Sunday, 30 January 2011

Things Written

Ql-users list has heated up. Following Peter Graf's tantalization of the listers with the half promise of a microdrive card reader substitute there has been a request for a programming project from a returning user, a debate about what would be nice to have in a new versions of a QL OS and finally a pernicious debate about a possible minor infraction of the Quanta constitution with demands from on Geoff Wicks for Quanta to be wound up.

QL heaven has responded to the these questions always in the spirit with which they are posed.

On to other written things, books. Here at QL heaven a few QL books are seen as indispensable. Firstly for SuperBasic programming. Two tomes are recommended. Here they are :

Donald Alcock's book came with a microdrive cartridge with all the snippets of programs in the books. I must see if I have already copied these of the cartridge. If bot I guess it might be too late given the age of all of this.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


From the QL-users list Peter Graf tantalises the group with this :

"Hi all,

what would be your favorite style for an SD/MMC card "harddisk" for the 

I can _not_ promise to really make a piece of hardware available, but it
would be nice to know, just in case...

A) External interface, plugs into parallel port of SuperGoldCard

- Interface also works on Q40 and Q60
- QL Case doesn't need to be openened
- Easy reconnect from one machine to another
- Hot-plugging might work
- ROM-Port remains usable
- Slow data transfer through parallel port handshake lines

B) External interface, plugs into QL ROM port

- QL Case doesn't need to be openened
- Faster data transfer
- Onboard Driver ROM
- Works on QL without GoldCard / SuperGoldCard
- ROM-Port occupied
- Complex hardware

C) Internal interface, plugs into CPU socket

- Fastest data transfer
- ROM-Port remains usable
- QL Case needs to be openened
- Only GoldCard/SuperGoldCard machines

D) Internal interface, replacing a microdrive(!)

Can easily be bolted inside the case, after a microdrive was removed
Plugs into CPU socket or maybe other place

- SD/MMC-card can be plugged in like a cartridge
- Looks cool
- Very "QL-style"
- ROM-Port remains usable
- QL Case needs to be openened

All the best,

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A Bit Of A Gap

QL heaven has been quite for most of last year. Lat month the latest QLToday and Quanta magazines were out.
Nothing terribly interesting in the content. QLToday featured some information about a floppy disk emulator sold by Rich Mellor. Interesting but does not address the age old problem of transfer of files between the QL and other systems. A bit of a lost opportunity there I think. In addition there was a further long article from Tony Tebby rubbishing every thing in computing that was not down to him. I am beginning to wonder if he is a bit more than  a bit eccentric. I hope QLToday does not feel the need to pad out the magazine with anymore of this angst derived stream of consciousness M$ directed diatribe. Its just not that interesting to us QL future enthusiast as QL Heaven. Pleased to see that Quanta are keeping up the work with colours and high resolution for the .pdf magazine.

Not that we at QL Heaven are fans of things M$, which gives me the opportunity to segue into a bit of advice for Civilisation IV fans who have "upgraded" their windows to Windows 7. I struggled to get this epic game to run under Civ IV. Consulting the web revealed many others with this problem. Windows 7 helpfully itself told me that this was a known problem, but it and the M$ site offered no advice. The Civ IV site was silent as well.
One bit of advice I found did strike me as reasonably helpful. It was to install direct X 9c and use the "compatibility mode" in Windows 7. OK downloaded and installed Direct X9c from Microsoft. Where was that dratted compatibility mode? Found on the properties menu for the game executable. Accessed via right click and down at the bottom of the list is properties item. Select this then choose the compatibility tab. OK I thought this is it. selected windows XP service pack 2 or 3 as it runs on that on my previous PC. As you no doubt have realised this did not work. The game could not find the DVD ROM in the DVD drive. After a bit of thinking I selected vista compatibility and behold it works fine. Interesting as vista did not exist when the game was written. Looks as if the vaunted compatibility mode is just a list of system tweaks dressed up previous versions of windows emulation. Its just a case of suck it and see with whichever so called previous version of windows you wish to try.