8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Note : some messages to individual users but sent to me under the wrong filenames have been included in the messages for all members since they are of general interest. To : 999 (Everyone) From : Andrew Snodgrass (YJ2) Re : Welsh Boys PD Could anyone tell me if the prices for 21+ discs from Welsh Boys PD includes postage and packing, because 30p a disc seems to suggest an unrealistic price to me?! If you do have to pay postage and packing, could somebody tell me what this is charged at? -- I also was interested in this after reading the Welsh Boys' PD catalogue (see issue 21), and upon enquiring was told that the prices DO include postage and packing - a very competitive offer indeed, and I have already ordered some myself. Which will also half-answer the next question: From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Floppy disc supplies Can anyone recommend a really cheap supplier of bulk discs (both 3.5 inch and 5.25 inch)? It might just be that I'm looking in the wrong places, but I can only find people selling the ultra-expensive brand-name discs now. I've heard of discs for 25p each - does anyone know where? -- As for 3.5" disks, I know some people who got together to buy 200 in bulk by mail order, getting them for only 30p each (I bought some myself but they have all disappeared somehow; come on, own up, who's got them?) I haven't a clue where they were ordered from, though, I will try to find out. Alternatively, Maplin Electronics are selling ten 5.25" for #3.00 and ten 3.5" for #4.45; these prices are exclusive of P&P though. 0702 554161 for their credit card hotline or try 0702 552911. From : 20G To : 999 (All members) Hands up all those who saw the BBC B (it may have been a Master) on the TV Thursday 10 Sept? In the Farnborough air show program the British space lady was in a "G Force" set-up and there shone a Beeb! It looks as though they can't afford a A3000 either! Or perhaps the BBC B does a better job. -- As far as control applications etc. go - which is presumably what their BBC B is used for - it definitely does a better job due to the greater number of I/O facilities built-in as standard, and their easier accessibility to the programmer. From : 20G (Roy Dickens) To : 999 Would any one like SIM CITY (40/80 BBC B,B+ and Master) for a fiver? On the box price 14.95. Used once, not my type of program, original box and instructions. Ring 0933 55556. -- This game was reviewed in a previous 8BS issue by Andrew Black, who commented "Buy this game - you won't regret it". I think the review in Masterdisk was less complimentary, but I don't remember ever seeing any complimentary reviews in Masterdisk anyway. From : 20G To : 999 Please advise; I have "INTERW0RD" word processor. To send text to others such as 8-Bit I first *SPOOL<file name> without codes then *BUILD a !BOOT with MODE 3, VDU14 (no scroll), *TYPE <file name>. Is this correct? -- This produces perfectly readable text, so the answer is yes. For 8BS text submissions, it is helpful to run the text through the "ASCII unformatter" featured in issue 20 as well, apart from EDIT and (I think) WORDWISE which can produce unformatted text themselves. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : New EPROMing service In issue 20 I mentioned that Andrew Black had offered to continue his EPROMing service. Since then I have written to Andrew several times and received no response. If anyone has a phone number on which he can be contacted I would appreciate it. In the meantime, John Ilsley (ID 27N) has sent me the following message: To help your BBC A, B, B+ and Master users out, I offer an EPROMing service. I can blow 4k, 8k or 16k chips of any voltage, and also offer an ERASEing service. I charge 2.50 if they supply the chip or 5.00 if I have to supply the chip. This cost includes the postage (but not recorded delivery), and cost of electricity for the eraser and for the equipment. All I need from the user is a disc with the 'to be' rom image on, or BASIC programs with a list of what (if any) order they want the programs put onto, and either the chip or the cost for the chip. I usually program and post the chips the same day I get them, unless I receive a cheque. I do prefer cash! (recorded delivery). Mr John Ilsley, 61, Kingsley Road, Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire If anyone wants 32K EPROMs they could probably try pestering Hugh Williams on 0873 810162. From : 53B (John Carpenter) To : 999 (All members) Sorry to be totally ignorant, but can someone please tell me what shadow ram is exactly!?? I have an idea but I really don't know what to do with it. Thanks! -- Shadow RAM is one of those things that makes life easier without you actually doing much. To activate it, either *SHADOW 1, or use a mode number 128 greater than the one you mean to use (e.g. MODE 135 if you want MODE 7 with shadow RAM). HIMEM will now be at &8000 regardless of how much memory the screen takes up, thus allowing far more memory (up to 20K more) for programs or variables. (You can always poke the memory control byte (&FE34) yourself to make use of shadow RAM directly for storing data rather than the screen, but it's hardly worth the effort unless you are in MODE 7 and very short of memory. However, poking this address can be quite good fun from BASIC anyway...) Shadow RAM is a clever way of getting round the 64K limit to the amount of memory the computer can address. Whenever the VDU driver code accesses a location between &3000 and &8000 while the computer is in a shadow mode, the machine automatically switches the shadow RAM into these memory locations, while programs etc. continue to access memory in the main map. Do bear in mind, though, that the majority of users don't have shadow RAM, and also that writing directly to screen memory won't work in shadow modes! To : 999 (All members) From : 0E7 Re : Disk drive switching I have a 3.5" and 5.25" disc drive respectively set up as 0 and 1. It is not always convenient to have this setup, as at times it would be advantageous to have them the other way round. This can be achieved by changing over cables, but this is a cumbersome task and I am sure there are better ways of doing it. Does anyone know of such a system which does not involve entering and modifying the computer? I envisage an external box of electronics to achieve the desired results. Can anyone help or am I alone in requiring this facility? -- A solution for a vaguely similar problem was outlined by J.G. Harston in a previous issue. In an article on how to connect more than one disk drive, he stated that his setup involved a selection of different drives (5.25", 3.5", 3"), with a battery of switches not only to select which two drives to use at any one time, but also to switch round drive 0 and drive 1 - which is what you are after. My own system involves a twin 5.25" drive and a single 3.5" drive. Drive 0 of the 5.25" is always drive 0 to the machine, but drive 1 can be either the other 5.25" or the 3.5". This involves one switch box, minor modifications to the inside of the 5.25" drive, and a whole tangle of ribbon cables at the back of the machine. I got someone else to do this for me as I wasn't very keen on wrecking my equipment. My knowledge of how exactly to make such modifications is fairly limited, but there should be a way of achieving what you want without any electronics or anything. Incidentally, are your drives both contained in one unit? If anyone can provide a solution to this, with full explanation, please get in touch. From : 483 (D.G. Shimmin) To : 999 (All members) Re : Lack of *TYPE in ADFS If you cannot use the *TYPE command in your ADFS this is usually due to not having a DFS ROM installed, as the code for *TYPE is contained in the DFS. To : D.G. Shimmin (And all other members, as of general interest) From : YJ2 (Andrew Snodgrass) Re : Initialising ROM images in sideways ram What follows is not needed on the Master Compact, as all a Compact user needs to do to initialise a rom loaded into sideways ram is to use the "I" parameter in the *SRLOAD command used to load the ROM. In the letters page (p. 162) of the Micro User in the February 1988 issue it was explained how to load ROMs into sideways ram, although I do not know if this will work with your system. Basically all you need to do is load your ROM image into sideways ram as normal, then poke ?&2A<rom number + 1> with &82 for a service rom or &C2 for a language. e.g. Why not create a !BOOT file to load up CONVERT on the Master and then chain a MENU program for a disc containing BBC B programs like I have (shown below): PROGRAM: NOTES: >*BUILD !BOOT 10 *SRLOAD CONVERT 8000 7 Q - Load in ROM image (Bank 7) 20 ?&2A8=&82 - Initialise ROM image 30 *B. - Enter BASIC language 40 CH."MENU" - Enter MENU program -- Thanks for the information - this will be very useful with my co-processor(s). Interesting to note that the Compact has more advanced SRAM facilities than the Master. To : 999 (Everyone) From : Andrew Snodgrass (YJ2) Re : Masterdisk Magazine Could anybody tell me if Andy Nibbs ever produced a 6th (7th?) issue of Masterdisk Magazine as I have only got up to issue 5? -- Andy Nibbs wrote to me on 21st August this year replying to a letter of mine nearly three months earlier, saying that Masterdisk 6 would be out in mid-September, and that he would write to me again within a week with some articles and PD software for 8BS. I wrote back enclosing a copy of issue 20, but since then have heard nothing. Does anyone have any further information? To : 999 (Everyone) From : Andrew Snodgrass (YJ2) Re : Digitised Images/Stop Press Could anyone who has access to PD AMX Stop Press cutouts / fonts / screens or utilities (or any digitised images / hand-drawn artwork) please submit them to the TBI pool, as I and many other BEEB DTP enthusiasts (I hope) would like to see them. e.g. BBC PD discs 17, 23, 25, 45, 61, 76, 98, 120 etc. This would the prevent users of 8-Bit software from having to pay #1.50+ a time per disc (10p isn't going to break the bank). Also it would benefit the user group in the long run, by encouraging other enthusiasts to join. Which in turn hopefully would mean more programs being submitted to 8-Bit Software. would be interested to hear the editor's view on this subject. -- The editor is wildly enthusiastic about ANYTHING that would increase the membership of 8BS (well not quite anything, featuring Arch software would be going a bit too far, though I imagine Carl Wheat's software runs in BASIC V, if a little fast). Similarly I am very happy to include in the TBI pool any disks that anyone will find useful - I have already got BBC PD 16 which Andrew has kindly contributed. From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Hugh Williams' ROM workspace query I'm not sure of the details (I don't have any advanced reference manuals) but I suspect that locations &DF0+ROM number (i.e. &DF0 to &DFF) have something to do with the start of workspace - but I'm not guaranteeing it. -- Hugh Williams has now apparently found the time to look at his manuals anyway. However, M.T. Farnworth has supplied the following information: From : 16C (M.T. Farnworth) To : 999 (All members) Re : More technical garbage The following information comes from the Acorn Electron Advanced User Guide so I cannot guarantee that it is correct. The page at which a ROM's private RAM workspace begins is stored in a table based at &DF0 to &DFF. The table is indexed by the ROM bank number. The Paged ROM header format is as below: Offset size description 0 3 language entry (JMP address) 3 3 service entry (JMP address) 6 1 ROM type flag 7 1 copyright string offset pointer (=10+t+v) 8 1 version number (binary) 9 [t] title string 9+t 1 zero byte 10+t [v] version string 10+t+v 1 zero byte 11+t+v [c] copyright string 11+t+v+c 1 zero byte 12+t+v+c 4 2nd Processor relocation address 16+t+v+c ....rest of ROM, code and data The 2nd processor relocation address is the address at which the ROM's contents will be copied when moving it across to a 2nd processor. The language code should be assembled to run at this location. However it should be noted that the service code should be assembled to run from &8000 as it will be executed within the ROM in the I/O processor. [ Does he mean RAM??? ] If an eprom version of HiBASIC is installed in your machine so long as it is in a higher priority socket than BASIC IV it should be automatically copied across the TUBE and executed at &B800. The eprom should be blow in the ordinary way. -- I think that in fact HiBASIC is not supposed to be a ROM image but a *RUNable file. Then again, it could quite feasibly be both (think about it). I have tried loading it into SRAM (presumably equivalent to blowing an EPROM) and it doesn't appear to work. Any more suggestions? From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Daniel Shimmin's mention of the ADFS bug I have a vague recollection that in a fairly old issue of The Micro User (1988-1990?), someone wrote in to mention a similar sounding problem. They recommended putting *FX119 as the first line of the program run by the !BOOT file. If anyone has a bibliography disc or enough time to search through all the back issues, maybe they could check this? By the way, the stated error doesn't occur on my Archimedes, but it gives an address exception instead (although this is probably just a compatibilty problem - I was using !65Host) - the error does occur on my Master with OS 3.20. I seem to recall mention of an OS 3.26 somewhere with a variety of additions - including the correction of some bugs and the facility for View to store the SETUP in CMOS RAM [like EDIT can]. Failing this, maybe some genius could disassemble the ADFS ROM, or try an earlier copy of the ADFS on the Master. -- *FX119 does indeed prevent the error, as it closes all currently open *EXEC files. Thanks. Does anyone have OS 3.26? From : 15A (Steven Flintham) To : 999 (All members) Re : Group project? Would anyone in 8BS be interested in a joint computation project? It's only a very vague idea at the moment, but I was thinking of something along the lines of a calculation (a highly detailed Mandelbrot image, perhaps) which could be spread over the various members - preferably something which would take too long on an individual computer. If anyone has any ideas/suggestions, let me know. If (for example) fifteen people took part and left their computers on overnight for one night, that would give around 150 hours of computer time (more if the computers were also left on during the following day while the owners were at school, work etc. - up to 240 hours (ten days of computer time)) That would take six solid days on a single machine - personally, I think I'd go crazy if I couldn't use a computer for six days! Admittedly, Mandelbrot calculations might not be suitable - but someone might be able to think of something. Contact me via 8BS (preferably on 999 so everyone can read it) if you have any ideas. -- A very interesting idea. However, surely if you want to do calculations, your A3000 is equal in speed to at least a dozen 8-bit machines? Or you could always leave the machine on each night then save the results in the morning, to be continued the next night? If you want to do a very detailed Mandelbrot I could convince an A5000-owner (I have four in mind) to run a program, and let it use some hard disk space, and you could do a really big Mandelbrot image, say 10Mb; but this would be of little use as you can't view it on screen all at once and if you viewed it in segments they would all look rather similar! (Print it on a 600dpi laser printer, perhaps?) I think what you're really getting at is some form of parallel processing, with tasks divided between computers, but doing it by post is hardly fast enough. A better solution would be to run it on an Econet (I have two in mind); perhaps thirty Master 128s and a few RISC machines could achieve consciousness between them! Bear in mind that the Econet interface operates at 2 MHz; that's as fast as the internal co-processor link in the Master, though admittedly not as efficient if you have lots of machines connected up at once. Anyway, Hugh Williams (ID 709) is supposed to be the expert on Econets at the moment, and should have his first Econet game coming out "soon". Any comments Hugh? From : 6EE (Mick Needham) To : C83 (D. Stillman) Re : AMX Stop Press ROMs Although you could program a 32k EPROM with both the AMX ROM images you could not plug it into the BBC B as it does not have a 32k socket, you would have to build a carrier board similar to that used for the InterWord 32k chip together with other circuitry. From : 6EE (Mick Needham) To : C83 (D. Stillman) Re : DIY hardware projects An excellent series of hardware projects called Microcomputer Interfacing Techniques appeared in Everyday Electronics, this ran for 12 months from July 1983 to June 1984. The BBC B was one of four computers the series was aimed at. It contained construction details, PCB layouts, and programs for a User Input/Output board, User port control board, High power interface board, Pedestrian crossing simulation, Analogue to Digital converter board, Signal conditioning amp. board, Digital to Analogue Board, High power DAC Driver board, Stepper motor control, 4 channel high speed ADC board, Motor control interface board, Speech synthesis board, this list is not complete as I do not have all 12 issues. You may be able to get copies of the articles from your local Central Library, or Polytechnic Library. From : C83 To : Everyone RE :Piggy-back EPROMs Does anybody know if it is at all possible to 'piggy back' EPROMs so you use less space inside your computer? E.g. Put Wordwise on top of Printmaster in order to save ROM slots. -- See disk magazine menu.