Bob Spelten jr. has supplied an enhanced version of the Dilwyn Jones BMP program which runs on QL systems and converts between QL and Windows BMP graphics.
In addition to a few bug fixes and use of the latest DJToolkit to fix problems when run on SMSQmulator, Bob has improved the colour conversion routines to improve the colour tone scale and generally provide better results all round. While technically a beta-release (the older version will remain available for a while just in case), Bob and his beta-tester Francois van Emelen have been using it for a while now, so it may quickly become the official release. Download it from http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/graphics/index.html
RET_STK is a small sbasic extension by Wolfgang Lenerz to get the value on the SMSQ/E SBasic return stack. This was written in response to a help request from a user on the ql-users mailing list, who wanted help to find a method in SBASIC to find which line number called a procedure in his program, to aid debugging. The extension may be downloaded from Wolfgang’s Qlstuff website at http://www.wlenerz.com/qlstuff/
Most recently, the QL Forum has added a Quanta section, where if you are thinking of joining Quanta, you can post questions to get answers. If you are already a member of Quanta, a second section can be accessed, called “Private Quanta Forum. For Quanta members only!
Mid-November saw the third birthday of QL Forum. Happy birthday to what is probably the most popular meeting place for QL enthusiasts, thanks to the efforts of Peter Scott and Rob Heaton. At the time of writing the Forum has 193 members worldwide and subjects discussed are as diverse as ever and sometimes controversial too! Even better news is that Peter Scott, responsible for so much of the success of QL Forum, has volunteered to assist Quanta with our own website, given that our own website has sometimes not been our best selling point at times in the past!
On 17th November, Peter Graf wrote:
“Re: QL Emulation • UQLX with BDI / QL-SD support
I should have eliminated the last remaining bugs today, so UQLX is now the second QL emulator, after Qemulator, which can handle QL-SD filesystem images.
I have no idea when Richard [Zidlicky] will release it. If someone already needs the feature, please feel free to contact me by personal email.
The trick is that the emulator just implements simple “Block Device Image” (BDI) support. Which are a few registers, allowing the QL side to access the image file on the PC. The real driver is then running native.
It is essentially the same driver as the one on the real QL, minus the FAT32, SDHC and hardware specific portions.”
The latest on this long overdue software dock can be seen on my QL blog at http://dilwyn2.wordpress.com/ . The software will include Q-Dock itself, plus Q-Bar (an autohide taskbar and start menu for SMSQ systems) and SPRV, a sprite viewer program which can either view single sprites, or has a tiled view mode allowing you to view all sprites in a given directory.
Some 200 dock graphics have been created or converted, while some 5000 sprite graphics have been created or converted for use as icons. Most of these are freeware or PD graphics and will be available to download free of charge from my website, while the Q-Dock program itself will be available to buy from Bruce Nicholls’ Quo Vadis Design site.
Q-Dock makes extensive use of transparent windows and alpha-mask sprites, becoming one of the first QL programs to use ‘see-through’ window effects, making best use of the graphics features built into the GD2 ‘colour drivers’.
Once again I have to apologise for the delays in releasing this program, my personal circumstances have been less than kind over the last year or so due to my partner’s ill health (hi Ann!), although I’ve been slowly grafting away getting the software to the highest standard I can and making sure it has more than enough graphics at launch!
As if inflicting his writings on you in Quanta magazine and everywhere else was not enough, Dilwyn Jones has now started a QL blog. A blog is a kind of online diary, a day to day description of a person’s activities in relation to a hobby or business, for example. In this case, it’s all QL-related.
You can subscribe to the blog to follow it so that you receive notifications of new posts by email, simply by supplying your email address and clicking on the Follow button on th eleft of its main page. This is not a commercial thing at all, your email address is only used for the WordPress system to send you the blog emails (well, government spying systems apart, I suppose).
At the time of writing, posted subjects included topics as diverse as transparent windows, latest on the Q-Dock program, SD cards and Compact Flash cards with Qubide. Visit the blog at http://dilwyn2.wordpress.com and see what you think, if you like it, subscribe and receive notifications of the posts by email.