Friday, 24 June 2011


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 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 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. 


Thursday, 2 June 2011

I remember you ooohhhh

Something I forgot to mention from the Quanta workshop/AGM is that it allowed me for the first time in many years to sit down and actually spend sometime tinkering without any pressure.

Pressure from my other half or mainly myself (I better say that in case she ever reads this, although I use the "voice" which puts her off reading any of this anyway) from DIY, cleaning, car repair, washing etc. I think you get the picture.

So for all you people who do not go to workshops, sub group meetings and the like, it is the one time you can do nothing else but QL related things, it took me awhile to realise this, so I will make a concerted effort to get to the London one this month, and cannot wait until the next AGM/Workshop.

Finally for those interested in the 'voice' then see my past post on 'Hello', any further explanation will require a comment here :)