8-Bit Software Online Conversion

      To: 999 (all members) From: 15A (Steven Flintham) Subject: Compression techniques Does anyone know anything about compression techniques, particularly LZW and similar methods, or can they recommend any books on the subject? To: 999 (all members) From: 15A (Steven Flintham) Subject: Master 128 internal battery Firstly, does anyone know where to get replacements and how much they cost? Mine isn't dead yet (I don't think it's a rechargeable, is it?), but I'd like to know so that I'm ready. Secondly, is it still used when the computer is switched on? In other words, does the battery last longer the more you use the computer? I would expect this to be the case, but I'm not all that knowledgeable about such matters. Editor: I get my replacements from the local dealer where I bought the machine; they should be fairly widely available, though I don't know of any nation-wide dealer or mail-order stockist (Watford might be able to help...); does anyone have any suggestions? I think they are around five pounds, maybe a little less. As for the rest, I really don't know, though I expect you're right. To: 999 (all members) From: 15A (Steven Flintham) Subject: The Help ROM 1.01 I have recently received a letter from someone using this (available from BBC PD) who has some sort of problem with it. Unfortunately, I don't entirely understand the letter and I can't see how to solve the problem anyway. Can any 8BS members shed any light on the matter? I have reproduced the important part of the letter below, exactly as written: ...I use a BBC 'B' issue 7 model with an Aries B32 Shadow Ram Board fitted. Also fitted are DNFS 1.2, Mega 3 (Inter-Sheet, Inter-word & Inter-Chart) and Inter-Base Roms. The HELPROM can be loaded into rom 14 on the Aries Board and when I *HELP the existence of the rom is given at that point, using up 8K of the 16K which I requested on starting up. When I attempt to *HELPLOAD the example file BASIC the drive whirrs for a second or two and when it stops and I ask for *HLP I am told that no keywords are present in the text, and if I *HLP (any keyword) I am told that the keyword does not exist on the file and to *HLP for a list of keywords. Obviously the rom is aware of a file having been loaded but is unable to read it. (Steven's comment: I can't see how the user knows the rom is aware of the file having been loaded - is this being inferred from the drive access?) Having regard to the fact that I use Inter-word, I wrote out another text file from that WP and SPOOLed the file as IWBASIC before attempting to *HELPLOAD it. Again to no avail! To : 2J3 (Chris Richardson) From : 0E7 Re : BDARK, merging programs Yes Chris I used BDARK this time with no trouble so you see at least one member reads and de-archives your articles and programs. Thank you also for info on *SPOOL like everything else it is easy when you know how. My problem is remembering it, or where I have written it down. As so often happens, in between times I received the following info in the latest issue of BEEBUG which is, I hope, OK to pass on. To merge or spool two programmes (Master only): Load one listing Type EDIT Save under new filename via key f3 Come out of EDIT Load second listing Type *EXEC<filename> where filename is the name of the first listing saved Then save the final listing; it works! Editor: There is also another way of doing this on the Master, possibly a little faster; try: LOAD "<file1>" <RETURN> EDIT <RETURN> Use <f3> <file1a> to save <f1> <BASIC> <RETURN> to leave EDIT LOAD "<file2>" EDIT <RETURN> <shift>+<f2> <file1a> <RETURN> Remember of course that both of these methods require the BASIC programs to have different line numbers. For example, listing one could be numbered from 10 onwards by RENUMBER 10 <RETURN>, and listing two from 5000 onwards by RENUMBER 5000 <RETURN>. To : 8J4 + 999 From : 0E7 Re : how/where to obtain ADFS and SWR When I had my BEEB some eight years ago I decided that I wanted to fit ADFS witha SWR board, so I took my computer along to my local Injun agent called HCCS. They took the machine apart, installed the board and the chips, tested it fully, and some twenty minutes or so later I walked out with my wallet some `110 pounds lighter. The installation and testing out was all free. At today's cost I do not know but I don't suppose it will be much cheaper assuming that ADFS chips and SWR/RAM boards are still available (Ed.: see below) Unless you are conversant working with chips (I am an expert with the fish variety) it could be a bit tricky, and it is not exactly a case of just plugging in the chips etc. as some straps are to be cut and links altered. If you are prepared to spend this much have you considered a 2nd hand Master or even a new one? After putting your Beeb in in P/E or selling it privately it may not cost you much more, assuming that it will suit your purpose, since ADFS and SWR with VIEWWORD and VIEWSHEET are already installed with the latest version of BASIC. Wishing you the best of luck and hope this advice is of some use. Editor: a 2nd-hand Master 128 (or maybe a Compact, see elsewhere) is certainly worth considering, since ADFS on the Beeb is not really that good (if you have both ADFS & DFS running PAGE rises to &1F00 which leaves you with hardly any memory, whereas the Master has 12K of Private RAM and 20K of Shadow RAM in addition to the four 16K SRAM banks, so you get around 28K of main memory free whatever you're doing. Plus all the extra bits of course). To: 27N (John Ilsley) and 999 From: 19F (Theo Gray) Re: NLQ Design Following your query on NLQ Font Design last issue, I know of 2 ways of defining extra NLQ character fonts. The first is as described in printer handbooks. A 'PCG Ram Kit' may be installed, allowing extra NLQ fonts to be defined by downloading dot pattern data from the computer, "a very powerful feature allowing a limitless number of fonts to be created and downloaded when required". The one drawback is the amount of data required per font; 48 bytes per character has to be calculated and sent to the printer, leaving a whole character font needing 6000 bytes to be sent from the computer, each byte being manually calculated from binary dot patterns. The second is by using the 'Watford Electronics NLQ Designer'. Unfortunately after thinking I had bought this second hand, I found that all I had was the box, the manual, a disc with free fonts on (!), and some function keystrips, with the wrong ROM. I did begin to read the manual though which makes this ROM look very powerful. I hope this helps. To : 8J4 + 999 From : 3SQ Re : ADFS and SWR on a "B" If I haven't already sold it already you are more than welcome to my old BBC B which has both ADFS and Sideways Ram. Seriously though it is very easy to fit ADFS into a BBC B, but you do need either the Watford Electronics Mk 2 Disc Interface kit, which comes with a Double Density WE DFS, or otherwise the Acorn Version with which you only get a normal (boring) Acorn 1770 DFS, the ONLY snag I have found with ADFS fitted in a BBC B is the higher PAGE, but to overcome this I fitted a WE Shadow Ram Board, which by the way puts up PAGE another &100 for it's Control ROMs workspace, although I admit this can be moved to say &900 etc., but I feel sure this would clash with something, it always does. Via Solinet I have a copy of the Solidisk ADFS which keeps page at &1900 unless you need more than one file open like with a Database. But of course with both ADFS and DFS switched on PAGE is up to &1F00. (Editor: Does the Solidisk ADFS have *TYPE built in, so that you don't need DFS switched on? If so, it's probably a better idea, unless it lacks something else). Sideways Ram is also easily available with several types of Rom Boards, which you will have to have with all the extra Rom Sockets you shall need with ADFS and the Shadow Ram Control Rom, on my Solderless WE Rom board I have got 16k of SWR in the guise of two 6264 8k Ram chips which are also backed up by a Battery, I have previously, also tried the WE Rom/Ram Board that has got 128k of SWRam (8*16k) fitted which is brill when used as a Ram disc, the 128k of SWRam is also very good if you have lots and lots of Rom images on disc! Like I said earlier all of these are available on my BBC B (including the Shadow Ram), which I may sell separately, get in touch you may be lucky! Editor: Watford Electronics can, I think, be contacted on 0582 487777. I think various Beeb ROM/RAM upgrades are still available, but are quite expensive, the last advert I have has prices starting at £32 and going up to over £100 for a ROM/RAM facility similar to the Master series, and then add VAT + carriage. So think about a 2nd-hand Master... To : 8J4 + 999 From : 3SQ Re : ADFS to DFS Do you have a Master or a "B"? For the Master only, I can recommend the following: the FICOPY command that comes with a Morley Rom Board Control Rom or otherwise an identical program on Disk called MBCOPY; they both use the 64k of Sideways Ram and are very very quick. For both Master and BBC B I can recommend the Rom called ADT it's command XFER can deal with almost anything, going the other way DFS to ADFS you can use the ROM called ADU but this is a little slow in comparison. Get in touch I should be able to sort you out with something! There is another Rom called Helping Hand which can work in conjunction with ADT but this has proved unreliable for me. To : 999 From : 3SQ Re : Hardware I have recently upgraded (from a "B") to a Master 128 fitted with a Turbo board. I have already received a lot of help from several friends, one of the gems that I have acquired is the MOS+ Rom from Dabs Press which cures all known bugs in the original 1 megabit OS Rom, it is only recently that I have learnt (from Beebug magazines) that Acorn actually bought out an improved version of the 1 megabit OS Rom themselves in recent years, with apparently a much faster ADFS chip and other improvements for Turbo Users, would any of the 8BS members have any knowledge of this chip and its compatibility with existing Firmware and Software for example Spellmaster? (Editor: sounds unlikely, but if anyow knows where I can get hold of this I would be very grateful). I have also acquired a Morley Rom Board which I can recommend without any reservations, although I admit mine only cost five pounds, not the £45 of a new one, which is of course if they are still available? I have had it on good authority that it is possible to get a lot of old "B" games (and Roms?) working on the Master by simply "blowing" a copy of Basic II and fitting this, unplugging Basic IV and re-configuring the Language, with the Morley board and an EXEC file this is very easy. Somebody also sent me a Rom image of ACP's 1770 DFS for a Master which is directly compatible with WE 62 file cat DFS Disc's and also WE DDFS Double Density Disks of which I have lots, I soon found that my WE DDFS didn't work on my Master, the ACP DFS also allows you to use the 64k of SWRam as a Ramdisk which can be configured as any Drive number from 0 through to 8 which of course allows it to work with most software. To : 19F Theo Gray From : 6EE Mick Needham Re : TD ROM Unfortunately the TD ROM like all other tape to disc utilities will not run all programs loaded from tape, so it is pot luck whether a particular tape game will run. When using the TD ROM you only need to press the letter at the side of the program you wish to run, it will then attempt to run the program, if, as happened to you, 'Searching' appears on screen then this usually means it cannot run that program, check to make sure CHAIN or RUN has been entered correctly in the TD ROM run menu, try the slow load option and various values of PAGE, the HELP pages on the ROM will explain how to do this, if all this fails then sorry but the programs won't run, try another tape to disc utility, you might get lucky. To : 999 All members From : 6EE Mick Needham Re : Amstrad disc drives Can anyone tell me if Amstrad 3.5" and 5.25" disc drives can be made to work on a BBC and if so how to connect them! (Editor: does anyone have an easy way of transferring Amstrad CF2 format to any BBC, PC or Arch format?) To : 999 All members From : 6EE Mick Needham Re : BBC faults article The January issue of Television contained an article called 'BBC Model B Computer Fault Notes', this article contained details of 59 'stock' faults found on the BBC B and how to correct them, also details of the power supply, giving faults and diagnosis. If anyone is interested in this article then send me two first class stamps. 153 Firth Park Road, Sheffield, S5 6WU. (Editor: and make sure someone keeps it, as it could come in very useful at some stage in the future). To : YJ2 (Andrew Snodgrass) From : 6EE Mick Needham Re : Reading disc catalogue Can't help with a detailed discription but I have a program that will read the disc catalogue, then run the filenames, it was on a PD disc of digitised images, the program reads the filenames then runs them one after the another, any files you don't want to run can be omitted, you may be able to convert it for your own use, send me a disc if you want a copy. Editor: I'm not quite sure what was wanted here, but if you want to go into detail about it, according to the Master Ref. Man. pt.1, OSGBPB (&FFD1) can be used to read filenames from an ADFS catalogue by putting &08 in the accumulator. Let me know if you want details of the parameter block required etc. To : 15A, K1B, 999 From : 6EE Mick Needham Re : ASIC error Thanks for the comments, I had come to the conclusion a ROM was the culprit, but because it only happens now and again, I have not yet discovered the offending ROM. Typing REPORT just gives 'ASIC'. Must admit had not thought of ASIC being part of "BASIC". K1B I have spare ATPL documentation, let me have your address so I can send it to you.