Sunday, 22 September 2013

QLToday is finished - a sad day for QLing

As predicted QLToday has gone under. The last edition was published this month and received here on Friday. Again a good read. It came with a bonus DVD with all past issues and a mega collection of software. And as an amazing bonus QPC2 v4 was released as freeware as an additional bonus. The most interesting article in this last issue was Marcel Kilgus  on how he came to write QPC.

QLToday is dead - Long live QLing

Sunday, 12 May 2013

SMSQE emulation on a Raspberry Pi

Not much is happening as the RPi has been converted to an XBMC box with iplayer, 4on demand, itv player and channel 5. Setting up internet TV with the RPi was a dream as was setting up the wireless connection and finding that the HDMI link to the TV could also transmit the TV control commands to the RPi. Need to get another RPi to try SMSQE and QDOS.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

QL Magazines

QL Today is virtually gone. Only one issue to go. Quanta magazine continues. The In the latest issue April/May 2013 the Editor makes comprehensive suggestions for the types of articles he would like to see. QL Heaven has no shame in reproducing below there suggestions :

"Writers block can kick in quite easily, sitting in front of a blank piece of paper and wondering where to start! (for paper, read computer screen). Indeed it may seem to many that SuperBASIC programming would be more prolific if it were not for the exact same reason.
With that in mind I thought it prudent to offer some guidelines to all, about what we would like our existing and potential contributors to provide us with as ‘copy’ (technical term). Don’t worry about your spelling or grammar not being up to scratch, that is something we can correct or leave as necessary. The following is a list of topics or areas to give you some food for thought as budding writers for the QUANTA magazine. The list is by no means exhaustive but will give you a starting point to go by and has been split in to three general areas.
A review of a piece of hardware you have recently seen, obtained or bought that is related or used with the Sinclair QL.

A description of project that is large or small, something that you have, are undertaking or have completed. You could include the benefits of the hardware, the pitfalls, what could be improved if someone was to duplicate your work.

An item you have repaired or replaced on your system or that you have adapted or improved.

There maybe something you have a problem with, and that you are calling the QUANTA community for help. Even if this is resolved via other means (Forum/QL User list for example), do not assume every QUANTA member has access to other forms of support.

You could write about your own setup that you use at home, what you have put together and use either on a regular basis or periodically.

If you’re a collector of QL items, what are the reasons for your collection, what do you have?

Repairs to microdrive cartridges that have worked for you for example, that seems to crop up a lot on the Forum.
Small Listings - any number of lines really, from just a few to a couple of pages, single or multiple procedures and functions that you have written to either solve or explore a programming problem. Or even just for a bit of experimental fun.

Long listings - no program is too big, no language too strange, whether its just concepts, SuperBASIC, block diagrams, Boolean logic, assembler, mnemonics (that's one for you George), C# C++ C- - or just plain C, Pascal, Fortran or even S*BASIC, anything about everything would be appreciated.

Although the QL doesn’t have every one it was interesting to read on Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge) that there are around 1000 different languages listed. You could even send us
an adapted listing from the QUANTA software library that you have modified or improved in some way. Corrected errors or changed existing programs in order to suit emulators or screens/colours etc.

Any reviews of software - whether it is games, applications or utilities would be helpful. These could be new or even old versions, remember that we do have new members coming back to the QL community and missed developments and releases over the years.

You could write about your favoured method of what you use on a regular basis including extensions you load in as a matter of preference including the order and why you load them in (i.e. for what purpose).

Any request for program needs or even if you are stuck and would like suggestions or solutions to programming anomalies you may have.

Any wants or needs or help in software projects you are undertaking or hope to undertake.

Other media
Reviews of any other media such as books, magazines or even leaflets that others may appreciate.

New developments that our illustrious News Editor may have missed on the Interweb. We are also particularly interested in areas such as the Java based SMSQ/e from a software perspective, the Raspberry Pi does have some hardware potential, if you have you been able to get a uQLx emulator working on the RasPi for example. I haven't as I don't know enough about Linux to resolve the 'nothing' that happens when I try. A simple step by step approach would be helpful assuming no knowledge at all for the reader."

Excellent though these are QL Heaven has its own suggestion which is, if any of the posts on this blog are of interest, reproduce them in the magazine. QL Heaven promises not to sue.

Moving on to one of the original QL Magazines - QLUser, while browsing on ebay for back copies QL Heaven came across this piece of interesting information from a trader "whichera"

"QL User and QL World

QL User was probably the first ‘glossy’ QL magazine. In fact, there were two QL User magazines, one published by EMAP Business And Computer Publications Ltd and the other by Sportscene Specialist Press Ltd which appeared initially as a “pull out” supplement in Your Spectrum magazine. These were just a few pages long initially, as none had a real QL to play with, so presumably much of the content came from Sinclair publicity material. 

The first “real” issue was the extensive “QL User Complete Dossier” in July 1984, priced £1.95! From there, QL User initially went bi-monthly from the August/September 1984 issue (now priced at 85pence!), and then monthly from the February 1985 issue. The editor was Paul Coster BSc.
The 'Dossier' issue and the first bi-monthly issue can be seen below along with the contents page.

Suddenly the QL was available in quantity, the user base was growing steadily and the demand for information about the QL grew and grew.  

During 1985, Sinclair arranged for their QL Users Bureau members to receive six free issues of the new magazine called QL World with their QLUB newsletter. Edited by Geoff Wheelwright, this was an independent magazine, professionally produced (like QL User) and early in 1986 QL User merged with QL World, the latter being the surviving name. The last issue of QL User was cover-dated Jan/Feb 1986. By now, QL World was published by Focus Investments. From March 1986 we were back to just one monthly QL magazine at the newsagent! The merged issue like QL User had 64 pages, nearly twice as many as the original QL World.

The ‘QL User’ name disappeared from the cover with the February 1987 issue. The December 1987 issue was the first to be edited by Helen Armstrong, who was to remain as editor through changes of ownership until QL World’s eventual demise many years later. The May 1990 issue was the first under the new ownership of one of publisher Robert Maxwell’s companies, MCM Ltd, after Focus Magazines went into administrative receivership. A brief period with Headway Home And Law Publishing Ltd in mid 1992 was followed with ownership by Arcwind Ltd, a small company better known for its windsurfing magazines! The May/June 1992 issue was the first under publisher Mark Kasprowicz, still edited by Helen Armstrong. Then finally, just after Christmas 1993 it was announced in Volume 3 Issue 5 by Arcwind that this would be the last issue of QL World. Trivia: the last issue actually contained the wrong issue number!"

Monday, 1 April 2013

SMSQmulator on Raspberry Pi

In a quick post here is a screen shot of the loaded screen of SMSQmulator on  a Raspberry Pi. The screen shot was obtained with the gimp. SMSQmulator runs very slowly on a basic Raspberry Pi. There are some tweaks that may make it more usable but more time is required for that. None the less the SMSQmulator is an amazing achivement. Congratulations W Lenerz. More about the SMSQmulator on RiPi later when QLHeaven gets a better grip on its Linux adventure.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

This was posted from a Raspberry Pi

What this has to do with the QL scene is the Pi is now assembled, connected and functional. Now to learn a bit about linux before moving to the next stage of installing uqlx. Perhaps the Pi will fit into an old QL case. All the leads lying across the desk creates a very nostalgic ambiance.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

QL Today Shock

QL Today's demise has been announced and confirmed by Geoff Wicks on the ql-users list.

Apparently the last issue will be in September with the current issue out now containing an explanation from the team.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

SMSQ/E Emulator in Java

On the QL-users list this momentous little announcement from Wolfgang popped up : 

Hi all,

SMSQmulator, the SMSQ/E machine emulator under Java is now out.

You can find it at :

(Please note that, the site running under linux, this address is case 
dependent - grrrr!).

Have fun with it.

And Dilwyn Responded :
Excellent work Wolfgang, now we have a Java based free emulator which runs 
across many of the major operating systems which have Java installed - 
Windows, Mac OS X, Linux.

I am ploughing through the manuals (both of them, Wolfgang's and Tim 
Swenson's versions).

Important to note as Wolfgang has pointed out that it is not strictly a QL 
emulator (may not run software which relies on system variables and/or 
screen at fixed QL addresses) and being a MC68000 emulator, software 
purposely written to use features of later processors (e.g. Q40/Q60 specific 
software) won't run.

I like the fact it has Native File Access, SMSQ File Access (executable file 
headers stored) and QXL.WIN access.

I would have liked to see full floppy disk access as so many QL users still 
use them, it would have made file transfer easy. That said, it can read 
floppy disk image files created on your operating system. Hopefully, someone 
will write up that process for the various operating systems in time for 
anyone who has never used disk images before.

SMSQmulator supports 16 bit colour and various screen sizes (e.g. 1024x512 
or 800x600) although it defaults to 512x256 when you first start it.

I like the warning in the manuals about the sound facilities, that although 
BEEP and Sampled Sound System are supported it might "not sound too nice" 
due to issues with the Java sound handlers!

I also like the fact that a few sample programs have been supplied (3 games 
and Psion Xchange) - the emulator startup lets you get straight into running 
a few programs. Great for people new to QL systems or who have never used 
emulators before.

Congratulations Wolfgang and anyone else involved in developing and testing.
Sounds fantastic to QLHeaven