Feedback To The Future

By John Crane

Originally published in EUG #51

I must say I was well impressed with EUG #50. It's given me some incentive to start bashing away at the keyboard again.

Firstly, LS120 drives. From what I've read on the subject, these drives will only read/write their own 120Mb format and also Double Density and High Density Disks of a DOS-type format. That is 720k and 1.44Mb respectively. They will not read/write Acorn formats of any kind. This is apparently to do with the numbering of the sectors on the disk. Acorn sector numbers start at 0 and DOS formats start at 1. Or is it the other way around? Thus, although the LS120 could probably be utilised in some sort of mass storage way, I don't think it could be used in quite the way Alan Richardson had in mind. Note that this is only my interpretation of what I've read. It may be possible. In my experience nothing is ever totall impossible. Just a question of the right jiggery pokery.

Without wishing to start anything, I seem to remember Christian Weber's departure from EUG as being somewhat less rosy and straightforward than 'EUG just forgot him' (See EUG #16 for the parting shots).

Also why the assumption that everyone is on the net? I can see the attraction for having EUG on the Web and for making up img files for those poor souls who use Windoze PCs to the exclusion of all else. But I hope he's not advocating the abandonment of the disk altogether. 5.25" disks will become a problem, no doubt. But Beebs and Electrons can use 3.5" without much difficulty. Just swap the drive. Or have both, then you can copy all your 5.25"s to 3.5" if you want. Even Elks with single sided drives can be fitted with double sided ones with a bit of fiddling. I know because I adapted one myself. Acorn's original Elk ADFS has all the facilities built in for double sided drives. Double sided, double density disks do not have to be formatted both sides. If formatted to ADFS M, they will work quite happily in a Single Sided drive.

In the same vein, get British Industry back up and running and buy a proper Acorn (Castle) or RISC OS Computer. Then like me you can read the disks straight off under emulation, without having to bother convert to img files etc. In fact some old BASIC programs, will even run straight off without emulation.

Modern Acorn/RISC OS computers can read and write to DOS format disks and surf the net if required. There are programs, such as Easywriter and Techwriter which can read and write MS Word files straight off, without conversion and you can't easily knack up the OS - as the bulk of it's all in ROM.

And before I start getting cries of, "He's obviously not seen a modern PC!" I install and upgrade Windows PCs for a living. The people I work for seem to love Windows NT and 95 and Windows 3.11 before that. If I could persuade them otherwise, I would. In my opinion it's simply the case that Acorn did not push themselves enough in the early days.

But who knows? If Microsoft buckles under the strain of the American Justice dept, or its dodgy accountancy practices, RISC OS may yet have its day.

Anyway I'm getting off my soap box now.

Here's to the future of EUG!

John Crane, EUG #51