Sunday, 28 April 2013
"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.
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!"