INMC 80 News


May–September 1981, Issue 4

Page 11 of 71

long time unless we can prevent it. What he fails to mention, however, is that computers can be “taught” to recognise keywords in a given person’s speech – unreliably perhaps, but sufficient to make things a lot easier for Big Brother – such that tapped phones can signal to a listener when the conversation is getting “hot”.

Unfortunately, human rights and principles do not remain the same – as he claims – they have to be fought for and protected. Any child watching the cavortings of our politicians and multinationals can see that they will do anything they can get away with to keep power and profit in their hands. Computers can and will be used to help them do just that.

On a more technical note, I wonder if you have come across A.S. Watkin’s descriptive breakdown of the Nascom BASIC. I have only had it a couple of weeks but found it amazingly useful. It does, however, contain several minor errors and a couple of “howlers” which I discovered while using it to disassemble (by hand) some key sections. I am trying to get a list of these together. Would you be interested in it together with a review, perhaps?

M. York, London.

(Yes – do write the article – Ed.)

Machine Code Programming

I have just read in the local paper that Nascom have been bought by Lucas Logic. I hope that this will provide the necessary funds to continue to further success that this excellent product deserves.

Now yet another word on machine code programming. David Lorde’s correspondence (INMC80 Issue 2) on the subject, I think, rings very true. I suppose that for a few lucky people it will come as second nature. However, for most of us there is no easy way to learn except for good hard slog. Articles such as David Hunts do make the slog less ‘sloggable’ and there is plently of room for such useful material. I’ve had my Nascom 2 (Yawn – not another I’ve had my Superthunderstingcom for etc., etc., – again) (Yes) for almost a year and knew a little about BASIC, but absolutely zilch about machine code. I began by converting some programms out of previous INMC newsletters that were written for the T4 monitor to run with Nas-Sys. (with a certain amount of success).

When the Space Invaders programm arrived all hell was let loose (well, the odd hobgoblin here and there). After several months of hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing and yelling at the cat (which probably now knows more about machine code programming than I’ll ever know, but has more sense and lies in front of the fire) I finally managed a working understanding of the programme. I’ve written several routines to control the speed of the programm (which was rather breathtaking) and to stop a lot of the on screen flashing.

So, I’ve still got plenty to learn, but I’ve managed to untangle some of the mystery. While fiddling about with the ‘Invaders’ programme (which is excellent) what did amaze me is the speed that the computer works at. It seems, with that program, the problem is in slowing the computer down. A correspondent in your INMC80/3 mentions a preferable change in the use of the keys to control the movement. The method of mapping the keyboard is a mystery to me also. Any answers?

A little hint that probably everyone else has discovered but something I hit on a short time ago. When using the M command to modify memory locations the cursor may be taken back up screen and a previous location changed i.e. just as in editing lines in BASIC. This can occur across several completely different blocks of memory that may be on screen.

Although people may scoff, I am mostly interested in the graphics side of computing (and thus games). So any addition to the graphics capability (hardware or software) I find of interest. A review of the Bits and PC’s PCG perhaps?

Enough of my waffle, the cats just writing a Basic interpreter,

Yours (moans from background)

D. Hirst, Birmingham.

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