Monthly Archives: May 2017

Psion Mods

Alain Haoui has prepared special versions of Quill, Abacus, Archive and Easel modified with Martin Head’s Psion Mod package.

These allow you to set memory they can use and have a cursor for task-switching more easily. Configured to run from FLP1_ and data on FLP2_.

Please note that these modified versions can’t be (re)configured with the original PSION utility as it will not be able to find items on expected offset addresses. Refer to Martin Head’s Psion_Mod package mentioned above for more info. However, all configuration items can be passed as parameters to Mods.

Look at Martin Head PSIONMOD_DOC inside this package for instructions.

All this needs Toolkit 2 activated.

Quill-e: Quill 2.4 Reworked

Keith Murphy took  a commented version of the sources for Quill v2.4 and reverse engineered the internal language within.

This version of Quill, Quill_e, has been made clean so that all direct access to the screen and unnecessary MODE calls are removed.

It also doesn’t grab all the memory in the machine, in fact you can pass the memory size as a parameter. It also multitasks so you can EXEC it, try it on the second screen in Minerva.

Two versions – one in QemuLator executable format, so you can just copy it to a native directory of QemuLator and just exec it from there, the other a zipped version of the normal Quill executable, which you should cop to any other QDOS/SMSQ system, unzip it there and then exec it.

No further documentation required, works just like standard Quill. Note: still limited to 8.3 filenames.

Download from the Psion programs page on my website (scroll down to Quill-e section)

Mersey Mouse

A cursor emulating mouse kit from members of the Merseyside QL group in the 1980s.

Supplied in kit form, the interface was usually installed inside the QL with a socket to allow a mouse to be attached.

There were a few examples of these built into external cases, plugged into the CTL sockets too – the picture shows one I came across with a dot matrix printed label indicating ‘Mersey Mouse mk 2’ with a switch which allowed you to switch one of the mouse buttons between ENTER and ESC.

These scanned documents are from Steve of QBits and include a circuit diagram and installation instructions. Not that many of these were made, so if you get hold of one of these rare interfaces, you have a collector’s item on your hands! (Scanned as three JPEG files).


A version of the QubATA software is now available for Q40/Q60 with IDE controller(s) on ISA card.

This driver, with associated utilities, supports a primary and secondary IDE controller with 1 to 4 physical drives on the Q40/Q60 platforms.

As with the original QubIDE driver, QubATA uses its own QLW1 format for disks and partitions and will not actually support the QLWA format used by the WIN driver under SMSQ/E on Q40.

Original Qubide media such as CF cards can be directly used if inserted in the Q40 IDE slot with adaptor. Also, QubATA driver may cohabit safely with the WIN driver if present. It will install itself as QUB driver instead of the usual WIN driver name and will handle QLW1 disks formatted and foreign media without interfering with  other WIN disks.

To avoid clashes with BASIC keywords, all QubATA commands prefixed with WIN_ are changed to QUB_ instead. The CD_xxx keywords are unchanged.

Please refer to the QubATA manual for a complete description of all commands and replace WIN by QUB everywhere. All QubATA commands and features should work on Q40: direct raw access, trashcan, partitioning, CD audioplaying, alien media. See the Q40_Notes_txt file supplied for a fuller explanation of the differences.

Get QubQ40 from the QL ROMs page on my website at (scroll down to Qubide section).

More Q-Bits

Several program from former QL trader QBits have been made available, some in an updated form.

QBFtidy is a file handling program – copy, rename, etc files. Download this from

The following games are available to download from the Games page on my website at

QBDarts – a darts game allowing you to play 301 or 501 on QL.

QBWH – Storeman_Sam and Warehouse_Sam combined into a program called QBits Warehouse (or QBWH for short). Try to manage a warehouse, invoices, deliveries, stock movement etc.

QBGolf – Play an 18 hole round of golf. Play against other generated players to compare scores. Pit your skills at Power Driving off the tee and Putting the ball once you reach the green.

QBMD – A Minesweeper style of game.

Data Design 3 API

API is the Applicaton Programming Interface for Data Design version 3.

This package includes engine v3.11, 3.14 and 3.16 and some text and PDF files.

Thanks to Markus Dettweiler for recovering these files to add to the range of the formerly commercial PROGS software now available free.

Download the API from (scroll down to the DataDesign section).

292 Infocom v5 Adventures

Thanks to Timothy Swenson, I’ve been able to add a huge collection of Infocom adventures for use with Luke Roberts’s Infocom interpreter for the QL.

Although not individually tested, most of these should be playable with the QL system, so this should be enough to keep QL gamers happy for a while.

The package has an Index_txt file with a brief description of the adventures in a list.

Download the package free from the Adventure Games page:

(scroll down to the ‘Infocom’ section)

Fast Serial Board

Thanks to Derek Stewart, I’ve been able to add the schematics for Terry Harman’s fast serial board for QL, allowing communication speeds up to 115,200 baud.

Plotter files included for printed circuit board, GAL 20v8 prog logic etc.

Three files available to download in all – go to the hardware documents page on my website, scroll down to the ‘Fast Serial Board’ section:

New Toolkit 2

For the first time in nearly two decades, a new version of Toolkit 2 has been released.

A Toolkit 2 original EPROM cartridge from Care Electronics

Working from SMSQ/E sources, Marcel set out to re-create something resembling Toolkit 2 from them again. Although it proved to be more work than he’d anticipated (not that this ever deterred our Marcel!) Toolkit 2 version 2.30 was born.

Many SMSQ/E features were left intact if feasible, such as LOAD appending a “_bas” extension to filenames of SuperBASIC programs. Some of the new and useful SBASIC extensions were also included. Some features got dropped such as the ALARM and CLOCK and the network fileserver FSERVE (since the networkis critically timed, it may run at different speeds from RAM, rendering it unusable).

The extended MDV driver sources are long since missing and not present in SMSQ/E so Marcel re-engineered that from an existing ROM binary.

Since most people now use the Extended Environment, Marcel decided to drop most of the ALTKEY code since that is better replaced by the Hotkey extensions, but the Alt-Enter last line recall was kept.

Most of the stuff dropped was done to save space in the ROM, as it has to be kept to no bigger than 16K bytes.

Version 2.30 was quickly replaced by v2.31 to fit an old bug in the CDEC$ extension.

It is now available to download in ROM image and RAM-based RESPR version (the RAM-based version includes full ALTKEY code because space doesn’t matter so much here). The source files are also available.

Download from Marcel’s site at

Gold QL

Darren Branagh came across a YouTube video of a Thames TV programme called ‘4 Computer Buffs’ from 1985 which features a 9-carat Gold QL (literally!) from Aspreys Jewellers in the opening headlines, the price back then a cool £3,500! Several people asked what happened to this QL – any of our members know?

The programme interviews Sir Clive Sinclair about the relaunch of the QL in 1985, where Jane Ashton and Sir Clive discuss matters perceived to be hindering the success of the QL at the time, such as microdrives and lack of software. They also discuss the future launch of a Sinclair portable which was to have been Z80/Spectrum based, later becoming the Pandora and Z88. They also discuss the Wafer-Scale Integration.

Sir Clive also describes the micro of the future as one you can talk to to ask questions about your health and so on. This sounds remarkably like the Alexa and other modern systems, proving that he was quite a visionary even back then!

You can also see a system whereby software was transmitted via the video display as a flashing dot in a black circle on screen ready for a photo-receptor to decode as a software download.

See the 15 minute excerpt at