8-Bit Software Online Conversion

From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : An enquiry and a suggestion from Hugh Williams In connection with Hugh's DIRlock utility; Hugh was thinking of getting the program to execute itself within the DFS file buffer workspace (not exactly "legal", but...) in order to avoid the incompatibility problems with programs which use pages &9 and &A. However, this workspace can start at several different memory locations, depending on which other paged ROMs have requested workspace first. (For example, Hugh's DFS file buffer starts higher in memory because his ADFS file buffer is below it). Can anyone find a way of writing a program which will find out where the workspace for each ROM starts? I think that's what he said, anyway. Hugh can be contacted via the 8BS messaging system (see Issue 20) or direct on 0873 810162. Hugh has also suggested that anyone who codes additional supporting functions/procedures for the Small C Compiler should send them in for publication in 8BS, so that everyone else can make use of them as well. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Resolve Communications bulletin board John Carpenter (user I.D. 53B) has asked me to mention that his renowned bulletin board (930 users) will soon be back on-line. The number is 0438 832824, 24 hours a day, speeds are V23/V21/V22/V22bis. From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : 68000/80286 processors Following D.G. Shimmin's mention of the 68000/80286 "code bit" in sideways ROM images, I just thought I'd mention that I can remember reading in an article somewhere (I think it was about the time that the original ARM second processor was released) about Acorn developing a 68000 second processor for their internal use. It was never made publicly available, of course, but I can't see the point in having a "code bit" in ROM's anyway, as you wouldn't get much 68000 code in one! -- Well...you could fit quite a lot of code in two 32K ROMs, considering the original 68000 Apple Mac was only 128K - or perhaps Acorn just added it for the sake of completeness after including bits to designate code for other processors. From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Electron BASIC He also asked which version of BASIC the Electron used. Well, I still have my original #199.00 Electron (those were the days - it was the first computer I ever owned!), and I can say with confidence that the BASIC is a version of BASIC II - it supports OSCLI and doesn't seem to have the obscure INSTR bug in BASIC I. -- Thanks for the info - this makes Electron-compatibility a more likely possibility for future issues (see elsewhere). Incidentally, can you believe the Electron was the extra-cheap version of the BBC B and yet the ZX Spectrum still underpriced it by #20.00? (Not quite as many features on the Spectrum, but 10K more RAM, a Z80A processor, and MUCH more software available, especially games). From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Astronomy programs, copyright of routines published in books I have written a suite of astronomy programs, concentrating mainly on solar system astronomy, which I would like to submit to 8BS, probably for inclusion in the TBI. The problem is that they were written around versions of the routines presented in Peter Duffet-Smith's "Astronomy with your personal computer" - does anyone know what the copyright position is, either on this specific book or on other similar situations in general? I don't want to make any profit from the book's routines, but then again it could be argued that I'd be denying the publisher sales by "distributing" the routines, albeit in a limited form. Can anyone help? I can be contacted at: 6 Laythorpe Avenue, Skegness, Lincolnshire, PE25 3BX, or via the 8BS messaging system - the latter might be preferable as it seems that the answer might be of general interest, due to the innumerable books providing "libraries" of routines. -- I have no specific information on this, but presumably anyone publishing a book purporting to supply useful routines for readers to incorporate in their own programs can hardly complain if these routines are then used! (Unless any publication states otherwise specifically). To : 999 (All members) From : 709 (H.S. Williams) Re : Electro_rock, video wanted, PBM games Has anyone out there heard of a new group called 'The Ministry', they're supposed to be a cyberpunk (William Gibson) influenced electro_rock group with an album called 'Psalm 69' or something. Any info? Also has anyone got a copy of, or can get hold of a copy of 'A Clockwork Orange', Stanley Kubrick's film of Anthony Burgess' book, on VHS video please (Good money paid). Is there anyone who plays any of the following Play By Mail games: Serim Ral, The Keys of Medokh, or Avalon 500 Chronicle of Kings. If so get in touch to exchange ideas, information, etc... -- To add to the list of PBM games; if anyone plays Crisis, It's A Crime, Golden Realm II, Delta Nine or Star Cluster they might want to get in touch (I have just won Game 18 of Star Cluster, by the way!) Incidentally the articles on PBM gaming will be included fairly soon; perhaps Hugh would like to make a few comments on the games he is in? (And anyone else who plays PBM games?) From : C83 To : 999 (All members) Re : AMX Stop Press, EPROMs I own a BBC B issue 7 and have AMX Stop Press. It takes up 2x16K ROMs & sockets. I was wondering if it would be possible to blow both ROMs onto one 32K EPROM so I have an extra socket free for another ROM? -- I imagine this would definitely work on a Master (at the cost of two of your SRAM banks), but I am not at all sure that the BBC B has any 32K romslots - you certainly can't plug a 32K ROM into a 16K romslot - can anyone say for certain? Queries concerning paged ROMs occur quite frequently, as the Acorn manuals don't give much, or very clear, information. See below for a question of my own concerning this. From : C83 To : 999 (All members) Re : DIY hardware projects Has anybody made/got any DIY hardware projects for the BBC? If so could you tell me which ones you have and if you would be willing to give me a copy of the circuit diagrams etc.? -- I will recommend Maplin Electronics - they often do add-on projects for home computers - but you probably know that already. They have sent me a circular about their latest catalogue (the first time they have written to me in five years!) which looks the same as all their other catalogues; large and full of electronics. From : YJ2 To : 999 (All members) Re : Last Ninja 2 Has anybody managed to complete Last Ninja 2? I have reached the last level many times, but keep on dying in the dark room, how do you get past it??? Also what is the red object on level 1 near the wall you have to climb up with the hook (ice axe?) ?? Incidentally, if anybody is stuck and can't get past the fans which appear on numerous levels, all you need to do is to hold down 'J' (Large Jump), keeping as close to the fan as possible until you reach the ladder or door at the other side. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Co-processors & paged ROMs HiBASIC and HiEDIT on my 65C102 co-processor have to be loaded from disk each time I want to use them. Does anyone know how to get them into an EPROM (they are only 16K each) in such a way that they will go into the right place (&B800) in the co-processor automatically, so that I could (for example) configure HiBASIC as the start-up language, and call HiEDIT straight from ROM? I suppose I could put both of them on ROM as machine-code programs, but this would not allow me to select them as start-up languages. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : EDIT technical details Sorry for bombarding VIEW etc. users with more rubbish about EDIT ... Does anyone know where it stores the "Current filename" and cursor position, as I am thinking of writing a little utility for it? (Either for EDIT or HiEDIT or both). From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Using HiBASIC/HiEDIT Although BASIC IV has the command EDIT, it DOESN'T load BASIC code into HiEDIT if you have it available. To get round this, use EDIT <RETURN> from BASIC as normal, then select COMMAND LINE (f1) and type *HiEDIT (ensuring that your library disk or whatever to load it from is in place), then use OLD TEXT (f9) to get the text back again. Incidentally, if anyone knows a (simple) way of doing this without entering EDIT first, I would like to know! (Because of buffer sizes etc.) Similarly, to take text from HiEDIT (or even EDIT) straight into HiBASIC, select RETURN LANGUAGE (shift-f4) and enter HiBASIC as the language name rather than BASIC (again ensure that the disk/directory/whatever to load HiBASIC from is in place). From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Co-processor incompatibilities The problems my co-processor has with high-tech games are only to be expected, and not really a problem anyway (some games are very hard running at twice normal speed!) However, it is annoying when helpful utilities fail to work. The Master UtilROM provides *AS, which reads the filename you want to save a BASIC program as from a REM statement at the start (using something like "SA.$(PAGE+7)"). When used in a co-processor, this command seems to read the string from the wrong memory (presumably the I/O processor) and hence can't find the string (it supplies the error message "REM format incorrect" even though it's not). Does anyone have a solution? Similarly the UtilROM's *WIPE for ADFS fails to work, though *BVERIFY is O.K. Finally, although *FX200,3 followed by CALL!-4 will force a hard reset normally (useful for installing ROMs automatically from a !BOOT file), with the co-processor running the effect is to quit BASIC and return to the command line, but no hard break. Can anyone suggest anything? From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Enquiries to PD libraries Jamie Hosker of Mad Rabbit PD (user I.D. 21H) has asked me to mention that if you are writing to a PD library for their catalogue you should always enclose an SSAE, as he has had a lot of letters from enquirers who haven't, and this causes prices to rise unnecessarily. Most 8BS members usually remember to, but if you know people who don't, remind them - they will probably not get a reply otherwise. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Master Advanced Reference Manual Does anyone have, or know anyone who has, a copy of the Master Advanced Reference Manual they would be willing to sell me second-hand? (That's the MASTER Advanced Ref. Manual, NOT the New Advanced User Guide NOR the BBC Micro Advanced User Guide!) I'll pay between #7.50 and #10.00 (plus postage) depending on whether I'm in a good mood or not. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Possible ADFS bug I have recently discovered that a (correctly-coded) program of mine fails to work under my ADFS 1.50, but works perfectly under ADFS on Hugh William's BBC B, and also under ANFS. This perhaps indicates some sort of problem with ADFS 1.50. If anyone is interested, the problem concerned *EXECing a !BOOT file which CHAINed a BASIC program (part of a larger system) in the directory above; any PRINT or INPUT commands in the program then produced a "Channel on channel 56" (or similar) error. Surprisingly, the error NEVER occurred if the BASIC program was CHAINed without *EXECing the !BOOT file. Considering the nature of the problem, perhaps there is something up with my BASIC (IV) as well. Even more weird, the program was initially developed on the same machine (between late 1991 and early 1992), and never showed any problems under ADFS. It was then copied onto ANFS for further development and Econet-testing, and I only discovered the bug when I copied it back to ADFS in about April 1992; earlier versions (never transferred to ANFS) displayed the same bug. It can't be my co-processor because I bought it after June 1992, and it can't be physical damage because I only opened the case once before June 1992, to replace the internal battery in December 1991; the program still worked fine for weeks after that date. Perhaps some sort of power spike or something caused damage, but surely if it affected the inside of a ROM chip the whole of the rest of the PCB would have been scrambled as well? Anyway, I will put a copy of the problem program on all the ADFS issues if I remember, so that everyone with ADFS can check it out on their machines. It isn't really serious (the system in question is only for Econet anyway, and I've found no other problems with my ADFS), but worth looking into. From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Dr A.J. Travis' Small C Compiler It's been quite a while since I got a copy of this from BBC PD, and almost as long since I last used it. Does anyone have, or is anyone prepared to put together, a list of "supported" features so that I might be able to use it to learn C programming on until I get a cheap second hand copy of a commercial C? Is Small C a "defined" standard, or does it just signify "cut down?" And secondly, (I know this is not strictly an 8-bit issue, but it is vaguely related and I'll keep it brief...) is there anyone with an Archimedes reading this who can help me to get it to run under emulation on the Arc? - I've only got 40T S/S disc drives on my BBC B and Master 128 and although it can just be persuaded to run on the Master under ADFS, it's very fiddly with lots of file swaps. Editor's (rather lengthy) note: The Small C Compiler, available via the TBI pool, also includes a massive quantity of additional notes on the commands supported, and installation notes, written by Jonathan Harston of "HADFS" fame (who used to be member W79, and contributed to fairly recent 8BS issues, but has not replied to my letter inviting him to re-join; any information on his whereabouts (Hong Kong?) would be very helpful). I have sent the relevant parts of this to Steven. The compiler documentation, although it includes a considerable amount of sample sourcecode for the user to learn from (including the C sourcecode for the compiler itself), does not aim to teach C, so members should either get a book on it, or the C tutorial from the XBI pool (disk 48 of BBC PD for non-ADFS users). With the same aim as Steven, i.e. learning the basics of C before moving onto a more powerful/complete compiler, I have found the compiler fairly easy to use at a simple level in conjunction with EDIT (to write the sourcecode files) and the book "Learning to Program in C", by Noel Kantaris (thanks Alex). C has a fair number of advantages - it is almost as easy to write as BASIC, and is supposedly more structued, but compiles direct into machine code for extra-fast execution, and is also compatible with any machine with a C compiler (so, for example, you could write a program on the Beeb and then run it on any PC or even a mainframe!). The disadvantages are that you can't simply type RUN while half-way through coding a program to test it, but have to compile it then run it - with Small C this takes a couple of minutes for a practice program with 15 or so lines, but a lot longer with something more lengthy. Also it takes up a fair amount of memory - the Small C compiler inserts about 7.5K of supporting code of its own to accompany any stand-alone routine compiled, although this is hardly a problem unless you are writing something that will produce more than about 8K of object code - that's a lot of pure machine code! See the article by Stephen Mumford for more detail about C. In his documentation Dr.Travis quotes several books as his source for "Small C", but I think his implementation depends more on the things he had time/space to put in rather than a full implementation of a rigidly defined standard; Hugh Williams has commented that the range of commands/functions supported is VERY limited. However, I would very much encourage all members to get hold of the Small C Compiler and have a go with it, whether you are fed up with the limitations of BASIC and the difficulty of assembler or have never bothered learning either - it is an extremely cheap way to start learning a powerful universal language. As for emulating a Beeb on an Arch, we all know the Beeb is superior to the Arch in every possible way, and you can't replace it with some clever emulator. (I'm not just being sarcastic - the 6502 emulator on the A3000 is no match for even a BBC B in speed, lacks shadow RAM, and quite often fails to work). Actually the compiler won't run on my 65C102 co-processor either, which is extremely annoying. Does anyone have any answers? Messages to you: