Monthly Archives: March 2014

QPC2 v4.02

QPC2 v4.02 has just been released. I have only recently converted to Windows 7 and found that the SMSQ/E soft reset using CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+TAB didn’t work anymore as Windows now uses CTRL+ALT+TAB for one of its many task switchers (ignoring the SHIFT key). It wasn’t exactly easy, but I finally found a workaround for this.

Also, QPC_VER$ was broken on QPC2v4.

Includes SMSQ/E v3.19 with fixed appsup-window support.

Also, there is a new qpcdemo.win with updated software on it. Plus it now includes QPAC2, as every proper system should have that!

QL Dust Covers

Daniel Rigley (Riggz) at World of Spectrum has been making Spectrum dust covers. Following a request from Peter Scott at Ql Forum, they can now make QL dust covers too.  They said: “We can make these with or without the flaps. I reckon with flaps £15 and without £12 +£1 UK postage and £3 E.U. Anyone can email me at riggz101@yahoo.co.uk. They just have to state (QL cover) in the title.”

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/forums/showthread.php?t=46268

Farmer by Talent, Re-released by RWAP

We have now managed to resurrect yet another former Talent title – FARMER written by J.K. of Finland (would love to know who that was!)

Farmer is a platform game where you play the role of a Farmer who needs to harvest the tomatoes, bananas and pears from your fields.

Whoever said that farming was easy – as well as the usual fear over crop yields and pricing, this year has been unusual.

Not only did your somewhat eccentric uncle leave you a farm where the fields are not joined together, where you have to jump between them or risk the danger of falling down holes between the fields, but the farm appears to have come with its own infestation of monsters whose only pleasure is killing farmhands.

Even the weather has been against you – with all the recent high rain fall, some of the fields have developed soft earth which has turned into sink holes, where the land may give way underneath you.

You can jump over areas, but if you happen to fall too far, you may have to use up one of your three umbrellas as a parachute to slow your fall, instead of losing a life. Luckily there is a lift to get back up to the higher fields.

Once all of the crops have been gathered in, you can move to the next level by jumping into the coloured flashing square.

Order it from http://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/Sinclair-QL-Platform-Arcade-Game%3A-Farmer-3626

QL On A Stick

This has had a major update, with the inclusion of the latest version of SMSQmulator and the free version of QPC2. Some useful QL and Windows software have been added too, including disk imaging software (so that you can create images of QL floppy disks for use with emulators using disk images, such as SMSQmulator) and file transfer software such as Jonathan Hudson’s wxqt2 system and Norman Dunbar’s Qstripper.

Also included is a collection of QL-related icons in PNG and GD2 sprite formats.

There is an online HTML version of the QL User Guide plus various format versions of the QL manual in both A4 and A5 formats, including PDF files, eBook versions and Word doc files.

The QL On A Stick is available on a CD ready to transfer to a USB pen drive of your choice for just £5.00 from Quo Vadis Design – order online at http://www.ql-qvd.com/products.html . A special version (called the QL On A Stisk SE) is available direct from Dilwyn Jones on a miniature 2GB pen drive (probably the smallest QL ever) for £10.00

Toolkit 2 v2.03

Thanks to Stefan Schomburg, I have been able to add a copy of the ROM image for Toolkit 2 version 2.03 to my website. This is quite an old version, the list of version numbers implies it was the first version to be patched to fix initialisation problems on the MG ROMs. There are a few more recent versions on my website for use with emulators, this will mainly be for posterity and software testing with older versions of Toolkit 2. Download it from:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/pe/index.html

Concept 3D

Concept 3D is now available as freeware.

It’s a 3D graphics package, written by the late Robert Fingerle and published by US software house Tesseract Software.

Prior to his death, the author gave permission for the software to be freely released for the QL.

The software is configured for microdrive, so you may need to use a FLP_USE “MDV” command to run it from floppy disk, for example. Unfortunately, I have no manual for the software, so I have included a magazine review from 1986 with the software in the form of a Quill _doc file called concpt3d_doc which you may wish to read before trying the software. Alternatively, read the article as a (256K) PDF file on the same page. Although I haven’t had time yet to try running the software myself, the review seems to imply it’s a great 3D graphics program.

The software is available to download from my website at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/graphics/index.html

I am grateful to Timothy Swenson for obtaining the permission to release the software, and to Rich Mellor for preserving a copy of the software before it was allowed to vanish forever.

Update: Shortly after I wrote this, I was given a copy of Concept 3D patched to run from disk, now available on the same page. Hopefully if we can find a manual and scan it, we can also make that available.

Pyramide Software

Rich Mellor says he now has a full copy of Mr Smith by Pyramide and has permission from Daniele Purlich at Pyramide to re-release all of their titles on a commercial basis.

On a more general note, Rich is stepping up his efforts to preserve copies of older QL software for the future. He is working with Dave Park on future hosting of the QL Wiki, and is working with another QL user in the USA on a database of QL software and books.

Sandy Electronics LLC

Dave Park has resurrected the ‘Sandy Electronics’ name in order to market some products he is trying to bring to market in this thirtieth year of the QL. On the 2nd of February, he wrote on the ql-users list:

“Yesterday I made a few thousand replacement foam pads [for microdrive cartridges] on a laser cutter. They’re the exact material in the exact size, they’re strong self-adhesive, and they’re great. In a short while I will post a video showing how they are made and how to use them. I will be selling them in lots of 10, 25 or 100 for just the amount to cover the cost of making and shipping them (if you’re a QUANTA member) or a little more.

“Since replacing the pads is a very delicate task suited only for the most confident and steady of hands, is their someone in the EU who would be willing to offer an install service? I do not think it is good for data for microdrive cartridges to be mailed to the US – someone in the EU would be better suited. You would be able to charge a flat fee for each cartridge (maybe EURO 0.5 + postage per microdrive?) and then you would just pay me for the pads at the bulk rate when you have used them.

If interested in that, please get in touch“

The Gold Card battery holders are now just about ready to sell too. In his blog at http://sinclairql.com/wp/ he wrote:

“It’s been an epic adventure, but these are finally being manufactured. The new design includes a red plastic case which looks a lot like the original battery. Inside it is contained a PCB with a battery holder to take a CR2032 battery. We expect to receive the first batch of these around the first week of March.

Pricing will be:

£12.00 each plus £2 flat rate shipping for any quantity. £9.00 each plus £2 flat rate shipping for Quanta members.

The Sandy Electronics store is at http://www.SinclairQL.com/store/  and will open for business on March 1st, 2014.

The coupon code to get 25% off a battery adaptor is “QUANTABAT” and can be used as many times as you like. With Quanta discount, the adaptors are £9 each, plus flat rate shipping of £2 for any quantity. Customers can select to pay in £, € or $ in the store.

All of our future products will offer discounts for Quanta membership, so if you are not a Quanta member, why not consider joining? Membership starts at £18/year and includes six bi-monthly magazines. Discounts on just one future purchase could pay for a whole year!”

Working with the designer of the original Qubide IDE interface, Sandy is working on the UltimIDE, a new and more capable IDE interface, based on QubIDE. The interface is designed to take advantage of technologies that have developed since the original QubIDE was developed.

The provisional specification is:

  • One IDE interface, supporting two IDE drives
  • One on-board connection for a 1.8″ PATA SSD (not a 2.5 inch device, which may draw more power than the QL can supply to UltimIDE)
  • One or two CF slots. A CF card will be included, containing drivers, utilities, and SMSQ/E.

The new design is entirely surface mount, extremely power efficient, and 100% code/driver compatible with the original QubIDE.

Expected availability: May/June 2014

The website hints at a few other items of hardware to come – have a look at the website to see what’s happening by the time you read this!

The Sandy forum (support forum for Sandy customers) may be found at:

http://SinclairQL.com/forum/