Category Archives: News

Freeware Updates

I’ve added a number of other toolkits to the Toolkits page on my site – thanks to Rich Mellor for sending me a compilation of such software to add to my site. Some of these are QL software I’ve never seen before and will no doubt some in useful to BASIC programmers.

ECman is a screen extinguishing and video memory manipulation toolkit, with eight extensions from Jacques Tripodi.

Factorial Extension is an extension to return the factorial of an integer number, while Fract is an extension to return the fractional part of a floating point number. NDIM is a function to return the number of dimensions of an array. LWCUPC consists of extensions to convert strings to lower case and upper case. PTRRTP consists of four extensions for Polar to Rectangular and Rectangular to Polar conversion. REV$ is a function which reverses the characters of a string. SGN% is an extension function which returns the sign of a given number, -1 indicates negative, 0 means zero and +1 means it’s a positive number. SWAP is an extension to swap the values of two variables, e.g. SWAP variable1,variable2. TRIM$ is an extension to remove spaces from both ends of a string. TRUE% and FALSE% are extensions which return 1 and 0 respectively. Triprodro extensions TRINT, PROUND and DROUND for rounding off numbers. All by Bruno Coativy.

WIPE is an extension by Peter Beule to quickly clear the QL screen to black. This only works on a standard 32K QL screen.

LEVEL2% is a function which tests for the presence of level 2 drivers on a device attached to a given channel number. This helps you determine in software whether the device supports directories or not. Stand-alone extension based on a similar function in Norman Dunbar’s DJToolkit. Assembler source included.

Toolfin is a financial tools package, with several extensions to aid financial calculations. Original package in Spanish with machine-translated English document. Author is Felix Alonso.

QSound v1.31 contains the latest EPROM version for the ABC QSound interface. The sound examples may be run on the QL-emulator, provided the sound extension has been activated (SND_EXT).

Psion Chess

I’ve added an executable version of the original Psion Chess program for the QL to the games page on my site. This is a version modified by Jochen Hassler, which runs as a standard EXEC file on screen mode 4 systems. It can be run in QPC2 high colour modes by issuing a QPC_QLSCREMU4 command before executing CHESS_EXE. Even the 3D chessboard display works. And the program can be started from Launchpad.http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/games/index.html

Aehnlich

I came across an interesting little toolkit which I’ve added to my site. “Similarity” or “Sounds like” software is a toolkit for string search and comparison, providing experimental functions for Levenshtein Distance (a string metric for measuring the difference between two sequences), Soundex (conversion of a word into number sequence to aid matching of strings despite minor differences in spelling) and Phonem (conversion of words into sequences of sounds, almost phonetic). Provides the sources and three extensions plus a test program and instructions in German, with a machine translated English text file translation. The author is Ralf Biedermann. The software is a 10kilobyte download from http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/tk/index.html

Dennis Briggs Hardware Guide

A PDF file version of this article from the late Dennis Briggs is now available, making it easier to read. The article lists most of the early QL disk interfaces and other cards, complete with simple diagrams to aid identification. The diagrams are now embedded in the PDF file rather than having to be viewed individually as QL PIC files. View the PDF file at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/intfaces.pdf

HAL Chip Article

I’ve added a document about IC38, the HAL chip in a QL to the hardware documents page on my site.

A document with equations and JEDEC for the HAL chip in a QL (based on issue 5.3 and 6), from information by Robert Klein in the original document QL_clones_hardware.pdf , with small modification by Marcel Kilgus (fixed pin names)  and JEDEC listing from Miroslav Werner, originally published on Sinclair QL For Everyone Facebook Group. Read the article at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/HALic38.txt

ZX8301 Chip Documentation

Derek Stewart has compiled a document from postings made by Nasta (Zeljko Nastasic) on QL Forum about the ZX8301 chip used in the QL. The ZX8301 is IC22 on the QL circuit board.

It’s available to download as DOC, ODT and PDF files in a single zip file from the Hardware Documents page on my website:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/index.html

or from the backup site at

http://www.greybeardz.com/docs/hardware/index.html

QLTools Revision 2.15.5

Norman Dunbar has been busy revising the QLTools file transfer software, updating it to handle ED disk images, for example. He writes:

1) Now compiles under Windows with Gcc. I used CodeBlocks with the built in 32bit gcc to do the builds. There’s also a makefile for shell usage.

2) Fixed 32bit bug in formatting an ed image file. It would segfault on Windows 64bit when compiled as 32bit, but not as a 64 bit build. Turned out to be a bug in my ‘ed’ formatting code.

3) If the image file doesn’t exist, it will now be created when formatting an image.

4) Files were being corrupted when extracted from an image with the ‘-n’ option. This was because the ‘DOS_LIKE’ define was not being done on modern C compilers/operating systems. It is now! The corruption was to add a CR in front of every LF in the file.

5) When changing the dataspace of a file with ‘-x’ the dataspace size was allowed to be an odd size. I’m sure this causes trouble on a QL, so it now gets rounded up if it is odd.

6) The ‘-M’ option to create a level 2 directory wasn’t working. This was because it was opening the image file in read only mode. I may have been responsible for breaking this – but don’t quote me. It’s fixed now.

7) Dumping an ED cluster with the ‘-u’ option (ASCII dump) was only dumping 32 lines of 16 bytes – 512 bytes in total. The number of lines was hard coded. It has been changed to calculate the number of lines from the sector size. This option now works for ED drives as well.

8) Windows uses the ‘/’ character for command line options, unlike Linux which uses ‘-‘ and while there was some code that allowed the ‘/’ when ‘DOS_LIKE’ was defined, it wasn’t in all the places it needed to be. Now it is. Windows users have the choice of whichever flag symbol they like. (Well, ‘-‘ or ‘/’ is all the choice actually!)

9) Slightly weird. If the ‘-w’ option was used to write a file into an image, and that that file was already there, it didn’t prompt to overwrite. I spent ages tracking it down and it turned out that running in a Windows command session does prompt, only running in a bash shell, on Windows, does it not prompt. As most users won’t be in my development bash shell, I’m not fixing this.

10) Source Code is available from https://github.com/NormanDunbar/qltools

11) Compiled binaries for 32/64 bit Windows and Linux are also available from https://github.com/NormanDunbar/qltools/releases  – along with a new user guide.

If you enjoy using this half as much as I’ve enjoyed amending it, then I’ve had twice as much fun as you!