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Weekend round up

By Chris Williams. Published: 11th May 2003, 22:10:21 | Permalink | Printable

RiscPC hard disc alert and software news

Here's some news that we rescued from the show hype tidal wave.

Old RiscPC hard disc alert
Discknight website

Speaking on the Discknight mailing list, developer David Ruck stated that the hard discs fitted with the original RiscPCs (and harddiscs fitted around the time) are now very old and reportedly suffering an "increasing number of problems".

"Please be aware that hard discs have a finite lifetime, and this can be as little as 5 years", stated David. "The original Risc PC discs at 9 years are well beyond this, and now failing... My strongest recommendation is to replace these original discs immediately, to prevent catastrophic data loss."

Dave's refering to mechanical failure here, something his disc rescue app DiscKnight can't help you with. With 2nd hand RiscPCs being picked up from ebay and things like show charity stands, we hope no one new to RISC OS is going to get a nasty surprise as they machine fails to boot up properly due to a failed, aging hard disc.

ArcFS reborn
New ArcFS website

Back in the early to mid 1990s, ArcFS was a commercial yet popular file archiver and compressor. The archives it created were very much like zip files but could only be opened with ArcFS. ArcFS was great in its day because AcornUser magazine used it to compress software and information for their cover floppy discs and applications could be executed and run from within the archives too. However, the generic and multi-platform zip file format gradually crept in and took over and furthermore, we'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling ARM Club kids.

"The ARM Club is pleased to announce that it has taken over the distribution of ArcFS", announces Tom "I won an Omega" Hughes of the ARM Club. "This version of ArcFS is 26/32 bit neutral and fully compatible with the Iyonix PC as well as earlier machines."

ARM Club are now selling ArcFS from their website, you can download a free read only version in case you come across an ArcFS archive in this day and age.

Replacement pinboard
Pinway website

Bernard Veasey has released his pinboard alternative Pinway. It provides up to 4 pinboards, allows shortcut commands to be attached to icons on the pinboard, the ability to save easily into an iconised directory and more.

Looking good
GnuPG website

Stefan Bellon has bugfixed his free PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) application to version 1.2.2. PGP enables users to use strong public-key based cryptography to 'sign' or encrypt messages and files.


Don't forget our completed Iyonix review.
Also, user account registration was disabled for a while at the end of last week - if you tried to register and failed, you can try again now. Comments? News?

Previous: Wakefield show news
Next: RISC OS here and now


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Not much of a comment, but DO BACK THINGS UP REGULARLY. It might take a while but doing an incremental backup beats doing it all in one go by a long way. I speak from experience of watching over a full backup of 12G of data last Thursday after the drive began making awful noises culminating in the machine crashing and lots of little clicks from the drive. After a few minutes the drive recovered enough to run for 14 hours solid to back it up. But I'm not keen on letting it happen again - previous backup was 6 months ago and although 'most' things are on the server now, there's a lot I don't want to lose.

So. There you have a random story of a close call. Do it. And do buy DiskKnight because by the time you know you need it it's generally a little late :-)

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 12/5/03 3:45PM
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It was quite spooky yesterday, I had two RISC OS using friends send me SMSes saying their hard discs had failed. Was it National Hard Disc Screw Up Day? ;)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 12/5/03 4:02PM
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I would like to say that RiscPCs bought from the Charity Stand are tested fully before they are put out for sale!


 is a RISC OS Usersebgate20 on 12/5/03 4:42PM
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Out of interest - what spec were those RPCs and what did they fetch? I still whimper at seeing RPCs on a charity stand, but then again a 4MB ARM610 machine with no VRAM is pretty worthless as it stands. ;) CTL still sell the mobos for a ridiculous 468 quid!

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 12/5/03 5:56PM
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the main HD in a RiscPC can get hot.

Which is why there is only 1 speaker.

If you want reliability get it up on another slice.

Given that RISC OS does not "thrash" a HD will explain why they are still operational.

Having said that if you have an old one with !boot & other stuff on it - get a new one NOW!

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 12/5/03 8:18PM
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My laptop harddisc has reported that it is starting to die (using the SMART protocol), I wonder if SMART is open enough to create a RISC OS client that can query the status of hard discs (HD manufacturers have supported SMART for 5+ years now).

 is a RISC OS Userflibble on 12/5/03 11:25PM
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I have a draw full of old rpc HD's which won't work. Testiment if any is needed. I had to replace my HD in the autumn and I was suprised at the speed increase. Maybe it was my imagination.

expistaxis: I didn't realise it suffered from heat problems.

Last night I thought I'd lost my data which really messed with my head. It was alright in the end. After running DiscKnight I needed to dismount the HD then re-mount it and then delete the Lost+Found directory - About 21GBs of it.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 13/5/03 1:46AM
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Mine went kablooey a few years ago. It took away my first desktop proggy that worked - a CD Player.

I'm sure you all wish you could have used it. It was very original.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 13/5/03 8:48PM
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When one of our original RiscPC HDs failed in 1997 we lost a lot of work. Never again!

I wrote !Back_It, a simple, but effective background copy program with a ZIP compression option. I disliked those backup programs that stop you working on your computer.


It's free to download and play with.

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 14/5/03 12:06PM
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