More various points.
I’m very pleasantly surprised – Scorpio News was out on time (if not before) for
the second occasion. Do keep it up! To judge from your editorial, however, the
revival in fortunes of 80-BUS publishing will be short-lived – which would be
tragic for all concerned.
Could I thank all those readers who kindly contacted me with offers of circuit
Diagrams and handbooks in response to my request? So far, 12 people offered
help and I have a11 the information I need. Perhaps I’m biassed, but I can’t
imagine this level of response in other computer circles.
Regarding the possible extension of the magazine to include PC look-alikes – not
a bad idea if people can be persuaded to write suitable articles and for others
to purchase the magazine. The main problem is going to be how to extend your
circulation once the PC articles come pouring in – and another is going to be
how to get articles of general (or even specific) interest to the existing or
potential audience which aren’t done already by glossier publications (although
most of these tend to restrict themselves to software reviews). It’s worth
trying, however, even if it does offend the purists (shades of an earlier debate in
I have a particular interest since I would like to know how to doctor the BIOS
of my Amstrad so that I can fit and use 80 track drives – one gets used to the
784k of the Gemini QDDS and the 360k currently available is pathetic.
Obviously, one needs to have one or both drives software switchable to 40 track.
One of the best features about this magazine and its predecessors is De Dark’s
Diary. Always interesting and usually very enjoyable...... but – the most
recent episode seems to have been a bit hard on one or two of us (sob!). So he
doesn’t like Fortran – well, perhaps he could write a guide to Pascal – which he
knows a lot about. I would welcome a decent guide to an excellent language
which has so many adherents (and so would others to judge from the letters poses
in the same issue). I use Fortran because most of the programs I need are
written in it – and it isn’t worth the hassle of translating 30,000 or so lines
of Fortran IV or Fortran 77 into Pascal. Perhaps I might be able to do it if I
sampled some of his anchovy wine!
Of course the
Dobbs Benchmark program
is silly – no one in their right mind
would seriously want to fiddle around with tangents and arctangents around the
90 degree mark – a quick look at a table of tangents would show how rapidly the
value changes. The point of the program and the article was to demonstrate how
well, or otherwise, various interpreters and compilers coped with such a problem
and how fast or slow they ran on a range of machines which might be of interest
to readers. The general point is still valid – a machine/language combination
which took a long time to produce a result or which produced a poor result could
probably be relied upon to give a poor performance in other applications. I
know that this is a generalisation but herd experience tends to bear it out. I
did appreciate the explanation of the poor result obtained with HiSoft
which does explain why virtually no other Pascal or Fortran IV compiler has TAN
as a supplied function - but it is available in some implementations of Fortran 77.
Well, how about it, Chris? I’m sure that the Editor could find a few pages (or
even more) for the first instalment of your guide to Pascal.
Yours sincerely, P.D. Coker, Orpington, Kent.