What's Been Going On

By John Crane

Originally published in EUG #27

More rambling from me to help fill another EUG issue. It seems to be quietish on the Acorn front at the moment, doesn't it? I'm sure it's just temporary. Everyone's just finishing off their masterpieces. Before long we'll be inundated with stuff.

Anyway, all you hardened Elk and Beeb fanatics out there may be thinking "Who is this Crane person constantly asking questions relating to inferior modern Acorn equipment? Doesn't he know this is 8bit territory? Well, I find uses for both and where possible I'd like to share software between the two platforms (A3010 and Elk, that is). For example I have a fair collection of AMX Clipart and the screens in particular are very good. Why can't I use these on a DTP package designed for the A3010. I'm sure if you know what you're doing, conversion shouldn't be too difficult. Alas, I don't but I'm sure eventually I'll find someone who does.

Occasionally I buy one of two Electronics bits and pieces through the post from a firm called Greenweld. Aside from selling new things, they also buy up old and obsolete stock and sell it through their "Bargain List" pages. Now and again they send me a flyer with their latest offerings. Recently I came across an ex-Reuters' 12" colour monitor, fully working, for £30 plus £3 P&P. Yes, you read that right. Well, I just had to have one.

When I got it, the Parcel Force chappy nearly gave himself a hernia bringing it to the door and I then had similar trouble carting it up the stairs to my computing department (Well, spare room). The all-black case on this beast is made from 1/4 inch steel plat and I can only assume it's built to be bomb-proof! Talk about solid construction! It came with instructions on how to make a VGA lead, but not how to connect an Elk or BBC. Although Greenweld said it was Beeb-compatible, they don't tell you how to do it!

Anyway with some fiddling, searching through books, guesswork and luck, I got it sorted. I've written an article on how for anyone who's interested. I'm sure the monitors will all have gone by now but the info may be of help for others of similar spec.

I realise now what I've been missing. Very small text was always hard to read on my trusty old portable TV but now there's no problem at all and even graphics seem sharper. Definitely the best £33 GBP I've ever spent.

I don't know if you recall a while ago that Alan Richardson was struggling with an AP3/4. Anyway he wrote to me for the info I mentioned and I also got him sorted with the DFS. I'm glad all these bits of paper I keep amassing with bits of gen on are of some use. In return he sent me some rather useful 'hints' which you may find useful. Although I found one or two needed 64K to read in, I've sent them in. See what you think.

I also have a number of tape programs that have been converted to disk by using Slogger's T2p3 ROM. My A3010 accepts ROM images when in BBC Emulator mode. In fact, I even have an Electron emulator. However, if I load T2p3, I can get the opening screen but it doesn't access the drive. I obviously can't copy tapes to disk as there is no facility for tapes in the normal run of things on the A3010 but why can't I use the stuff that's already on disk. Anyone fancy taking the T2p3 program apart and rewriting/adapting it. I've tried contacting BCC but I don't think Bill Bradbury has any Acorn inclinations any more [You and me both - Ed].

Michael Harris might be interesting to know the program BANNER is on GRAPHICS DISK 1 (GO1) from Moss PD. The program WORDSEARCH is on MISC DISK 1 (MO1), also from Moss PD.

Moss PD have been featured in EUG in the past but I'm not 100% sure if it's still on the go. It used to cost £1.00 per disk on any format but only sold 3.5" disks. I can of course convert the disks to 5.25" DFS if Mr Harris needs that format.

Well, that's about it for me for now. Hope I haven't bored everyone to death. Once I get tapping away at the keyboard, there's no stopping me.

John Crane, EUG #27