Friday, 31 July 2009

C Programming

Digital C might be updated. Check out the QL users forum

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Quanta Magazine June/July

The latest Quanta magazine arrived today. Slightly lighter than previous copies but with 40 pages. Articles from the stalwarts Dilwyn Jones and Steve Poole. News items around games and the discovery of the lost installment of Simon Goodwins Browser program. Its now on Dilwyns site. I have given it a go here is a picture :

George Gwilt has made some changes to his programs. There are some new CDs. Dilwyn wonders if QcdeZe can be used on a Qubide2 system. I am fairly sure this is the case as I recollect that I used it when I had a working aurora system.

Friday, 24 July 2009

16k Colours with QPTR

My version of QPTR is 0.13. I have never ceased to be amazed at the resilience of this extension in the face of developments in SuperBasic and then SBASIC.

The Qliberator directive to incorporate this extension is $$asmb="location"_QPTR,0,172

I acquired the value of 172 by trial and error. It is published nowhere in any manual.

Anyway here is how to add 16k colours to the WMAN structures set up from SBASIC through QPTR. I had no idea of how simple this was until I came across an article by Geoff Wicks in QLToday in 2006, volume 10 issue 4 January to March, page 17. The article was entitled "Eleven Lines of BASIC". Nothing to do with QPTR but everything to do with the indexing of the colour built into smsq/e.

What Geoff says is this for colour index values:
0 - 255 QL colours
256 - 511 Palette colours
512 - 767 System colours (do not use!)-GWicks(sic) (Duh!)-me
768 - 1023 Shades of grey
Combine this minuscule snippet of information with the structure of the system palettes and what you get is add 512 to the index value of the system palette colour you want to use in QPTR window definitions and low and behold you have accessed the current system theme. System palettes/colours are described in QLToday volume 8 issue 2 May/June 2003 page 47.

Why was this not immediately obvious to plodders like me or how did Geoff get hold of this information so clearly and why did he not put it into context. Apply your own conspiracy theory.

Sorry no picture this time. Next time I will supply some examples of how to use this information.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Favourite Freeware QL Software

What software do you use regularly? Besides SBASIC, QD, one little bit of software that I find indispensable is StufferStore and GSH (Get Stuffer History). One thing that the QL does differently from the PC is its clipboard.

There are two clipboard equivalents. One is the stufferbuffer and one is the Scrap. The Stufferbuffer takes on line of text, length upto 32k if needed I think. It automatically picks up file names from the QPAC file requester but can also be fed lines from other programs. For example CTRL-Z in QD drops a line of code in and F10 in the SBASIC editor drops a line in. ClipScrapBoard and other clip programs also stuff lines into the stuffer buffer. The problem arises if the line you want has been over written. Perhaps you used that filename then did a few other things and now need it again, but its no longer the current item in the single line stuffer buffer.

This is where StufferStore comes in. Stufferstore when launched in the boot file runs as a low CPU consumption background task which monitors the stufferbuffer. Each time a new item is placed in the stufferbuffer stufferstore copies it into its own stuffer history, which is a SBASIC public history device. Then to retrieve the data along comes GSH. Hotkey GSH and it opens a window listing all items in the History device using the QMenu list select menu.

Select an item and there it is back in as the current item in the stufferbuffer. Copy and past several lines of a program - no problem. Store them all in the stufferbuffer from SBASIC using the F10 key. Paste them back where you want with the stufferbuffer hotkey using GSH to place each back in the stufferbuffer in the order they need to be pasted back out. Sounds complicated but is easy in practice.

Monday, 13 July 2009

As Promised

Here are some of the issues that have rocked the QLiverse in the past. I believe that what I am about to relate is factually correct but I am reliant on memory and therefore apologise in advance if I have got some of them wrong.

The first dust up that I am aware of is the 1996/7 argument over complimentary SuperGold cards awarded by the then Quanta Committee without the full knowledge of the membership.

Simultaneously here were also some beneficial rates given for advertising to some traders that were effectively a subsidy from Quanta. These problems were raised by the then editor of Quanta who subsequently resigned over the handling of these issues.

The next major fight was over the smsq/e licence where the handling of the licencing arrangements effectively left one hardware supplier who had been instrumental in triggering the completion of the colour drivers by Tony Tebby at the programming mercy of the author of the main PC emulator for the QL. A possible conflict of interest that was not resolved and therefore effectively finished native hardware development.

Then there were the cries of piracy from the author of Just Words. This confusing issue was mixed in with the above conflict but the separation of issues was not made clear until now.

There was the attempt by the chairman of Quanta to censor a public user group on the net.

There is still the running wrangle between the editor of QLToday and Quanta.

And lately there has been a public airing of dirty linen between an established UK QL trader and the owner of QLToday.

The miracle is that despite this QL enthusiasm continues. The lion in general lies down with the lamb at the QL shows but there has always been a slow leak of casualties that weakens QL Heaven.

A happier topic is needed for my next post I think!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Latest QL Today

QL today is the premier QL magazine at the moment. All has not been well with its UK distribution. This is the money trouble I alluded to in march of this year. The row rumbles on with an explanation from the accused and a commentary from the owner of QL Today. We humble UK subscribers are deftly reminded that for this final issue of volume 13 we are charity cases.

All this makes me think I should post a list of all the public fights that have battered and diminished ql users over the years. I will leave that for a future post.

Back to QL Today, contents include - actually I am not going to list them, here is the index page :)

Back to sprite troubles for now.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Sprites Again

OK here is another little snippet that I have picked up the hard way: Old style mode 4 sprite headers are 24 bytes long while new style GD2 sprite headers are 32 bytes long.
Get the offset for the mask or the data wrong and you will see some oddities even if the mask and data are in the correct place.