THE KIDDIES GUIDE TO Z80 ASSEMBLER PROGRAMMING
D. R. Hunt
Part: The Fourth.
Learning to live with a computer
(whilst avoiding grounds for divorce)
INMC80-3 has just plumped through the letter box. Yes, I do have one sent
through the post just like any other member; that way I can check on how long it takes
from going to the printers to arriving on the members’ doorsteps. Heavens, I haven’t
continued the saga, and Paul will be nagging me for copy for the next issue any
minute. So here goes.
After reading the previous episode to remind myself of the story so far, I
must at this stage give a very severe warning to those married members who haven’t yet
been made aware of the light.
Women (and here I’m presuming that I am writing for a predominately male
readership), are strange beings. In general, wives (and girl-friends) will, under
normal circumstances, take a considerable amount of abuse without turning a hair. They
provide us with food after a weary days work, they clean the house and do the
shopping. They will tolerate, nay dote upon noisy kids, they will be polite to their
mother-in-law (whilst you hate yours). They will accept that us fellas have mates, and
going off for a drink on Thursday nights is but the natural course of life. They
create miracles when important people unexpectedly announce they are coming to dinner
(even the noisey kids are somehow tamed and locked out of sight). In general we fellas
assume this to be the normal domestic role of the women in our lives and is so much
second nature that we are lulled into the security of believing that nothing could
disturb the smooth running of the household.
BUT BE WARNED. Wives and computers go together like peaches and creosote !!!!
The aquiring of a computer produces much the same reaction as bringing home half a
dozen of the most doubtful birds imaginable, and then announcing that hence forth
these are going to receive your undivided attention until at least three o’clock each
morning. To say the least, there is some female instinct which instantly eminates
hostility towards your latest possession, and this will seriously affect your wallet.
I fully endorse the comments by Len Ford (Issue 3 page 39), and feel that his is a
masterly understatement of the facts. Wives, who for years have consented to being
taken out to dinner annually on the wedding anniversary (if you happen to remember)
now assume it as a right that they will be treated to a regal nosh-up at least once a
month. The occasional Mars bar will now have to become frequent 2 pound boxes of the
sort of stuff that some loony jumps off moving trains, climbs mountains without ropes
with his bare hands, and blows up arab castles to deliver. Nights out with the lads
will now take on a sheepish and guilty feeling, which of course that uncanny feminine
‘sixth sense’ will immediately detect and amplify by such monosylabic utterings as,
“Hmpff”, which of course is to be translated as, “If I don’t get taken out to dinner
this weekend, we’ll see how well you survive on cold dinners and dirty shirts for the
next week.” So dear naive reader, if you’ve just bought a Nascom, don’t think the
capital outlay will finish there. There are the consumables (which I mean literally)
to consider, and cultivating a sincere friendship with the manager of the local French
Bistro should be your next priority.
There are of course exceptions. I know one couple where the reverse is true.
‘Mrs’ plays with the computer whilst hubby sits and knits (or watches Coronation
Street on the box, or something equally constructive). ------ So where were we, we’ve
looked round the innards of the Z80, got the idea that HEX is only a way of expressing
binary information, learned some of the stupid mistakes that I made after getting my
hands on a Nascom and generally not learned much more than could have been gleaned
from any good book about Z80 programming in as many days as it has taken months to
read this. This time we’ll go on to some of the things that the books seem to assume
you should know. It all easy stuff, but if you’re not in the know in the first place,
how the heck are you supposed to find out ?