Saturday, 24 December 2011

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Deny the passenger who wants to get on

Peter Graf emailed the QL User group about his prototype developments in using an SD card in the Microdrive slot.


Really nice to see that moving along and ever so ever so cool :)




Go here for a couple more 





Saturday, 3 December 2011

The first time, second time


I more or less fell over the coding for what I was trying to achieve from my original entry 'The First Time', the all singing all dancing boot program. With respect to the original author, these are the remark statements reproduced here from Dilwyn's site. I don't intend to show the whole program here, but as I add to it I then may.


10000 REMark *****************************
10010 REMark Version: V1.0
10020 REMark Date: 20/Sep/1997
10030 REMark Author: J.D.Mitchell
10040 REMark EMAIL: Jack@home9999.demon.co.uk
10050 REMark Change: 1) Default system vars base is at 160K not 128K
10060 REMark 2) Add change control header
10070 REMark *****************************
10080 REMark Version: 1.1
10090 REMark Date: 20/Sep/1997
10100 REMark Author: J.D.Mitchell
10110 REMark EMAIL: Jack@home9999.demon.co.uk
10120 REMark Change: 1) Use peek(!!addr) etc. when possible
10130 REMark *****************************
10140 REMark Version: 1.2
10150 REMark Date: 28/Nov/1997
10160 REMark Author: J.D.Mitchell
10170 REMark EMAIL: Jack@home9999.demon.co.uk
10180 REMark Change: 1) Corect error in change history
10190 REMark Change: 2) Report QDOS versions as ROM names not versions
10200 REMark *****************************

I can't get no satisfaction


It is frustrating how one methodology takes you to another, then another, then another. What started as one project now is building up to two more. 


Has anyone connected up microdrives QL/Spectrum to another computer/electronic interface other than the QL or Spectrum and got them to work? Is there any documentation for them that would assist such a project.


In the process of a project weening off the QL hardware, such things to go are microdrives in place of 5.25 and 3.5 inch disc drives. However there is still a lot of stuff in lofts/garages that occasionally turn up micro drive tapes and eventually the hardware to put them in will no longer exist. 


So one project that I have been thinking about starting is replacing the microdrives with SD card slots, fortunately MemoryLane computing has done that bit for me. But what to do with the micro drive hardware? throw away? well with a bit of ingenuity maybe put them in their own case. But how to connect them up to the QL? I need some circuit diagrams.


Having lurked on eBay I have recently obtained Spectrum microdrives for a bit of inspiration, and suitable cables to inspect and copy and adapt for the project.


But this got me thinking even more, yes I can connect them up to a Spectrum, yes I can connect them up to a QL but what about connecting them up to a PC or other computer device with say a USB port that is running emulation software. With Qemulator on the PC or the MAC saving via a USB connection to an actual micro drive, how cool would that be? but has it been done, can it be done?


I presume some form of electronic interface converting signals from the micro drive connector to a USB or some other port would be needed plus some form of driver. The first part would be knowing the connections to the micro drive and what controls it plus the signals, where can I obtain that?


Dilwyn's site? Well there is the Technical Manual but that is not relevant enough, the service manual looks a possibility but has PIC file files which I now have to convert. So now I am looking for a PC based PIC to other graphic file converter...

Monday, 21 November 2011

I got the key, I got the secret

In a recent spate of QL'ing an interesting thing has turned up when using Qemulator on the MAC OSX 

I recently purchased a MACBook PRO and running Qemulator I find that the keyrow function does not work at all but the inkey$ does :(

I use this simple program to test, but to no avail, the key character and code number crop up but no key row numbers.

10130 CLS
10140  REPeat loop
10150   CURSOR 0,100
10160    FOR f=0 TO 7
10170     PRINT "Keyrow ";f,KEYROW(f);"   "
10180    NEXT f
10190    A$=INKEY$
10200    IF A$=CHR$(27) THEN EXIT loop
10210   PRINT "   Key - ";A$;"  ";CODE(A$);"   "
10220  END REPeat loop

The next thing I tried was on my iMAC which is about three years old and hey presto the same program works perfectly, and it registers the keys, function ones (F1 etc.) as well as reporting appropriate numbers.

Both systems are running OSX Lion

So what is happening, why should the Laptop erghhmmn, 'the Macbook' keyboard be any different to the iMAC. Very very strange indeed.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The first time

Well no surprises here, these are the first few lines of the boot program, for me I like to have the full screen regardless of size, 512x256 being the minimum, but what of the maximum hmmnn.


QPC2 provides a couple of extensions scr_xlim and scr_ylim(without looking it up the exact syntax), however the basic QL emulated or not doesn't. So what assumptions can I make? well the best I can hope for is TK2.


Therefore the first few lines will be:


100 REMark ASAD Boot program by L. Privett
110 REM Should run on all systems 
120 :
130 SetAddin
140 SetDisplay
150 SetDrives
160 :
170 Main
180 : 
.
.
.
.
9000 DEFine PROCedure SetAddin
9010  TK2_EXT
9020 END DEFine
9030 :
9100 DEFine PROCedure SetDisplay
9110 REMark Assume nothing
9120  W=512 :changing this later
9130  H0=26 :H1=230 :changing this later
9140 REMark I0 etc to go here
9150 REMark P0 etc. to here
9160  WINDOW #0,0,0,W,H0  :INK#0,I0 :PAPER#0,P0
9160  WINDOW #1,0,0,W,H1  :INK#1,I1 :PAPER#1,P1
9160  WINDOW #2,0,H0,W,H1 :INK#2,I2 :PAPER#2,P2
9170  CLS#2 :CLS#1 :CLS#0

9190 END DEFine
9200 :


more next time

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Simple Minds

In trying to start a QL project, especially being out of the QL loop (so to speak), it is easy to get distracted by all the developments past and present relating to the QL. It is new information after all. 


One such project is the re-coding of a past programme I no longer have the original code for. Although the programme does exist, it does not work on modern hardware or emulation very well. This is mainly due to speed and the associated issues involved around the QL speed.


The decision then is to start from scratch, however with multiple QL systems, screen sizes, colour ranges etc. the first is to design for either one system only or all systems (if it is feasible possible).


Practically very difficult, you have to start somewhere  so the first 'pre-project' is to see if it is possible to create an all encompassing 'boot' program that will run on 'all' systems.


What does it need to have to take into account in order for the one BOOT file to run on the original QL, Qemulator, QPC2, uQLx, Aurora, Gold Card, SuperGold Card?


(this is first attempt)



  • Does the Boot need to know its ROM?
  • Will Boot need a minimum in excess of 128K Memory?
  • Will Boot need to know the screen size
  • The drive it is loaded from?
  • The mode it is in, hence the colours available for use


Once these questions are answered then the next stage would be to cover specific needs for display. This would include things such as text size and style, house style for any windowing, logo maybe.


More next time... 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Now that I've found you

How I missed this one I do not know but another Blogger http://qlheaven.blogspot.com/ publishes slightly different information about the QL to this one.


If your a QL fan (and this person obviously is), then give this blog a look and follow as well, as I do now, however I found it by accident this very day while checking my own blogs stats :)


I now have some more reading to do to catch up on what has been written there.

Quantum Leap?

This is very very cool (sic)


you must watch it all


What I really like is one of the comments

This is amazing!! Anything with the word 'Quantum' in it is guaranteed to be cool :P
mastergeodude 1 hour ago
Quantum Leap anyone

Celebrate good times come on

My 65th post here I thought this would be partly relevant (64). While waiting for developments in hardware to come along (re: RasPi), I notice this on the web. Now it is more expensive but it is also ever so ever so tempting, as most of it is already done for you. 


In two flavours, the first is a 8 bit replica from the early eighties the Commodore 64, this available running Linux, so possibly running the QL emulator software such as uQLx which would be cool in its own right (a bit pricy at $349 [£219] for the base machine)


  
  
but the website http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_VicSlim.aspx also sports another keyboard called the Commodore VIC Slim, sorry did I say keyboard, I meant computer, recognise the design style? It's black, it's a computer, it's an all in one keyboard sized box that can run QDOS and SuperBASIC (emulated of course) hmmmnn a QL?.
  
  
A little dearer at $399 [£250] but cheaper than the original QL at £399 :)



Friday, 21 October 2011

Scalextric Anyone

Getting a racing set built by myself with my Dad's help resulted in a small but satisfying mini Scalextric, however because of the size of the track, the car couldn't go very fast without spinning off, the car was just too fast and also there are only so many laps you can complete on your own without any other competition to maintain the interest :( (I think it was more about building it than playing it which is why I think I went it to engineering when I left school). Eventually I moved on to other engineering things like the cellar in my parents home with all the electrics for the house coming together on one board and some paint. But that's another story. :)


Recounting this past exploit on the forum, I came up with an idea, so....


I just did a quick look around to see if I could find the orange racing car I bought, and here it is worth £45 now apparently.




I go on thinking that this might be an interesting project, a Scalextric circuit where one car was controlled by the QL, to which you race against. Some A/D needed I suppose, or has this already been done I wonder, anyone?


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Computer Science

Slightly off topic, tonight on Newsnight is a piece about the ‘Raspberry Pi Organisation’ and it’s imminent  first release of a tiny computer system, amongst others there will be David Braben (of elite fame) talking to camera not just about the small computer but also about getting kids into the excitement of computer 'science' that existed around Cambridge in the early 80’s. A taster can be found here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9612063.stm  

From an academic perspective, the item tantalisingly gives a brief insight in teaching 'computers' and the short video includes some of the frustrating aspects of ICT, listen to what students say about it. You may find the piece interestingly and relates to how students feel. Awarding bodies please wake up to what should be happening.
IMHO, this is what QUANTA should be steering towards.




Update - got the day wrong, however you can watch it on iplayer and it is 30 minutes in.



Thursday, 6 October 2011

Friday, 30 September 2011

Right back to where you started from

When programming stuff early on the QL, sometimes it is useful to display the character set. Here is another straight forward procedure to display the QL character set, I have deliberately made it simplistic, so newbies or re-newbies will have to adjust 10070 to suit other character sets.

10010 DEFine PROCedure char
10020  OPEN#5, scr_
10030   WINDOW#5, 512,256,0,0
10040   PAPER#5, 7:INK#5, 0
10050   CLS#5: CSIZE#5, 3,0
10060   PRINT#5, VER$
10070    FOR f=32 TO 287
10080     PRINT#5, " ";CHR$(f);
10090    NEXT f
10100  CLOSE#5
10110 END DEFine

A screen shot from Qemulator on the MAC on which it was run is available here vvvvvvvvvv



Monday, 26 September 2011

The only way is up

Well I am up to reading QL TODAY, Volume 3, Issue 3 from the excellent DVD that came with the current issue. I am about to read about yet another QL hardware attempt at revitalising the QL. Haven't read it yet though but just about to when I saw the cartoon showing the following.




It was the prices that got me especially for the time, so I thought an update was needed, here is my attempt using the cheapest computers I could find and added approximately £50 for the cost of the pay-for emulators.


PC + QXL No longer available
PC + QPC2 £240
Laptop + Qemulator £340
Netbook + QLAY £170



Thursday, 22 September 2011

More More More, how do you like it

The drive to encourage and attract younger people to QUANTA and the QL programming experience frustratingly gathering the pace of treacle. 


Raspberry Pi being a hardware device that could work with the QL emulation software is starting to have a presence, again with the same intent to attract the next generation in to programming. 


Another area with the same goal makes an impact, although it has been around awhile, it is the first time I have come across it via the RP website.




KidsRuby is software available for the three main OS's, there is a video on the site somewhere that is worth a look. 

The editor is fairly straight forward and the commands look strikingly similar to SuperBASIC including turtle graphics, with a few odd box commands from Visual Basic thrown in (such as Alert). Check it out.

Monday, 19 September 2011

I Don't Mind

I am not sure if I have raised this before but a post on the forum has cropped up, in that someone asked a question as to whether the originator were going to reply to a post. 

It was months ago, much earlier in the year and it got me thinking about responses in general. This situation has occurred on my return to the 'QL's communication method of info exchange' on more than one occasion, and as I have already replied on the forum, I think most people would like to have a final response, positive or negative. 

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed I have taken an interest in hardware alternatives as a way to continuing the QL in other forms, and with the advent of Raspberry Pi there is a distinct possibility of running an emulated QL quite cheaply. 

Even if it is inside a QL BB case of other such container, there still seems to be a target audience for such exploration. I suppose it's just a case (npi) of how many, which then makes it viable or not for someone to put the time and effort in.

Either way if you are one of those people who do not follow-up on questions that you pose on forums, or do not respond to emails on user lists or otherwise, keeping people hanging is frustrating. A simple, "I am really busy at the moment and do not have enough time to give this further thought" would be helpful.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Again again again again, deeper and down

I note with interest that a recent number of old QUANTA magazines have made their appearence on eBay.


Here http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-SINCLAIR-QL-MAGAZINE-QUANTA-VOL-12-ISSUE-6-JULY-1995-/160651588770?pt=UK_VintageComputing_RL&hash=item256794b4a2#ht_5038wt_916


Just goes to show that a price increase in the subscription has the effect of older magazines are now a sellable commodity :)


These are just the yellow ones

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Yesterday is gone

Well, pleasingly I have achieved what I didn't think I could and that is to have both Qemulator and QPC2 both running side by side on a MAC system with LION OS.



Qemulator is the MAC version, whereas QPC2 was running on my PC laptop and gave me a problem with key mapping (see older posts) that I couldn't resolve. QPC2 has been installed and running under PlayOnMac.


PlayOnMac can be found here http://www.playonmac.com/en/ and is a WINE based package so no second emulation stage.




Finally goodbye to PC based on Windows for most things now, yippee.










Sunday, 11 September 2011

In the year, twenty eleven

Originally published in 1985 and reprinted by QUANTA in 1989, the book "QL SuperBASIC, The Definitive Handbook" has had much mention in the QL-User list in the past 6 months. As it was referred to with reverence  by more than a couple of people I thought if a copy surfaces, then I would get try to obtain it.


Well one did, and I did purchase it and for the first time (with regards to technical books) I actually read this from cover to cover over the space of about 5 hours (on a plane) and there were a few things that struck me about it.




Chapter 1, "SuperBASIC is a language designed by programmers for programmers", what fantastic statement, it should be the signature or tagline for everyone promoting the QL.


The writing style of the whole book to me is personal with every now and then a comment from Jan talking directly at you, great! (e.g. Introduction - or why we did it)


The order in which it is written is also for programmers , totally different to the QL User guide, starting with 'Procedures', starting as you should go on in your own programs.


Its a really nice book to get to grips with the QL and should be first on everyones shopping list coming back to the QL.


I could go on but suffice to say it is that attention to detail in the book that gives it its edge over most others (and this is despite the fact it was written by the the designer of SuperBASIC). If you get the chance of a copy or if Malcolm Lears scanned version sees the light of day, grab it. If you already have a copy then you should already know what I am talking about.


Jan makes reference to another Machine Code book about the QL by Colin Opie as being the one to buy, so if anyone knows a copy please let me know.



Saturday, 10 September 2011

Holiday

Holiday season over and the QL and QL Users get a mention right near the end of this video


 http://www.raspberrypi.org/?p=112 


Just goes to show if you don't do anything nothing will happen, if you do something then something may happen.


This time it did :)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Atomic (sounds like off topic :) )

In documentation, websites and even emails (and this isn't just QL related), what is it with acronyms?


e.g. IMPS can be displayed as I.M.P.S. but I have seen acronyms displayed as I.M.P.S without the last dot. Now if this is grammatically correct to do so then used at the end of a sentence the full stop is added and thus I.M.P.S. But if not grammatically correct then using I.M.P.S. at the end of a sentence do you then add another  I.M.P.S..?


 I.M.P.S. btw way is fan based Star Wars film in progress (a few years so far) and can be found here.http://www.impstherelentless.com




Social Comment
The final off topic point I wish to make, is about my disgust at these morons, the actions of the so called youth, jumping on the current bandwagon against the police and government does not justify this.


http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150333636850851&comments





Monday, 25 July 2011

Bye Bye its the RaspberryPi

Just a short notification for those interested, the website for RaspberryPi has been updated here http://www.raspberrypi.org/  and looks pretty, no further information yet though.

Update:

Well just had an email from Bryan H who had a reply from somebody at the company called Eben Upton. and he stated

"Hi there, thanks for your mail, and apologies for the delay in replying; as you can imagine, we're swamped. The devices should be available to the general public later in the year; I'll add you to our mailing list, and will keep you posted as we get closer to launch."

Well you heard it here first folks


Update No2
Recent post (today)states amongst other things 


"The ICs used in the design are a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor (center) and an SMSC LAN9512 USB 2.0 hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller (right and down from center). The SDRAM is mounted on top of the BCM2835 in a PoP configuration."

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

With the arrival of  OS X LION from Apple it had many new features (250 in all), the one that made a difference to my QL computing was full screen mode, when running QemuLator it was always in a window, now it can occupy the whole screen in blindingly high quality vibrant colours. Pictures to follow...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Just in Time

Memory Lane Computing recently announced two new projects in the pipeline that may or may not see the eventual light of day.

The code-named Q-BUS and Ser-USB++

below is a picture of the prototype Q-Bus



More info to be provided in an article in the next issue of Quanta :)

It's just the way it is

I was reminded yesterday when writing on the QL forum of the inadequacies of Windows operating system and it's incessant behaviour over updates, do you want to? No! Delay for an hour, do you want to? No! delay for ten minutes. This goes on and on repeatedly, until you forget or give up asking it to delay, as it did yesterday when just at the end of finishing off the forum text and up loading the graphic the page disappears, the application shuts down and one by one all my open documents close. 


Panic, I have lost all my text, flash back to 1985, I internally upgraded my QL memory to 640K from a magazine article, piggy backing the memory chips with DIL sockets to add the additional memory and addressing etc. Switching it on for the first time and waiting for what seemed forever for the memory check to finish I was presented with my expanded memory QL. It wasn't until later when writing a Quill document for QL User or QL World (I cannot remember now) over a weekend because they needed it to meet their publishing deadline that I realised it had a fault. 


It locked up after about 25 minutes of use and after resetting it locked up again after twenty minutes of use, now I lost all the work I had typed in, forgetting the golden rule of save your work regularly. I had a deadline however, that I had to meet, this was annoying and concerning although not a major serious problem I thought, I had 20 minutes to write at a time and save as I go along, so this I did resetting each time.


After what seemed hours I had nearly completed the article saving as I went, secure in the knowledge that is was on micro-drive if the worst happened. I didn't anticipate what the worst happening would be however, as I said close to finishing and only a sentence or two to complete, I was thinking I better save or I will lose it, so I saved and that's when it locked up.


The micro-drive whirring aware constantly while nothing else was happening, I had no option but to press reset. The result was that no files existed on the micro-drive that I could use, so I had to start yet again and utilised the 'save file under a different name each time' ploy, with the result of a disheartened author not writing an article of a suitable standard he could be pleased with. 


I never wrote for a magazine QL or otherwise again until recently.


Back to the present (or yesterday to be precise), the laptop running Windows 7 was doing all its installs and updates and I waited until it rebooted and so I could see what I had to redo (thinking all the time back to that fateful weekend). I loaded up the internet browser and hey presto its all there, such is today's technology it saves as it goes along, at-least in Google Chrome it does. When writing blogs after a few seconds (around 30) a tiny message at the bottom of the screen says "saving" then "saved". Forums do something similar I suspect so I am thankful for those small features now.


  











Tuesday, 12 July 2011

That's not the way it is

Scrolling through the timeline depicted by SinclairZX website from the late 60s to the 80s I finally get to the picture of the QL. Hmm I thought nice picture but something not quite correct, the cheeky people.


What's that sticking out of the port, is it a monster, is it a monster?


It's a heartache

But in a nice way, scanning that I do of the Macrumor website for impending changes, and the fact that my current PC based laptop is giving me nothing but grief in trying to run two out of the three emulators, I wait patiently for anything new on the horizon, such as operating system (Lion), upgrades to Macbook (Laptop) and the iPad (issue three out soon apparently).

The point of this post however was an item late last night which gave me a double take and then a chuckle as I though for a split second QUANTA had got into bed with Apple (so to speak). However is was just for a second :)

You can read it yourself here:

Friday, 8 July 2011

Come on let's crawl, gotta crawl, gotta crawl, to the ugly bug ball

Well it's starting to peeve me off a bit now, for a first, second or multiple time user to the QL scene, what will their experience be on the web? Lots of dead links, I have to say that all the websites I have visited, all (YES ALL) the so called QL sites are incomplete, out of date, refer to things that no longer exist, no longer happen or link to moved websites. All of them have, they contain incomplete sections or have issues to some extent, even QUANTA is down for repairs!.


Now some sites you can forgive, the're either so big you forgive the upkeep, especially if free, some sites tell you they are no longer supported so the expectations of dead links are realised, also acceptable. Sites that sell you stuff however I expect to be current, anything else is unacceptable in my book, so get your act together (my opinion).


It is really no good bleating on about attracting new people to support the QL and it's later derivatives if their first bit of experience sends them down a route to nowhere. Young people today have a very short attention span, but don't take my word for it. You only have to look at the way adverts on TV and how current films are shot to experience the fast paced editing never lingering on anything long enough and all targeting young people.


So how do you expect to engage these youngsters in the excitement of the retro computer, in particular the QL? How do you get them to part with their hard given cash to an organisation that can't even keep their website in reasonable order and up to date? Why would you expect to buy quite expensive products online from a website (especially non-uk) that has dead links? 


http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com does not suffer from this particular issue to quote one example, and is doing quite well thank you. Its all based on a number of 680?? processor based systems that have been defunct for slightly less years than the QL. So it can be done and yes maybe not the best example to prove an argument but hey I am not trying to prove anything, I'm just airing my views.









Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Slow

I had a doh! moment, I don't know why, it never struck me at the time back in the 80's, and it never struck me when revisiting the QL scene, but hey hindsite is everything, perhaps TT really knows the answer to this one.

QJump, the software/hardware company known famously for the Toolkit II plugin-ROM/EPROM that no reputable QL owner should ever be without, even today using the QL without it for the most simplest tasks is fraught with frustration.

Thinking then and now (until recently) about the name was just a passing thought, as with all other QL related stuff, the title had a Q in it, this is to catch the marketing, nod or some other similar aspect of QL related link. Quantum Leap = QL, therefore QJump = Quantum Jump, hey funny, respectful and not as far as a leap but maybe faster as a jump is normally shorter and so gets to the point quicker.

And that would be it, no further thought to QJump save the annoying wavy line extending the Q squiggle a little further. Until recently when watching a video on Youtube it suddenly struck me, a little strike to say the least but a strike none the less. Q can be pronounced and spelt another way, putting a different meaning on the name.

Q = queue, therefore Queue Jump, get in front of the competition, jump past all of those others waiting for something to happen. Now that is far more interesting a concept and also clever, but wait I hear you cry, we all knew that in the first instance, yes well hence my doh! moment, embarrassingly.

The Q wavy line in the logo also makes more sense now :)



  

Friday, 24 June 2011

Time

Having recently purchased some QL related stuff and having just uploaded pictures to the QL repository (Cased Medic Interface), I pondered two things. One is that the Medic Case is really well designed to match the QL, and is probably the best I've seen thus far, however they really missed a trick by putting on the big white lettering making it look like a child's toy. Copying the style of raised wording as is SINCLAIR would have been much better, however we all know how Medic faired. I am still waiting for my four free games (if any one has them...).






The second ponder is that I have seemed to have run out of spare time recently, I have three brand new QL purchases and have yet to still try them out. Today I realised why, this end of the academic year is when students suddenly realise they should have done the work we have been trying to get them to do all year. The marking of the work goes from steady to maximum and it will remain so for another week, such is life :(

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Living in a Box

Well, initially brought up recently on the QL Users list was a reference to a new bit of hardware kit, a small computer a little bigger than a 20p piece.



From the website http://www.raspberrypi.org/ this little thing has a lot of feature for the mordern day but with only 250 meg of memory. Ideal for the basis of a new QL was my first thought, in fact you could quiet easily fit a few of these inside the QL case, replace the QL keyboard with a proper one add a decent size battery and you have a portable computer.

Seriously this device is designed to inspire young people back to the fun of programming, and I say hurrah!, what an achievement and something QL Users should look seriously at, for re-configuring for SuperBasic, or even supporting directly. A caveat of course as the device isn't out yet (later this year apparently), but it it does and at the price stated, it would be so cool. It will come configured and runs UBUNTU so to me it will run a QL system. WTS

  

Thunderbolt and Lightning - very very frightening me

I thought I would just chance my arm following a quick read of "An introduction to the QL" Babini books by the Penfold crew. No point in doing a review now as a. it's a bit late, b. the book is out of print, anyway what was interesting is that when I looked up, or tried to look up this book on their website http://www.babanibooks.com/ although I couldn't find it, well it was a long shot anyway. I used to buy quite a few Babani books in my electronics days and looked at the time to getting some of my own electronic ideas published.


Then, I very soon caught on to the methodologies used by some electronic authors at the time and so I tried that very same process myself, I ended up publishing a few projects in Everyday Electronics Magazine and it's sister publication Practical Electronics, all pre-QL I might add.


Suffice to say manufacturers technical data sheets for ICs seem to do all the work for you. 


Anyhoo back to the QL book and Babini, so I emailed them enquiring about purchasing the said book as the one I have is a bit moth-eaten. The response I have to say was a bit short, pointing to their website saying I should look there.


Well knowing that they no longer sold said book I emailed again about copyright as it was not possible to purchase a new one and again the short reply was that they maintain the copyright. Well I also knew that one anyway, the point being is that if moth-eaten paperbacks is all that you have, then all that you have is moth-eaten paperbacks. 


So new books on the QL are not going to make a sudden comeback, yet I feel there are plenty of individual documented work on the web that could be presented in a much better format.


The QL Users list has raised a few points in the past about QL being able to display e-pub format. With the advance of technology in tablets such as the cheaper end Kindle, the dearer end iPad and more recently the PadPhone!, e-pub, PDF and other mainstream electronic formatted documentation will become the norm, perhaps replacing the printed book once and for all?


I may be rambling a bit here but the point I suppose I am trying to make is that documentation in electronic form is now becoming the norm, long gone are the thick books that accompany the software for your computer, no a CD with PDfs for you to printout, which three years ago I did, and there they sat on the shelf, unread.


Back to the QL meant a lot of reading, all in mainly web-pages, Word documents, QUANTA magazines in PDF format, and I was lucky(?) as having an iPAD to read this documentation was a breeze and now my preferred method, not the laptop, not the PC, and until you have a screen with a higher resolution than the standard 72dpi (sorry metric-ologists), you probably wont be swayed by my arguments and stick to the paper format.  


The iPad 3 supposedly next year (or even later this year) is reputedly to have a 'retina' display, if true this would be of significant impact to e-reading in my opinion. But what of the QL? well read my next post.


Why the title then?, well recently I smiled at the lyric popping into my head as  current met past. Lightning (Simon Goodwin's) go faster stripes for the QL made an appearance recently in my struggle with constructing a (what I perceived to be a quick simple) game as I needed some graphic routines to overcome QL's slow limitations. Thunderbolt is the name given to a new faster transfer port adopted by Apple and trademarked by Intel, nuff said.