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All being well, I shall soon be the proud owner of a thermal printer for my ancient and laughably primitive ZX81 home computer. I am going to make a zine using just this technology, which will be a challenge to say the least.

Working within the strict limitations of this kit, I'm very keen to get
submissions from people for this zine. The only characters and symbols
available on the ZX81 are these:



That's right - no lower case, only a limited range of punctuation, and some very blocky graphic symbols. I'm going to produce the zine by printing a
series of screen dumps, and the screen consists of 20 printable lines
of 32 characters each.

So...if you're interested in using these very basic building blocks to produce what I hope will be a very
interesting zine, do get in touch. If you can write an article properly
formatted to use the screen layout described above, and that completely
fills one or more screens, let me know. If you can produce it on a real
ZX81, even better, but I won't hold you to that! I'm willing to re-type
submissions on my own machine. :) I'm particularly interested in anyone
who can make pretty pictures using these symbols and characters.

Hope to hear from some of you soon, and hopefully the zine will appear
shortly, if I don't suffer from too much RAM-pack wobble while I'm
producing it.

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Sounds like a pretty cool idea...do you have a deadline in mind?


ManDuh said:
Sounds like a pretty cool idea...do you have a deadline in mind?

Haha, no, I'm far too disorganised for that! It'll appear as and when I manage to get it out, but as I'm going to be unemployed for the next three to four weeks, I hope it will appear sooner rather than later.

I've coded two pages so far, and have them stored on audio tape (yes, really). It's fun but quite time consuming!

Anyway - any ideas for articles? I'd love some contributions. Contrary to my first post, the screen is 22 lines and 32 columns, so let's have your 704-character masterpieces.

Lee
Oh. Wow. This makes me so happy, and I'm really excited that you have an ZX81 up and running... with a printer no less! I will try to contribute something, I promise.


Aj Michel said:
Oh. Wow. This makes me so happy, and I'm really excited that you have an ZX81 up and running... with a printer no less! I will try to contribute something, I promise.

Excellent! I got the ZX81 from Freecycle recently, and my adventures in using it can be found at Fun With Old Stuff, my retro technology blog. It's rare to find a ZX81 in full working order these days, so I really struck it lucky with this one. It's barely been used by the looks of things.

I don't have a printer yet, but all being well I'll be the proud owner of an as-yet-unused ZX Printer later today - I'm bidding an insane amount of money on one on eBay, and will keep going until I win one! They come up fairly regularly and I'm determined to get one.

I've started coding the zine - the front cover and an introductory page are done. What sort of things would you like to contribute?
I think I might write you a 704 character wonder on my many superstitions I had as a kid for getting tapes to load properly on crappy 80s computers (ie must stare fixedly at tape player entire time, must remain in room, must not cross legs etc)


Emma Jane Falconer said:
I think I might write you a 704 character wonder on my many superstitions I had as a kid for getting tapes to load properly on crappy 80s computers (ie must stare fixedly at tape player entire time, must remain in room, must not cross legs etc)

That would be absolutely perfect. I've rediscovered the joys of that since owning a ZX81 again. It's actually still possible to buy mono "shoebox" tape recorders new, and it works OK, but can be very temperamental.

I bought a tiny 5" black and white telly for it as well, as it wouldn't work with the two flatscreens in my house.

Lee
We had a commodore 64, and you could only use the special tape machine with that. It was a bit tempermental, and we had some games that seemingly took forever to load (I'm looking at you Adrian Mole & New Zealand Story) and would often throw a wobbly about 75% of the way into the process.


Lee Osborne said:


Emma Jane Falconer said:
I think I might write you a 704 character wonder on my many superstitions I had as a kid for getting tapes to load properly on crappy 80s computers (ie must stare fixedly at tape player entire time, must remain in room, must not cross legs etc)

That would be absolutely perfect. I've rediscovered the joys of that since owning a ZX81 again. It's actually still possible to buy mono "shoebox" tape recorders new, and it works OK, but can be very temperamental.

I bought a tiny 5" black and white telly for it as well, as it wouldn't work with the two flatscreens in my house.

Lee
I don't have any ideas for articles, but just wanted to say this is an awesome idea. It makes me wish I still had my Apple IIGS, can you imagine the kind of zine you could put out with Print Shop? (I did used to make little zine-like things with Print Shop, but none of them survived.) Will definitely get a copy when it's done!
Sounds very familiar indeed. The words "tape loading error" would give Spectrum owners nightmares.
Maybe you can use this picture (based on an Andy Warhol self portrait):


Maybe someone else can use this template I made for myself while working on that picture:



Dan C said:
Maybe you can use this picture (based on an Andy Warhol self portrait):


Maybe someone else can use this template I made for myself while working on that picture:


That is very cool indeed, but I need to print 32 characters across by 22 characters down, so I'd need to flip it 90 degrees - it does show what can be done, though. Sorry if I didn't make the print format very clear - but that's cool enough to print lots of times and dish out as a bonus print with the zine. :) It would work well on the printer.

Lee
I now have the printer, and have laboriously coded about five pages of material - it's very time consuming, but watching the first few pages chug out onto thermal paper a mere four inches wide was very satisfying. :)

I'd really love any more contributions you can come up with!

Lee

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