Why the QL ?

A place to discuss general QL issues.
Andrew
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Andrew » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:00 pm

Thank you Dilwyn and Norman !
i am writing in Basic now but plan to move to C68 soon. Assembler never was one of my hobbies :)


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby NormanDunbar » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:07 pm

I remember my first Windows application in the Hello World vein. Took hours of typing! This was long before there were any tool kits available, even before Visual basic. It was Turbo C 3.x and then the Object Windows Library, or OWL and Borland C++ version 3.3. (Now, OWL was excellent - if you got your head around it.)

Many yaers later, it was as simple as a quick MessageBox() call with NULL as the window handle. (Which was not quite representative of a proper program of course.)

Charles Petzold was your goto for information back in the day (Windows 3.1).

Sorry, off topic, slightly (?)


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby pjw » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:12 pm

NormanDunbar wrote:The QPTR Toolkit, by Tony Tebby has been around a while, and was really the first way to get going writing SuperBASIC and assembly programs under the PE. But like much of Tony's documentation, the documentation was bloody dire. (Other opinions are available, of course, but they are wrong!) ;)
As a learning tool, the QPTR manual is about as useful as trying to understand an egg by looking at an omelette. However, once you have grasped the basics of PE, it becomes an essential guide. The Qptr manual is in effect the PE design.


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby NormanDunbar » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:40 pm

Hi Per,

Agreed, I think.

Because the QPTR manual was so bad, I never progressed to grasping the PE at all. I never actually got anything written in QPTR either in SuperBASIC, or assembler.

The Qpac2 manual, which I read first on a train to Aberdeen from a QL show in Newcastle, was equally abysmal. Having re-read it a few months ago, my opinion remains somewhat uncomplimentary.

EasyPTR 3's manual was great at describing everything, but there was bugger all in thebway of examples fully described to allow dimwits, like me, to proceed through simple stuff to more complicated stuff.

Hopefully, my manuals etc are better. I want to hear about it if not!

Cheers,
Norm.


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If you think your job is pointless, remember, there's someone in Germany who fits indicators to BMWs.
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby pjw » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:36 pm

My life in computing started in about 1982 with a TI calculator. It wasnt exactly programmable, but it would record a certain number of keystrokes and play them back. Problem was, that when you switched it off, it would forget everything. However, it awoke me to the possibilities of computing.

The next step up was an HP41CX RPN calculator. What a wonderful machine that was! It had a 24 character LCD display, 4k RAM, a fantastic tiny keypad, sound, RTC functions - and a beautifully made set of manuals. And it cost an arm and a leg! When the memory filled up, I had to write down a program in my book, delete it to make room for the new one, and then re-enter it again when needed. Over time I upgraded to a 4k RAM pack and finally a magnetic strip reader, through which you judiciously had to pull a 1k magnetic strip to load or save programs.

In 1984 I decided to go for a real computer. I bought a Sharp Z80(?) No good, so I exchanged it for another 8-bit machine, I cant remember which. Still no good. Then I borrowed a friend's IBM PC. Didnt like that either. When I saw the QL advertised, I immediately knew that that was the One. Multitasking! BASIC built in! 100k Microdrives! Psion software! So I put in an order. It cost nearly £700. Then there was a long wait. I took delivery 12th March 1985, and my girlfriend bought a Brother EP44 typewriter-cum-printer on the same day. The old B&W portable TV I picked up somewhere really didnt cut it, so I had to sell my darling HP41CX and buy a crisp new CUB monitor instead. Then I was hooked!

There have been many machines since then: A second QL, an Atari ST with the original QL "emulator", Atari Mega ST with QVME (another great favourite), an Aurora (SGC, Hermes..), QXL-II, Q60(80), and finally QPC. Sadly, due to space constraints and repeated relocations (in particular a fatal move where I accidentally discarded all my 8/16-bit era cables!) I had to get rid of all but the latter. Luckily, now my best QL ever, and all my software and other scribblings, from 1985 til today, only takes up a fractional part of a hard disk..


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Dave » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:58 am

pjw wrote:
In 1984 I decided to go for a real computer. I bought a Sharp Z80(?)


Sharp made two similar machines, the MZ80-A and the MZ80-K if I remember correctly. One had an inbuilt tape deck and chiclet keyboard and the other one had a proper keyboard. I think it ran CP/M...


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SinclairSociety
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby SinclairSociety » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:30 am

Since we are talking about older computers too... and since Sinclair is probably best known for the Z80 based computers... it reminded me... the oldest largest Z80 I used back in the day... a friends father had it... was a Cromemco. You all heard of those?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromemco

I remember playing Star Trek game for hours on that BEAST!

TJ


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby NormanDunbar » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:22 pm

After I taught myself Basic on my ZX81, I packed up my job and went to college to do a diploma in computing. The first coding we got taught was basic, on a Crememco. If I remember correctly (we are talking 1983 here) it had two 8" floppies as storage. Them were the days.

After that, the college upgraded to a Systime 11-750 which was a clone of a VAX 11-750. That's when I first did COBOL.....


Why do they put lightning conductors on churches?
If at first you don't succeed, don't take up skydiving!
If you think your job is pointless, remember, there's someone in Germany who fits indicators to BMWs.
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby SinclairSociety » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:06 pm

NormanDunbar wrote:After I taught myself Basic on my ZX81, I packed up my job and went to college to do a diploma in computing. The first coding we got taught was basic, on a Crememco. If I remember correctly (we are talking 1983 here) it had two 8" floppies as storage. Them were the days.

After that, the college upgraded to a Systime 11-750 which was a clone of a VAX 11-750. That's when I first did COBOL.....


Indeed the Cromemco had huge 8" floppies!
TJ


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Dave » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:18 pm

SinclairSociety wrote:Indeed the Cromemco had huge 8" floppies!


If US inches are anything like US miles, pints and gallons they are, in fact, smaller than English ones :P



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