Your Spectrum
Issue 12, March 1985 - Forum
Home Contents KwikPik
Thank you for putting my free classified advertisement in your magazine. I've had many replies from people from all over the world including England, Northern Ireland, Switzerland and Israel. I now have many Spectrum user friends. But if anyone else would like to write to me, I'd be pleased to hear from you.
Scala Fabio, Via Pegaso, 7, 47037 Rimini, FO, Italy

Hmm, sounds like a nice person. But if Scala Fabio's not your cup of tea, check Out the 'Pen Pal' section in this month's Input/Output. OK, you may not find a friend for life ... but you might end up swapping software, selling off your redundant peripherals and being able to afford all the latest games. Ed
In response to the somewhat desperate sounding plea from Anthony Mayers of Wrexham in issue 10 and despite being in no doubt that you will by now be fighting your way from beneath a deluge of letters (all containing listings for Hex to Dec conversion) I would
10 PRINT AT 0,3;"HEX TO DECIMAL CONVERSION"; OVER 1;AT 0,3;"____________ _____________": PRINT
20 POKE 23658,8
30 LET N=0
50 FOR F=1 TO LEN A$
60 IF A$(F)<"0" OR A$(F)>"F" THEN GO TO 40
80 IF LEN A$>4 THEN GO TO 40
85 IF A$="" THEN GO TO 40
90 LET C=1
100 FOR F=LEN A$ TO 1 STEP -1
110 IF A$(F)>="0" AND A$(F)<="9" THEN LET D=VAL A$(F): GO SUB 200
120 IF A$(F)>="A" AND A$(F)<="F" THEN LET D=CODE A$(F)-55: GO SUB 200
130 LET C=C*16
140 NEXT F
160 BEEP .2,10: BEEP 1,10
170 GO TO 30
210 LET N=N+D*C
Derek Hirst has the answer with his Hex/Dec converter.

nevertheless like to submit my own version.
It's written in simple Basic statements ('cos I don't know any other way!) and, though the 'nitty-gritty' is contained in nine or ten lines, the few extra make it much nicer to use. Hex numbers from zero to FFFF (6553510) are allowed.
I'd like to suggest an alternative to solution five in Anthony's letter - that is DIY! It's much more rewarding. So, come on Anthony, let's see the reverse of this program using similar statements to these.
Derek Hirst, Barnsley

Yeah, c'mon Anthony ... let's see what you make of that. Of course, if anyone else wants to write in instead, it'd be nice to hear from you! Ed


Is there something you're not telling us? Don't miss out on the chance to win a bundle of free software for each month's Star Letter! Write to Forum, Your Spectrum, 14 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DE.
(2) how to get Dad to buy the 'orrible things in the first place. Of course, as Dave says, there's always an alternative ... Ed.
Concerning the DIY Centronics interface project in YS issue 6 and 7, it's easy to convert it for use with Tasword Two, especially as you can use its own print routine instead of the published driver software.
First up, load Tasword Two and return to Basic. POKE the following values: 57978 to 57991 inclusive with zero; 58004,98; 58008,63; and 58012 to 58020 inclusive with zero. Now, enter the Basic lines provided; it may be necessary to alter the line feed
251 LIST i=14: PRINT AT i,0;"No. of copies? (1)": GO SUB 6000: IF a$="" THEN LET a$="1"
252 LET k=VAL a$
277 OPEN £2,"p"
278 FOR i=1 TO k
279 OUT 63,127: REM Deletes last character in the printer buffer
281 CLOSE £2: CLS : PRINT AT 19,0;"Press the q key to quit printing"
282 IF i<k THEN PRINT £0;"Press any key (except q) for next copy": PAUSE 0
283 IF PEEK 23560=113 THEN LET i=k
284 OPEN £2,"p": NEXT i
288 CLOSE £2
Craig's wordprocessor mod. Note '£' signs should be '#'s.

code to zero if your printer has auto-line feed.
Run the program and save a copy of Tasword Two. If the interface and printer are connected, you should now be able to specify the number of copies to be printed and abort printing if so desired.
Craig L Joly, Sutton, Surrey

So, we'll be expecting all your letters wordprocessed for Forum in future. You've got no excuse now! Ed.
Having just purchased a Taxan/KAGA KP 810 printer for use with my Spectrum, I remembered reading something of an article about a program that would allow me to dump screen graphics to a printer. Ploughing my way through my growing pile of Your Spectrums, I eventually found the article entitled Dumps of Distinction. Unfortunately though, the article glibly states that all one has to do is simply re-write the machine code to suit one's own printer and interface combination (the Interface 1 unit I have is from Miracle systems). To 'simply re-write' a machine code program may be the sort of thing that some superhuman race can cope with but is as yet not within my range of abilities. Can anyone come to my rescue?
While on the subject of machine code, I've attempted to read numerous books and articles on the subject but find it incredibly difficult to keep from falling asleep. However, I did read an article in another computer magazine (Shame on you! Ed.) which adopted a slightly different approach. They used a common Basic routine and converted it into
I was very interested to see in your mag an extension to the Spectrum's 48K memory (XK PCB) in kit form. So, as a loyal follower of YS, I promptly went out and bought it. It's now fitted and I'd be grateful if Stephen Adams could answer a couple of points for me.
When I actually load up the XP Basic software, everything seems fine until the end. All I get on the screen is the message 'RAM FOUND AT PAGE 255'. Shouldn't I hope for 'RAM FOUND AT PAGES 127, 255'?. Does this mean that the supposedly faulty side of the chips, etc, is in fact faulty and useless?
You also mentioned that the memory could be extended (potentially) to 4096K. Would this be 128 pages of 32K? How could all this be done using an 'extra power source'? If you happen to have precise details I'd be interested to hear something about them.
G R Charles, Birmingham

You appear to have something wrong with your kit - a possible wrong connection. You'll get the message 'PAGE 255' because the data input is not indicating that the XK System is fitted. A way to test the system is to type 'PRINT IN 253' and if you get '126' printed up on-screen, everything is OK. There's actually 130 pages of 32K, but you get two pages of 32K inside the Spectrum! Extra power and RAM packs are necessary for the full 4 Mbyte memory expansion, but just the RAM pack is required for 64K. If you want this fitted, have a word with the nice people from Spectrum Electronics, c/o Micro Computer Systems, nnn xxxxxxxxx xxxx, xxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxx. It'll cost you £100 for the complete Spectrum 'memory-lift'.
Stephen Adams.

I thought the following tip might be of use to any reader using a ZX Printer or any other four inch wide paper printer.
Since printouts always seem to get messed up if left about, I wanted some way to keep them all safe. Funnily enough, the container from BIC razors (15 razor pack) is the perfect size for storing rolled up printout. And if they're good enough for John McEnroe ...
Of course, there's always an alternative ... if your programs are all as bad as mine, try wrapping the printout around an empty toilet roll centre. It can then be left in the bathroom and put to good use.
Dave Vickers, Lincoln

I suppose we must consider the possibility that some of you out there don 't shave. So, next month we'll be giving you hints and tips on (1) how to sneak in the bathroom and steal a BIC container and

machine code step-by-step; this made it look so simple that I actually attempted to incorporate a similar routine into a program I was writing. Why don't you run a regular feature along this line? Learning by example beats hours of boring reading that seems to get you nowhere!
DB Snow, Oakham, Leicestershire

'Fraid no-one round here's very familiar with your make of printer - but that doesn't stop any of our intelligent, witty and co-operative readers coming to your aid ... does it? As far as machine code goes - our policy is to include small machine code routines that'll prove useful in your programs, give you a full explanation of how they work and how to customise them. Once you're familiar with its operation and usefulness then, and only then, will you find it easier to grab hold of a book/magazine tutor and learn to ... Zzzz.
Troubleshootin' Pete.

CARTOON screen
L Boorman from Chichester sent us a program called Cartoon that he wrote with his mate, Mav. As you can see, the graphics are very entertaining and there's no less than two story lines in the program. On the left, there's a customer in a Shop complaining that his tape won't load - he's then transformed into a frog and told to 'hop it'! On the other side of the shop, a man's waiting for his QL to arrive ... but when it does, his rotting skeleton has turned to dust.
Regarding your article Hacking Away (YS issue 10). Having played about a little with the program for 'filling in holes at the screen bottom' in Chuckie Egg, I discovered some rather interesting (yes, you've guessed it) ... BUGLETS!
Buglet number one is when you lose a life on screens thus 'hacked about' with, part of the duck's cage disappears, together with the tops of several ladders. This bug is extremely prominent on levels five and seven. And now for ...
Buglet number two. When on any level you fall off a lift near the bottom platform of the screen, the farmer performs a series of very unusual and very entertaining little hops until he reaches any side of the screen, and there he stays until the inevitable happens ... he gets pecked!
Buglet number three is a level five occurrence deriving from the previous hiccup. Our friend the farmer gets seized by an insatiable desire to get to the top of the screen, floating up buoyantly with outstretched arms until he meets the end of 'that particular life'.
Very unfortunate hiccups (hic!) in an otherwise excellent game. In my (and your) opinion, Chuckie Egg is the best release from poor old A'n'F (what a fate to be taken over by Ocean!!).
Paul Smith, Bourn, Cambridge
It's those Gremlins again ... I never should have fed them after midnight! I'm afraid we left out one number from the data statement in line 1000 - the omitted item was '87' and it fits in after the first '40713' in the line. Still, it sounds like you had some fun anyway! And what's that about A'n'F? Are you a professional rumour-monger - or are you just doing this in your spare time?
Troubleshootin' Pete.

We're always pleased to have our products featured in magazines of the calibre of Your Spectrum and we looked forward to reading your report. Sad to say, however, we were very disappointed by the observations and conclusions made about the Transform keyboard.
The keyboard was designed specifically to obviate the need to strip either the Spectrum or its power pack from their respective cases in order that the user may simply fit them both into the new case. Also, both the LED and the on/off switch are arranged to be connected without the need to solder at all; special clip-on connectors are provided for this purpose together with full instructions on how to make the connection. Contained in this instruction sheet is our recommendation that the completed set be earthed and again the procedure is described and we also supply the necessary connection aid.
The case itself is constructed in two main parts, the top of which is made of anodised aluminium 18 gauge (1.2mm) and the base of mild steel 20 gauge (1mm). It's hard to see how, with this specification, the case can be described as 'flimsy'.
We guess that you may not have had the time to set up and use the Transform keyboard personally and hope you will appreciate our disquiet at the inaccuracies which have perhaps resulted in this omission ...
Many potential buyers look to magazines like yours for accurate product information before making their purchase and of course they'll tend to take your printed words as 'gospel'.
To end, perhaps I can tell you that we have received a number of calls from existing customers urging us to write to you to set the record straight and one or two have actually written to you direct (Hmmm! Ed.).
We are proud to be able to tell you that we have among our many happy customers, professional journalists and writers - some, in fact, in the computer trade. These people currently use the Transform keyboard in preference to others on the market.
Michael Mackenzie, Transform Ltd

I'll take the points in the order that you've raised them.
1. You
must take the top off the Spectrum 's case to remove the original keyboard and get at the keyboard connector. The review states quite clearly that the bottom of the case and the complete power supply are then fitted in, so I'm not quite sure what the problem is here.
2. Yes, that's correct - you don't
need to solder anything. But, if memory serves, the user will need wire strippers and a
crimping tool to do a decent job, especially if it's going to be a permanent fixture. Also, I don't recall seeing any insulating sleeves so there'd still be live mains floating around. (This last comment also applies to the earthing of the case, although this would be rather difficult as I can only find a live and neutral in my Spectrum's power supply cable!)
3. My review case actually came in three parts, although what the third piece was for remains a mystery - perhaps I got an early prototype. I actually said that the "... Transform case was flimsy by comparison". This was a
comparative review and as the only other metal case keyboard was built out of what appeared to be 22 gauge mild steel that seemed a fair comparison. The main complaint, though, was that the sample was very poorly finished with several sharp edges and insufficient support for the keyboard.
4. Every product I test is set up and used thoroughly. Assembly was carried out according to the supplied instructions and the keyboard used for between one and two hours for programming, data entry and game playing.
Henry Budgett

Being a glutton for trivia and glossy pretentiousness, I finger punched the Xmas Greeting program from YS issue 10 faithfully digit for digit into my aging Spectrum. Surprise, surprise! Instead of marching on in an endless loop, it ground to a halt after one circuit, displaying a 'subscript wrong' message in line 430.
This may easily be corrected by substituting line 440 with the following:
440 IF c>LEN m$ THEN GO TO 420
I hope this makes next Christmas a happier time for all your readers.
Andrew Lea, Hereford

Well that's Tony 'Slim' Samuels for you - ever since he programmed Ugh!, his mind's been permanently trapped somewhere in prehistoric times. Yes, Andrew, the above correction will certainly work, as will
440 IF c=f THEN GO TO 420
Hope it didn't spoil your Xmas too much.
Troubleshootin' Pete.
Can you advise me on the following problem with my new Spectrum+?
When I entered the routine shown below I got all sorts of different results for zero according to the value in line 30:
10 LET S=1
30 LET S=S-0.1 (or 0.2 or 0.5, etc)
40 GO TO 20
For example, if line 30 reads 'LET S=S-0.2', I get 4.6566129E-10 and if I change 0.2 to 0.1, I get 6.9849193E-10, and so on.
G Baker, Chesterfield

Sorry Mr Baker, there's nothing we can do, it's just more proof that Sinclair Research could never handle arithmetic too well.
Troubleshootin' Pete.
Home Contents KwikPik