QL News Issue 42 Contents Spectrum Software Scene 1


Load of hassle

WHY IS IT that software houses charge £15.00 for products and then present them on sub-standard cassettes?

Take The Hobbit. I've heard it's very good and I'm already on my second copy. I've one tip for adventurers; type LOAD etc and then press play - a message will appear on the screen, no prizes for guessing what it is. I'd like to progress further than 'Tape loading error' but it is not to be.

It is possible to present programs on reliable tape - I've bought numerous cheapies and never experienced difficulty. The above fact also points away from unreliable equipment.

I must say here that I've had no trouble exchanging tapes but why should I have to put up with the hassle? If other people experience difficulty they should boycott the companies involved. You'll never catch me purchasing another Melbourne House product.

Until the bigger companies pull their fingers our perhaps we should support only the 'small boys' in the industry - after all, they can't afford to alienate the consumer.

Andy Whitlam

I bet the lads and lasses at Melbourne House are having sleepless nights already.

Despite what you say, your problems are much more likely to stem from a particularly cantankerous tape recorder than inferior cassettes. The odd half-dozen users have been able to load and play The Hobbit, so we've heard. John Gilbert did, anyway.

You'll never believe this

I BOUGHT a 48K Spectrum a few months ago and at the same time ordered another Spectrum magazine regularly.

I tried programming from this mag to no avail, and on asking a fellow owner I found out that the mag does not cater for us amateur users when it comes to programming UDGs.

I bought a couple of issues of Sinclair User and found some graphics instructions for the listings. I typed in Bomber Boris - May, 1985 - and it loaded first time!

P Hall

Hold the front page! Someone has actually got one of our listings to work. Chris Bourne must be slipping.

Jumbo-lovers fly off handle

MAY I SUGGEST you submit some of your reviewers to bench-test and service. The May review of 747 Flight Simulator was an insult to those readers who, like me, bought a copy of 747, read the manual with attention and proceeded to an enjoyable piece of computer-assisted learning.

C R Oswin

For accuracy and entertainment most consumers would get better value from Psion's Flight Simulator or Digital Integration's Fighter Pilot. Those who want to get into a pedestrian jumbo will enjoy 747, but I fear they're in the minority. Chris Bourne.

Extra feature with Easyedit

WITH reference to my utility program Easyedit in the June Issue. One useful feature omitted from the article is that the routine can be switched off by typing #X. Provided that RAMTOP has not been changed and that data has not POKEd or LOADed the space occupied by the program then Easyedit can be restarted by typing RANDOMIZE USR 60702.

David Wright

Where to put your POKEs

AS A recent buyer of a Spectrum Plus I have noticed that POKEs are mentioned in letters about games.

Could you please explain what these POKEs are?

R Carpenter

Most of the POKEs given in our Zap Chat column must be added to the Basic loader programs which are used to load in the machine code. To gain access to a loader type MERGE "" instead of LOAD "". The program will stop, at which point you should stop the tape recorder and list the program.

POKEs should be put at the beginning of the Basic listing, before the RAND USR commands which invoke the game. When the amendment has been made, run the loader again and restart the tape.

Another crop of rhubarb ...

HAVING just purchased the August issue of Sinclair User, I am disappointed and concerned to see yet more letters concerning C5s and politics appearing in your pages. I refer to those from Dietmar Osman and Michael J King.

As a serious and enthusiastic Spectrum user, I do not consider the pages of a quality publication of SU's standard to be a fitting place for the discussion of political issues and other non-computer related subjects.

Congratulations must go to all SU software reviewers for their accurate and unbiased reports, despite being under fire from people such as Mr King. While I understand that some software is certain to upset some people, those people have no right to force their opinions upon the rest of us. So please, please, please, let us see an end to this senseless bickering.

R A Smith

Now, now, boys. It'll end in tears ...

Bone of fishy contention ...

I'VE GOT some bones to pick with you.

While reading a review of Nodes of Yesod in the August issue, by whatsername, Clare Edgeley, I read that 'fish swim quite happily in zero gravity.'

OK, so maybe there isn't much gravity on the moon, but it's not zero.

Hobbit on C5

The real clanger occurs in the Letters page of the same issue. You seem to have got two headlines mixed up. What has Bored of the Rings got to do with C5s?

N Dempsey

There probably aren't too many fish on the moon either.

As for the headlines mixup, we do these things deliberately just to check that you're still awake after reading the QL news page.


I AM WRITING to congratulate you on your policy with regard to reviewing your advertisers' software.

I used to hold the cynical view that the wrath of advertisers would not be risked by publishing an adverse report on their products. This was proved to be wrong by the thumbs down you gave to the disgraceful Car Cure program in the July edition, which also carried their advertisement.

Integrity is hard to find these days, so keep up the good work.

J H Godfrey

Double-density Dutch club ...

FOR SOME TIME past I have been the owner of an Opus Discovery disc drive for my Spectrum, and I am trying to start a Discovery users club in the Netherlands.

We would like to come into contact with Discovery users in the United Kingdom or abroad to exchange experiences, software and so on.

D C Kruithof

Polyprint the tower of Babel

WE WERE pleased to see the good coverage of Polyprint, the multilingual Centronics interface for the Spectrum, in your July '85 issue. You may find these additional comments appropriate.

The 'preliminary' user notes supplied did not sufficiently emphasise that multiple languages can in fact be used in the same text, both on the printer as well as on the screen. That feature, together with the adaptation to Tasword, we feel gives it a very powerful potential in the European context.

Thanks to the downloadable fount capability of the Epson FX80 and the availability of EPROM programmers, it also becomes possible to implement languages such as Turkish or Icelandic which do not on their own provide sufficiently large markets for manufacturers to bother with.

Finally, the EPROM in Polyprint is a handy place for storage of general utility programs quite unrelated to the printer. Over 7K of space is available for utilities.

K Pandey, Managing Director, Cambridge Microelectronics

Inappropriate screen shots

I AM fed up with the way US Gold, and other software houses, are starting to show Commodore screens on Spectrum cassette inlays.

Surely this should not be allowed as everyone knows that Commodore graphics are better.

Douglas Downie

John Gilbert's teleport trials

WE WERE bemused by John Gilbert's 'review' of our game EVA for the QL in the July issue. This was so full of inaccuracies we wonder if he loaded the program.


Any game which uses the cursor keys is compatible with a joystick. Since Mr Gilbert owns a joystick why didn't he use one?

We don't believe Mr Gilbert finished the first screen as the object assembled is obviously a Giant Robot not a teleport booth.

Mr Gilbert's reaction differs from that of Popular Computer Weekly who said, "it really is great fun ... very enjoyable and entertaining ... Easily the best game for the QL to date". Perhaps they actually played the game.

Andrew F Greenwood

Oh, sorry. We didn't realise that if a game was joystick compatible we were forbidden from reviewing it using the keyboard. As it happens, our QL joystick didn't appear to work with EVA.

John Gilbert failed to recognise the unit as being a giant robot. Perhaps he was confused by your playing instructions, which refer throughout to a 'teleport module'.

Easily the best game for the QL to date? Considering the current dearth of even halfway decent QL arcade games, that would hardly be difficult.

Starion fans fight back

I AM WRITING to set the record straight on Starion after J W Ewart's misleading letter - July issue. The game is good value and not impossible to complete. It certainly wouldn't appeal to the blast-anything-that-moves brigade but anyone with a penchant for word games as well as an itchy trigger finger will find it a challenge.

The password to the first time block is Aerospace - you'll need to work out 90 anagrams to get that far.

Jim Grimwood

QL News Issue 42 Contents Spectrum Software Scene 1

Sinclair User
September 1985