MARCH/APRIL 86 | $3.00

VOL.2 NO.3







This G.&. Compu-mate data recorder was specifically designed for use with home computer systems. Its ultra compact design compliments any system.


-program locator/digital counter for easy program location

-xrear mounted jack bank for computer hook-up

-program monitor with 3 position volumn switch

-data level control to adjust for tape computer system usage

-record and playback LED indicators

-~6 button operation including PAUSE control

-operates on AC converter (INCLUDED) -Or-

-operates on 4 "AA" cell batteries (not included)

-also includes interface module and cables for use with Atari and Commodore Computers

NOW COMP ARE THE PRICE <6 cvs eck etc te 1022.......only §24.95


FINALLY !! Just the programs we’ve all been waiting for! These quality professionally written programs will help you to learn wachine code. Machine Code Tutor consists of 33 lessons on two cassettes (loaded in four parts). The instructions include actual examples and exercises to enable anyone with some knowledge of BASIC (it helps) to learn aachine code. The system includes a Ssigulated asseabler that will help you spot errors without actually crashing the program. All registers in | the 780 are fully covered for your 152068. The aanual that comes with Machine Code Tutor also is foraated along the lines of the prograas on the tapes. This prograa (originally for the Spectrua) has been converted to work on your 2068 without the use of a Spectrue ROM ' MACHINE CODE TUTOR ITEMS M132 == ORDER YOURS WOW ONY 618,50


1 CARTRIDGE program our choice

Here’s an action-packed arcade- style game based on a Second World War scenario. You are the guaner and boab ainer vhose task is to defend your Lancaster Boaber against an eneay attack and destroy the ground targets in 30 different bombing raids.

1 or 2 player game with up to 4 levels of play. High speed graphics and truly remarkable sound effects from your 1/S2068. Joystick controlled.

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-_* 2 @e x *_*,*, e

Editor’s Corner

"Do you have back-issues???" This is the most frequently asked question in the correspondence we receive each day. Most of the time, it is asked by a new subscriber who has just received their very first issue of TDM. It is a legitimate question, as even seasoned readers may have noticed the lack of information on back issue availability.

We really don't have that many issues Lert... in fact;-VeSi.zt, Nort;4, end 4 ave alti Sold out (except for the copies we keep on file). The remaining issues are still in stock, with limited quantities. These in- clude: March/April 85, July/August 85, Sept/ Oct 85, Nov/Dec 85, and Jan/Feb 86. All back issues are priced at $3.00 each ppd. How- ever, I would suggest dropping us a line first, to see what's available, rather than sending off your check.

As I have started to figure out this




TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE COMPANY 29722 Hult Rd.e Colton, Oregon 97017

(5O3) 824-2658

TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE is published bi- monthly and is Copyright © 1986 by the Time Designs Magazine Company, Colton, Oregon 97017. All rights reserved.

Editor: Tim Woods

Assistant Editor: Stephanie Woods Editorial Assistant/Production: D.L. Woods Photography:

(unless otherwise noted): Thomas Judd PUni Tenth PEStRees” «Ai tile: betker,, + 2 Printing by: Toad’! Litho Printing and Comp., order additional stock with each new issue Oregon City, Oregon 97045 released. This back issue "shortage" should

be straightened out in the future. In the

SUBSCRIPTIONS: $15 a year for six issues (US funds only). No extra charge to Canadian subscribers. All other countries please write for information on air mail rates.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customer satisfaction is our goal. For subscription service problems please write or call TIME DESIGNS.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Write or call to prevent delay of sevice,

meantime, we have plans to produce ae com- Pilation of the best articles and programs from Volume One, and call guessed it, “TIME. DESIGNS: The Best of Vol.1". .This is not an original idea. There are many "best of's", of just about anything. But it does seem to be a solution for those readers who missed out on the earlier issues (and all new subscribers in the future). An exact release date or price has not béen.set. Some other projects are taking priority’ over the "Best of Vol.1". I will announce:-as:- soon as it is ready.

TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE CO. will have a booth at the MID-WEST TS COMPUTERFEST, May 3rd and 4th, in Cincinnati, Ohio (see more details in SINCLAIR NEWS section). ° We will have our magazines, and several "new" items on display. I am planning on attending, and I hope that many of you can make it out there too. It should be a great event. Stop by our booth and say "hello". For those of you who can't make it, we will have complete coverage next issue. Happy Computing!

Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part by any means without written permission is prohibited by law

“NOTICE: Contributors to TIME DESIGNS are independent of the TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE CO., and opinions ex- pressed in the contents of the magazines are not necessary those of the managment or its advertisers. Time Designs Magazine Co. will not be held liable for any damage or conse- quences resulting from instructions, assertions of fact, review of products or companies provided in the magazine's content. ’’


Direct all correspondence to: The Editor c/o Time Designs 29722 Hult Rd., Colton, OR 97017

The following is an alteration to the GAZER'S GUIDE program in the Nov/Dec 85 issue of TIME DESIGNS, it will eliminate those less accurate results of overhead objects and so on spoken of. Many thanks to I. Auersbacher of Belleville, New Jersey, for his repair.

Paul Bingham

Mesa, AZ S REM OTT LET c=,88035 ithie

52 37 242he. 23037) Ver. 233

SE LET R=aiSIN Gg45In fiéeigq“zie:


308 LET 2=fS5IN 4G4-SIN f*SBIH ifen 2PTiieriz: 400s tReP ier:


1335.3 SIN (Hee I-n} +8 THEN LET = =G68@-z


“In the Jan/Feb issue of TIME DESIGNS, Paul Bingham

asked whether he won the prize for answering a question I] posed in another publication more than a year ago. The answer is no. The date Paul displayed in his output from the Spectrum program "ASTRONOMER" is not the date I_ men- tioned. He also didn't explain the astronomical signifi- cance of the date to which I referred.

Paul's review of “Astronomer” was, however, right on target when he said it was accurate. ] have compared the output of this little $15.00 program with the output of astronomy software that costs up to $130.00 and found it to be in excellent agreement.

The speed of "Astronomer" is comparable to similar IBM and Apple astronomy software. TELLSTAR, an IBM pro- gram with similar features, takes 2 1/2 minutes to calc- ulate the positions of 250 stars. STAR TRACK, an Apple astronomy program, takes 9 minutes to plot 863 stars. The 11 minutes taken by astronomer to plot its 1090 stars is just as quick with its 1 minute per 100 stars calculation rate.

“Astronomer’ is the best astronomy software value available for any computer. 1 feel qualified to make such an assertion. In the last 2 1/2 years I have reviewed over 40 different astronomy software programs for Apple, Commodore, IBM, T/S 1000-2068, and Spectrum computers for the Southeastern Planetarium Association and the Inter- national Planetarium Society. It's the best I have seen in all respects except speed."

Duncan R. Teague Past President, Southeastern Planetarium Assn.

EDITOR: Duncan, the following Letter anrived in the marl Shonthy after yours did. 1 bekseve «t contains the anwer you are Looking for.

“IT have sent along some things of interest related to Paul Bingham’s piece on ASTRONOMY in Jan/Feb 86. He shows that on March 10, 1882 a close grouping of planets occurred. Co-incidentally, on March 10, 1982 the worid survived (whew), the so-called “Jupiter Effect" when a1] nine planets were inside a 95 degree heliocentric sector. Other close groupings were and will be on May 28, 987 at 66 degrees and May 19, 2161 with the planets in a 69 degree sector between Saturn and Neptune.

The print-outs are done with the well-known SKYPLOT by Eric Burgess and the rest by Bob Moler of Traverse City, Michigan, who has written a number of fine astro- programs for the T/S 1000. The Hi-Res print-outs are done using CALLISTO'S "GRAPHICA" and are direct screen copies. Not bad for ZX/TS eh?

M. R. Richardson Windsor, Ontario Canada

EDITOR: Not bad at all! Let us know what your small prize 44 when you collect from Mr. Teague for supplying the coxrnect anfo about March 10, 1982.

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PLANET LONGITUDE St875 48 MERCUR 262.7525¢ @.46612257 “ENUS 4925.,325e@36 @.7Lizsesse EARTH 169.8546 @.99311a5eE MARS 182,.8e@2 1,.65@aa62 JUPITER 21ii.886ss 5.44i16687 SATURN 497.9465 9,658ace@6s URANUS 241.7@614 18.866255 NEPTUNE 265,a6682 3@.27261 PLUTO Pes. Foae6 29.9526c2

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“The use of RADIO SHACK Thermal Paper, Cat. No. 26- 1332 (2 rolls for $3.95), is recommended for programs submitted for publication. Used in the TS2040 or Alphacom 32 Col. printers, it has much better reproduction capa- bilities, and the printing will not rub off like it does with the Timex thermal paper.

The following are changes to improve the Text Entry program Figures No.3 and 4 of my article ADVENTURES IN THE RAM JUNGLE AND OTHER MYSTERIES (CONCLUSION) on pages 11 and 12 of the Jan/Feb 86 issue:

Due to the type of keyboards used on the T/S 1000 and 1500, to avoid undesired spaces in the text using the program in Fig. No.3, page 11, add the following line:

75 IF D=0 THEN GOTO 60 As this adds 16 bytes to the right column, page 12 to read:

POKE 16388, 226 and change line 10 of figures 3 and 4 to read:

10 LET A=17635

program, change line 33,

Earl V Dunnington Boynton Beach, FL

“Douglas Jeffery's statement of not getting past the first set of rooms in the MOUNTAINS OF KET reminded me of the experience I had with the HAUNTED MANOR program which I got out of "Family Computing" magazine. I could never get to the final solution of the game. I looked over their listing and my listing, and found no differences. From going over the listing I figured out the correct sequence of rooms, but, in entering them I didn't get the solution. The solution depended on the INT(SQ) of numbers held in a DATA statement. The room number for the correct solution was 26. The DATA statement held the number 676 which is the square of 26. My 2068 would give the correct square root of 676, but, when I called for the INT(SQ) it gave me 25. I had to change the number to 687 to get the solution. I found that flaw just after my 2068 returned from Timex and my extended warranty ran out the next week.

I feel that I must make further comment on Duncan Teague s review of the MACHINE CODE TUTOR. There are a number of things he didn't say about it. Explanations of what the computer does are nothing more than the mnem- onics in longhand. You are limited to only specified addresses in setting up a program. These are the char- acter generator, the display and attribute file, and less than 200 bytes in higher memory. You are limited to only 15 lines for your program. And, if you write a program on it, there is no way to save it. The program cannot be broken out of. You must turn off the computer. "

James F. Brezina Elmhurst, IL

EDITOR: Don't send your 2068 in fon nepain. I tried out your example, and the computer gave the same results as yours did. The "{law" 446 a permanent resident of ROM.

"First, I wish to extend my thanks for continuing the publication of TIME DESIGNS, and for the improvements offered to the reader each issue. It is products like yours that have helped us stay enthused with our com- puters.

Second, I would like to suggest a subject that needs coverage for us computer buffs, PRINTERS. Not a review of a product to tell how well it works, but articles on how they work, how interfaces work, and how programs need to be organized to make it all work together.

Consider the fact that now there are many used (mostly dot matrix) printers on the market with perhaps little or no documentation available. These may be all some of us can afford to advance from the 2040 printer.

Or those of us who have full sized printers, but poor documentation as far as actual program examples are con- cerned. Yes, we have word processor programs that only need to be told what we desire in the way of type size, or margins, or many other variables, and the printer does it. But consider we wish to put all of those operations in our own programs. What are the steps required to get beyond simple LPRINT and LLIST?

A specific example will show my quandary. An A&J in- terface, an Olivetti 2300 printer, and the 0S64 cartridge program. The 0S64's short manual explains how to put a margin control into a program "if you know the printer code’, which I don't because the printer manual doesn't give it. The A&J print driver software provides margin control, but the two programs don't merge. How do I de- termine that mysterious group of printer codes to give margin control? It is there somewhere, because word- processor programs do it.

Hopefully, you have a group of writers somewhere who can and will provide the information for various popular printers and interfaces. I am sure that there are many readers who would like to know how these things are done. I would like to be able to work my printer to its maximum Capability...not only words, but graphics and column printing. I suspect that some printers can do more’ than what is described in the manuals."

Dick F. Wagner Canby, Oregon

EDITOR: Dick, your Letter typifies many Letters that we have necetved concerning printers, interfaces, and their associated software. Ah, the "good of' days", when the Sanckain computer was Synonomous with the ZX or TS2040 printer. Now with several full-size printer interfaces on the market, in addition to many brands and types of printers avartable to the TS user, it has opened the proverbial "can of worms". Starting in this 4s4ue, TIME DESIGNS wikl begin to address the many different problems and solutions to printer/interface/software combinations. If any readers have properky trained thein printer beast, I would urge them to come forward, and shane their secret Lo success.

"I have just received my second issue cof TDM. Three cheers!...(or should it be at least 2068 cheers?). You can be proud of your publication. It has the basic ele- ments that the other Sinclair orientated publications should have. You have a nice variety of material, in- teresting articles written by literate writers, the print is readable and the bonus do keep a schedule of publication.

I either have or do subscribe to most of the TS Computer magazines. Usually, I am suprised when the pub- lication arrives and often disappointed by mini-print and a rehash of old news. Keep up the good work?

I am planning to spend a month in Scotland this Summer. I would like to take my 2068 with me. I tell my wife that I need it to store travel information, but the truth is that I just don't want to spend a month without

my computer. Can I run the 2068 in Britain if I. purchase a power supply there? Byron DeFries Bonduel, WI EDITOR: Thanks fon the encouragement. Your 2068 will

operate "over-seas"” with a proper AC adapter, which you should find in one of the ekectnonic shops in Scotland. The basic difference wilf be the step-down transformer (50 Hz, as opposed to our 60 Hz AC). The adapter must have the same 15 volt 1 amp (unregulated DC) rating as the stock 2068 power supply, and the same power plug con- figuration.


ir ae

7 £1 an gue Pe eae


Why are hundreds of Timex/Sinclair (and Sinclair) users gathering in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 3rd and 4th, and coming from as far away as B.C.-Canada, California, Oregon, Texas, Florida, and New York? The reason? The MID-WEST TS COMPUTERFEST, being held at the RAMADA INN of Sharonville (a suburb of Cincinnati). This is the first major gather- ing of TS enthusiasts since the ZX/TS Cele- bration in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 25 Ses

What's in store for those attending the Computerfest? Over 15 Sinclair vendors’ and related services will be on hand to demon- strate their wares. Some displays by vendors who are unable to attend will be staffed by volunteer Computerfest personnel. Two ad- joining rooms at the convention facilities of the Ramada Inn will house all of the displays. A separate hospitality area has been reserved.

TS Computerfest officials told TIME DESIGNS that to date, the following vendors have reserved display space: E. Arthur Brown Company, Russell Electronics, Aerco, Zebra Systems Inc., Damco Enterprises, Knighted Computers, Time Designs Magazine Co., The TS Connection, TS Horizons, SUM MagaZine, Software, Thomas B. Woods, Syncware News, and JRC Software. Absentee Dealers thus far, are: Curry Computer, RMG Enterprises, Budget Robotics and the English Micro Connection. Three large users groups from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, will have display booths. Other users groups from out of state may also be represented.

To give a "sneak preview", reportedly have their FD-68 Disc up and running in CP/M mode. Zebra Systems will have the largest area, including their own hospitality suite. Zebra will have their new FD-3000 Portugal Disk System operating both in CP/M and Spectrum modes (WORDSTAR and MICROSOFT BASIC on the 2068?!?). A tech- nician from the TS Connection will be re- pairing faulty Sinclairs and available for

Aerco will Interface

Foote |


demonstra- continuously

questions. A planned program of tions and guest speakers will

run the course of the Computerfest. Invited speakers include Thomas B. Woods discussing his Pro/File programs, and Randy and _ Lucy

Gordon demonstrating the fine art of modem- ing and telecommunications.

The Mid-West TS Computerfest -is_ the "brain child" of Frank Davis from Indiana. A volunteer committee of 13 individuals have planned the event (some traveling as far as 150 miles to make the Sunday afternoon meet- ings). Jack Roberts (of TS Connection fame), is the Executive Coordinator, and can be contacted for further details by writing to: The Mid-West TS Computerfest, 3832 Watterson AVe,., Cincinnati, OH 45227. Tickets. for: the Computerfest may be purchased in advance by writing to the above address.

All in all, the Mid-West Computerfest is reported to have "a little something for everyone"...whichever machine you use; ZX81, 2068, or Quantum Leap. With the reasonable airline rates and gasoline prices, attend- ance should be quite good. After all, aren't

most Sinclair users looking for a good deal, or a new eee erick’?


Reported by R. Lussier

The NEW British version of the Spectrum 128K computer now seems to be ready. A con- signment of 3000 of these units were shipped via a route thru Tokyo, Japan, to a company called MCK Freight. They are agents for Sin- Clair Research in Cottenham, Cambridge.

These new Spectrum 128Ks are apparently being built by old T/S 2068 "buddies". Samsung in Seoul, South Korea. The computers

are intended to form a basis for a "stock- pile" of the new models prior to the pro- posed UK launch in the early part of 1986. samsung are now also producing the Spectrum


New Spectrum 128K has Dual-Operating Modes and an external keypad attached

via a coiled telephone cable.

Plus and the QOL for sale in the far east.

TASWORD THREE will be the new version of the best word processor for the Spectrum to date. However, the new program will only be available on Microdrive cartridges, and not on cassettes. This is bad news for those

not having a Microdrive unit. This new ver- Sion will have up to 128 columns, improved find and replace, a proper insert mode that

automatically inserts and rejustifies as text is typed, and user defined TABS. Also included are auto page-numbering, multiple copies, and printing of Header and Footers. There are now a few other word processors coming iS called WORD MANAGER from OCP, and is claimed to be as good as Tasword Two, if not better. Another is THE WRITER from SOFTEK. This program iS a re-vamped version of SPECTRAL WRITER (program that comes with the Wafadrive). The Writer, I am

told, will be able to read and write WORD- STAR files, allowing the user to send files to the office computer by RS232 link.

A new newSletter related to ASTRONOMY

type information and tends to most computers including the ZX81/1000-15000 and 2068, is available from: Computer Astronomy Network, 20 Helen Street, Warren, NJ 07060. Rates for this newsletter are $3.00/six issues, or 50¢ each.

If you have a OL, and would be inter- ested ina copy of a LISTING for a GRAPHICS TOOLKIT, then send a S.A.S.E. to me at_ the following address: 7937 Elwell St., Burnaby, B.C., Canada VoE_—iMS.

The technigues of this new toolkit are Similar to those used by Walt Disney Prod. to create the movie TRON. You can experiment with "Fractrals". This is the replication of natural shapes to form landscapes, rock for- mations and buildings. The toolkit was done by a professional programming team, and took two months to complete.



SILICON MOUNTAIN COMPUTERS, C-12, Mtn. Stn.—Group- box, 2leteon,- BC, Canada Vil 5Pt, has a software/hardware catalog for the ZxX81 (and T/S 1000/1500). How about true 64-col. screens and hi-res color (reportedly better than the 2068) for your ZX/TS?

A SAMS COMPUTERFACT (Howard Sams Co., 4300 W. 62nd St., Indianapolis, IN 46268) has been released for the T/S 1000 and Zx81. A Computerfact is technical service docu- mentation including schematic diagrams. The package costs $19.95 and is available by calling 1-800-428-SAMS.

A hardware catalog for TS computers is available from BYTE-BACK, INC., RT 4 Box 54, Leesville, SC 29070. Their latest new device

is: the REAL TIME CLOCK. $79.95 for T/S: 1000 and 2068 versions. Add $4.95 for p&h.

New computer SERVICE DEPT. at SUNSET ELECTRONICS (2254 Taraval Street, San Fran- cisco, CA 94116, (415) 665-8330). All Timex and Sinclair computers are repaired at very reasonable rates.

JRC Software, PO Box 448, Scottsburg,

IN 47170, would like to send you their brand new 2068 catalog for $2.00. Actually, the "Catalog" is a cassette tape, and includes several free software programs.

RAMEX (17620-26 Mile Rd., MI 48094) announced they are discontinuing support for the 2068 and manufacturing of their Millennia K (SPDOS) Disk Systems. In- stead, they have opted to support the Sin- clair QL and IBM related products. (Anyone want to buy the manufacturing rights to the SPDOS? It's up for sale.)

VENDOR BEWARE: Small Digital Systems, 2089 Chatsworth Blvd., Ste.4, San Diego, CA 92107. A reader brought to our attention that this company has vanished into "thin air" (Vaporwares). Earlier they had placed


ads in the COMPUTER HOT LINE for TS utility programs.

Apologies go to Warren Fricke, for our Anadvertently Leaving out Some very xemportant Lines of his LOLLIPOPS

program published in the JAN/FEB &6 <ssue. Here ane the missing Lines, and will now make this nifty Little game operational:

22 Smee {= 3

os ket ie ee a pi 3 + 373

+-= PR Tt F 2 3 aie te? 3 He 3 Ee an Oe Sn a RE CREF rere = yO ate os a

oe ee = 'g i oe ~ * . t

dun? em? pa Lrir ' wis i ¢ ae! ae _— 3 QTsSe TS THe oS oocnow Tat Sa a eo oe a ae | ~~ 2 = 2 oe seme —* "fee TF 8 223 ¢ ‘eee, | ERs oe SS fe ee : t 35 he fF hee S OE ae S88 2 3 iGH

tT == “. 82

: eS ti tS -

a 3 re iro ee

ne Se em Tei = re “=. === = 32 5a —_—: =

358553 090 des dee’ 0 f F%3 f 3 3.73 —_P == - jut

i <.” t rir i a ae ft 2 es 7” F5 ke te 2 > Lars a z 5 2: tit & FS ae Se z 3 a: i ia i Sets: a eat | ws 8 at |: Emi cr + dum tS ote Ft ? 24 Ae SE a | = —: at rr is ia-e

ari = = :

bd al

ta * bores

A) ioe f-* ean ie

SSS a ae re eee:


by Mike de Sosa


As I suggested in the last issue, the most enduring contribution of the Sinclair QL” system may turn out to be SuperBASIC. Many experts hold that SuperBASIC is the best BASIC language available on a microcomputer, and the dialect that most closely conforms to ANSI-85 BASIC stan- dards. SuperBASIC, combined with other recent innovations may eliminate the present need for several more advanced (and more difficult) artificial languages.

Timex/Sinclair 1000 BASIC is a true subset of T/S 2068 BASIC--with few exceptions, programs written for the former machine will run on the latter--the same cannot be said for the 2068 BASIC and SuperBASIC. Though similar in many respects--some of which may confuse the T/S 2068 programmer at first--they differ markedly.

Gone are the smart cursor and single-keystroke key- words. There is only one type of cursor, and most Super- BASIC keywords must be spelled out. The SuperBASIC in- terpreter recognizes about 175 keywords, the T/S 2068 interpreter about 110. The following T/S 2068 BASIC key- words are affected in one way or another, either omitted or changed in meaning or usage: ATTR, BIN, BRIGHT, BOR- DER, CAT, CLOSE, COPY, DELETE, DEF FN, DRAW, ERASE, FOR, FREE, IF, IN, INVERSE, LET, LLIST, LOAD (including LOAD CODE, LOAD DATA, LOAD DATA$, and LOAD SCREEN$), LPRINT, MOVE, ON ERR, OPEN, OUT, PLOT, POINT, RANDOMIZE, RESET,’ SAVE (including SAVE CODE, SAVE DATA, SAVE LINE, and SAVE SCREEN$), SCREEN$, SGN, SOUND, SQR, STICK, STR$, USR, VAL, VAL$, and VERIFY. Become familiar with these changes before you start programming.

QL software programs have convenient HELP pages to aid the user. SuperBASIC has none. There is a definite need for a SuperBASIC HELP program on Microdrive' cart- ridge which you could load and refer to during program- ming, with clear and succint explanations, comprehensive examples, and numerous suggestions. (I have done some work on this and could aid someone engaged on such a project; contact me through TIME DESIGNS, if interested. )

The main feature of SuperBASIC is its provision for structured programming. (Now in vogue, structured pro- gramming is not for everyone, but it may be superior for those given to a little makework in the interest of Clarity.) Structured programming may be written using T/S 2068 BASIC, substituting descriptive variable names for subroutine addresses, but SuperBASIC is much more flex- ible in this regard. We'll return to. structured pro- gramming in SuperBASIC below, but first some basics.

SuperBASIC makes provision for numeric, string, and integer type variables. The last is designated by a 2% sign, for example, sum%. The integer variable is not sig- nificantly more efficient to use in SuperBASIC than the normal, floating-point numeric variable, but it is there, together with special provisions for integer division. Variable names may be up to 255 characters in length.

Alphabetic comparisons have been rationalized in SuperBASIC: "cat" precedes "DOG" and "A96" precedes "Allie 3

SuperBASIC incorporates the principle of coercion, accepting string variables in cases where numeric. vari- ables are called for and vice versa. This is “"user- friendly" in most cases, but could lead to unsuspected errors in mathematical computations, if not taken into consideration. Constructions such as LET a$ = 242 and b = "242" are now possible (the keyword LET is optional in SuperBASIC).

Channels, Windows, Devices, and Device-Independent Input/Output

To accomodate multi-tasking (running more than one program at a time), SuperBASIC had to be made more com- plex in certain instances than its predecessors. It had to incorporate the interdependent concepts of channels, windows, devices, and device-independent input/output.

A channel is merely a path between the QL and a built-in or external (peripheral) device, a piece of hardware such as the monitor screen (ser); the console, that is, the combination of keyboard input and screen Output (con _); a serial port (sern); a network port (neti_n or neto_n); or a named file on a Microdrive (mdv filename), floppy disk (fdkn filename), ram disk (ramn_ filename), or hard disk (hdkn filename). (The n in each instance indicates a device number, for example, mdvl_ .)

The QL Supports 16 channels--#0 to #15--each of which can be used to run and display the data of more than one program at a time. Channels #0, #1, and #2, are dedicated default channels, that is, they are available for specific functions at turn on. These default func- tions may be altered. The remaining channels are OPENed or CLOSEd, as required. This is done in various ways.

Channels #0, #1, and #2, the default channels opened when the QL is turned on, each have their own window (portion of the total monitor screen) and, unless modi- fied by the user, handle and portray input, output, and program listings, respectively. Three separate windows are displayed in monitor mode; in TY mode, channel #1 (output and graphics) and channel #2 (program listings) are superimposed,displaying whichever type of information is last selected. Channel #0 displays command inputs and error signals. Figure 1 shows the QL screen display Mon- itor and TV modes.

# 2 * + 4 £2

Monitor Mode

TV Mode

Figure 1. Sinclair QL Screen Displays

In SuperBASIC, a channel may be OPENed to a file, and data later PRINTed to our INPUT from the file; INKEY$ may be used to input data to the QL from a file one character at a time.

A QL device is a built-in or peripheral piece of equipment to which data may be sent and/or’ from which data may be received. The QL makes no assumptions about

the ultimate source or destination of data and is Said to have "“device-independent input/output", such data going to or emanating from a logical file. Channels are

OPENed and data sent between QL devices in various

a. OPEN #4, con_448x 180a32x16_ 128 b. OPEN #6,scr_20x20a0x0

c. OPEN #3,s5er

d. SAVE ser

e. OPEN_NEW #5, mdv2_filename

#. OPEN #5, mdv2_filename

gg. OPEN_IN #5, mdv2_filename

h. REPEAT inloop: PRINT INKEY$ (#5) i. COPY mdvi_filename TO con

Jj. COPY advi_filename TO scr

k. COPY mdvi_filename TO ser

1. WINDOW 200, 100,30,10

m. WINDOW #3, 200, 100, 30, 10



Example a opens channel #4 to the console (keyboard in- put, screen output) with a 448x180 pixel window whose

upper left corner is 32 pixels in, and 16 pixels

from the upper left of the screen; the keyboard ahead buffer is set for 128 characters. Example b channel #6 with output to a smal] window at the left of the screen; c opens channel #3 to the serl the default ser port; d commands the sending of a

down type- opens upper port, loaded

program to the device at serl (if a printer, it prints a listing); e opens a new data channel to a Microdrive

file; f opens a channel to an existing Microdrive


for input and output; g opens a channel to an existing

Microdrive file to input data to the QL; h uses a


loop to input data from a Microdrive file, a single letter at a time; i and j will display the contents of a Microdrive file on the screen; K sends the contents of a Microdrive file to the device connected to the serl port (if a printer, the file is printed); 1 directs channel #1 (the output default channel) to display output in a 200x 100 window 30 pixels in and 10 pixels down from the upper left of the screen; m directs channel #3 output to a window on the TV or monitor screen. The command CLOSE #n closes a channel.


All of the rudimentary BASIC functions are avail- able, for compatibility with other BASIC dialects, but in many cases, the old keyword has been made more flexible (and more complex). For example, CLS, the old clear screen command, may now be used in several ways: itS new syntax is CLS [#n][,part of window], and it can be used to clear any part of a designated window.

In addition to the keywords listed above which have been eliminated or changed in meaning or use, there are a great many new keywords in SuperBASIC. So many that space limitations preclude a description of each. What follows is a discussion of various “families” of; new SuperBASIC keywords not discussed elsewhere in the article.

About 30 new keywords relate primarily to program- ming on the QL--greatly enhancing what was already an excellent programmer's language. These new keywords pro- vide for multi-tasking, networking, peripheral use, disk use, editing and renumbering programs (including GOTOs and GOSUBs), managing variables, and better interoper- ability with machine code segments of complex programs.

About 20 new keywords deal with graphics on the QL, including five basic Turtle Graphics. commands. which together with SuperBASIC Defined Procedures permit the design of comprehensive Turtle Graphics programs. The graphics scale and character size are variable. There are no keyboard graphics symbols--befitting a "business" machine, but user-defined graphics are possible using your own or commercial software. All in all, SuperBASIC graphics capabilities dre limited, but outstanding re- sults are possisble using machine code programming.

There are six new print-control keywords and sym- bols, including a "smart" space, underlining, and print- ing width control. Character size is variable.

Five new keywords deal with the QL clock, permitting comprehensive clock, calendar, day-of-week, timing, and days-between-dates operations.

Four new math keywords provide for degree-radian conversion and integer division.

The QL sound system is rather primitive (it has only One command which can be used simply or in complex ways). This shows the intent, perhaps, to design a more business like, less game-oriented machine.

SuperBASIC Loops and Branches

FOR...NEXT loops and IF...THEN branches are greatly improved in SuperBASIC:

FOR # = 1,3,10 TO 20 STEP 2,25: PRINT f

This would print the following numbers in column: 1,3,10, 12,14,16,18,20 and 25; it is an example of the “short form’ FOR loop. Note that the control variable has an irregular sequence and that the statement NEXT F is. un- necessary. The “long form" FOR loop would look as follows:

10 INPUT "High, low, median"; alpha, omega, y

20 FOR # = alpha TO omega STEF -.5

SO x = fXy

40 PRINT 1/x

90 END FOR ECNEXT £ may also be usec]

Following are examples of the "short" and "long" forms of the If...7THEN construct, in SuperBASIC an IF...THEN. .. ELSE...END IF construct in which the use of THEN is optional:

10 IF a>S: PRINT a: ELSE PRINT “ng”


10 IF a>S THEN Cuse of THEN cptional]? 29 PRINT a

os) ELSE

40 PRINT "ng"


Although the “short form" of IF is more economical, the “long form" is advisable if multiple statements and nested FOR and IF loops are used.

A common branching system new to Sinclair BASIC, the SELect...END SELect construct has been added, also in a “short' and “long” form. This construct permits complex choices depending on the value of a select variable.

10 SELECT ON a=1 TO 10: print a! “ok"

10 a = RND(2 TO 12)


30- s- 3 Ts

40 PRINT “Pay 2 to 1" 50 =7

60 PRINT “Pay 10 to 1" 70 = REMAINDER

80 PRINT “You lose!"


Two new types of loop are available in SuperBASIC: a WHEN ERRor...END WHEN loop used in error-trapping and debugging, of which no mention is made in the QLUG, and a REPeat...EXIT...END REPeat loop, also in a "short" and "long" form. Examples are as follows:



30 PRINT “Error number"; ERNUM;

40 PRINT " at line number "; ERLIN


Insert these lines anywhere in a SuperBASIC program to report the type and location of the first error encount- ered in a program; the error number is reported as a negative number corresponding to the error. numbers” on pages 19 and 20 of the "Concepts" section of the QLUG.

10 REPEAT flag: a = RND(1 TO 100):


10 REPEAT guess

20 INPUT “Enter number (1 to 100): n 30 a = RND(1 TO 100) 40 IF a > n THEN

30 PRINT a

60 EXIT guess

790 END IF

80 PRINT “Try again"

90 END REPEAT guess


The fundamental constructs of SuperBASIC are its Defined Procedures and Functions. Similar in construc- tion--a procedure may often be written as a function and vice-versa--they differ in the way that they are “called” and used in a program. Defined Procedures may be called on their own, that is, alone on a numbered program line; Defined Functions must return a value to an expression.

When called in a program, the actual parameters of a De- fined Procedure, if any, must not be enclosed in paren- theses; those of a Defined Function must be. The use of a RETurn expression is optional