Naturally, my first action was to take the back off the machine to find out whether or not it was one of the 64K Issue 3.5 models; it is in fact an Issue 4a model and the circuit board is completely different to my previous Issue 2 Spectrum. I don't know how different my Issue 4a Spectrum is from an Issue 3 Mk 5 (or any other Issue 3), as I've never had the opportunity to look inside an Issue 3. Perhaps you could publish a sketch of the inside of an Issue 3 machine to enlighten me?
Andy Sheppard, Burnley, Lancs
We haven't yet managed to get our hands on one of the new Mk 5s - so it's going to be difficult to provide you with a sneak look at the said device. However, if you want a rough idea of what goes on in an Issue 3, try looking at Sexing Your Spectrum, an article we published in the third issue of YS (where else?). If you haven't got a copy, see if you can look in a friend's as I have a rather nasty feeling it's getting rather rare. Ed.
SHORT SHRIFTI am writing to you because, as a devoted follower of the Sinclair cult, I went out and bought myself a copy of your highly esteemed mag. Having read this from front to back, I sent off for some back issues (1, 3 and 4) but received only 1 and 4 with a note saying that all issues of number 3 were sold out - but I would, however, receive a copy of issue 9 for my anguish. So I sat down and read the issues I now had, but soon begin to pine for my non- existent issue 3. Also to my further grief (and being a moron of the highest order) I don't understand a word (or digit??) of machine code; I therefore welcomed Paper Data in issue 2. But wait, yet another aid to my gradual mental demise ... no addresses were given as to the purchase of the aforementioned books. Also, being a great lazy wally, I
|F O R U M|
Is there something you're not telling us? From next issue on, there'll be a crisp tenner awarded to the Star Letter of the Month. Don't miss out ... write to Forum, Your Spectrum, 14 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DE.
However, having said that,
there is one problem that I
keep stumbling over in some of
your articles ... the quotation
of addresses in Hex, without a
decimal equivalent given!? |
Now taking a purely logical standpoint to the above problem, I have come up with the following five possible solutions to this crisis situation:
1) Threaten the writers with Barry Manilow (audio or visual) if they refuse to mend the error of their ways.
2) Make me buy a Hex-Dec converter (sorry, I'm too tight- fisted to do it myself).
3) Publish a Hex-Dec converter. for Hex up to at least DEC 65535 (beg, beg).
4) Threaten the writers with Barry Manilow and Des O'Connor (audio and visual!) if they refuse to co-operate.
5) Shoot myself!
Anthony Mayers, Wrexham, Clwyd
Aaargh ... anything but Bazza and Des! Well, we'll work on option 4, but if you can't wait that long try option 5. Ed.
Gazing around my room, my eyes alighted on my obsolete ZX Printer. Is it possible, I asked myself. After a few hour's work (honest!), I'd converted the program to work on my little machine. Out came the scissors and Sellotape and I'd managed the impossible (Dramatic stuff this! Ed.). The trimmer listing fits nicely on to an A4 sheet - glue might be better than tape to affix it, but be careful or you'll end up with nasty blotches all over the place.
The result is about the same size as Mr Pennell's dumps - but not quite as pretty. But if you've only got a ZX Printer and your piggy-bank's not full to bursting, what else can you do? I leave the task of pushing the ZX Printer to further limits to all the thousands of you out there who own one - come on you lot, there's nothing to be ashamed of in owning a ZX Printer you know.
David Valentine, Mansfield
On the next page is David Valentine's re-working of Dumps of Distinction for the ZX Printer.
have an (original) copy of The
Quill but would also like some
advice on the available arcade
games designers. So would you
please, please, please advise me
on how to: |
a) Reserve myself a copy of the much sought after YS issue 3.
b) Order a copy of Spectrum Machine Language For The Absolute Beginner.
c) Obtain a copy of a good arcade games designer.
Philip Hankinson, Warrington
a) Hah!, no chance!; b) walk into Smith's.; c) see (b). Troubleshootin 'Pete.
While I'm on the subject of my Dad, he's part of the problem I'm writing to you about. He uses a BBC-based system. Ouch, I'm sorry, I didn't really say that word. I've told him loads of times but he's just plain arrogant. His system uses a Microvitec 1451 monitor which I'd like to use with the Spectrum. I'm one of your original fans and have a complete set of YS (wow?), so I dug out issue 2 and read Ian Beardsmore's article on doing the necessary surgery. Everything Spectrumwise is in order (Issue 3 and outside guarantee period, etc).
My problem is whether the composite video signal produced by Ian's Spectrum mods will drive the Microvitec monitor which has RGB input. If the answer is "no, Ian's method won't work", is there any other way to connect the two items? Some sort of interface perhaps? Do you know of any manufacturer who may produce a kit or whatever, to carry out this conversion?
Finally, a much more
important question - a
question which has been at the
heart of many a finger-resting
coffee break since the amazing
Issue 1 first hooked us. Who is
she, the lady on the cover? She
with the green necklace and
blue eyes. What is she thinking
as she pensively studies the
lighting system? Is this Toni
Baker, Sue Denham or perhaps
Penny Page? After much
debate, my friends and I think
we know. Fingering a scalpel
with such longing ... dreaming
of hacking the then soon- to-
be- released Jet Set Willy ... it
must be, please tell us we're
right - Andrew Pennell in
Mark Quilliam, Gunnislake, Cornwall
Taking your minor question first, no Ian's method won't work with the Microvitec. But if you get hold of Adapt on 01- 504 2840, they'll send you an excellent RGB interface for £29.95 which does make the Speccy produce pretty pictures. As for your second and, as you say, more important question, sorry to disappoint you but Andy didn't look good enough in drag to grace our front cover. However, that's him on the front of issue 8, so don't annoy him too much or it'll be BIG trouble! Just for you, here's a photo of Andy Pennell, hacker extraordinaire ... 'orrible, isn't it? Ed.
A HEXING QUESTIONFirst of all, having bought your mag since issue 1, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on a publication which is nothing short of excellent.
To explain: after sorting out my many mis-typings, I found it got jammed on line 90 of the example program in the July issue in a never-ending loop and it was only after trying every bug-tracing stunt I could think of that I eventually found the cause. Unlike nearly all the other variables, he introduced variable 'L' in capitals, no doubt aware that his daisywheel printer produced straight 'l's which could be confused with '1's. Unfortunately in line 6755 he puts 'LET t1=INT(u+l)/2': so of all the '1's appearing in his program, this one happened to be not one at all. I cannot help wondering how many of your readers got bomboozled like me, and may have sent off for a cassette in desperation.
Maybe at my advanced age I
should not be concerning
myself with computers. On the
other hand, I want to keep my
fast diminishing brain cells
active as long as possible - but
not by hacking into Jet Set
Looking forward to the next issue of Your Spectrum.
H E Hammond, Luton, Bedfordshire
How else could we get you all to buy the tape? But seriously, Mr Hammond, thank you very much for sorting out the bug. We've had the odd problem with ZIP, but overall I hope that all who've mastered the program will agree that it's probably the best compiler on the market. Ed.
AVAST YE SOFTWARE HOUSESI am anxious to comment on a subject foremost in my mind at the moment - software piracy.
In the older days of the Spectrum, everybody copied their friends' tapes with two tape recorders - but now, this is being made impossible by a new technique being employed by the tape-to-tape protection system (any of you pirates noticed it yet?).
This new system is making
home copying and commercial
piracy a thing of the past (I
always imagine commercial
pirates having huge Hi-Fi
systems recording tape-to-tape
at double speed). Since a lot of
pirates probably find the tape
copiers available slow and
boring, this should bring down
piracy to a tolerable level. |
OK, all well and good, the companies have found a great way to beat most pirates - but still companies are obsessed with putting more and more protection into the software. I've spent an incredible amount on software, over £30 on Microdrive transfer tapes alone and, having beaten the major software pirates, I see no reason why the software houses should make it difficult for us Microdrivers. They consistently add new protection methods as the old ones are discovered and beaten. Some of the protection methods seem to have been written specifically to stop the program being put onto Microdrive!
Having bought many of the latest software titles, it was my annoyance at not being able to transfer them to Microdrive that urged me to write this letter. Please, software houses, have a heart for us menials with
Richard Harrison, Forest Hill, London
When you start getting onto the subject of piracy, you're treading on very shaky ground. Although Your Spectrum in no way condones the pirates, there is a very thin line between actual piracy and putting software you have bought onto a different media for ease of use. If a software house made a program simple enough for anyone with a basic knowledge of computing to put it on to Microdrive cartridge - then a true pirate would see it as a gift. If the software houses actually included a 'Microdrive SAVE' option in the program, this might go some way to solving the problem. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, and software houses have nothing to gain except minimal increased sales through making their software Microdrive compatible. Even Sinclair Research doesn't include a 'Microdrive SAVE' option in its programs, so unless there's a pretty drastic change in the attitude of software houses towards Microdrives, I don't think we'll be able to do anything except resort to the ever-improving transfer tapes ... Troubleshootin 'Pete.