DOCTOR DARK’S DIARY – EPISODE 7
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
SPIRAL WIPE CONTEST.
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...)
WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY.
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 Z80’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. All 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
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 E7 in the unused RAM, this will give a register display
should the program crash, so you’ll know where you’ve gone to !)