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oul QOL CHESS —- An outstanding chess program that combines the sophistication and speed of the World Microcomputer Chess Champion with a stunning animated three-dimensional view of the board and the pieces. 1 or 2 players, on screen chess clocks, best move so far, hint, auto replay, analysis, O to 11 levels, plus equal time level, mate in 1-8 moves, extra microdrive cartridge incl. WLID2 Priced aiis cee swe ss 820.95

OL MONITOR & DISASSEMBLER - An extremely powerful program development tool, specifically designed for use with the @L, single line 68000 assembler, disassembler, display and alter memory and 68000 registers, execute code until a breakpoint, single/multiples step trace, set up to 8 breakpoints, search memory for values, address calculation, multiple program monitoring, transient windows for graphics based programs. Fully integrated with Qdos, @QL Monitor makes extensive use of common line defaults to simplify the task of program develop- ment. Full documentation and extra microdryv cartridge incl.

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Editor’s Corner



Do you still like to make and keep New Year's Resolutions? I do, and first on my ee list was to re-design that old TIME DESIGNS

TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE COMPANY logo. Well, I had it done in time for this

issue. I feel it is a big improvement to the 29722 Hult Rd.e Colton, Oregon 97017 over-all appearance of the magazine, and a (503) 824-2658

trade mark to be associated with. What do you think?

A few of our advertisers mentioned to me that some of you took advantage of the new pricing, and adopted a Sinclair QL into

TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE is published bi-monthly Pe pote eS ee eee See ne and ts Gopsright @ 1966 by the Tine Bestgns Starting with this issue, TIME DESIGNS will Magazine Company, Colton, Oregon 97017. Al| feature on a regular basis, articles and in- elabts reserved formation for the QOL. At one time I had been catesss Tia Wank ? contemplating a separate publication for the Assistant Editor: Stephanie Woods QL, but presently I feel this would be pre- Editorial Assistant/Production: D.L. Woods mature. The market is rather small right now Photography and I think our readers would be much better Oa ee eae Payne tee a served with an over-all Sinclair publication Printed by: Toad'L Litho Printing and Comp., (we are a close knit bunch who understand Oregon City, Oregon 97045 each other). I have lined up a couple of QL SUBSCRIPTIONS: $15 a year for six Issues (US ene eee a aS. Bone = Beat

7 ' funds only). No extra charge to Canadian sub- vg bes hag mo, “UR bast a fetes aeven : ‘ebb scribers. All other countries please write PLEEPSTS, is discontinuing their QLUB service ae oe ere ee ey eT ee to American owners. Instead, they oat SEEES CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customer satisfaction fs eR. ee Re eT eee ; (like TIME DESIGNS).

our goal. For subscription service problems please write or call TIME DESIGNS. SEO ERSE oh mcecbectpagese that you pene CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Write or call to prevent BORA SERENE SEE SAT Se aL ROGET £1 | Ae delay of service. the QL REPORT, published by Curry Computer

; , : (PO Box 5607 Glendale, AZ 85312). Rob Curry Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in ;

: paanis has announced that early this year they will

part by any means without written permission : offer the OL REPORT on a subscription basis. is prohibited by law. I feel that their newsletter would be worth subscribing to, as they have been "pioneers" in the U.S. QOL market...stocking products while we were all still skeptical of seeing

= ay ; j 1 >

saacnaaan the QL‘'s arrival here. |

Seoonseuee If all of this QL talk has brought a

| a rasan meee lump to the throat of you T/S users’ (who

"NOTICE: Contributors to TIME DESIGNS are in- have no use for this machine), you have dependent of the TIME DESIGNS MAGAZINE CO., nothing to worry about. By no means will and opinions expressed in the contents of the ; : daraGeeh: ace) not» necesaseiie® Kheee: sok =the TIME DESIGNS short you of information for management or its advertisers. Time Designs your computer. You are the main reason for Magazine Co. will not be held liable for any ; , ; ay damage or consequences resulting from in- this magazine. This issue has more T/S stuff structions, assertions of fact, review of than ever before, and even additional pages. products or companies provided in the maga- : zines's content." CONTINUED NEXT PAGE

Although I have a OL here in the office (for testing purposes), my 2068 with disc drives practically runs this business.

I have a “speciat— offer" tor 2X81/TS 1000 users only. I have been wanting to de- vote an entire page to special tips and also short programs/routines that you might. like to share with other users. I will print as many aS possible. Would you like to see your info and name in print? Any "takers" ‘on my offer? I hope so, aS a column like this is really needed.

Well, it has been two years now since most of us were orphaned by the Timex Com- puter Corporation. Have you realized that the support for your computer has not de- minished, but has for all practical reasons, improved? Quite an amazing story. One of the big "slicks" should do a feature our thriving T/S community,

Thank you Sinclair for still supporting us. Although sometimes we haven't understood you, we are very glad that your still hang- ing in their.

To all Spectrum (16k, 48k, Plus~ and 126K8,).. OL, 2068, . 2X38), -$5- 1000/7500, ana ZX80 users...keep up the good work!

story on


Editor's Cornerececcccccccccvceaseesseseseces LeTTErSecceccccccccccccccccsccenecccececccece Sinclair News Networkeccccccccccccccccccccce Why The QL ececcccccvcccccecccccvccscccccces Adventures In The RAM Junglecccccccccccccces Chroma—Sotte cess wes se sccecccscessececeseesios The Old Shel |] Gamececccccccccccccccccccscces Technical ApplicationSecccccccccccccccvcccee A Mickey Mouse Solutionececccccccccccvesvcces LOLTIDPCOS sacccedoacessecnescacnecececen tienes uses Aerco Users Colecccccccccccccccccccccccccccs Gamesmate Fixcccccccccccccccccscccccccccccce JOYSTICK Wrap-APOUNd. cocccccccccccvececccece Label Maker cccccccccccccccccccccccecccececccs The Portuguese Connectionscccccccccccccccces Machine Code Tutorececccccccccccccsccccccccces oO ey ee eee. eee Tee ere es Py cre Pe ee 2Z068/ SpECTrUM—WAPeS ccccccccccccccccsccccccce T/S Shopping Martececccccccccccccccvecccscces The ClassiffledSccocccccccccccccccccccccccccs


Direct all correspondence to: The Editor c/o Time Designs 29722 Hult Rd., Colton, OR 9/7017

"Your readers may be interested in knowing about the availability of a relatively inexpensive full size [dot- matrix] printer. A recent catalog from: DAK INDUSTRIES, INC., 8200 Remmet Ave., Canoga Park, CA 91394, contained an ad for the GORILLA/BANANA printer for the relatively low cost of $89.90 plus $8.00 for P&H. Admittedly, this printer has certain limitations. It does not provide true descenders for letters with tails, but text is still very readable. In my opinion, to obtain a full 80 col. dot- matrix printer for less than twice the price of the 2040 thermal printer is well worth that error in the letter format...ads for TASPRINT claim it will provide true de- scenders with this printer. The ad [for the printer] did claim it was a close out, and quantities were limited so they may be all gone by now. Compatability with the Cen- tronics I/F and TASWORD II is demonstrated by the fact that this letter was written using them and printed on my GORILLA/BANANA printer.”

Vance J Carpenter Fairport, NY

EDITOR: RMG ENTERPRISES,1419 1/2 7th St., Onegon City, OR 97045, has an EPROM that neplaces the one in the GORILLA/ BANANA, and gives you descenders. Price 4s $14.95.

"I'd really appreciate help from TIME DESIGNS or any of its many subscribers on the following T/S 1000 and T/S 2068 problems. 1000: How do you reconcile the ORGANIZER (16k) software program with a 64k RAM hardware add-on? Without upgrading the software to 64k, the 64k hardware is useless!!! 2068: How do you get the VU-FILE software program to print graphics output? VU-FILE is the software equivalent of ORGANIZER. Graphical output (white char- acters on black background) on the T/S 1000 by ORGANIZER is straightforward, requiring only use of the graphics key. The same is not true, however, for VU-FILE print- outs by the 2068!!! VU-FILE refuses to print-out white characters on black background."

Ed Wheeler 534 Line Road Hazlet, NJ 07730

EDITOR: Those VU-FILE programs (developed by PSION of the U.K.) do have thein Limitations. Many users prefer other data bases that ane mone flexible Like PRO/Fale {which has many modification possibilities]. However, there is a book available, VU CALC/VU FILE (and the ORGANIZER) by Robert Masters. 165 pages cover these programs in-depth, and may have info that you ane Looking for. One dealer that I know has it in Stock 48 SUNSET ELECTRONICS, 2254 Tanavak St. San Francisco, CA 94116. Price 46 $9.95 pus $3.00 for total onder S&H. 14 any readers have a Specific patch for these programs, please forward «zt to Ed.

"Iam looking for a simple Bubble Sort program for the Timex. I have seen programs for other computers in various magazines. I own a T/S 1000 with a 16k RAM pack."

Tony Bates Jackson, WY

EDITOR: I "dug-up” a shont BASIC Bubbfe Sort algorithm, that you might be able to use. Lines 130 and 140 ane not necessary, but allow the user to view the random numbers

before they ane sorted. Also, my printer's zeros don't have the usual skash, and watch out for "I" and 1 (the numenak) .



50 DIM A(20)

60 FOR I = 1 TO 20

70 LET A(I) =INT (RND * 100+1)


90 NEXT I |

130 PAUSE 200

140 CLS

150 LET N = 19

160 LET SL = 0

170 FOR I =1 TON

180 IF A(I) <= A(I+l) THEN GOTO 240

190 LET AA=A(I)

200 LET A(I) = A(I+1)

210 LET A(I+l1) = AA

220 LE? SL = 1

230 LET N= ]

240 NEXT I

250 IF SL = 1 THEN GOTO 160


300 FOR I = 1 T 20

310 PRINT A(I)

320 NEXT I

“,..T own a TS2068 (with ROMSWITCH) and am starting

to get a collection of Adventure programs. This brings me to the point of this letter. Have you ever considered including an “adventurer's column" in your mag? I have reached a dead end in some of the adventures that I have, and on some of them I have gotten a bunch of clues. For example, I have completely mapped out Part 1 of the BACK- PACKER'S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE, and have found the keys for all but one lock. But I can't get past the first set of rooms in the MOUNTAINS OF KET. I hope that you will consider my proposal and try to find someone to write an article for you. I am sure that others would send in tips as they found them out, and also ask for help when they got stuck. Thanks for a great mag."

Douglas Jeffery Telkwa, B.C. Canada

EDITOR: An antacke or column such as you have suggested has been on the "back-burner" for awhile. 1 think just about everyone has at Least one computer game in thein Software collection no matter what thein computing <n- tenests ane. (I am stihl stuck in the early part of THE

HOBBIT!) Look for game tips ina future issue, as I have someone in mind for the project. "Since in my letter [see TDM Nov/Dec ‘85 issue] I

indicated that MC for SOUND was easy, I! better include the following:

S805 SOUND S@ez5 Seo4ae @e045 eease Geass snp See6o SeGE= eeers Baars PeBEe OBES geese 9eec5

thought I had

tH i

i ] CL Oe DT Pte fe fy Mon a ee “ae Ten om Ff


aa i


tod THI ht RIE TL, CI TI Ps sl

Higa vv THe es om e:

an i Sat aha


? 4X i

fey fy Ey fy aN ea


+e ee le eo ta tes af . t ae i 2 a

To illustrate its use, the following is the MC equivalent

of line 10 in the GUNSHOTS listing on page 195 of the USER MANUAL. The last byte, in this case 201, is really the first byte of the rest of the program. This byte is

required by the SOUND sub-routine to be>=14.


GO2SF CEFE €.15.7.7,8,.16.8,16

S@210 CEFE 32.36 ,12,438,15,8,221 Ron Ruegg

Baton Rouge, LA

| "As I was skimming through the Sept/Oct '85 editicn of TIME DESIGNS, I was "shocked" to see a joystick appli- cation program which used the exact same algcrithm as

mine. My first thought was; How dare Mr. Fricke (the author), use his name on my software. Then I reflected. How could Mr. Fricke have gotten a hold of my _ ingenious

software in the first place? I hadn't even published it yet. Logic prevailed and I concluded that both Mr. Fricke and I had independently devised an identical algorithm for the same purpose; That of BASIC joystick control for the T/S 2068 computer.

...My next step was to verify if both algorithms were indeed identical. I dug deep into my vast library of 2068 programs, and low and behold, there it was; written almost two years prior with no witness to the event other than my own personal documentation. Only the variables were different. Where I used x and y as coordinates, Mr. Fricke used the more meaningful variables c and 1, for column and line.

I had always intended on submitting my joystick pro- gram for publication but so far it had been easier to find an excuse not to. Although I realized this simple program could benefit the T/S 2068 community at large, I did nothing to encourage this fact. The bottom line being "I am a procrastinator" ("I'll do it later").

You can imagine my suprise then, when I saw "my" program credited to someone else's name. My first re- action was one of disbelief and surprise, followed by anger (at myself), next of jealousy and finally redemp- tion. The next instant, I found myself voWriig.. which brings me to the “here and now" and “what are you going to'do about it (?)".

First, I would like to commend Mr. Warren Fricke of Depew, NY, for his initiative in submitting an ingen- Tously efficient, yet simple algorithm for BASIC joystick control for the 2068. Commendations are also forthcoming to Mr. John McMichael of Bozeman, Montana for having in- spired Mr. Fricke in the first place with his MC joystick program published in TDM (May/June '85). Credit also goes to editor Mr. Tim Woods, being first to publish these algorithms in his leading journal TIME DESIGNS Magazine.

Second, to all you prospective programmers: send in your ideas and programs. There are at least a half dozen leading American T/S periodicals, waiting and wanting for your INPUT. You have nothing to lose and so much to. gain and so do we. You may even get royalties for your work if its up to standards. Do as I say, not as I do.

Thirdly, having said all that and still feeling like a “shmuck", I set out to redeem myself..elsewhere in this magazine you will find MY program on BASIC 2068 joystick control. It is an enhancement to a program with which you are already familiar (if you have read this far), and has been reproduced in full for clarity of description. I call it JOYSTICK WRAP AROUND. I trust good use will be made of it."

Martin DeBoniface Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

EDITOR: Thank you Mr. DeBoniface for your story with a monal, and a "happy ending”.

re Y ae ee

Iai AG aor at SEBS cBERS gee EEE



Reported by R. Lussier

The 128k Spectrum (code name ("Derby") has been launched in Spain, and will be available in the Spring in Britain.

Fssentially two computers in one: turned on,

when the 128k mode is on automatically

but type "SPECTRUM", and it becomes a 48k spectrum Plus, completely compatible with all the existing Spectrum software. The UK

model will sell for about ¢150.

The 128k looks like a Spectrum with a big heat sink bolted on the hand side, attached by a coil-cord into the front of the Spectrum. A full range of ports have been included: an RS232 socket, MIDI sockets for musical instrument hook-up, RGB/com- posite socket and TV socket. The tape leads are on the left-hand side, and the edge con- nector is in the usual place. There is a SOUND chip as on the 2068 (but SOUND is thru the TV speaker and adjustable.

In the 128k mode, the keyword system is not used. They are entered one letter at a time, but keywords are retained in the 48k mode. The 128 has the capacity to act as a RAM disk system. This is a facility where areas of RAM can be set aside to store a suite of programs or sets of data, in the same way as on the to files on RAM disk is almost as_ instan- taneous. AS an example, the command "CAT", produces an instant catalog of RAM files. There is still no sign of a joystick port.

Plus right-

Microdrives. Access

There may be a few changes before it appears on the British market scene. It looks to be a strong base model for the new Sinclair range of models including the new

portable PANDORA and the desktop ENIGMA. It is stated in the current catalog of the EMC (15-Kitburn-Ct.., _ Newport, Ri '— 02840) -- that they will be carrying this great new product [Editor's Note: reportedly the English Micro Connection now has the Spanish version of the Spectrum 128k available now for $259.95 plus $10 P&H. The keyboard, screen text and users manual is in Spanish]. If interested, then contact them for more information.

The ENIGMA -willi- —be-— Sinciair's first "Mega-machiche". Sinclair believes that one Megabyte RAM is a minimum needed to compete

and a separate [numerical] keypad |


with Atari's ST and the Commodore AMIGA. The ENIGMA will also have two 3.5 inch disk drives. It is planned for launch in May 1986 between ¢500 to ¢1000 price range. The pro- grams QUILL, ABACUS, ARCHIVE and EASEL will be on ROM. It will also have full window, icon and mouse environment, aS well as GEM (used on the APRICOT computer). The Enigma will be sold aS a complete package. This will include software, drives, mouse, color monitor and printer. It may also develop the addition of phone and communications work station.


Most colorful and popular arcade-type game programs are instantly associated with the British Spectrum. Until now that is. An American programmer, John Coffey of Scotts- burg, Indiana, has developed a brand new arcade game called "DIAMOND MIKE", for the un-modified 2068. This is the first program of its genre, written in 100% machine’ code, that has been released here especially for the 2068, in the last two years. Due to the author's thoughtful placement of code in memory, Diamond Mike also runs on the Sin- Clair Spectrum (or 2068 with Emulator). Mr. Coffey is the owner of a software company called JRC SOFTWARE. He has also written the 2068 COMPASS assembler/compiler package, the T/S 1000 SUPERTAPE, and 2068 GREAT GAMES and GRAPHICS SHOW.

DIAMOND MIKE (as the name suggests) is a cute little character who craves diamonds. He impatiently stamps his foot, waiting for you to guide him thru the diamond mine. All along the way are boulder-sized obstacles that could have "deadly" results. There are also attacking amebas and butterflys (?) to watch out for. The game has a lot of person-

ality, and is addictive.

On the same tape iS a bonus’ program called CAVERN. It is a space game imported from Canada. There is also an "electronic"

catalog, that describes other programs being offered by JRC Software. An impressive (and unigue) feature of Diamond Mike, is’ the users ability to SAVE a short demo version of the game to pass along to a friend. Over all there are 22 different screens/puzzles,

and six levels. At its $17.95 price, JRC Software (PO Box 448, Scottsburg, IN 47170) Will be selling lots of DIAMOND MIKE copies this year.


QUICKEY 2068 is a series of keyboard overlays that assist the user in remembering important commands for selected popular pro~ grams like TASWORD II and MSCRIPT. The over- lays are made of durable plastic and have the commands printed on the top-most section (above the keyboard), so the user does not have to glance down at the keyboard itself.

The Tasword version of Quickey 2068 in- cludes commands for TASPRINT. Other overlays will be available soon, for programs’ like OMNI-CALC, ect. There is also a blank model available that the user can customize _ to suit any need.

AN-TO PRODUCTIONS (9009 West Elm St. #2 Phoenix, AZ 85037) is the developer and dis- tributor of the Quickey 2068. Prices for the Tasword and MSCRIPT versions are $3.99 each plus 50¢ for postage.. Blank overlays are $3.00 each. Any two versions can be ordered for $7.50 plus 50¢ for postage.

9g2g4ag7"a->- FFP TPTT

or t » J


The OLIGER 2068 FLOPPY DISC INTERFACE is available now. The interface consists of two boards that plug into the OLIGER 2068 EXPANSION BOARD. Disc Board "B" contains JLO SAFE, the disc Basic eprom. At a later date, an advanced DOS written by Ray Kingsley of SINWARE, will be available. Package price fox both"A" and.-“B" boarde: $97..95 for. kit, and $119.95 assembled/tested. The required Expansion Board is $43.95 for kit version, and $54.95 assembled/tested. For further in- formation write to The John Oliger Co. at 11601 Whidbey Dr., Cumberland, IN 46229.

LARKEN ELECTRONICS, RR#2 Navan, Ont., Canada K4B 1H9, has a disk drive controller board for the 2068 that is Spectrum Emulator compatible. Single drive version is priced at $95.00 (U.S.) plus -$6.00 postage. A mod- ification for second drive will be available by February 1986.

Two issues of EXTENSIONS are to upgrade PRO/FILE 2068 with a to be released. A total of two dozen en- hancements, improvements, and’ corrections are provided, including automatic updating of files and a data save. The upcoming third issue, when combined with the first _ two, will make profile Spectrum/Emulator com- patible. Extensions are $6 each from Robert ©. Frigscner, <21 Scoggins -St.,;, Summerviite, GA 30747.

Uncased new T/S 2050 MODEM CARDS are available from GLEN D. CLIFFORD, 13910 Hall- dale Ave., Gardena, CA 90249, for $25 each. The circuit cards are reported to be _ 100% operational and include the interface con- nector and phone line cord. The user must supply a 9 volt power supply, modem software (such as the readily available MTERM), and an optional case. There is a 10 day exchange privilege.

SIMULUSION; Box 2382; ta-Jolla,. Calif., 92038, is closing out all of their software packages for the ZX81 and T/S 1000. Titles like CLASSIC GAMES and BANNER/MESSAGE BOARD, come "bubble-packed" and complete with in- structions. Prices start at 99¢! A catalog is available upon request. SIMULUSION now has a list of entertainment software for the Sinclair QOL. Write for further information.

Many new products for Timex/Sinclair micros will be unveiled this year by ZEBRA SYSTEMS INC., 78-06 Jamaica Ave, Woodhaven, NY 11421. TECH-DRAW JR. is their first new release this year. Tech-Draw Jr. is similar to the original TECH-DRAW, except this ver- Sion uses a standard joystick jnstead of a graphics tablet to control the software's functions. It supports most popular printers and interfaces. Price is $19.95 for cassette

available third soon

and $24.95 for Zebra 3" diskette. Add $3.00 for postage (total order). During the first quarter of 1986, Zebra Systems will enhance

their popular 2068 Disk Drive System with optional Spectrum software compatibility and a CP/M compatible operating system. Their inexpensive SPECTRUM EMULATOR CARTRIDGE will be available in an enhanced version with "Dull-up" resistor pack for $29.95. During the month of January, Zebra is having an in-

ventory clearance sale. Example: T/S_ 1000 and 2068 versions of ZEBRA TALKER (a _ voice synthesizer), normally priced at $69.95...

Continued next page

is $35.00 during the sale.

PERIPHERALS DIRECT LTD., PO Box 33075 Northbrook, IL —60065, has the heavy-duty AMDEK DXY100 X,Y PLOTTER for $125.00 plus $10 for postage. The Amdek Plotter is the "flat-bed" type, 360mm x 260mm plotting sur- face, and includes a Centronics port. Great for 2068 graphics.

Jack Dohany, 325 O'Connor St., Menlo Park, CA 94025, has an interesting concept for selling his software. "For each program you may pay me what you feel is fair...I Suggest a nominal $5.00 per program, and less for upgrades." For a list of Jack's programs and enhancements of some popular

software, send a legal SASE.


The TIMEX/SINCLAIR AMATEUR RADIO USERS GROUP (TSARUG) has organized a FIDO NETWORK node to serve the members of the organiza- tion and others who are interested. Messages can be sent to network 15 node 1006. The bulletin board can be accessed directly at



Se } GOe 6 GED 2 GRE 6 SE SD 2 GE = SE s aS by Mike de Sosa

Why should you consider the purchase of a SINCLAIR QOL? Why, possessed of an excel- lent and only recently fulfilled system such as the Timex/Sinclair 2068, should you go to all the trouble and expense of switching systems--just think of the problem in tran- scribing your current files to Microdrive format? And why purchase a system that Sin- Clair Research doesn't seem proud enough of

to advertise, and which some have said is Uncle Clive's first computer failure? Why opt for the QL instead of your current sys-

tem, another reasonably priced wunderkind computer such as the new Atari, Commodore, or Amstrad, or, perhaps, a somewhat more expensive IBM PC-compatible? Finally, why consider a system which reviewers have gen- erally panned? There are many excellent and indisputable reasons why you should consider such a purchase. Here are a few. There many others.


(505) 646-5194. Files that are available in- clude early copies of articles to appear in QOZX, the groups newsletter. For more infor- mation, send SASE to Alex F. Burr K5XY, 2025 O'Donnell, Las Cruces, NM 88001.


Plans are being finalized for the MID- WEST TIMEX/SINCLAIR COMPUTERFEST to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio on May 3 and 4, 1986. On hand will be vendors, services, and users groups. Also planned are classes and 1lec- tures by guest speakers, hardware and soft-

ware demonstrations, and a "swap-shop". A Major goal for the T7S5 COMPUTERFEST jis to introduce the wide scope of products’ and services available for the discontinued T/S line of computers, and perhaps new practical uses for these computers. For further infor- mation, contact Jack Roberts of the T/S Con- nection, 3832 Watterson Ave, Cincinnati, OH $522/, OF Frank Davis, 513 East -—Main- St, Peru, IN 46970 (Compuserve I.D. #75525,1324) Make plans now to attend!

A Best Buy!

At the moment--and things do change-- the Sinclair QL, with its compact and effi- cient keyboard console, its 32-bit CPU, its twin Microdrives, its excellent operating system and highly regarded SuperBASIC, its exceptional "bundled" software, its compre- hensive user guide, and finally, its avail- able hardware and software support, is a "best buy" by a considerable margin at $299. The U.S. version of the QL, its firmware, and its four semi-integrated software pro- grams--now in their fourth or fifth version, comprise a mature and thoroughly debugged system for which dozens’ (who really needs thousands?) of excellent software programs and numerous state-of-the-art expansion and mass-storage systems are now available.

The OL Keyboard Console

The 3-pound keyboard console--a triumph of design and engineering, recognized as such by the Museum of Modern Art--includes all QL components except a separate one- pound power supply. QL components include two CPU's, the 32-bit Motorola 68008 (cousin to that in the Apple Macintosh) and the 8- bit Intel 8049; four additional Sinclair- designed ICs; a full-sized, 65-key QWERTY keyboard, first-class in most respects but with no numeric keypad; twin, built-in Micro

& drives; expansion ports for extra RAM, disk

drives, cartridge port;

Microdrives, and peripherals; a ROM- two complementary ports; two RS-232C serial interface ports, one optimized for output, one for input; an RGB monitor output providing 512 by 256- pixel definition in four colors; a TV output providing 256 by 256-pixel definition in eight colors; and two 1local-area-network ports by which up to 64 QLs may be connected in series to function interactively. All in

all, the QL is remarkably compact, light, versatile, and powerful--it is the first lightweight, low-cost super-microcomputer, about which more later. The QL ROM

The QL's 48K ROM, expandable to 64K with a ROM Cartridge, consists of the QDOS

(the QOL operating system) and SuperBASIC, a major advance in computer languages. The ODOS is classified as "single-user, muliti- tasking, time-sliced system" with "device- independent input and output." What is all of this gobbledygook in simpler terms? The ODOS, by assigning time to two or more pro- grams in separate, minute increments of ms. (microseconds), can run several programs Simultaneously (or what seems like simul- taneously). The source of program input or destination of program output may be spec- ified when the program is run, obviating the need for duplication of effort in, for ex- ample, writing a program to send data alter- natively to a monitor, printer, modem, or another networked QL. The QDOS also provides for multiple, and independently functioning

"windows" on your monitor screen, with each displaying the data for a particular pro- gram. The QL RAM

The QOL offers a respectable, if not

overly generous 128K of RAM, expandable in 7

‘maximum 640K.


64K, 128K, 256K, or 512K increments to a (The OL video circuits require 32K of RAM, leaving 96K of RAM available for program and data; QL software programs may occupy upwards of 80K.) Two British firms are now replacing the two 64K RAM chips of the QL with two 256K chips, creating a Super QL with 512K RAM internally (the cost, See to $275). More than one million separate addresses (line numbers) are available in

any QL RAM option. .


A major inovation which some have gested is the profound contribution of the OL system is Sinclair's high-level, arti-~ ficial language, SuperBASIC. More than an expanded Timex/Sinclair 2068 BASIC, Super- BASIC offers much greater flexibility than previous versions. User-defined procedures and functions--callable by name without ref- erence to line numbers--may be used to ex- tend an already much-enlarged SuperBASIC vocabulary. Data is more readily transferred between variable types, with string vari- ables accepting numeric data and vice versa. Repetition, branching, decision-making, and other logical and array-handling procedures are improved. And the very mechanics of pro- gramming itself are automated. (Some, like the writer, will miss the "smart cursor" and


single-keystroke aspects of previous Sin- Clair BASICs, but this sacrifice iS accept- able considering the improvements.) The OL Microdrives

Two built-in Microdrives are atone time the Achilles' Heel of the QL and the

key to its success. Much criticized at first but now relatively trouble-free, the tape drives operate superbly together to provide all the file flexibility and bulk storage you may ever need. Later versions’ provide, on average, about 115K of data storage (that is about 20,000 words) per Microdrive cart- ridge. Up to six external Microdrives may be

connected, but the trend seems’ to be toward adding disk drives which operate in con- junction with the Microdrives. The four QL "bundled" software programs each load in

less than twenty seconds.

After much deliberation, to forego disk-drives and expand my QL's RAM, externally, to 512K. (External RAM cards are transferrable to other QLS and now operate a little faster than built-in RAM modifications.) I may get one "external" Microdrive to better facilitate file backup and database operations. External QL Micro- drives are not yet available.

I have decided

OL "Bundled" Software

The four software programs that come

packaged with the QOL at no extra cost are all first-class--two of them are genuinely superb (QL Archive, a database program, and

OL Easel, a business graphics program). QL Quill, a "what you see is what you get" word processor, is very easy to use with only minor flaws that will, no doubt, be cor- rected in later versions. QL Abacus is a spreadsheet program, limited only by the

maximum size of its grid and the absence of built-in statistical functions.

OL Archive is a "Smart" filing system, programmable in itS own command language, that is open-ended in it's capabilities,

limited in scope only by RAM available. More books and articles have been written re- garding the applications and use of Archive than about any other QOL software program, and this will continue to be the case. Not as easy to use as the other QOL software pro- grams, Archive is capable of extracting desired data from ferent files, manipulating and ordering it in complicated ways, and producing finished screen or hard-copy reports in any format

several dif-

desired. QL Easel is the reviewers' favorite OL software program. It has been suggested that

every organization with a need to _ produce 35mm color graphics should own a QL, if only for that purpose. Simple to use, QL Easel produces graphics suitable for business, governmental, academic, or private use in eight basic formats, each one of which can be tailored to your preference in almost every way. Backgrounds, bars and lines of every sort, pie-chart segments, and anno- tations may be selected from many choices

offered, or designed from scratch.

The programs are semi-integrated in their present version. To be fully inte- grated, all programs would have to be loaded in RAM at one time--occupying about 300K of RAM without their data files. But this too may change in later versions designed for use with QLs with much larger RAMs. All QL software programs--are comprehensively self- documented in on-line HELP facilities which take you directly to the information needed and return you precisely to the same spot in the program from which you called for help. The QOL is User-Friendly

The OL's 32-bit CPU is designed to run several complex programs rapidly, but a spinoff of this chip architecture, perhaps more important in the long run, is that pro- grams can be designed to be very simple in operation. And that is what has been done in the case of the QL and its bundled software.

automatically |

used effectively by those with no prior com- puter experience and those who have not pre-

viously met with success uSing a computer.

Other QOL Software

More than a hundred serious and ational programs are now available in the U.K., with emphasis on the former. Most of these should be available from suppliers in the U.S. soon. Those available now include the following: several full-accounting sys- tems; project-planning, decision-making, and other business-oriented programs; several excellent graphic artS programs; compilers for more than a dozen other programming- languages, including a revolutionary com- Piler for converting a SuperBASIC program to machine code; many educational programs; numerous utility programs which expand Super BASIC and facilitate routine operations, one in a manner that apes the Apple Macintosh; all sorts of games including excellent road- racing, bridge, and backgammon and two you-must-see-to-believe tennis chess simulations from Psion Limited ducers of the QL software programs),



and (pro- the


‘photo by Sinclair latter the '84 Microcomputer Chess Champion; and other programs of every sort.

Third-party Hardware for the QL

Numerous state-of-the-art disk and ex- pansion systems have been designed for the OL, including CP/M systems if-that is your

bag. The best of these will be marketed here --all at prices generally much less’ than those for other comparable systems. The Future of the OL

Although the folks at Sinclair Research USA won't tell, I believe that the QOL in its present form will be a relatively long-lived computer perennial. There is some talk of a

The QL and its software are designed to oo with expanded RAM, and a

built in 3 1/2-inch disk drive, perhaps with only know that the QL as the first light- the four QL software programs integrated aS weight, low-cost supermicrocomputer--a tech- part of ROM. But this may not happen, or nological and historic watershed that may happen soon. Besides, if you purchase a QL foreshadow revolutionary changes in most now only to be confronted with a superior aspects of the computer world--deserves to version later, you can always network your be a success. Any questions? old QL with your new one. Next time--programming in SuperBASIC on European users of the QL had to wait the Sinclair OL. many months for the bugs to be exterminated from the QL ROM, the Microdrives, and the QOL MIKE DE SOSA is a retired Air software programs, and for compatible per- ipherals and software to appear. And _ the price of the QOL was higher then. We now have a mature system with lots of backup offered to us at a bargain price.

I don't know whether the Sinclair Qt UNA AAAAATEAAA

Will be a market success in this country. I

Force officer, with a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, who has completed a comprehensive book on the QL and its software, and is now looking for a publisher.