I AM surprised that you bothered to print the letter from Dietmar Osman regarding Sir Clive Sinclair - letters, April.
Sinclair was the innovator of the hand-held calculator and the home computer.
The Spectrum was an enormous step in this field. The potential of this machine as a serious mathematical and scientific tool can hardly be appreciated by those people who use it for games only. The microdrives on my machines have, after a year of daily use, proved perfectly reliable.
The QL is a further step to serious computing and will accommodate a larger range of usage than most home machines.
One would not expect the writer of such a letter to understand the importance in transport engineering terms of the C5 tricycle and its attempt to establish at least one new thought pattern in social transport.
If Dietmar Osman would enter Sir Clive's dreamworld perhaps he too could become a multi-millionaire.
I WISH to reply briefly to Mr Osman who claims that Sir Clive 'is rapidly going downhill' and criticises the QL, the microdrives, the Spectrum Plus, and the C5 which he considers to be 'Clive's latest idiocy'.
Whether the C5 is a death trap or not remains to be proved, but if it is unfit for the road, the country's lack of cycle paths has something to do with it. I can only praise Sir Clive's spirit and I hope his dream of 'fast, quiet, astonishing family vehicles' comes true.
If it hadn't been for Sir Clive, there might never have been a British computer industry. So, to save the country from crumbling any further, why don't we encourage geniuses like Sir Clive Sinclair to achieve their highly humanitarian goals?
He's all the once-famous British inventive spirit has to hold onto. Why can't the nation and the Government realise that?
Easy random formulae
SIMON North - Letters, April - was nearly right. Any experienced user will notice that the Spectrum will evaluate RND * b before subtracting a. The formula should be capable of being used in a program with values being substituted.
The correct way to write his formula is
INT(RND * (b-a)) + a
Far better to say
INT (RND * L) + start
where 'start' is the start of the range, and 'L', one more than the length of the range. So, to give a random number between 10 and 20, the formula would read
INT (RND * 11) + 10
Entry Points in correction
GLANCING through Entry Point in April's Sinclair User I was surprised to see stated 'numeric variable names have the same length restriction as that of strings'. Actually, this restriction applies to numeric arrays, not numeric variables.
In fact, it can be helpful to use mnemonic multicharacter variable names while programming, replacing them with shorter names when the program is working.
The statement, further on, that 'ROM is similar to RAM but anything which you store in it will not disappear when you switch off the power' implies that the contents of ROM can be altered; which is not so.
Embarrassing front covers
I KNOW you try to appeal to a wide audience but if your cover pictures are anything to go by you are only appealing to schoolchildren.
I like your magazine but pictures of turtles, schoolteachers and certain characters on the front tend to make me feel embarrassed about buying it. I usually pick a time when the newsagent is nearly empty and I hurriedly hide it between the covers of the Sun newspaper.
PS. Please don't tell anyone I read the Sun.
0ops! Sorry. I'm intrigued by 'certain characters', though. Could you mean Sir Clive? Ed.
Indignant at hairy story
IT SEEMS that Gremlin has got his knickers in a twist - Sinclair User, May - by ignoring the first rule of journalism - check your facts before publishing.
Just for the record, I have never been discourteous to, or thrown out, any woman customer from the Buffer Shop and the question of hairy armpits has never even crossed my mind. This whole silly story derives from the imagination of a Computer Trade Weekly reporter trying to write a humorous article about retail shops.
What a pity that the schoolboy who writes the Gremlin page did not notice that this magazine appeared during the week of April 1!
M Howard, Buffer Micro
CTW claims that the story, published under Mike Howard's name, was cleared with him prior to publication.
In view of Buffer's recent demise perhaps we should be generous and give Howard the benefit of the doubt. Ed.
Penpals are required
WE WOULD like to have some penfriends to swap hints, tips and games for the Spectrum 48K.
MY sons - Milan, 15, and David, 14, and I would like to take up correspondence and exchange programs with British Spectrum users very much.