CURSOR KEYS TO SCROLL, BREAK TO EXIT EDITORIAL (sort of) Welcome to 8-Bit Software Issue 26. Asalways, a wide variety of software andarticles is included, including somehumour this issue, and a whole host ofother things. Due to the increased input from therising membership I have had to splitthe Messages Section in two, with"Technical" information in one file and"General" in another, though there is afair amount of overlap. All of thearticles in this issue and all but oneof the programs are PD, with fifteenout of the eighteen programs featuredwritten by our own members. Issue 27 will be edited by ChrisRichardson. The deadline forsubmissions will be 3rd May, and theissue will be released around 18th May.So send your formatted disk withsubmissions (the more text and softwarethe better), 50p and return postage andpacking to: Chris can handle both 3.5" and 5.25"disks. You can phone him on The following issue (Issue 28) will beedited by me. The deadline forsubmissions will be sometime in lateJune, and the issue will be releasedsometime in mid-July. MEMBERSHIP ETC. Members will no doubt be pleased tohear that, after a recent flurry ofpublicity throughout the 8-Bit world,membership is now rising quite quickly.Issue 24 was not only the first issueto reach more than thirty people, butalso the first to reach over forty,and, within the last week, over fifty. Of course not all of the new enquirerswho have received Issue 24 have becomemembers, but I believe membership isnow around forty or forty-five; Issue25 has reached about 35-40 people. And,as new members join, older issues arereceiving larger circulations as well,as they pick up back issues. And of course the increase inmembership is aided by the excellentsoftware that members supply; I haverecently heard that programs on Issue23 by Theo Gray and Steven Johnson,plus instructions in one of ChrisRichardson's Teletext Display files,have appeared on the 8-bit disk of theFebruary issue of Acorn Computing. NEW QUESTIONNAIRE In order to keep 8BS organised with thenew flood of members, this Issuecontains a new Questionnaire program.Members who have filled in theQuestionnaire before will find thattheir original answers have all beenentered for them (clever, isn't it?),so all they need to do is answer thesmall number of additional questions,and correct any of the old answers thatneed changing. Note also that some of the oldquestions have been slightly changed.One point of particular significancethat I would like your views on iswhether the Teletext (MODE 7) magazineformat should be retained, or whetherwe should return to a MODE 3 format.The Teletext format certainly has itsadvantages, but does take longer toedit, and considerably reduces theamount of space on a disk; let me knowwhich option you prefer. So please take the time to fill in thequestionnaire as it provides valuabledata for programmers aboutcompatibility, and interestinginformation for the rest of us. Allinformation will be confidential exceptwhere you choose otherwise. Thequestionnaire is very easy to use, seethe separate instructions article fordetails. USER IDs There has been some confusion overthis; if you are a new member, pleaseuse the User ID given to you on Issue24 (see menu screen), NOT the new IDs(Kxx) given out by Chris Richardson. NEW COMPETITION It now looks as though Chris Richardsonhas won the Repton competition, so toreplace it Theo Gray (19F) hassuggested a new one. The aim of thecompetition is to see who can write thebest one-line program. The program mustbe of ONE LINE OF BASIC ONLY, but canbe any type of program at all. Entriesto be submitted to 8BS. Anyone have anyideas as to prizes? SOME CONTROVERSY As always, a lot of people are sellingsecond-hand BBC equipment, and it seemsto me that the prices being asked are alittle high. Because of the smalldemand for BBC computers, it makessense to sell your machine at arealistic price. After all, you arebetter off getting a seeminglyunreasonably low price for what you areselling, rather than asking a normalprice, not finding a buyer, and hencegetting nothing at all. There are quitea few people I have spoken to who haveadvertised in commercial magazines forseveral months, and still have no hopeof selling their equipment. Obviously this suggestion is not goingto be welcomed by some people, but itis necessary; I am not doing myself afavour either, as I will be selling myown Master 128 at some stage...Rememberthat now people can get a brand new BBC'B' for £150 or so (unsold US stock),they won't pay anywhere near that muchfor a second-hand one. A few guidelines: For a Master 128 on its own, expect topay/get around £125. For a BBC 'B', around £90. Single 80T DS 5.25" drive, around £25,£50 for twin drive. 6502 Second Processor, probably £25. Any other hardware with the deal,around one-third of its original newprice (assuming you want it). Fornew-ish printers or colour monitors youcan probably expect more. Software, about one-quarter of itsoriginal price (maybe a little more ifboxed with instructions in goodcondition). Tim Parsons (3SQ) comments: I can recommend Solinet to all 8BSmembers, it has a lot going for it, itwould be a great shame if it shouldclose, as it would be if ANY clubdedicated to the support of Acorn 8 bitcomputers. I for one will NOT get oneof these New Super Fast, Memory Hungry,HighTech machines, you never know itmight all turn full circle when these32-bit people run out of cash buyingall this overpriced software (andhardware) which is out of Date as soonas you've bought it. Will they comerunning back to more mundane but veryfunctional machines, I wonder? 3D Graph Program Silas Brown has supplied the followingformulas for the 3D graph program byPiotr Sliwinski featured in Issue 24: TAN(X*Y)*SIN(X*Y)*COS(X*Y)*LOG(X*Y)*SQR (ABS(X*Y))*X*Y TAN(X*Y) TAN(X^Y) TAN(X/Y) SIN(X*Y) SIN(X^Y) SIN(X/Y) RND(X*Y) COS(X^Y) LOG(X/Y) SIN(X)*COS(Y) SIN(Y)*TAN(X) SQR(ABS(SIN(X)))*(COS(Y)^2) All of these are worth trying withdifferent min and max values for X andY; some will only work with valuesbetween -1 and +1, some only look goodwith max values around 20 or 50. Programming suggestions: Why doesn't someone write a deep deletefacility for ADFS, i.e. something ofthe format "*Deepdel <directory name>"which would then delete everything inthat directory, the directory itself,and any directories and their contentsbelow it, removing all files anddirectories however deep down, andre-accessing if necessary. I suppose aBASIC program to do this would also beuseful, but a machine code utilitywould be especially helpful. Secondly, Silas Brown has suggestedthat anyone looking for a program towrite should consider writing a weathersimulator using landscapes produced bythe 3D graph program. Question Martin R Wilson (4WL) has recentlymentioned that his 6502 secondprocessor manual states that it can beused as a form of Sideways RAM, i.e.ROM images can be loaded into it. Isthis possible (either on the 65022nd-pro. or even on the 65C102), and ifso how is it done? MOS versions & Master Compact A while ago Steven Flintham mentionedMOS version 3.26, an improved versionof the Master operating system. Untilthen I had assumed that, since I boughtmy new Master 128 in late 1990, itwould have the latest operating systemand firmware in it. But apparently, not only does my Masteronly have MOS 3.2 in it, but it alsohas DFS 2.24, the corrected version ofwhich (V2.27) was only supplied on theWelcome Disk. Not that I have sufferedtoo many problems from this, but itwould have been nice to have theimproved versions. Meanwhile, I have discovered via aMaster Compact-owning member and theMaster Advanced Ref. Manual, that theCompact in fact has MOS version 5.10(so what was MOS version 4 - perhapsthe improved version for Turbo usersmentioned by Tim Parsons elsewhere inthis issue?) It seems that the Master Compact has awhole variety of impressive featurescompared to the Master 128. Forexample, FORMAT, VERIFY and BACKUProutines are built into the ADFS ROM,and neither they nor *COPY corrupt userworkspace; there is also a *DRIVEcommand in the ADFS to aidcompatibility with DFS. In addition to this the floppy driversoftware on the Compact is "noticeably"faster than the Master 128 (which inturn is faster than the Beeb). TheBASIC IV fitted is faster intranscendental functions than theMaster, and there are various otherminor improvements throughout thefirmware, plus corrections of bugs inthe Master 128. Together with all this you get all 128Kof the RAM featured on the Master 128;surprisingly, it doesn't have aninternal battery, instead using a128-byte EEPROM. Plus it all comes asone unit, with monitor (colour or b/w),computer and built-in 3.5" disk drive,although the power supply is nowexternal (sort of like a Spectrum Isuppose). The drawbacks: well, the Master Compactisn't for people who want to addhardware to their machines; theInternal and External Tube are gone (soyou can't fit extra processors), so arethe 1MHz bus (you can't fit a hard diskdrive), TV connector, cassette recorderconnector, internal modem connector, RS423, real-time clock, colour compositevideo, auxiliary power out connectorand external audio connection. The ADC, User Port and CartridgeSockets are also gone, but you canconnect a digital joystick, mouse ortrackerball via the Expansion Port.There are connectors for 3x16K and1x32K ROMs internally, and you canpotentially connect 2x16K ROMs to theExpansion Port. Well, it was all these removedexpansion capabilities that made BBCcomputers the best for interfacing inthe first place, but if you only wantto use disk drive, printer, joysticketc. and VDU peripherals then a2nd-hand Master Compact is well worthconsidering. (There is in fact oneadvertised in the messages section thisissue). What about price? Well a while ago alocal dealer offered me a Compactset-up for £200 second hand.Considering that prices will havefallen since, and that the dealer willhave been taking his cut too, you maybe able to get a Compact for only £150or so, maybe even less. Considering that, by comparison, evenif you were able to buy a Master 128for my "recommended price" of £125, youwould then need a disk drive (£30) andsome form of VDU (£60 for a monitor asgood as on the Compact), making over£200 in all. (OK so maybe you have yourown drive and monitor already, but ifyou got a Compact you would be able tosell them). Then there's the advantagesmentioned above to consider.