some partition software. For 
an extra harddisc you will need an 
interface podule card as well. 

However remember that whatever 
size drive you choose it will probably 
be too small one day. 

Finally Christopher Rayson has a 
problem with PC files to which I 
haven't got a solution, can any one 
help him? 

"Having carefully set up 
DOSMAP commands on my 
Acorn, I find that when 
loading DOS-format floppies files 
saved on PCs they still come up 
'untyped'. Specifically, they tend to 
have type &x00. Occasionally - 
generally if I saved a whole 
directory of, say, /JPG files - one or 
two will have the correct file type 
(&C85), while the others appear 
&200, &500, &E00, and so on. Is this: 

a) supposed to happen, (is the 
DOSMAP set up wrong?); 

b) a known bug in ADFS; 

c) a problem with my machine 
(an A7000, RISC OS 3.60) 

"I have an application, CDFix , 
which stops a similar problem in 
CDFS. Is there anything I can do?" 

I Answers on a postcard 
please to the usual editorial 
I address, or the e-mail 
address shown below. 

Contacting AU J 

Mike Cook: December 1 999 

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to date. But hurry - 
stocks are limited. 

Call our 

Subscription Hotline 

Tel: 0870 606 0424 
Fax: 01625 859808 


Please quote code 'A9912' when 
subscribing by phone or e-mail 

To receive the Christinas Acont User (issue 215) all 
subscriptions must be in bp Tuesday 16th November. 
Subscriptions received after this date will start with 
the January Acorn User (issue 216). 

Issue 21 3 
Nov 1999 

Issue 212 
October 1 999 

• TopModel 
review part 1 

• Anthem 

• Irlam il6 

• Messenger Pro 

• DrawWorks SE 
on disc 

• Detailed 

Tech Writer review 

• Flat screen 

• Viruses feature 

• Tech Writer demo 
on disc 

Issue 209 
July 1999 

• New Photodesk 

• Y2K compliance 
for your PC card 

• New programming 

• Caves game on disc 

Issue 208 
June 1999 

• Film Trailer CDI1 


• APDL games CD's 

• DigSigCIen review 

December 1 999 

' current 
1 d/rec 

{4 Wr/ ,• 


W 'i„ s 


Issue 211 
Sept 1 999 

• First look at 

• DataSafe review 

• Home Networks 
Part II 

• Eurofighter 
Typhoon reviewed 

Issue 207 
May 1999 

• !ProCAD+ 

• Heretic & Hexen 

• Acorn Confidence 
Part II 

• Fishy Disk 

Issue 206 
April 1999 

• IOHP uncovered 

• Acorn Confidence 
Part 1 

• ISleuth 3 Review 

• Java and ! Impact-3 
continued December 1 999 



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I I l’lease tick here if you do not wish to receive 
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Issue 210 
August 1 999 

• Netpiilot Internet 
server reviewed 

• AAUG update 

• RiscStation report 

• Home Networking 

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Issue 211, Sept 1999 
Issue 210, Aug 1999 

Issue 209, July 1999 
Issue 208, June 1999 
Issue 207, May 1999 
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All credit card transactions will under the name Pawertrack International 

PC Cards Again 
Cheaper than ever! 

We have in stock Acorn AC A 57 PC Cards with Cyrix/IBM 5x86 
processors at 100MHz. With this Card you can run Windows 
and DOS applications under Windows 3.1, 95 or 98. You can 
use PC CD ROMs and, with an Ethernet Card and our Network 
Links software, a Rise PC can act like any other PC on a PC 
network. The PC Pro software now supports VESA2 and 
DirectX standards. 

NEW LOWER Prices include VAT & P&P: 

ACA57 PC Card with no software £225 

ACA57 Card with PCPro3 Software for new user £285 

ACA57 Card+PCPro3 if you return PCPro2 disc £260 

The following prices apply if ordered at the same time: 
Windows 95 on CD ROM £75 

PCSound Professional (sound support by RCI) £35 

IBM PC DOS v7 (not required for Windows) £10 

Network Links Software for one user £20 

Our Web page on Benchmarks shows the tiny effect of a larger 
cache or a 133MHz processor; the processor we offer here has 
a heat sink fitted and does not need a fan. DirectX/VESA 
support does not generally benefit from more than 128KB cache 

Aleph One Ltd, The Old Courthouse, Bottisham 
Cambridge CB5 9BA Tel: 01223 811679 

Fax: 01223 812713 E-mail: 

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A message to the newsagent: Acorn User should be available 
from your local wholesaler. If not, contact the 
Circulation Manager, Darren Whiteman on 01625 878888. 

“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 1999. 


P.O.Box 231, Barton, Bedford MK45 4HQ.‘ 
Tel. 01582 881614 fax 01582 881614 
Email: ' ' ' 


W hile perusing the 

newsgroups the other day 
(specifically comp.sys. I came across a 
posting intimating that there is no 
way the Acorn machines will ever be 
able to compete with PCs when it 
comes to games. 

At the moment I'd have to agree 
with that statement, but not with the 
statements about the Rise PC being 
incapable of performing as a gaming 

The post went on to say that 
modern gamers wouldn't settle for 
anything less than games such as 
Nocturne. Intrigued I decided to 
search out the demo and have a look 
at it. There are times when a 
University Internet connection is a 
godsend. One 109Mb download later 
I'd got a demo of a game some 
people would class as the 'bare 
minimum' we should expect of all 
modern games. After unpacking the 
demo I checked the Readme.txt file 
which lists the minimum spec of 
machine required: 

• Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, 
or Windows 2000 
• Pentium 2, Celeron, Pentium 3 
or AMD Athlon CPU 
• 1 28Mb System RAM 
• Sound Blaster Live! for 
environmental audio effects 
• Matrox G200/G400, ATI Rage 
128, S3 Savage 3D, or 
TnT/TnT2 for 3D acceleration 
• 200Mb of free harddisc space 
• 200Mb of free virtual memory 

I thank forward planning that the 
five month old machine I work on is 
a P3x500MHz with 128Mb of System 
RAM, 13Gb drive, Sound Blaster 128 
with a 16Mb TNT video card. 

Running the demo allows you to 
enter the options setup. It seems you 
need a 32Mb video card to use any 
resolution above 640x480. Having set 
everything up the way I'm used to I 

started the game and a minute later, 
still initialising the triangle data, it 
fell flat on its face. "No room for 
triangle data at ....". 

Quitting all other apps and trying 
again yielded the same result. I tried 
rebooting and from a clean machine 
with much of the graphic detail 
turned down to minimum - the same 
error occured. 

Well, if that's the baseline that all 
future games will need to meet then 
I, for one, won't be buying any of the 
newer games releases (leastwise not 
until I have a 256Mb RAM machine 
with 4th generation video card 
sporting 128Mb of VRAM) and it 
seems a little preposterous to expect 
the Rise PC to have to compete in 
such an arena! 

Glyn Royds, by e-mail 

Charity-boy rides again 

The next planned charity fund 
raising event that I'm organising is to 
help Steve Turnbull's MENCAP bike 
ride in China. What is intended will 
be very nice if it can be pulled off: I 
am planning on releasing a double 
CD containing all of the Acorn FTP 
sites, but I've run into a problem. 

Having spoken with Malcolm at 
Demon (the chap who looked after 
the Acorn FTP site there), he says 
that some of the software has 
conditions on it saying that they are 

Out of the closet 

Now that our leader, Tony, has come 
out of the closet and admitted that 
he is a computer illiterate, it is no 
longer so surprising that one of his 
first guests at No 10 was Bill Gates. 1 
wonder what they could have 
talked about. The weather perhaps? 

Rather than consult with the 
author of so many of the problems 
that now face computer users, the 
government should have taken 
advice from companies such as 

for Internet use only and not to form 
any part of a CD. This may put a 
spanner in the works unless you can 

If you have released any software 
to any of the following FTP areas, 
please contact me as soon as possible 
(and I mean soon) saying if I can or 
can't use the software on these 
charity CDs - this applies equally to 
those who have this rider on their 
software and those who don't - also 
if you know someone who has done 
this (but maybe won't have read this) 
please ask them to reply to me. The 
FTP sites are: 

• Argonet 

• Demon 


• Uni of Stuttgart 

• Cybervillage 

• Barnet 

• Avogadro (Chris Johnson) 

• ARM Club 

Any of the areas held on the (CBSA, Emulators, 
SkullSoft and so on). 

Should I get the green light, the 
CDs could be out before Christmas 
with a recommended minimum 
donation of £12.50 - just double the 
price of the Kosovo CD. 

Please help. 

Paul F. Johnson 

E-mail : 

Acorn and boosted UK industry. 

The impact on employment 
could, however, have been negative 
as there would be less need for the 
armies of consultants that make a 
good living, while they stay sane, 
installing and fixing Windoze 
programs. There would also be less 
need for tutors for the Prime 
Minister (at least in Information 

Dave Barnett, by e-mail December 1999 ^ 


Tomislav Simnett 


Being 16 
it is not 
easy to 
get every- 


A love of Acorns frequently runs in the 
blood. This column itself has covered 
a number of family pairings: the 
Streater, Finn and Simpson brothers. 
Now there's a father/son pairing to add to 
the list. Back in Christmas 1995 Mark Moxon 
interviewed John Simnett of Simnett 
Computing and Cumana; I'm now talking to 
his son Tomislav. I met Tomislav the day 
before his GCSE results came out, which he 
was very relaxed about, but then he would be 
because already Tomislav is the Managing 
Director of Simnett Computer Services. 

"I have just become an Acorn dealer," says 
Tomislav excitedly. "1 just phoned up CTL 
and said: ’1 want to become a dealer’ and they 
said ’fine’ - it was as easy as that. My father 
was desperately trying to tell me not to go 
through with it because it would not work so 
I told him ’Yeah, it will’. 

"The problem is with the banks and 
everything. Being 16 it is not easy to get 
everything sorted out. It is easy enough to 
open an account up, but everything else is as 
hard as anything. I cannot borrow until 1 am 
18. I am going to be selling mail order; it 
should work out. If anyone wants a computer 
I'm here." 

Tomislav's company is not only selling 
computers, but also computer training and 
Website design. He uses PCs if people want 
training on them, as it makes good business 
sense. But Tomislav is really Acorn bom and 

"I have being using computers since I was 
god knows how young. As far as my parents 
are concerned I was tapping away at 
keyboards just hitting keys when I was six 
months old at our old shop. As far as I am 
concerned I have been using them properly 
since I was about three. The old BBC, 

Spectrum, Atari - you name it. I've 
used it. My love of Acorns stems 
from using them so much and not 
liking what the PC had to offer. I do 
have a computer-led life." 

Tomislav got into Web design 
through writing his own pages. He 
gained commercial experience while 
doing work experience at 
Atomwide. Since then it has 
snowballed and Tomislav is getting 
requests from all sorts of businesses; 
even his dad may want him to do a 
page, although Tomislav is keen to 
stress that his father has nothing to 
do with his company. 

"I don't use FrontPage, nothing to 
do with a PC," Tomislav says 
emphatically. "I do have a PC but 
that's for training on, and that is 
because there are so many people 
who want it and I can get the 
income. I also get to show PC 
people how wonderful Acorns are and offer 
them my complete Acorn solution. On the 
other hand everything I actually do is done 
on the Acorn. 1 have a couple networked 
together in my room. 

"I use StrongED - it's the best. I tried 
using Zap but I am not too keen; Edit is 
absolutely awful. I also use Photodcsk version 
1 - I cannot afford to buy the latest version 
yet - Paint , ChangeFSI, InterGIF and other 
bits and pieces." 

Tomislav lives in one of the coolest places 
I've visited: a house boat on the Thames. He 
says he could not live in a normal house ever 
again, and I understand totally. On the wall 
of his bedroom I notice an unusual 
decoration, a bike. 1 find out he is not just 
content with having his own company. 

"One of my big aims at the moment is to be 
a professional cyclist, but I know it might not 
turn out. I have problems with my back and I 
have to sort them out, then I will join a cycle 
club. The Pro tour this year in May started off 
by doing 72 laps around Westminster and they 
did 800 miles in seven days. I cycled to 
Cornwall to see the eclipse and I did 300 in 
four days. It hurt but it is meant to. I was 
crying. I was on my own and I had no 
slipstream to cycle in. What motivated me was 
that I got to Black Bush airport and thought 
’Yes! I am nearly home,’ and so cycled the last 
part at 25 miles per hour." 

As we chat about the pros and cons of a 
house boat (which is now gently floating, the 
tide having come in), I reflect that the future 
of the Acorn market depends in many ways 
on people like Tomislav, people who refuse 
to see that it's just plain silly to cycle to 
Cornwall and back just to see the moon pass 
in front of the sun. 

Jill Regan 

y December 1999 

Mi cameras 

by Spacetech 



imaging technology 




NEW CD ROM from David Cowell 

See Giancarlo demonstrate 
NEW Top Model stuff at RISCOS99! 

PHOTODESK 3 is the package which 
defines studio quality image editing and artwork on 

RISC OS machines. It is easy to use but has many powerful features, including LAYERS and 
a sophisticated colour management system (CMS) for the full-time graphics professional. £299.50 

PHOTODESK2 is still available, retaining the CMS but not layers. £199.00 

PHOTODESK LIGHT, an economic alternative to PHOTODESK3 retains most of its creative 
I features apart from the Colour Management System, Layers and some features essential to the 
professional user. £134.75 Plug-in Effects Packs are available for all Photodesk packages. 

Each pack contains 10 special effects. £19.95 

Spacetech tutorial CD ROMs: 

“An Introduction to Digital Art” featuring bitmap and vector 
graphics tutorials by the well-known artist. David Cowell. This is 
a fascinating introduction to studio quality graphics work on CD 
ROM for £24.95 

A NEW CD from David is now available: “Creative Digital 
Imaging” This contains a resource of images and covers the 
following topics in greater detail: Digital painting. Painting with 
Texture, Digital Photography, Photo illustration, Montage, Portraits, 

Words and Text, Creative masking, Hints and Tips. £24.95 

TopModel2 V.2.14 is now available for £152.75. Existing users may upgrade for 
or buy the NEW CD-ROM packed with resources, the new plug-in Top3DFonts! and a free 2.14 upgrade for only 
£58.63. TopModel 2 is the definitive 3D modelling package for RISC OS. Giancarlo from Sincronia will demo 
TopBones and TopAnimation at the RISCOS99 show. 

All prices include VAT 

1 The Courtyard, Southwell Business Park, Portland, Dorset DT5 2NQ, UK 
Telephone: +44 (0)1305 822753 Fax: +44 (0)1305 860483 
Email: Web: 

2 New Megapixel Cameras: 

C920 ZOOM, faster replacement for C900Z 
C21, 2.1 Megapixel miniature camera 
C830 now £50 off! C2000 ZOOM now £100 off! 

OfrIP A presentation package on CD-ROM from Spacetech 

Makes your slide shows quick and easy to create! 

0 Start building your presentation 5 minutes before the lesson? - No Problem 

• Use your existing work in a presentation? - No Problem, just drag ‘n drop it in! Only £29.95 

PhotoLink is an Acorn multi-driver for the most popular makes of digital camera. It is bundled 
FREE* with the following cameras: 

C830L 1280x960 resolution, TFT screen, macro, 2x digital Tele Mode. Now only £349.99 

C920ZOOM 1280x960, 3x optical zoom. NEW replacement for C900Z, our price only £499.99 
C21 1600x1200 Micro miniature NEW 2 Megapixel baby! Digital Tele mode, TFT, £699.99 

C2000 ZOOM 1600x1200 This camera has everything including optical zoom, manual override 
for auto settings, remote control, 4.5cm TFT screen. Our price now £100 off! was £749.99 now £649.99 

*PhotoLink is available free with cameras purchased from Spacetech or on its own, if you have 
purchased your camera elsewhere, at £69.00 

PhotoReal is the Acorn driver extension for the Canon BJC4300, BJC4650, BJC7000, BJC 7100 
BJC2000. Epson Photo, Photo700 and PhotoEX printers with photo-realistic capability. PhotoReal 
makes use of the same advanced techniques for producing high-quality four colour separations as 
Photodesk and comes ready calibrated for the special dye-based inks used for photo-realistic printing. 
A calibration application is also supplied to allow you to tailor the results to your own specification. 

Driver only £69.00 Inc. VAT. or FREE if purchased with printer! 

Examples: Stylus Photo700 was £249.50 NOW £204.45 

Canon BJC2000 £ 1 49.95 BJC4650 A3 £299.99 

BJC7000 £245.00 BJC7 1 00 £299.00 

Epson PhotoEX A3 was £454.73 NOW £363.07 
(all prices include PhotoReal Driver) 



Castle’s lightning-fast Acorn RiscPC233T sets 
the standard for robust, trouble-free computing. 
The 233MHz processor is further enhanced by 
the exceptionally efficient and robust 
RISC OS architecture. This puts the RiscPC233T 
among the leaders for raw computing power. 

• INTEL StrongARM 233MHz (revision T) 
processor - ARM designed 

• Modular expansion - increase the case size 
quickly and easily 

• 2nd processor slot - eg use with PC card 
for Windows applications 

• CE marked - your evidence of top 
quality and safety 

• 100% Acorn - the original tried and tested 
Acorn design further enhanced 

8MB, 2GB, RiscOS 3.7 

£749 + vat 

R/ScPC 233r 

18MB, 4GB, 40xCD, 
RiscOS 4.0 

£879 + vat 

RiscPC233t Web Wizard 
Internet Suite, JAVA, 32MB, 2VMB, 
8GB, DVD-CD, 56K modem, ' 

17” monitor, RiscOS 4.0 

£1149 + vat 

Order now! 

Call 01728 723200 
FreeFAX 0800 783 9638 

Delivery £1 1 (£12.93 inc. VAT) per system. 


Computers for Education 
Business and Home 

‘Acorn’ & the acorn nut device are trademarks ol Element 14 Ltd 
DVD drive is used as a CD reader only