Talking about your correspondent

A commenter called S.P recently asked the question “who is tmr?”[1] so the author decided to “educate” said reader, although his usual lack of research or indeed accuracy were present…

TMR is a C64 supporter who writes the blog “C64 Crap Debunk” on . The initials TMR stand for The Magic Roundabout, a classic kids’ TV show.

So far this is generally speaking correct, although your correspondent sees himself as a fan of all 8-bit systems rather than merely a “C64 supporter”.

He’s a C64 programmer

This part isn’t strictly true however;  although there’s more C64 code out there with your correspondent’s name on than anything else there are also plenty of examples for other systems including the Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bits and indeed other Commodores as well. There has also been quite a bit of dabbling in graphics for an even wider range of platforms, along with the odd attempt at what we shall charitably refer to as “music” too so it would be more accurate to use the wider term “8-bit developer”.

and a mathematical genius

This particular falsehood never stops being funny… it’s a lie that the author has been  rather desperately trying to convince people of for a while in part because he presumably feels that his own inability to program actually stems from struggling with mathematics but, as stated on several occasions previously, it doesn’t take a “maths whiz” or a “swot” to program the C64 or indeed any other 8-bit and your correspondent is proof of that, much as the author would like to believe otherwise.

TMR has been promoting my blog by criticising it, as explained on , but he doesn’t think that’s what he’s doing.

By that “logic” the author has been promoting Brexit by criticising it. Your correspondent happily drives traffic to the author’s blog but that’s because he feels it will be amusing  to others and, judging by feedback that’s been received over the years, that certainly does seem to be the case. It really is a mistake to believe in the old adage that “all publicity is good publicity” because there are far too many cases where it’s not, for example it would be extremely doubtful that Donald Trump was pleased about the publicity he received after porn star Stormy Daniels’ recent references to a certain intimate part of his anatomy and how it resembles Toad from Nintendo’s Mario Kart franchise… nobody seems to have asked Toad how he feels, but presumably he wasn’t happy about being connected to Trump in that way.

On the plus side dear reader, that previous paragraph does mean that your correspondent can use a number of tags that wouldn’t otherwise be valid…

[1] Your correspondent considered saying something along the lines of “how dare he not know” at this point for comedic effect, but the author has historically struggled rather badly when confronted with sarcasm and we don’t want to confuse him even more than normal, do we dear reader?

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A Brexit-flavoured surprise

Well here’s something unusual for C64CD dear reader, your correspondent directly penning a post about the annoyingly-named “Brexit” – a term presumably created by tabloid journalists who believed an annoying portmanteau would somehow be less confusing to their readership in the same way that Paul Gascoigne being called “Gazza” supposedly was – and it’s actually on topic for this blog, at least in a tangential way!

When C64CD started releasing programs your correspondent decided it needed some storage space for the files and set up a subdomain off one he already owned; that domain had a .EU suffix and at the end of last week a missive turned up in your correspondent’s inbox from the company he uses for domain registrations which began thus:

We are writing to inform you that EURid (European Registry for Internet Domains) has decided that anyone without an EU postal address will no longer be able to own a .eu domain name once the UK leaves the EU.

EURid will therefore be terminating all .eu domain names registered to UK addresses on one of two dates:

30 March 2019 if the UK exits the EU with no deal

1 January 2021 if the UK exits the EU with a deal

The email continues, answering the question “what if I don’t have an EU postal address” with the following…

Unfortunately, this means that you will lose your EU domain, but we will keep you updated on next steps and provide you with plenty of guidance so that we can help to minimise the inconvenience caused.

…which, after profuse swearing at considerable length about “bloody Brexiteers” under his breath – certainly not  the first time that’s happened dear reader and highly unlikely to be the last all things considered – left your correspondent pondering how to deal with the soon-to-be-disappearing domain; after some deliberation a replacement was duly registered for the domain’s primary purpose – it acts as a link shortener for assorted projects – but, rather than merely tack the C64CD file space onto the end of it as before, the decision was instead take to splash out a few quid on and set up a new subdomain from there.

That easier to remember address is also wrapped quite neatly if somewhat cheaply around this very blog using “highly advanced” iframe technology, because your correspondent isn’t exactly a rich person at the best of times and really couldn’t justify the monthly fee required by to connect things properly! No doubt something has been forgotten during the migration process, so your correspondent apologises in advance and will endeavour to fix issues as soon as they arise.

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I know it’s late, I couldn’t wait

Debunking Hello again!

Hello again from me! I feel I must explain about what I‘ve been doing in recent months since my last blog entry on here.

During this time, I‘ve been continuing to think about the imminent destruction of Britain by Brexit turning it into an offshore tax haven, the “moat” seperating Britain from the rest of Europe, as well as applying for Irish citizenship and an Irish passport.

We could infer from this dear reader that the author struggles to think about more than one thing at a time since he hasn’t been able to post for several months whilst occupied merely thinking about Brexit and presumably doing some paperwork. Perhaps that’s why he so spectacularly failed to learn programming on the C64 back in the day and has yet to produce anything of significance on any other platform since, there was always something else stealing the majority of his worryingly finite mental resources.

After some time, I managed to get WinVICE running. This was a bit dificult, because there was more than one version installed and it didn‘t even seem to appear on the Start menu. I ended up putting some shortcuts for the C64, as well as the C128, and the Plus/4 on the Desktop and it‘s now working OK.

Because WinVICE doesn’t come as an install package it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that there aren’t any start menu shortcuts created whilst extracting the archive, these things don’t appear by magic after all. As for which executable to use – your correspondent is rather charitably assuming that the author wasn’t struggling simply because he had somehow ended up with two copies of WinVICE on his computer – it really isn’t even slightly difficult at all because, as the documentation that the author apparently didn’t read says, “two C64 emulators are provided: `x64′ (fast) and `x64sc’ (accurate)”.

I think that the most important commands, which C64 owners were crying out for, are COLOR N,N,N, to set the text and even graphics screen colours, SCREEN N, to set the display mode as text, multicoloured text (which I didn‘t even know existed when I owned a C64, thanks to Commodore‘s crappy manuals), multicolour graphics, and hires graphics, as well as LINE(x1,y1)-(x2,y2),c.

The author thinks that “C64 owners were crying out for” these specific BASIC commands without offering a shred of evidence to back his claim up. Considering how many C64s were sold it’d need to be a significant number of people complaining to be statistically relevant; if we significantly dial down all the numbers to make the mathematics simpler for the authors benefit to pretend that a mere ten million units were sold with each sale only representing just one user, even if the author could demonstrate that 100, 000 people actually wanted the commands he lists that would equate to just one percent of the total installed user base.

A very significant revelation in “The Advanced Machine Language Book of The Commodore 64” is made on page 140, where it says “If we have added our own tokens for our new commands using the previously described vector §304/$305, a special character is no longer necessary”!! This means that new commands wouldn‘t have to be prefixed by characters such as “!” or “@”.

That’s hardly a “significant revelation” dear reader, since there are BASIC extensions from the 1980s which don’t prefix their commands; this is something which the author should have noticed well before now during his “research” but apparently didn’t.

This will probably involve the use of two POKE commands to set the text cursor row as well as just the column, by using variables. This isn‘t possible using the Commodore 64 PRINT TAB(n) command, which only sets the column. Commodore‘s widely publicised way of dealing with this was to use strings of cursor up or cursor down control characters, in conjunction with the LEFT$, MID$, or even RIGHT$ command.

So despite there being a widely known and simple to implement work-around[1] which doesn’t require POKE commands, the author rather perversely doesn’t want to use it despite his previous whining. That says nothing about the C64 or its BASIC dear reader, but does speak several volumes about the author.

I think it could be an amazing experiment to get some Chimpanzees, babies, or toddlers to sit down with a Commodore 64 next to a computer running a version of Microsoft Extended BASIC, complete with instruction manuals, then see how they got on, but I don‘t think I could set this up. I think the end result would be quite predictable, though.

It would indeed be predictable dear reader but not in the way the author insinuates; his proposal involves groups of primates or humans who lack the required language skills for any dialect of BASIC so, unsurprisingly, the outcome is that none of these subjects are going to start programming on either machine or indeed consulting the provided manuals rather than trying to eat them.

[1] It’s not the only obvious work-around either, there are variations using PRINT commands in a loop to select the row and PRINT TAB to reach a specific column or multiple PRINT TABs working in unison (since they can cover a six character high area) and parts of these techniques can be mixed and matched with parts of the POKE-based solution as well.

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