Your Spectrum
Issue 7, September 1984 - SinclairWatch
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Hotfoot after publicity, Sir Clive Sinclair continues to try wooing the more unfriendly (honest?) of the micro mags - giving his own mini-impression of Walter Mondale on the Presidential trail. And who can say it isn't working? One worthy publication has already managed to print a full colour picture of Clive on the front cover - heralding an interview that answers such weighty questions as why you can't buy posters of the great man in high street shops. And I thought there was an Obscene Publications Act! Actually, it's rumoured that homes up and down the country are now displaying his holy image on walls and doors - only thing is, for some reason many of the pictures are covered with tiny holes.
Actually, apart from defacing pictures, there are, of course, other ways of venting annoyance. Rumour reaches us that some dissatisfied customers have taken to sending a brick in brown paper
to Freepost, Camberley. Wonder if they'll get enough to build an extension?
Hands up all those who saw Sir Clive receiving the ultimate accolade of satirisation on the wickedly funny Spitting Image TV programme. The gist of it seemed to revolve around a product that takes 28 days to come - I can't imagine what it was all about.
Many were surprised to hear of Imagine's recent demise, following acute financial problems. One of the largest Spectrum software houses, it was always thought to be very successful, despite the constant rumour of non-payment of bills. The company certainly knew how to write and market good games - and also how to be extravagant. Declared assets are rumoured to include a BMW, Porsche and XR3, presumably acquired to help give the programmers an ego trip. Ex-director, Colin Stokes, is now probably very glad he
got sacked earlier this year - following the phone tapping episode; he's currently working for Jet Set Willy company, Software Projects.
Doesn't Sinclair Research realise the only way it's likely to get Microdrive acceptance from a still suspicious public is by making the blank cartridges far more widely available. But, I hear you say, they're already widely available in the shops - at £4.95! For many potential punters I believe the price still remains an insurmountable stumbling block. Of course, Sinclair Research would reply that no way could they match normal audio cassette prices and still keep the beasts profitable - after all, we're talking about different orders of manufacture quality. But the fact is, Sinclair Research may just have to bite the bullet to a greater cause. It could be the only way the company will ever fully succeed with its controversial system of storage.
By Guttersnipe.

Presented by Leon Heller, Acting Chairman of the Independent QL Users' Group (IQLUG).
GST Computer Systems Ltd of Cambridge has announced 68K/OS, an operating system for the QL that appears to offer considerably more than the standard QDOS operating system provided with the machine. According to GST, Sinclair Research commissioned it in February 1983 to produce a new operating system for an OEM version of the QL. 'OEM' (Original Equipment Manufacturer) generally refers to a company that purchases something, then subsequently enhances it in some way for resale to an end user.
GST is negotiating with Sinclair Research for the rights to sell the QL as a single board computer (minus case, keyboard, Microdrives and power supply) with the 68K/OS operating system to OEMs who wish to use it for such application areas as computer aided design, terminal emulation, data acquisition, point of sale, etc. Features offered by 68K/OS include: single-user, multi-tasking; multiple screen windows; highly optimised disk filing system; device independent I/O; Unix-like 'pipes' for communication
between programs; built-in menu and form handling; command or menu-driven 'shell'; integral graphics functions; and ROM resident (32K). Many of these features were in the original specification for the QL, but have since been left out of the machines that Sinclair Research is currently 'shipping'.
GST is negotiating too with several other software houses for the provision of the following languages: Basic, 'C', Pascal, Fortran 77 and MC68000 assembler. It's also planned to make available business software similar to the bundled Psion packages.
GST intends making 68K/OS available to QL users (no comment as to the likely cost), and has promised evaluation copies some time in August. These will take the form of a couple of EPROMs that replace those in the machine - with some additional code on a Microdrive cartridge.
It'll be interesting to see how 68K/OS fares against QDOS. Certainly, although punters will be forking out monies over and above the cost of the basic QL system, they'll get some very attractive features. It all boils down to how much it costs, and how long it takes for the additional programming languages to become available.
It might be that 68K/OS will be bought by people who are writing QL software, which is then sold to the ordinary user to run under QDOS.
Software house, Joe The Lion continues to threaten us with the possibility of a Spectrum simulator for the QL. We're assured that the code to emulate Z80 operation on the MC68008 is working, and running as fast as a 4MHz Z80! The company is now designing the hardware to allow Spectrum cassettes to be loaded into the QL. Emulating the Z80 doesn't present too great a problem, but it's still impossible to believe it can be got running that fast. We'll all be delighted to be wrong.
If you want to see what version ROMs you have in your QL, just type PRINT VERS. If the machine responds 'AH', congratulations, you have the latest ROMs, which means that the operating system and SuperBASIC are essentially bug-free. 'PM' means that there are several bugs, and 'FB' indicates virtual infestation!
IQLUG is a non-profit making independent QL users' group. Further details on the organisation are available from: Brian Pain, Acting Secretary, IQLUG, 24 Oxford Street, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, Bucks. Tel: 0908 564271.
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