WINDOS 1.01

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.

Download the updated program from http://www.greybeardz.com/files/index.html or (when the Homepage is back up and running) http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/files/index.html

Sbasic Bug Boogie

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/

SMSQ/E 3.31

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/

Miniplane

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.

QL Homepage

A combination of circumstances which arose at the same time as my ISP’s decision to stop providing email addresses caused the Sinclair QL Homepage site to disappear a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, Graeme Gregory stepped in and quickly provided a temporary home for the site complete with downloads at the temporary new home of www.greybeardz.com until I get time to fully restore the original site.

The dilwyn.me.uk site site remains available but has not yet been fully restored from backups. A temporary home page redirects you to the greybeardz.com site for now.

QL MultiMon

Jan Brdenbeek has re-released MultiMon – a QL Monitor, Disassembler and Debugger written in 1986/7 – on GitHub.

It was already available from PD websites, but now there’s an English manual and source files too.

MultiMon v2.1 is entirely written in machine code and less than 10K bytes in size.

It may be started with an EXEC command or installed via LRESPR as a SuperBASIC extension called MON.

https://github.com/SinclairQL/QL-MultiMon

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.

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/qlrom/index.html#Qubide

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 http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/psions/index.html (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).

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/manuals/index.html#Mersey