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TS Bulletin Amateur Publication 

• • • # • News Supplement#s-7-90 

by Bill J; Harmer,97 Ruskin,Ottawa,Can.KlI 4B3 

-Sept*,1990--- 2 pages-- 

(g^ 1990, In the public domain (this page/side only) 

News of a Local Nature - The Ottawa-Hull Timex-Sinclair User Group continues to 
get together, this last September, 5 members meeting at a members home down by 
the River (in what was at one time, cottage country)* As one member remarked, 
whether we continue to use Sinclair computers or not, we still get together to 
enjoy talking to each other. Some members have acquired IBM comaptibles, but 
there is still quite a bit of use of the TS computers among group members,(incl¬ 
uding those with other makes like the IBM compatible), The club librarian, Dave 
Solly, 1545 Alta Vista iJrive, Apt* 1402, Ottawa, Ont., Canada KIG 3P4 reported 
’bhatminy, even from put of tov/n are using the club BBS (6l3) 745-SS3B (B/r/l, 

300 and 1200 baud)* Activity in programming in Pascal both on the TS206B and 
the im PC (using Turbo Pascal) is also a club a6tivity that Dave participates 
in and the BRS has had on it a Pascal compiler for the TS206B that has been 
released into the public domain for non-commercial purposes* Coffeeand goodies 
rounded out the meeting which included discussion of j:proposals to raise rates 
on phones using modems, (in the USA), copyright notices/mentions on run-time 
modules and Mickey Spillanel 

Darken Electronics, original designers and makers of the ZX-Sl/TSlOOO LDOS disk 
controller/DOS and the LKDOS TS206^/Spectrum ROM compatible disk controller, and 
DOS seem to be turning their attention to the sales of their modestly priced 
computer controlled shaper/router/plotter that allows the working of plastic 
and light metal by robot control using an ordinary IBM PC compatible running 
a program originally written in Pascal on the TS206S* Continued support of the 
disk systems, at least in terms of being able to buy new boards for new users 
is now being considered, dependent on demand, as probably anyone who knows 
about the Darken system and has a TS206B has got one if they are going to now. 

No matter what the outcome, conversion of the Aerco, Zebra and Oliger controll¬ 
ers to run the LKDOS operating system and thereby read and write to LKDOS format 
diskettes (which is now in progress all over the US judging from newsletters that 
are coming from those user groups there), will guarantee a longer market and 
opportunity for those who wish to convert to the LKDOS system over time* The 
software support of the LKDOS system will be handled ably by the Toronto user 
group, as it is now, and possible further contributions from Darken Electronics* 
The long-in-preparation book on the LDOS system for the Zt-?!l/TS1000 is being 
releases in pre-publication form in chapters or sections by the author instead 
of going the formal, publishing route (at TS Bulletin amateur publications ad¬ 
dress above)* This unofficial manual for the ZX-BI/TSIOGO single-density cont¬ 
roller baord that Darken produced by modifying the software for the original 
TS206B LDOS controller has been in preparation for more than a year and has 
abdut 110 pages or more. Plans to publish it were abandonned due to the cost 
^Chou3 S6^?s^4of copies have been circulating anyway even 

Congratulations to the Toronto Timex-Sinclair people for producing another mag¬ 
nificent issue of their newsletter, which has been, the last couple of months, 
the size and heft of a magazine* The Club there is doing a fine job of sup¬ 
porting the TS206B and LKDOS disk system especially*.*.The Hacker from Las Vegas 
never fails to show up with a fine edition, and inspiration to other newslet^ 
ters in both appearance and amount of good material.*..In Canada a postal strike 
is rumoured, but then that is always the way as Christmas approaches so it is 
not to be taken seriously yet. More than a rumour is the new G.S.T., a feder¬ 
al retail sales tax in Canada which will be applied even to the postage of news¬ 
letters from here* The publisher of this newsletter is seriously considering 
switching the publications to text files on disk (MS DOS ver.2.x, 360K, 5i in) 
and just posting them to a BBS in order to avoid attracting too much in the 

u^y of costs. in the future when the G.S.T* comes in* (My TSIOOO disk format is 
not compatible with any other and ill suited for text anyway: LDOS single-dens- 
ity.^jf-I have found a way to make a disk LDOS/ZX-Bl one-side, MS DOS the other.) 

(Further to p,2) Useful Sinclair Programmer Notes (On Telephone iios,) 


In the column "Amateur Programmers* Line” for this issue, mention was 
made of* programming with primitives and simple building block algorithms made 
as the result of ^uch work. Below is a short listing of one version of a 
ZX-8l/fS1000 program to test a way of compressing the RAM storage space that 
a 7 '-digit telephone number requires in a database, 

_ Comments 

i (Here is where we will POKE 

the telephone no* into, 
starting at I 6514 in the 
fixed position.) 

5 REM Telephone numbers storage prog.>-<p 

10 POKE 16525,184 
20 POKE 16524,227 

30 POKE 16523,8 
40 REM This up to here will POKE the tel* no*""into^RAM 
50 PRINT ”TEL.NO. ”j 

put last 3 digits in RAM 
put middle 3 digits in RAM 
put first digit of no*in RAM 

60 FOR X«3 TO 0 STEP -1 
80 PRINT PEEK(16525-X); 
90 NEXT X 
99 STOP 

This steps 3,2,1,0 -backwards 
Print on screen the TEL* No* 
(from RAM) 

STOP at end of demo. 

^j-oKLyA Frt^rr T^rr: C^r ji^ yeriTFyurj) 

This will store any seven digit telephone number in 3 bytes of RAM* except 
(can you see the exceptions.*.?...thinki) The exceptions would be for example 
a byte with leading zeros, including 822-1000, 800-1001. The program also 
does not pt in the at the appropriate place. One way to solve the leading 
pro problem would be to assign certain reserved codes for double zeros but 

surmount without variable length fields (allow- 
ed RAM bytes) for the telephone number. Anyway, theoretically 3 bytes is better 
than 7 for using the standard alphanumeric code (similar to ASCI in the ZX-81) — 
one byp for each digit-even if you have to add ajiother byte or two to get the 
case of leading zeros into your algorithm. Another number that would not fit 
p 3 bytes but would require only 4-'bytes to finalize would be 826-6257 since 
It would normally be broken down into 8 , 266 (too high a number for the 255 
limit of one-byte), and 257 (also too high for the 255 limit of one byte). It 
would have to be broken up into 8 , 26, 62 , 57 and so require 4 >bytes of RAM. 

That leads to thought of other ways of handling it* The simple^ ^y numeric¬ 
ally and for your conversion routines would be to allow for variable length 
fields. This would normally create big problems with a database. It also might 
waste an extra byte or two* An end-of-field byte marker would of course have to 
be a different number (of the 0 to 255 that it is possible to store in one %te) 
than would ever occur as a code. If only one telephone number per record (for 
example, a person, member of a club in a club membership database), is used and 
pere are other variable length fields, marked in ingenious ways for endings, or 
length, placing the telephone number at the end of the record would allow its 
end to be marked by the record end marker. So we may have to reserve -fcwo codes 
not one to never use for the bytes, end-of-no. ( 253 ) and end-of-rec* ( 254 ). 

. This is starting more and more to look like a typical coding problem, that 
01 inventing a new code that will streamline computer operations, reduce even 
pe space required to store data in RAM, and of course covers all possibilities 
in a Ipically consistent manner. The zero case is one problem. Perhaps it 
could be handled by not being greedy to get that extra digit (under 255 Wn and 
settling for 2 digits per byte, with 0 coded as one zero and 200 coded as two 
zeros, the 2 being wiped out by the translation or display algorithm. 100 could 
remain as three digits, 1 - 00 . j & 

.-u number given or available? How about a code other 

than 000-0000 for that* In other words, an error code, non-exist code or a math¬ 
ematically conceived empty set.(null set)member code? These possbilities for 
coding "nothing” are often overlooked in coding design. We could assign 252 as 
this code for this system, where legitimate codes beyond 200 (or 252 to push it 

to the max^imum ) would not print or be interpreted as phone numbers. Then there _ 
are long distance numDers,,,, ^r3 zn- 

Newsletters & Clubs: 

© 1990 , In The Public Domain 

The Vancouver TSUG {or rather VSUG) is having a little 

difficulty in getting niaterlal for the newsletter (hint for those who would like 
to send them something, including a program on cassette for listing). It will 
be prepared by a new editor as of the next issue* It has been a good source of 
hardware articles and machine code articles for the ZX-Bl in particular for the 
last couple of years, Wllf Ri gter, the originator of a system of high resolution 
graphics for the ZX-Sl Has written articles for it on how to fiddle with the 
operating system parameters to get specialized graphics and multi-tasking (the 
NOVA 1000 program) with the ZX-sl, General news and material on the TS2068 have 
also graced its pages, as well as the schematics for many projects, especially 
those for the ZX-^1 which most folk would have less trepidation in taking apart 
and hacking,,,,# Larry Kenny of Larken Electronics has put out a call for all 
who wish to order LKDOS interfaces to speak now or hold their peace (forever?)^ 
so that he can judge by orders to RMG Enterprises or himself whether there is 
enough demand to get another, minuraum order of at least 35 boards manufact¬ 
ured (by an outside company specializing in pc board etching)in order to make 
up more LKDOS controller boards for the TS20od/SpectruKi ROM TS2068, Larken 
Electronics is at RR#2, Navan, Ont, Canada K4B 1H9 and R,M,G, is at 1419i 7th St., 

Oregon City, OR, USA 97045 (tel. 503-655-74^4).A few of our readers may have 

heard of the excellent newsletter for the QL put out in French by Real Gagnon, 

He has written an article for the Toronto TSUG (or rather Club) that'helps ex^ 
plain his suspension of publication (temporarily?) of that newsletter, QLJDOC, 
due to job problems . - iu bhe winter when his employer went out of business. We 
can hope that time and finances will permit its re-establishment soon,,,,,The 
Johnson City, NY (a high tech centre) TSUG, SINCUS has moved to embrace the IBM 
PC compatible world and also to discontinue publication of its newsletter as of 
this summer. If you are not getting any more newsletters from them, that is the 
reason,,. # . Update Magzine . a T/S based quarterly supporting afterma^t disk sys¬ 
tems, especialiy those for the TS206^ has changed hands. The previous publisher, 
Mr, Jones is taking a holiday and going cruising around in the Florida area oc^n 
and Frank Davis of Indiana TSUG is taking it over. Expectations of further ex¬ 
cellent issues coming forth have been expressed by people who know Frank, For 
subscriptions contact at tel, (317)473-6031 or via ISTUG,513 E,Main..Peru,IN46970# 

. EMsoft . the QL software firm at P,0. Box 6763, Boston,M,USA 02 II 4 - 6763 , 

t el 6 l 7 - 669-0610 is offering a free catalogue and also has some things other than 
QL software including a ZX- 6 I/TSIOOO/TS1500/TS2066 expansion bus connector and 
housing (also works with PC6300 but with TS2066 connects only to a subset of the- 
bus connections, like the TS printers) for US|l 6 for 3 (or two for the same price) 
and a collection of documentation for the ZX/TS computers. Syntax, etc. for |30, 
(from an advert in SMUG, Sept,1990),,,..If you are wondering about how old your 
addresses are for a number of groups etc,, and wheth^ thay are any good, look at 
the following new addresses : Toronto TSUG (changedI’fast year), c /0 Geo. Chambers, 
14 Richome Ct.,Scarborough, Ont,, Canada MIK 211 (subscription to n/l |12-in,oj #• • • 
SINCUS . Johnson City-discontinued N/L, Harrisburg . PA gp, folded, Dallas & Ft, 
Worth Gps,, discontinued iV" 1 but last heard they were attempting to start one up 
again^QLJDOC, Montreal, suspended publ,, contact Real Gagnon via Toronto TSUG,,-.. 

SIG of Boston Computer Soc, folded but reincarnated as New England QL Users* Gn . 
P,0. Box 8763, Boston, MA, USA 02114-6763 Sum,1990.;..CRAOIST r^Trenamed and now 
published from new address of Donald Lambert, 1301 Kiblinger PI,,Auburn,IN,US A 
46706 (Sept ,1990 chg, of address), CATS (National Capital TSUG ). new address,(fall 
1990 ), CATS,P0B 11017 , Takoma Park,MD,USA 20913.... .Quanta Library, c/© Paul Holmgren, 
5231 Wilton Wood Ct,,Indianapolis, IN,USA 46254 -program library/source ©ode.,,* 

TS Bulletin Amateur Publications still, going strong (in 4th year of publication), 
v/ith many back issues still avai]^\?42 postage 5'-'-97 Ruskin St.,Ottawa,Can.Kir4B3 

.Byte Power-TSZUO^-sortware & raag.,i74o meaaowview,ricKering^^uni 

Canada,LIV 3G6.,„j:ndiv, Users with a S oe^. Interest- T.q?.n68/MS DOS Pascal,D.Solly, 
1:54,5 Alta Vista# 1402 ,Ottawa,Kl^3P<ErS 2066 music, Joan Kealy,P0B lll6,Brackettsville,Tl 
USA76632Ahardware7 ic tester w.TS2066,N.Pashtoon c/oCATS ,& Bob Swoger, DOS/OS exten¬ 
sions for TS2066/LKD0S-CATS,613 Parkside Circle,Streamwood,IL,USA 6 OIO 7 ....