INMC 80 News


September 1980 – January 1981, Issue 2

Page 17 of 59

Doctor Darks Diary


This could be a very long episode. I was going to call it the “bumper try-to-write-more-than-David-Hunt episode", but sadly it is now the "write-a-lot-because-I’ ve-time -to-spare episode”. Marvin is a very sick computer and will almost certainly be away from home for some time. Cheques of condolence will be gratefully accepted, of COUTBGcee


I hope lots of you have entered this brain-torturing competition. It wasn’t my idea, I’m not that sadistic. I have not actually sent an entry, but there is no truth in any of the following rumours:

(i) it is because my game "SCRUM" didn’t win the Christmas games competition.

(ii) there is no shorter or quicker way.

(iii) I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel.

(iv) there is no rumour number four.

The fact is, at the time, Marvin was being rebuilt around several new parts, of which more later, and I wouldn’t dream of sending in something I hadn’t tested. (Unless I happened to feel like annoying every-one...)


The first quotation in this new section comes from Henry Budgett’s series on microcomputers in the October issue of E.T.I. and shows that not everyone invents the wheel even once, or something....

"As an example of this, there are some 20 extra codes built into the Z80 that are not mentioned in the manuals. Apparently they are not all guaranteed to work on all 2780’s. Anyone know what they are and what they do ?"

Can it be that the normally well-informed Henry doesn’t read INMC80 ?

There’s an excellent article in Computer Age (September issue) entitled “Are Computers Alive ?" While the author doesn’t prove that they are, he knocks down flat all the arguments I have ever heard people use against the possibility. The condition of Marvin is probably best described as comatose, with bursts of insanity...

Meanwhile in Personal Computer World, the anonymous author of "Chip Chat" continues to make strange remarks about Diego Rincon of Computing Today. Apparently, Diego has the same opinion as myself, when it comes to the hideous new binders now being sold by "0 Prawn! Sell more product" (anagram 8,8,5). Their first binder was excellent, but under new management they sell a custard coloured thing in which the magazines are retained with string. I have considered "Gout Tidy, No Camp" second only to INMC80, ever since they started sending me free copies. Ali I have to do, to earn this privilege, is fill in a questionnaire each month, criticising or praising the various articles, and the next month’s issue arrives like magic. (I make these anagrams up myself, you know. What is needed is a version of Kerr Borland’s Corrector program to speed up the process.)


When you are testing a machine code program on your Nascom, and have a BASIC ROM that gets jealous, it is a good plan to put HALT (and you should know that is 76) in all the unused RAM above your program. Then when your perfect program runs away, you won’t have the BASIC initialising itself in the area 1000H to 10D6H.

(Ed. – Alternatively put B7 in the unused RAM, this will give a register display should the program crash, so you’ll know where you’ve gone to !)

This is an OCR’d version of the scanned page and likely contains recognition errors.

Page 17 of 59