80-Bus News


January–February 1983, Volume 2, Issue 1

Page 15 of 56

Program One, as it is entitled has one or two points to be noted:

  1. The quotes must be included in the DATA statements.
  2. Leave a space between the the quotes and the first word of the statement. (Try without and see what happens.)
  3. The variable on line 40 must change with the number of DATA statements. (e.g. with seven DATA statements, line 40 would be FOR I=1 TO 7)

Program Two highlights the neat INKEY$ routine in the Extension Basic reviewed in 80BUS News; it displays the decimal equivalent of the ASCII code of any key pressed, including graphics.

Your sincerely, Robert Wood.

The next one is easy, from David Hicks at Girton College, Cambridge. He wants to know what the ‘well published’ mod for converting the Nascom 2 screen to 16 TV lines is, as it doesn’t seem to have been published in anything he has read. Well, there are two answers, the first is simple and crude but works, and that is to whip pin X of ICYY out of its socket. [Ed. – Really useful Dave!! I think X=1, YY=53.] The second solution was complicated and as I have forgotten where I read it, I’ll gloss over it. [Ed. – chicken!]

D. W. Edgar of Greenock, Renfrewshire, has noted that people always seem to be moaning in various magazines about the tape loading of virtually all home computers. He recommends the Binatone Piper Mini Cassette recorder as providing 100% reliability with his Nascom. As the Binatone is only priced at £15.99, it should appeal to all Scotsmen. Personally, I have used a wide variety of cassette recorders over a period of years and have found it difficult to fault any of them. The cheapest was a Pye Mains/​battery model that cost £12.95, The most expensive (and noticeably the least mechanically reliable) was a Tandy CTR80 at about £40.00. The Pye is still in daily use in the shop after two and a half years, the Tandy was consigned to the bin about a year ago after spending months back at Tandy’s under warranty. The Tandy worked all right, it was simply that bits kept falling off it. In any event, almost without exception, all tape recorders we have tried have produced as near to 100% reliability as it is practical to achieve. The tape used, ah, now that’s a different matter. In the situation that we ere in, we have tried most makes of tape and have noted that ‘el cheapo’ tape is no good at all. We also noted that certain tape recorders were fussy about certain brands of tape. The one shining example which would go with almost any tape recorder was TDK D46 or D60, followed closely by Scotch computer tapes. Some of the special computer grade C10’s we purchased were useless. So I endorse Mr Treen’s recommendation and use TDK.

Bill Ratcliffe wants to know if there are any books on programming techniques for the Microsoft Basic as he says, “My program organisation is chaotically out of control and I need help”. Well this one is a lot harder to answer, as sorting programs into a sensible order is a cross between discipline and sensible forward planning, both topics I am the last person to ask about. Most of my Basic programs end up as one hell of a mess, and the only person who understands them is myself (and then only for a short while after I’ve written them). What I do is to write the program and make it work. Then, if it’s for publication I decide what it was I set out to achieve, and jot down the order of the main routines. Then an ASCII dump of the Basic program is put back into my DISKPEN and a ‘scissors and paste job’ performed, pulling all the common bits together and commenting them. The whole lot is then renumbered using the ‘find and change command’ starting from the top. A very messy process of program writing, and not to be encouraged. Perhaps we should follow Dr Dark’s and Rory’s exhortations and both learn Pascal.

I have had one entry in my ‘Save a Byte’ competition for my ‘Simple Hangman’ program. W. H. Turner of New Malden writes:

Dear Editor,

This is my entry in Dave Hunt’s Kiddies Guide competition. I am an old byte-parer from way back so what an opportunity this is .... Wherever there is a

Page 15 of 56