8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Late Messages plus four articles from K2O Stephan Richardson: 1. Educational Software Sale. Anglia TV's Educational software sale. 2. Master 512 Ram upgrades plus software sale. 3. Z88 Library availability for 8BS Members. 4. Z88 Internal Ram and Rom upgrade. 5. Late messages 1. EDUCATION SOFTWARE SALE Anglia Television have recently acquired all Mercury Education Products stock of software, and now find that they need to make space in their warehouse. They are therefore selling the following products at a bargain price of 6.00 each (ex Vat and postage). Postage is fixed at 1.50 (ex Vat) for each order, irrespective of the number of items ordered! The following is a list of what is on offer :- MATCHSPINNER - BBC Key Stage 1, Age 4-6 Easily operated matching and number exercises to support TV programme "Time for Maths" WORDSPINNER - BBC Key Stage 1, Age 4-6 Rotating letter drums facilitate word creation plus a series of 1500-word word banks as alternative to flash cards. SHAPE UP - BBC Key Stage 1, Age 6-8 Recognising and matching and then experimenting with basic shape, colour and text. SEASHORE - BBC Key Stage 2, Age 8-11 Pictorial datafile of common sea creatures and linked identification package with modelling section allowing pupils to study pattern of zonation on different shore lines and to change variables. ENVIRONMENTS: TREES - BBC Key Stage 2, Age 7-11 Identification of trees by shape, leaf shape and flowers and recording data on local trees which can be plotted on map. HOW WE USED TO LIVE 1954-1970- BBC Key Stage 2, Age 7-11 Software to help pupils expand their understanding of social, political and historical climate of period covered by Schools programme of same name. ACID DROPS - BBC, NIMBUS, ARCHIMEDES Key Stage 2/3, Age 9-13 Studies relationship between acidity levels and the environment affected by variables such as towns, sewage works, power stations etc. Involves survey of rainfall acidity as series of weather zones across Britain. DEADLINE - BBC Key Stage 2/3, Age 9-13 Easy to use Desk Top Publishing package producing surprisingly sophisticated page layouts. ROBOTS/TRAINS ETC. - BBC Key Stage 2/3, Age 9-13 Problem solving, sorting and route mapping software in 4 parts. TRAVEL AGENT ETC. - BBC Key Stage 2/3, Age 9-13 Travel Agent simulates computer systems used by Travel Agents with computerised booking system. Air Traffic Control allows pupils to act as air traffic controllers facing an emergency. FIT TO EAT - BBC Key Stage 2/3, Age 9-13 Allows personal assessment of diet and fitness, analysis of food and fitness compared with users own diet. MR MAGUS - BBC Key Stage 3, Age 11-14 Associated with the TV programme Middle English. With text and graphics to take pupils through a Gene Kemp adventure novel, making decisions as to what happens next. Also has word processing facility to allow addition to and changes in the plot. MATHEMATICAL EYE - BBC Key Stage 3, Age 11-14 4 decision making and problem solving programmes to accompany the TV series of the same name. NITRATES SURVEY - BBC, NIMBUS, ARCHIMEDES Key Stage 4, Age 11-14 Mapping datafiles package exploring relationships between nitrate levels and a range of variables with graphing facility. FERTILISER - BBC Key Stage 4, Age 11-14 Explores manufacture of nitrogen fertiliser from natural resources. IRON & STEEL - BBC, NIMBUS Key Stage 4, Age 11-14 Simulates the production of iron and steel. FOOD TECHNOLOGY & ENERGY - BBC Key Stage 4, Age 14-16 Energy investigates efficiency and cost of home insurance and building design. Food Technology investigates deterioration, bacterial growth and maximising profit in vegetable storage. CAR DESIGN & NOISE - BBC Key Stage 4, Age 14-16 Car Design investigates variables for car passenger safety. Noise investigates noise pollution and its solutions around an airport. KEYSHEET - BBC Key Stage 3/4, Age 11-16 Menu driven spreadsheet operates from keyboard or mouse using standard maths operations such as sum, count, average, square and showing data as pie/bar charts and line graphs. ACCOUNTS - BBC Key Stage 3/4, Age 11-16 Operates on both simple and complex levels processing orders and accounts with journal entries, sales and purchase ledgers and balance sheets. PROFILING & MATCHING - BBC Key Stage 3/4, Age 11-16 Covers creation of formats and matching with profiles. Data display from simple texts to matrix histograms. DEADLINE PLUS - BBC Key Stage 3/4, Age 11-16 Desk Top Publishing with 4 column page. Artwork can be produced and a range of headline options and fonts is available. BOX OFFICE - BBC, NIMBUS Key Stage 3/4, Age 11-16 Open ended booking package with graphics allowing on screen display of space available and/or booked. Also keeps records, accounts and prints tickets. SLOPES - BBC Age 16+ Data handling package dealing with readings taken on field work exercise with modelling package and graphics. PLACE & PEOPLE CITIES FILE - BBC, NIMBUS Key Stage 4+, Age 14-17 A mapping package allowing data to be plotted on city maps with census information on 8 British cities. Orders should be sent to :- SCA (Anglia Television), PO Box 18, Benfleet, Essex. SS7 1AZ. Alternatively, telephone/fax with credit card details :- 0268 755811 Stephan Richardson, Solinet member 149, 8-Bit Software member K2O. ********************************************* 2. 512 CO-PROCESSOR MEMORY UPGRADES AND SOFTWARE Having recently spoken to Robin Burton of Essential Software, he has informed me that he has no further stocks of the 1Meg upgrade to the 512 board. However, he would be prepared to have some more boards made and therefore carry out the upgrades provided :- 1) The number of people requiring upgrades must be at least 25. 2) All monies to be paid up-front. If all those criteria are met, then the upgrades can be carried out. SOFTWARE Robin has agreed to supply the members of Solinet and 8-Bit Software with any of Essential Software's programs at the reduced prices given in the Jan/Feb issue of Beebug. For your convenience I have transcribed the details below. Note that the original price is quoted in brackets. All prices are inclusive of Vat and postage & packing. Orders to be sent to :- Robin Burton, 24 Wallace Drive, Groby, LEICESTER, LE6 0GQ. Please Note : 1) Cheques to be made payable to Robin Burton and NOT Essential Software. 2) As Robin has a full time job as well as running Essential Software, orders are no longer processed by return of post. 3) Remember to mention Solinet/8-Bit Software in your request! RAMDISC (£16.95) £9.95 Allows a 512 ramdisc to be configured as any size from 10K upwards and as any drive. Includes AMNESIA, allowing deletion of the ramdisc without re-boot, and DISCID which allows switching of drive IDs plus suspension of any drive so it can't be accessed (and reinstatement!). INTERCOM (£12.95) £6.95 A command line editor with history recall. Commands can be recalled manually or by automated matching against a (wildcarded) search pattern. Word processor like editing during command entry. Configurable, memory resident, with 1K buffer uses 2.7K of RAM. PFKEYS (£7.95) £4.95 Allows up to 30 user defined commands to be assigned to Shift/Ctrl/Alt function keys, so commands can be executed by a single key-press. Commands can be saved to disc, re-loaded or amended as required. Configurable, memory resident, uses 3K of RAM. HDSETUP (£10.95) £5.95 Partitions a winchester for any DOS partition from 1 to 32Mb in 1Mb steps, plus optimised directory sizing for smaller partitions. SUPRSTAR (£14.95) £7.95 Gives an independent, true mode 7 screen for star commands, activated by hot-keys. Star commands issued previously are retained and the DOS screen plus the application or activity are preserved too. In SUPRSTAR normal BBC micro facilities include full BBC cursor editing, proper Escape processing, programmable function keys and correct MOS error handling. GOBBC/512 (£14.95) £7.95 With SUPRSTAR £14.00 the pair. Allows you to 'drop into' a completely normal BBC environment from the 512 and run any BBC task, then return to DOS where you left it. (N.B. You must have SUPRSTAR for this.) PRNTSCRN (£14.95) £7.95 Prints any DOS display (graphics, text, or both). Two programs, GRDUMP and PRTSCRN, both actioned by hot-keys hence can be used at any time. Configurable for 9 or 24 pin printers, using Epson commands, full IBM graphics support. Can also print SUPRSTAR screens. CLMOUSE (£12.95) £6.95 Provides mouse cursor control for programs which don't normally use a mouse. Mouse buttons can be configured to generate any key press (defaults RETURN and ESCAPE) and sensitivity can be adjusted as required. Settings can be saved to or loaded from disc. Trackerball compatible, application independent. SCRNSAVE (£9.95) £5.95 Allows the DOS display to be saved to either BBC filing system. Filing system, drive and filename are all user definable. Triggered by hot-keys, so any display can be saved including those from within applications. TRNSLATE (£14.95) £7.95 Allows any (PC or BBC) keypress to be generated by any key on any model of BBC micro. Includes numeric keypad for model B/B+, plus otherwise unavailable PC keys on all models, e.g. right-shift, scroll-lock. Definitions can be saved to/loaded from disc and can include Shift and/or Ctrl modifiers. MEMOPAD (£9.95) £5.95 A 'pop-up' notepad providing 10K bytes (4 A4 pages of text) of instant, independent note-taking storage. Contents of the pad can be saved to or loaded from disc, cleared or printed. Access by hot-keys, uses one BBC sideways RAM slot. Configurable for all sideways RAM types. MISCELLANEOUS I (£11.95) £6.50 Includes : - SELECT - a batch file menu driver providing the missing link between the user and batch files, allowing on-line selection of options in batch files. COLORDEF - allows screen colours to be changed on hot-keys instantly. Change foreground or background colours whenever you like without access to the command line. SUSPEND - pauses the 512. Suspend and Resume are on hot-keys, stop the machine any time. LOCK - Locks the machine from the command line with a user-entered password. The password is needed again to release the system, when LOCK reports if illegal access was attempted. Proof against all but Break. SOUND - Allows full access to the BBC micro's sound facilties from DOS, parameters exactly as BBC Basic. ENVELOPE - Allows sound envelopes to be defined in DOS, exactly as BBC Basic. MISCELLANEOUS II (£14.95) £7.95 Includes :- KEYCLICK - adds 'key clicks', like a PC. Clicks can be loud, quiet and switched on or off as required. OSCLI - * commands direct from DOS without clearing the screen. Much smaller and faster than STAR, plus no screen disruption., especially useful in batch files. CURSOR - allows changes to the size/flash-rate of the DOS cursor on hot-keys. SCRNPRES - blanks the display if the machine isn't used for a (user-defined) period preventing screen 'burn-in'. The display is reinstated by any key press. LIST - is a cursor controlled, bi-directional scrolling text lister. Includes line-up/down, page-up/down, start/end of file, go-to line, ASCII filter, tab expansion, auto browse etc. A much more flexible replacement for 'TYPE'. LOCKWORD - like SUSPEND, but needs a (user-defined) password to release 512. Stephan Richardson, Solinet member 149, 8-Bit Software member K2O. ******************************************** 3. Z88 SOFTWARE LIBRARY As of the 1st of August, I have become the BBC sub-librarian to the Z88 Users' Club. I have agreed with Roy Woodward (Editor) and Ian Braby (Librarian) that I can supply Solinet members and 8-Bit Software members with items from the library. If you wish to request any items from the library, then you will probably require the library catalogue listing. This is obtained from Ian Braby at a cost of £1.50. Cheques to be made payable to Z88 Users' Club. Please note that this is the ONLY source of income for the library so don't think that the charge is excessive! The address to send the request for the library catalogue is :- Ian Braby, Z88 Users' Club, Software Library, 1 Butts Cottages, Copse Road, St John's, WOKING. GU21 1SU. It is VERY important that you mention that you are a member of Solinet or 8-Bit Software and give your membership number, or your cheque and letter will be returned and you will NOT get the library listing. You have been warned! The next step is to decide which items you require and calculate the required number of disks to receive them. The request list, required number of disks ready formatted, and return address, postage and packaging are then sent to me, and I will process your request as soon as I am able. It is important to point out here that I rarely get on to my computer until after midnight, and so my time is very restricted, but I generally manage to squeeze in about 20 hours a week! The formats that I can support are :- Acorn DFS 40 or 80 trk single or double sided. Solidisk DFS 40 or 80 trk single or double sided. Acorn ADFS Small, Medium, or Large format. Solidisk ADFS Small, Medium, or Large format. ACP 1770 DFS 40 or 80 trk single or double sided. Acorn DOS 640K. Acorn DOS 800K. The above are supported on 5.25" or 3.5" disks. Additional formats I can support are :- IBM DOS 360K on 5.25" disks. IBM DOS 720K on 3.5" disks. The address to send the software requests to is :- Stephan Richardson, Z88 Users' Club, BBC Sub-Librarian, 4 Pulteney Drive, Tillington, STAFFORD, ST16 1NU. Please don't forget to include your Solinet/8-Bit Software membership number with your request. Stephan Richardson, Solinet member 149, 8-Bit Software member K2O. *************************************** 4. A Friend Returned It is now 07:45 on the 6th July 1994. A knock is heard at the front door of 4 Pulteney Drive. On opening the door the postman gives me a parcel, and asks me to sign the recorded delivery book, which I subsequently do. I then return inside and close the front door. I have little doubt as to what the parcel contains - my Z88 returned from Woodward Technology, after having the internal Ram upgraded to 512K and the version 4.0 Rom fitted! Also enclosed was the replacement keyboard and the latest version of the Z88 manual which I had requested. Upon opening the large jiffy bag and extracting the Z88, I went upstairs to retrieve the batteries, Ram/Eprom cartridges, and the Topper for my Z88. I quickly opened the battery compartment, inserted the batteries, flipped the machine over, pressed both shift keys and ..... nothing! I rushed upstairs and obtained a new set of batteries, inserted these in place of the old ones, flipped the machine over, pressed both shift keys and ..... once again nothing! Rushing upstairs once again, I retrieved the mains adaptor, plugged it into the mains and the Z88, switched on the mains, pressed both shift keys and ..... once again nothing! Somewhat disillusioned I paused for thought and remembered! The Z88 had been without power for some time and needed a hard reset! Silly me! I then obtained some suitable object to poke into the reset hole on the Z88 (in fact a clutch pencil!), pressed both shift keys and then the reset button and ..... finally those normally feared words appeared 'Hard Reset ...'. After some time (the more memory you have, the longer the reset takes!) the familiar index returned to view. I pressed 'Help' and then the left arrow key and confirmed that the Version 4.0 rom had indeed been fitted. I then went into Pipedream, then the options panel and the free space was given as 505600 bytes. Back to the index, I opened the card slot cover and inserted a 1Meg Ram cartridge into slot 1. Back into Pipedream, then Options and the free space had now risen to 1542912 bytes. Back to the index, I once again opened the card slot cover and inserted a further 1Meg Ram cartridge into slot 2. Back into Pipedream, then Options and the free space had now reached 2582784 bytes. Back to the index once again, I yet again opened the card slot and inserted my first 128K Eprom in slot 3 ready to start returning my Z88 back to its former state, complete with all the files that I require to use on a regular basis. I then went into the Panel and set all my preferred values. Then a visit to the Filer to set up my directory structure ready to receive the files. Today, the 18th August 1994 my Z88 has now been back to its former glory for about 5 weeks. I have not had a single crash since the upgrade and am glad I waited the 12 months until Roy received the 512K chips from Cambridge Computer before sending off my machine to him. One minor niggle about the new Rom is that they have taken out all the help about Pipedream! So if you find this usefull, be warned - it is no longer in the Version 4.0 Rom. My only regret about havng the upgrade done was the time that I was without the Z88 (20 days!). I was forced to use my NC100 more extensively than anticipated. Now I have both machines fully operational, the choice as to which to use is a tricky one. The Z88 has a much more open system and is very flexible. The NC100 is simpler to use, but lacks a hierarchical file structure which makes file organisation a real pain. The Ram limitation of the NC100 is not as serious as I first thought it would be (I only have a 512K Ram card fitted), but this is mainly due to the fact that the machine is less versatile, and so fewer user written utilities exist for it. Stephan Richardson, Solinet member 149, 8-Bit Software member K2O. ************************************ 5. Late Messages I have converted these messages from the mode 7 message system format so that they would tag on to the end of the previous articles. From: K6X Subject: Flippy discs Following some funny noises coming (as I thought) from my twin drive, I took the lid off for a looksee, but found nothing untoward and replaced it, but not before (now we get to the point!) having a look at what is used to sense the notch in the disc. A small PCB is mounted on the underside of the casting, with it's wires disappearing off into the rest of the internal gubbins. I assume this to be either an infra-red, or capacitive, proximity sensor of some kind, detecting whether or not the notch is covered by a tab. If you already know this, fine, you can help with some advice on the next bit! If, like me, this is news to you, read on, there's more to come. Some years ago, I worked for a company that made labelling machines, and we used these types of sensors to detect the labels on the reel as part of the control system. The sensors, by the use of additional circuitry, could be "tuned" to register the position of the label very accurately for feeding onto the container, or roughly just as a check for missing labels. Stick with it, we're gettin' there! Judging by the size of the notch on a disc, I would hazard a guess that this sensor is used in the second manner, and that therefore the size, shape, and position of the notch are not of critical importance, providing they are within tolerance. This leads on to the possibility of using a hand-held punch of an appropriate size to create the notch, positioning it with a simple template. These plier-type punches are normally circular, and to remove the area of the rectangular notch with one of these, it would need to be about 10mm diameter, and would need an arm-wrestler's muscles to do more than a few! All is not lost, however, as a tool company called "Maun Industries" (see below) offer a range of rectangular punches to fit their Universal Punch Plier, Punch No. 8 being the one that I think would do the biz when used with an appropriate template. Total cost for pliers and punch in my (Jan '94) catalogue is £3.38 plus VAT, but they also want £6 Carriage, so maybe a trip to your local stationers or tool shop might be worthwhile. I MUST STRESS THAT I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS OUT, AND THAT THERE MAY WELL BE REASONS KNOWN TO THE MORE LEARNED AMONG US AS TO WHY IT IS NOT PRACTICAL OR SAFE TO DO SO, BUT IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A GO, MAUN INDUSTRIES ARE AT Maun Industries Ltd. Moor Lane Mansfield NOTTS NG18 5SE Tel. 0623 24525 Fax. 0623 659969 It is said fortune favours the brave! The noise? It was a wasp trapped in the drawer under the table on wot my set-up is heaped! ************************************* To 999 (all members) From K6X Subject: Program request To all you budding, flowering, or wilting Programmers out there; fancy a challenge? If you do not fit into one of the above categories, you can fast-forward to the next message, I won't mind. If you're still with me, here we go. I am a darts player, and until recently was involved in running the League in which I play. The biggest headache of the job was arranging the fixtures for each new season. With up to thirty teams, in three divisions, playing each week, and with five other trophies besides divisional titles to be played for, spread throughout the season, the task was time-consuming by the pencil & paper(and rubber) method. I often thought (especially when a team phoned up after I had sorted out the fixtures to say that their guvnor had upped his prices by 2p a pint, so they were going to share a venue with a team down the road whose beer was cheaper!) that this would be an ideal application for a Beeb, to the extent that I wrote out a spec. for such a program. My programming abilities are nil, so that's as far as the idea got. I've only just discovered 8BS, and after seeing the quality of some of the programs that are in 8BS and TBI back-issues, I wish I had discovered it sooner. Some of you out there should be (and maybe are?) doing it for a living! Although my spec. was written for my own specific needs, I am sure that a program of this type could serve just as well for football, bowls, pool, or any other game which needs to generate an annual League Fixture Programme. If the above ramblings have whetted your appetite, please contact me via 8BS and I will send you a copy of my spec. to help increase your grey-hair count. THAN Q the next message *************************** To: 999 (all members) From: K5P (Andrew Fay) Subject: Nightingale Auto board In the last issue I advertised that I had an accessory board for a Pace Nightingale Modem, which gives Auto-Dial, Auto-Answer, etc. Well I've had no takers so I thought I would give everyone one last chance to give me a call or it goes out the door. I only want postage and it's quite light. (0752) 673659 Andy Fay. ************************** To: 999 (all members) From: K5P (Andrew Fay) Subject: AMS 8 Show A note for your diaries: A M S 8 All Micro Show 8 Saturday 12 November 1994 Bingley Hall, Staffordshire Showground, Weston Road, Stafford. (off A518 Stafford-Uttoxeter Road, AA Signposted from M6 J14. Bus Shuttle from Stafford BR) Adults £2, Children under 14 free. IBM PC, Amiga, Atari ST/8 bit, Einstein, Acorn, Apple, Hardware, Software, Accessories, Radio, Satellite, Printers, Media, Systems, Electronic Bring-And-Buy, etc.. Traders Call: SS Promotions, Upland Centre, 2 Upland Centre, Ipswich, IP4 5BT. (Next Show: Sat 15 April 1995) To: 999 (all members) From: YJ2 (Andrew Snodgrass) Subject: Acorn Archimedes Filetypes Are there any Archi buffs out there who can tell me what the proper filetypes are for each of the members of the "Tracker" family. i.e. Tracker, SoundTracker and Protracker. I have read that &001, as used by many programs, is in fact illegal as it was not allocated by Acorn. I know thay &CB6 is a legal filetype for Tracker files, but surely each membe of the family has its own filetype?! ********************************* To: 999 (all members) & 483(DGS) From: YJ2 (Andrew Snodgrass) Subject: Archi PD Libraries There are far too many Archimedes PD Libraries to mention in one go but here are my opinions of the libraries I've encountered so far. Prices based on those when last contacted... Ready Made Pic n' Mix ArcAngel: £1.25 (DD) £1.65 (DD) above + 50p for orders up to £20 or above + £1 for orders over £20 Prices for HD discs also good value - under £2 for ready made disc. Catalogue: Monotasking, but with good mouse controlled interface. Click on items to add to order, adjust for info . Calculates price of order and prints it out - Nice one! Skyfall: Unecessarily expensive with complicated pricing system. Catalogue: Printed with demo disk. Ordering program I believe is on disc. Arcaynia: Readymade discs 1-2 £2 each, 3-9 £1.50 each, 10-30 £1.40 each, 31+ £1.10 each. Catalogue: Disc based text viewer. Work out order yourself. Good demo's on disc. Datafile: Ready made discs DD: £1.15 each. HD: £1.80 each. Pic n' Mix discs DD: £1.60 each. HD: £2.30 each. Above + V.A.T. Catalogue: Disc based and multitasking WIMP program. Calculates order and prints out order form. Acorn User's favourite library catalogue. Prices have gone up since I last ordered - this is matched by the quality of their PD which is all compressed. Not much room for demo's on disc. 5 Star Marketing: Strange pricing system - though may have been improved. Ready Made discs Normal: £1.40, Compressed: £1.70 Pic n' Mix discs Normal: £1.70, Compressed: £2.00 Catalogue: Text based viewer - monotasking. Calculation of order has to be done manually. Software accompianing the catalogue was varied and of a high standard. I have also used APDL and The Datastream though it is not fair to coment on these as they have recently merged. I know there are many other libraries (I have many of their addressess) but they often don't mention what has to be sent to recieve a catalogue. Does anybody know of any libraries (other than those stated above) and their requirements? P.S. Does anyone know of a PD disc cataloge program that will work with Risc OS 3? I have tried Disk Base which works fine on an A3000 (with RISC OS 2), but reported errors after loading while using my A4000. Any offers? ********************************** To: 999 (all members) & 483 (DGS) From: YJ2 (Andrew Snodgrass) Subject: "Newer" Filing option I personally have never used this command but I imagine that it would be useful for e.g. backing up files from a hard disk - where only files that have been changed (and thus given a "Newer" datestamp) are saved. This would obviously result in a time saving. Having this option switched on permanenly would be advantageous in most cases e.g. you would be unable to overwrite your latest masterpiece with an older copy that you accidently dragged into the same filer window. Its only disadvantage is if e.g. you try to save a file with the same name as one already present in the same directory. The new file would overwrite the old one resulting in lost data. Of course all of these problems could be avoided by locking files and never saving files with the same name to the same directory (or better still to the same disk - as this causes problems with applications that have the same name resulting in e.g. the wrong versio loading). Basically the "Newer" option is just for convenience - stick to Verbose unless your needs require otherwise.