Ever Impressive Acorn

By Robert Sprowson

Originally published in EUG #28

Having seen the speed of BASIC on a RISC PC from Acorn, I just couldn't resist loading in a few BASIC programs from the trusty BBC.

Those which were written legally, for example the "SLOW" alpha sorter that I sent some time back (The other two were in assembler and the ARM chip has different mnemonics to the 6502) ran like greased lightning!

Very impressive - even the file format is the same, so it could be read in still tokenised. Acorn know a thing or two.

And so comes the moral of the story. If using BASIC alone on a BBC, try to do it legally. Always use VDU23 instead of *LOADing to Page &C00 (This routine doesn't work on the Master 128 even!) VDU23 still re-defines the font, even on a RISC PC!

And if you ever wondered why on earth you send palette redefinitions followed by a series of 0 bytes, this is because the better graphics capabilities of the 32bit machines use red, green and blue components too.

The list goes on. *FX, not ?&FE60, to name but one.

Gus was in trouble recently about his 5.25" disk supply having damaged a drive earlier with a dirty one. I periodically spring clean my drive with a disk head cleaner from Maplin. Incidentally, Maplin's 5.25" disks (Code CK09K) work out at 40.7p each, including VAT.

Just to make sure, I'll be swapping to 3.5" at the end of this year's subscription!

Tony Mulcahy was wondering how to fix up a BBC to WINDOWS. Firstly, you'll need a 5pin domino to either 25way or 9way, depending on your computer. Using Terminal (C:\WINDOWS\TERMINAL.EXE usually) will serve to receive files, then you'll need some simple software at the BBC end to read a file into RAM and transmit it. If you need further help (Indeed, anyone!) send an sae and two stamps to me and I'll give you more details on how I do it.

I've not had any problems with a Canon BJ10e connected to a BBC so Tony, I guess your problem may be with the lead. Ensure that the lead is a fully occupied type and not just an 8bit + 2 handshake + ground job. I assume here that *FX6,<ignore CHR$>, or *IGNORE on a Master, has been used in conjunction with DIP switches to get the CR then LF problem sorted.

See my other entries on this EUG disk! Hope to see loads more of yours soon!

Robert Sprowson, EUG #28