Keith Dunbar reports that the publishers Usborne have released some 1980s books about computing as PDFs on their website. The URL is
Simone Voltolini of Outsoft in Italy has been involved with preserving QL software for some time now and has provided regular emails to keep us updated on what has been preserved, along with a list of hundreds of QL programs he has been able to duplicate for preservation.
Using special software to dump the content of a cartridge to a preservable form (many microdrive cartridges are now at an age where they simply stop working largely due to the disintegration of th efelt pad in the mechanism), Simone has been doing a fabulous job preserving this for the day when there are no working master copies of anything.
Simone has produced an English language YouTube video showing how he goes about his work with the mDump2 and mDoubler4 software. The video is about an hour in length, so allow plenty of time. View it via https://www.facebook.com/groups/sinclaircollection/permalink/10155176458182457/https://www.facebook.com/groups/sinclaircollection/permalink/10155176458182457/
During early May, John Taylor (former Quanta Treasurer) let us know that former Quanta Chairman Bill Newell was seriously ill in hospital. Bill was also Membership Secretary previously.
Several members from Bill’s time as an officer of Quanta responded with kind words about Bill and his time in office.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.
Alain Haoui has released a new version of the QubATA IDE hard disk driver software. This new release 3.10 is a unified product, where all the variants are released in one package at the same version level.
Versions for all supported platforms – Qubide, clones and Q40/Q60 plus Trashcan, Cdplayer, CDExplorer and Monitor – are all in this release.
The page now includes a section which seeks to help users who have experienced problems with Quill files being saved as zero or 64 byte length with no text and provides a patched version of Quill to work around this problem.
I have finally been able to make available a copy of the Sernet software, which allows you to connect SMSQ/E systems together via serial ports to form a simple network for file transfer. Sernet normally needs SMSQ/E to work, as it relies on split receive and transmit serial port connections – it might be possible to get this to work on QDOS systems using the SIMSER extensions, though I have never tried this for myself.
I’ve included copies of versions up to 2.25, and Marcel Kilgus kindly supplied a copy of v3.01. I only have documentation available for the version 2.xx copies. As far as I know, these are only two station versions – if anyone knows better, or has copies of the multi-station version please let me know so I can make copies of those available.
Win-Dos is a program to list the definitions of win and dos drives in QPC2, and show drive capacities and change medium names.
Bob Spelten has updated the program to allow it to be used with SMSQmulator NFA drives as well as now handling renamed drive names.
If you are interested in the internals of how Sbasic works, you may be interested to read a blog entry from Marcel Kilgus where he describes in detail how he solved the “LRESPR in a procedure” bug which has existed for years in SBASIC.
It is not easy reading, even Marcel says it takes him huge efforts to barely understand parts of it.
Read his exploits at https://www.kilgus.net/2017/04/10/sbasic-bug-boogie/
Version 2.24 of the Java-based emulator called SMSQmulator is now available from Wolfgang Lenerz’s website. Includes some bug fixes and now allows the CTRL+mouse wheel movements to produce left and right scroll keycodes.
Download from http://www.wlenerz.com/smsqmulator/
Version 3.31 of SMSQ/E is now available and includes both bug fixes and new facilities.
- RPIXL works in 8 and 16 bit colour modes.
- LRESPR within procedure bug fixed.
- Home thing uses correct job ID when opening the dir for a file.
- SMSQmulator uses “java control” Thing for misc operations.
- The string slicing bug fix in v. 3.28 is cancelled, reverting back to old behaviour.
The sources and binaries are available to download from Wolfgang Lenerz’s website at http://www.wlenerz.com/smsqe/
Following his recovery from illness, Dave Park has taken up the mantle of designing new QL hardware once more.
A random hardware ideas thread on QL Forum led to the design of the miniplane, a compact three slot backplane with two slots facing left away from the QL and one facing right upside down over the CPU. This would allow, for example, a Super Gold Card and Qubide to be used together.
The card is quite compact, 96.3mm x 20.6mm and comes with small plastic shields to protect cards from touching against each other, or against the keyboard backplate in a QL.The fit inside a QL case is pretty tight and one suggestion is to add a washer on the front and back screws on the left side of the QL case to give an extra 1mm, which gives a small air gap and helps the QL run a little cooler due to the increased power demand of using more than one card at a time.
Dave has produced a small initial run of these and mailed them out to first customers already – the first small batch sold out pretty quickly and more connectors have been ordered for a further small batch of miniplanes. The cost was $29 for a two slot version, or $36 for a three slot version plus postage. For anyone already owning the DIN 41612 connectors, Dave was willing to supply the bare PCB to save on postage costs.
Dave is hoping to send out PCBs to someone in Europe to assemble, to make it cheaper to produce these devices for supply this side of the Atlantic, as he’s doing this on a non-profit basis.