Today I managed to buy the latest thing – a 1.44Mb high density (HD) floppy disk, I actually bought a box of 10 of them from the school office. I will finally have room to store all of my Basic programmes and Filemaker programmes to take them between home and school.
I can’t get the program working as I wanted on the BBC computers, but the school got new computers running MS-DOS 4 that are much easier to work and alter, especially since I already have the 3.30a manual at home.
The final version of Hahas (version 3) that I finished today doesn’t display anything on screen at all when it runs other than the c:/> that looks like the normal prompt, but isn’t. Behind the scenes it is adding to the autoexec.bat parts of the boot folder, so that the program will always run every time the computer turns on. I added in a few extra features so that it only displays the hahas occasionally, not every time a disk is put in, as it was getting too obvious. Lots of people in class started to notice the hahas and the computer teacher also wondered what they were. Also new is that it hides the file by prefixing it with a $ (dollar sign) so that although space on the floppy disk it is on will be missing, most of the idiots wont know why. I also renamed the version stored on the hard disk to call it expander.exe so that people wont suspect it as not being a real system file. It also copies the date and time of the msdos.sys file so that it looks like it has always been there.
I think I will update it next to make it just display a message on my birthday every year, but only once I leave the school otherwise I might get in a lot of trouble.
Today I finished version 1 of a program that will run on the BBC computers in school. People keep stealing my floppy disks to annoy me so I decided to get my own back. If they try to use them I have a program that will now run when inserted into the BBC computers that I have written and compiled in Basic.
I called in the HAHAs, because thats what it displays on screen – a never-ending loop of hahas with an optical illusion, meanwhile it uses up all available memory so that the computer crashes.
I spent the whole of my Christmas holidays, and most of every night since reading over the Acorn OS manual that I borrowed from the school computer classroom, and have found out that there are commands that you can use to over-write memory. Normally you shouldn’t do that as it stops the computer working, but for the purposes of vengeance, why not.
I ran several tests today at school and it actually works.
The computing class today was boring so I spent most of it trying to work out how to make the program copy itself automatically on to the computer and also try to detect when a floppy disk is inserted and automatically copy itself back on to another disk, that way it will spread to all the computers without me having to copy it manually. The problem with copying it back is that I haven’t figured out how to make it test if it already exists on the disk, so it displays a prompt asking about overwriting, so people would be aware of it.
Today I wrote my first program in QBasic. I managed to get it copied on to our 286 computer using 2 floppy disks that managed to buy this week for £1 each from the school office. I copied QBasic from the computer at school on to the disks and managed to get it working at home!
I’ve ended up having to re-install the computer from scratch after I was trying out commands from in the DOS manual and accidentally used Deltree /Y and forgot to specify a folder to delete, so it deleted everything from the root of the C drive.
Thankfully the disks used to install it were in the disk boxes on the top shelf of the computer desk so I have managed to re-install MS-DOS and Windows and the games and almost everything else. Hopefully no-one else will notice anything different, and at least all our files are stored on disks so we didn’t loose any of my homework or Dads work.
Today I bought my first album – it was Now! Thats What I Call Music 18. Double cassette, and wow is it good! I got to listen to it on my walkman for the first time too whilst writing this on the computer. I’ve started this computer diary to keep a record of everything that I do / learn so that in the future I can use it for reference and also to share things that other people might find useful. I recon that there are a lot of things that a person learns in their lifetime that lots of other people also spend a lot of time researching, but its just so difficult to find the answers. I’ve been experimenting with creating a records file like a data-base in a file to store this new diary that I can then load it and search through it using .bat files.
I’m writing this on our 286 computer in the DOS Editor so that I can save it to floppy disk. Its in the living room but I’m the only one who really knows how to use it well. I have written a new batch-file (.bat) menu system for it so that other than always booting into Windows 3.0 it can load the menu first, saving a lot of time if you want to do word processing in QA Write (Which is a DOS program). Windows really is rather basic compared to what you can do within DOS directly.
The computer is a Compaq 286. It has a 3.5″ Floppy Disk Drive that reads 720Kb disks and also a 30Mb hard disk that stores MS-DOS 3.30a and Windows 3.0
If you have a Compaq 286 computer, you can’t just turn it off when you are finished using it, you have to park the disk heads before you press the physical power button. To park the disk heads type:
Shift + Ctrl +Alt + Del
This then ensures that it parks the disk heads on the hard disk properly so that it isn’t damaged if the desk is bumped when the computer is off.