by Steven Flintham (15A)
The messaging system is designed to
allow 8BS members to send both
messages for publication in the disc
magazine and private messages to each
Members use the program to write their
messages which they can then send in
to the editor on their submission
disc. He then uses a separate program
which helps to sort all the messages
out ready for inclusion in the
Inserting your submission disc
When the program is run, it asks you
to insert your submission disc in
If your submission disc in in DFS
format you should press D, while if it
is in ADFS format you should press A.
If you are not sure, pressing SPACE
will almost certainly work.
If you are using DFS, you are strongly
advised to put absolutely nothing else
on the same disc as the message file.
Of course, when you no longer need to
edit the messages you can copy other
files onto the same disc ready to send
You should leave the submission disc
in the drive at all times.
You should also avoid pressing BREAK
Entering your user ID and name
If you have not previously used this
disc to store messages you will be
asked to enter your user ID and name.
You can just press RETURN instead of
entering your name if you wish to
The main menu
You can choose an option by either
pressing the letters shown at the
right hand edge of the screen or using
the up and down cursor keys. When you
have highlighted an option, pressing
RETURN will confirm your choice.
You can usually return to the main
menu by pressing ESCAPE if you get
stuck anywhere else in the program.
Writing a new message
To start writing a new message, choose
the "Start a new message" option from
the main menu. You will be asked for
the user ID to send the message to.
There are three possibilites.
Firstly, you can enter the user ID of
an individual member to send a private
message to them.
Secondly, you can enter the 'fake'
user ID CCC to send in a comment on a
program or article you have seen in
Thirdly, you can enter the 'fake' user
ID 999 to send a general message to
everyone. These messages appear in the
magazine and can contain anything
suitable for an 8BS issue.
Once you have entered the user ID and
pressed RETURN the main editing screen
The message editor
The message editor is used to edit
both new and old messages. If you are
writing a new message, the cursor will
be placed on the subject line, ready
for you to enter the subject.
The message editor is a bit like a
wordprocessor, although there are
several important differences.
Pressing RETURN will move you down
onto the next line, as you would
expect, and as you type words which
don't quite fit at the end of lines
will be moved automatically onto the
You can use the cursor keys to move
around the message and whatever you
type will appear at the cursor, as in
When you reach the bottom of the
screen, either by typing or by using
the cursor keys, it will scroll to
allow you to continue. There is a
limit to the length of a message but
this should not be a problem. If you
run up against the limit you should
consider rewriting the message as a
The DELETE key works almost as normal
but you cannot DELETE back past the
start of a line as you can in some
wordprocessors. If you delete words in
the middle of a paragraph, the words
from the next line will not move up to
fill in the space.
CTRL f6 inserts a space after the
cursor, moving the rest of the line
over, but as with DELETE, words at the
edge of the screen will just be pushed
off the edge rather than moved onto
the next line.
You can delete lines and close up the
gap by pressing CTRL f8.
CTRL f7 inserts a blank line above the
You can change the colour of the text
by pressing f0-f6.
An important point to bear in mind is
that if you simply type over the
recipient's ID at the top of the
message, that will not change the
recipient. You must also press
SHIFT f9 and type in the new ID when
The ID of the person who will actually
receive the message is always shown on
the bottom line of the screen when you
are editing a message. You should
ensure that this is the same as the ID
at the top of the message.
If you find this confusing, simply
take care to enter the correct user ID
when first starting a new message and
don't change the ID at the top of the
When you are happy with the message,
press ESCAPE to leave the editor and
save the message to disc.
Viewing, editing, deleting and
printing existing messages
To examine any messages you have
already written, choose the
view/edit/print option from the main
Each line in the menu begins with the
user ID to which it will be sent and
then has as much of the subject line
as will fit.
As with the main menu, you can use the
up and down cursor keys to move the
highlight. There are no other keys you
can press to move the highlight on
When you have highlighted a message
there are several options.
You can press V or RETURN to view the
You can press E to edit the message.
You can press P to print the message.
You can press D to delete the message.
Printing all the messages
If you want to print all the messages,
you can choose the "Print all the
messages" option from the main menu.
You will be asked if you are sure you
want to print the messages and
printing will only start if you press
You can press ESCAPE while the
messages are being printed and the
computer will stop. However, if you
have a large printer buffer printing
may continue - this is unavoidable.
Tidying the messages
When you delete a message it is not
actually removed, it is just made
When you tidy the message file these
invisible messages are removed.
You are recommended to tidy the
message file periodically so as to
prevent it from growing too large. In
particular, it would be a good idea to
tidy the message file before sending
your submission disc in, although this
is not required.
Re-entering your user ID and name
Choosing the "Re-enter your user
ID/name" options allows you to correct
any errors you made when you were
first asked for your user ID and name.
If you have accidentally deleted a
message which you wanted to keep you
can probably recover it by choosing
"Undelete deleted messages" from the
main menu. This will not work if the
message file has been tidied in the
meantime, but no harm will result from
Leaving the program
To leave the program, you can either
choose "Quit" from the main menu or
press BREAK when the main menu is
More advanced editing features
This section is described in full in
the unabridged instructions to be found
f7 and f8 insert steady and flashing
SHIFT f7 and SHIFT f8 insert coloured
and black background codes.
CTRL f4 and CTRL f5 insert double and
single height codes.
There is some support for teletext
graphics. CTRL f0-f6 insert graphics
colour codes into the message
and f9 enters a pixel toggling mode in
which Q, W, A, S, Z and X toggle the 6
pixels of a teletext graphics
character. Press f9 again to exit
pixel toggling mode.
CTRL f0 and CTRL f1 insert contiguous
and separated graphics codes.
CTRL f2 and CTRL f3 insert hold and
release graphics codes.
If you have any problems with the
messaging system please let me know.
The more information you can supply
about the problem, the more likely it
is that I can fix it.
You should try turning the computer
off, disabling any extra ROMs etc
before running the program to see if
that solves the problem - if it does
then the program is incompatible with
some feature of your system. If you
can track down the incompatibility I
will be pleased to try and cure it.