16° Meeting Sinclair QL Italiano 5th of April 2020 The 16° Sinclair QL should have been held in Modena as it has been the case since 2008. Unfortunately, due to the restriction enforced following the Covid-spread 19 we had to meet on the virtual teleconferencing platform Jitsi. Twenty people have attended the teleconference including Marcel Kilgus, Dilwyn Jones and Urs Keonig as welcome international guests.
Marcel, as also happened in the last two QL Italian meetings, had many interesting news to report. Guest star was the new RGB-VGA interface for Sinclair QL. This is yet another very useful piece of hardware to keep the original QL alive at the time were only SVGA interfaces are available in modern monitors. The prototype is almost finished and the image quality is outstanding, everything is managed by a FPGA which scans the RGB signal and transform it into a VGA signal. All the details can be found on <https://www.kilgus.net/2020/01/08/ql-vga-the-second/> https://www.kilgus.net/2020/01/08/ql-vga-the-second/ An Italian QL user living in Toronto since many years, Michele Perini, is designing a QL style case to be realized with 3D print technology. The second news was that the excellent QL-SD interface card will not be any more realized due to the effort at Marcels side needed to solder and integrate the boards. Thats a pity, but do not despair as a new replacement named QL-SD ROM is already in the pipeline. This board will connect to the QL ROM port. The nice plus is that the new QL-SD ROM will have an onboard flash ram capable to keep up to 8 QL ROMs which can be loaded and selected with simple SuperBasic commands. https://www.kilgus.net/2020/03/28/ql-sd-rom-the-early-days/ As side activity Marcel is also working in the port of SMSQ/E for the MiSTer platform. MiSTer is a hardware platform capable to emulate most of the retro-computers. You can find the Sinclair QL port on <https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/QL_MiSTer> https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/QL_MiSTer while a MiSTer description is given at this link <https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki> https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki One of the possible future ideas which were mentioned by Marcel is the QL port on the Spectrum Next <https://www.specnext.com/> https://www.specnext.com/ which has been shown live by Massimo Boccardi, one of the few guys who managed to buy one. One of the nice things about the Spectrum Next is that the case has been designed by the same designer of the Sinclair QL case. Another nice video contribution was an original Sinclair QL connected to an internet connection with this serial-ethernet interface <https://www.simulant.uk/shop/retro-vintage-computer-wifi-modem-rs232-serial -hayes-compatible> https://www.simulant.uk/shop/retro-vintage-computer-wifi-modem-rs232-serial- hayes-compatible as well as V-Drive with a case made with SLS 3D printing technology. The case was almost identical to the original Sinclair QL one. Dilwyn Jones has shown his QL-IRC program. QL-IRC is written in structured Super Basic (by Tim Swenson) and allows to any QL platform allowing to have a TCP/IP connection like QPC2 to an IRC server (like e.g. the one hosted by QLForum https://qlforum.co.uk/) During Dilwyns presentation I noticed QL IRC was running on QPC 4.99 so I could not resist to ask whether this was an error or a special version developed on purpose for QL IRC. Actually, Marcel forgot that he almost completed the work on QPC 5 which is a version almost completely re-written in C a part for the core. There are many advantages vs QPC 4 like full Direct-X 11 support, an improved floppy driver and capability to save header information on DOS files. Only minor drawback is that it will not run anymore on Windows 95. Last presentation was made by Giorgio Garabello who has shown the latest developments of his Black Phoenix platform http://www.hunggartorino.it/ql/black-phoenix-en/ Most of the efforts have been spent on a new sophisticated file manager called Quantum Explorer which will be available in the next release. Roberto Porro in parallel has shown the ongoing development work in the routines to allow image processing also to be implemented in a new utility which will be part of Black Phoenix. I hope I did not forget any of the very interesting information exchanged during this virtual meeting, two hours and a half has flown and our wish has been to organize a similar virtual event not far in the future. This was however not new for us as since 2014 during our physical QL Italian meeting we always organized videoconferencing sessions which allowed many people from outside Italy to attend and present their projects. Obviously our hope is that at least in 2021 there will be again a physical meeting where we will manage to bring again our QL hardware and have together a lunch with tigelle and Lambrusco. It is remarkable that after 35 years from his launch and after 31 years after the first Italian QL meeting in the wonderful villa at Gardone Riviera (1989 my first drive outside my town after having got the driving license), it is possible to discuss about new developments and future projects on this incredible machine called Sinclair QL. Davide (www.sinclairql.it <http://www.sinclairql.it> ) _______________________________________________ QL-Users Mailing List