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CURSOR KEYS TO SCROLL, BREAK TO EXIT EDITORIAL (sort of) Welcome to 8-Bit Software Issue 26. As always, a wide variety of software and articles is included, including some humour this issue, and a whole host of other things. Due to the increased input from the rising membership I have had to split the Messages Section in two, with "Technical" information in one file and "General" in another, though there is a fair amount of overlap. All of the articles in this issue and all but one of the programs are PD, with fifteen out of the eighteen programs featured written by our own members. Issue 27 will be edited by Chris Richardson. The deadline for submissions will be 3rd May, and the issue will be released around 18th May. So send your formatted disk with submissions (the more text and software the better), 50p and return postage and packing to: Chris can handle both 3.5" and 5.25" disks. You can phone him on The following issue (Issue 28) will be edited by me. The deadline for submissions will be sometime in late June, and the issue will be released sometime in mid-July. MEMBERSHIP ETC. Members will no doubt be pleased to hear that, after a recent flurry of publicity throughout the 8-Bit world, membership is now rising quite quickly. Issue 24 was not only the first issue to reach more than thirty people, but also the first to reach over forty, and, within the last week, over fifty. Of course not all of the new enquirers who have received Issue 24 have become members, but I believe membership is now around forty or forty-five; Issue 25 has reached about 35-40 people. And, as new members join, older issues are receiving larger circulations as well, as they pick up back issues. And of course the increase in membership is aided by the excellent software that members supply; I have recently heard that programs on Issue 23 by Theo Gray and Steven Johnson, plus instructions in one of Chris Richardson's Teletext Display files, have appeared on the 8-bit disk of the February issue of Acorn Computing. NEW QUESTIONNAIRE In order to keep 8BS organised with the new flood of members, this Issue contains a new Questionnaire program. Members who have filled in the Questionnaire before will find that their original answers have all been entered for them (clever, isn't it?), so all they need to do is answer the small number of additional questions, and correct any of the old answers that need changing. Note also that some of the old questions have been slightly changed. One point of particular significance that I would like your views on is whether the Teletext (MODE 7) magazine format should be retained, or whether we should return to a MODE 3 format. The Teletext format certainly has its advantages, but does take longer to edit, and considerably reduces the amount of space on a disk; let me know which option you prefer. So please take the time to fill in the questionnaire as it provides valuable data for programmers about compatibility, and interesting information for the rest of us. All information will be confidential except where you choose otherwise. The questionnaire is very easy to use, see the separate instructions article for details. USER IDs There has been some confusion over this; if you are a new member, please use the User ID given to you on Issue 24 (see menu screen), NOT the new IDs (Kxx) given out by Chris Richardson. NEW COMPETITION It now looks as though Chris Richardson has won the Repton competition, so to replace it Theo Gray (19F) has suggested a new one. The aim of the competition is to see who can write the best one-line program. The program must be of ONE LINE OF BASIC ONLY, but can be any type of program at all. Entries to be submitted to 8BS. Anyone have any ideas as to prizes? SOME CONTROVERSY As always, a lot of people are selling second-hand BBC equipment, and it seems to me that the prices being asked are a little high. Because of the small demand for BBC computers, it makes sense to sell your machine at a realistic price. After all, you are better off getting a seemingly unreasonably low price for what you are selling, rather than asking a normal price, not finding a buyer, and hence getting nothing at all. There are quite a few people I have spoken to who have advertised in commercial magazines for several months, and still have no hope of selling their equipment. Obviously this suggestion is not going to be welcomed by some people, but it is necessary; I am not doing myself a favour either, as I will be selling my own Master 128 at some stage...Remember that now people can get a brand new BBC 'B' for £150 or so (unsold US stock), they won't pay anywhere near that much for a second-hand one. A few guidelines: For a Master 128 on its own, expect to pay/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 new price (assuming you want it). For new-ish printers or colour monitors you can probably expect more. Software, about one-quarter of its original price (maybe a little more if boxed with instructions in good condition). Tim Parsons (3SQ) comments: I can recommend Solinet to all 8BS members, it has a lot going for it, it would be a great shame if it should close, as it would be if ANY club dedicated to the support of Acorn 8 bit computers. I for one will NOT get one of these New Super Fast, Memory Hungry, HighTech machines, you never know it might all turn full circle when these 32-bit people run out of cash buying all this overpriced software (and hardware) which is out of Date as soon as you've bought it. Will they come running back to more mundane but very functional machines, I wonder? 3D Graph Program Silas Brown has supplied the following formulas for the 3D graph program by Piotr 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 with different min and max values for X and Y; some will only work with values between -1 and +1, some only look good with max values around 20 or 50. Programming suggestions: Why doesn't someone write a deep delete facility for ADFS, i.e. something of the format "*Deepdel <directory name>" which would then delete everything in that directory, the directory itself, and any directories and their contents below it, removing all files and directories however deep down, and re-accessing if necessary. I suppose a BASIC program to do this would also be useful, but a machine code utility would be especially helpful. Secondly, Silas Brown has suggested that anyone looking for a program to write should consider writing a weather simulator using landscapes produced by the 3D graph program. Question Martin R Wilson (4WL) has recently mentioned that his 6502 second processor manual states that it can be used as a form of Sideways RAM, i.e. ROM images can be loaded into it. Is this possible (either on the 6502 2nd-pro. or even on the 65C102), and if so how is it done? MOS versions & Master Compact A while ago Steven Flintham mentioned MOS version 3.26, an improved version of the Master operating system. Until then I had assumed that, since I bought my new Master 128 in late 1990, it would have the latest operating system and firmware in it. But apparently, not only does my Master only have MOS 3.2 in it, but it also has DFS 2.24, the corrected version of which (V2.27) was only supplied on the Welcome Disk. Not that I have suffered too many problems from this, but it would have been nice to have the improved versions. Meanwhile, I have discovered via a Master Compact-owning member and the Master Advanced Ref. Manual, that the Compact in fact has MOS version 5.10 (so what was MOS version 4 - perhaps the improved version for Turbo users mentioned by Tim Parsons elsewhere in this issue?) It seems that the Master Compact has a whole variety of impressive features compared to the Master 128. For example, FORMAT, VERIFY and BACKUP routines are built into the ADFS ROM, and neither they nor *COPY corrupt user workspace; there is also a *DRIVE command in the ADFS to aid compatibility with DFS. In addition to this the floppy driver software on the Compact is "noticeably" faster than the Master 128 (which in turn is faster than the Beeb). The BASIC IV fitted is faster in transcendental functions than the Master, and there are various other minor improvements throughout the firmware, plus corrections of bugs in the Master 128. Together with all this you get all 128K of the RAM featured on the Master 128; surprisingly, it doesn't have an internal battery, instead using a 128-byte EEPROM. Plus it all comes as one unit, with monitor (colour or b/w), computer and built-in 3.5" disk drive, although the power supply is now external (sort of like a Spectrum I suppose). The drawbacks: well, the Master Compact isn't for people who want to add hardware to their machines; the Internal and External Tube are gone (so you can't fit extra processors), so are the 1MHz bus (you can't fit a hard disk drive), TV connector, cassette recorder connector, internal modem connector, RS 423, real-time clock, colour composite video, auxiliary power out connector and external audio connection. The ADC, User Port and Cartridge Sockets are also gone, but you can connect a digital joystick, mouse or trackerball via the Expansion Port. There are connectors for 3x16K and 1x32K ROMs internally, and you can potentially connect 2x16K ROMs to the Expansion Port. Well, it was all these removed expansion capabilities that made BBC computers the best for interfacing in the first place, but if you only want to use disk drive, printer, joystick etc. and VDU peripherals then a 2nd-hand Master Compact is well worth considering. (There is in fact one advertised in the messages section this issue). What about price? Well a while ago a local dealer offered me a Compact set-up for £200 second hand. Considering that prices will have fallen since, and that the dealer will have been taking his cut too, you may be able to get a Compact for only £150 or so, maybe even less. Considering that, by comparison, even if you were able to buy a Master 128 for my "recommended price" of £125, you would then need a disk drive (£30) and some form of VDU (£60 for a monitor as good as on the Compact), making over £200 in all. (OK so maybe you have your own drive and monitor already, but if you got a Compact you would be able to sell them). Then there's the advantages mentioned above to consider.