Italian QL Meeting

The 16th Italian QL meeting will be held on 5th April 2020, at the DTM Technologies premises – Via Tacito 65, Modena, from 10am to 5pm. For further details, visit Giorgio Garabello’s website at http://www.hunggartorino.it/ql/16th-italian-meeting-sinclair-ql/?fbclid=IwAR2QWgJ-yp73V1ennGIrpyfO7rNdFWqdrNcw7N-d1FI0abn5wh2F8kI8Lpo or contact Davide Santachiara – ergon AT libero DOT it

QL Wifi Interface

Johan Engdahl writes:

“Slowly getting there. The RetroCom software will soon be ready for release…..it will sure ease up the daily work with QL for the community….things like connecting to various services on the Internet, save and load software across your local LAN etc.

I must admit it´s more complicated to code for QL than for any other platform I´ve been working with. It has been a steep learning curve, but now I´m over the ridge 🙂 Thanks to Derek Stewart and others for helping me out.”

Back in 2018, Johan started work on a software suite for what was referred to as QL Wifi Interface (now known as RetroCom), described a bridge between the modern world and old computers such as QL and Spectrum. The device would basically work on any system with a serial port.

vDrive Case

Charlie Ingley, designer of the vDrive system for the QL, has announced a new case for the vDrive, styled to match the QL. These are available through Charlie’s presence on SellMyRetro.com and can be purchased either by themselves (rectangular LED upgrade kit included – £15 + postage) or with a bundle along with a vDriveQL+cable+vMap. Charlie has expressed thanks to Michele Perini for his kind permission to use his original vDriveQL enclosure model. https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/details/40597

Retro Magazine

Issue 20 of the Italian publication ‘Retro Magazine’ is now available. Download it now, a lot of exciting content, articles, reviews and exclusive interviews are waiting for you!

http://www.retromagazine.net/getrm.php?id=20

Looking for RetroMagazine’s back issues? Download them all for free from: http://www.retromagazine.net

Magnetic Scrolls

Tobias Fröschle has been busy for some months now porting The Pawn’s game engine to the Q68 (and possibly other systems in the future).

Seasoned QL users will probably be aware that Magnetic Scrolls released a game called The Pawn for the QL through Sinclair back in the 1980s. This version had no graphics. Then, in all, Magnetic Scrolls produced seven adventure games between 1985 and 1990 for other systems, but the QL only ever got The Pawn. The others were: The Guild Of Thieves, Jinxter, Corruption, Fish!, Myth, Wonderland and The Legacy: Realm Of Terror.

The game and graphics files can be downloaded from https://msmemorial.if-legends.org/magnetic.php for use with Tobias’s software.

However, the versions for other computers were based on the same game engine written in 68000 code, with some systems using a minimalistic 68000 code emulator to allow it to run on systems without the 68000 series processors.

One noted feature of the interpreter is its ability to handle complex sentences rather than the simple verb/noun inputs of traditional text adventure games. So this parser would understand sentences such as “use the trowel to plant the pot plant into the plant pot”.

Tobias said that the Q68 version of the game engine essentially emulates a QL on a Q68. The graphics are derived from 16 colour Atari ST graphics with original resolution of 320×200, rescaled to look better on the Q68.

Once the Q68 version is complete, a version for 16-bit colour systems will follow.

Download the Q68 version from the “The Pawn is back. And it’s not alone!” thread in the Software & Programming section on QL Forum

https://qlforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3033

Thor ROM Disassembly

A user on QL Forum has provided a disassembly of the version 4.00 Argos operating system ROM for Thor machines, which are now quite rare.

Get the disassembly from http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/qlrom/index.html (scroll down the page to “Disassemblies & Sources”).

It’s probably worth noting that images of other versions of the Thor ROM are available to download from the same page.

A CST Thor computer

QL LED Wires and Sermouse

If you’ve ever had to take apart the QL and disconnected the LED wires, you may well find yourself cursing how on earth they go back together if you didn’t remember to make a note before removing them.

Well, Cristian on QL Forum has come up with a neat little diagram showing which order the LEDs are re-inserted. I’ll reproduce the diagram here, but the original is available from my site at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/hardware/index.html (scroll down the page to the LEDs section).

Cristian also provided a wiring diagram for making a SER2 (UK connector) to DB9 adaptor lead. The diagram is available from the same page. Scroll down the page to “Sermouse – SER2 Adaptor”

Sync 2

I’ve issued an update to my Sync program, which allows you to synchronise files across two drives. If you have been updating media on a laptop, for example, then on getting home you need to ensure that the latest versionsof each file are updated to be the same on both computers.

The original program was written in BASIC and published as a listing in Quanta magazine some time ago.

The new version is pointer driven and compiled with Qliberator. It requires Window Manager 2.

This new version can copy files both ways, or just one way if you prefer. Two way synchronisation takes longer but ensures that both drives contain the latest copies of each file. You can opt to process sub-directories if you wish to.

QL/E Version 3.19

Urs König has announced version 3.19 of his QL?E project. Edition 1904, codenamed “On the move”, is available to download from Urs’s website at http://sinclairql.net/repository.html#QLE

Urs writes:

“It took me over 7 months to complete work on this release of QL/E. This time quite a huge change and so I hope, a vast improvement.”

Highlights:

  • Colourways, JMON, QD, QMovie, QSpread!
  • Updated EE, FiFi, HyperHELP, IPNET,
  • QED, SMSQ/E, TK2, TURBO, THINGS!
  • Improved boot process: more FREE MEMORY,faster startup, more HOTKEYs, flavours.
  • Added and reworked DO scripts.

Cleanup and improvements here and there.

Issue 8 QL Motherboard

Dave Park has been discussing his replacement QL motherboard project on QL Forum recently.

The aim was to create a new motherboard which is largely compatible with the original QL motherboard, but with a few improvements built in. Dave has been working with Aurora designer Nasta on this project.

Details are fairly scant at the moment, with much general discussion as to what people would like to see in this project. At the beginning of May, Dave committed himself to producing an initial batch of 100 motherboards when the tiem comes to launch.

vFollow the discussion on QL Forum’s “Issue 8 discussions…” thread, at https://www.qlforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2764