What's on the Internet for QLers?
By Timothy Swenson
There has been a lot of hype about the Internet, mostly from
companies wanting to sell you Internet access or hardware to get
you connected. Ignoring all of this hype, what is there really
on the Internet for QL users? In this article I'll cover most of
the key information avaialble.
E-mail was the first killer application of the Interent. E-mail
works the same was as regular mail (type a letter, send it, get a
response), but so much faster. Even considering time zones,
e-mail at its slowest (given that people read their mail
everyday) is overnight. This means that when you send your
message, your recipient is asleep, and when he sends it back, you
are asleep. FedEx'ing a package at best takes two days (1 day
there, 1 day back). E-mail is also very cheap with most Internet
Providers do not charge for each sent message.
There is a fair amount of QL users reachable via e-mail. Most
well known QLers and QL vendors have e-mail accounts. A number
of Web sites have listings of other QL users.
There is also a QL mailing list. A mailing list is designed so
that a message sent to the mailing list will be sent to all of
these that subscribe to the list. A lot of current QL
information is spread this way, weeks before it goes into a QL
publication. In some ways the mailing list could be considered
an informal publication. To subcribe to the QL Mailing List send
an e-mail to email@example.com with "subscribe ql-users" in
the message body.
USENET is like a world wide BBS with thousands of different
conferences or newsgroups. Each newsgroup is composed of a bunch
of postings that look like an e-mail message, which in fact they
are. Most Internet servers have USENET and they all exchange
messages back and forth so that a message posted in Germany can
be read in New Zealand. USENET is carries the same type of
information as a mailing list, execpt that you go to USENET
instead of it coming to you. Mailing lists can put a bunch of
mail messages in your inbox, which you have to sort out. With
USENET, you read it at your pleasure and can quickly browse
though a thousand postings or more.
The primary newsgroups for QL users is maus.sys.ql.int,
maus.sys.ql.ger, maus.sys.ql.c68, and comp.sys.sinclair.
Maus.sys.ql.int covers the QL for international users (post to
this newsgroup by default), maus.sys.ql.ger covers QL issues in
German, and maus.sys.ql.c68 covers issues related to the C68 C
compiler. Comp.sys.sinclair covers all Sinclair hardware, from
calculators, ZX81, T/S 1000, Spectrum, T/S 2068, Z88 and QL.
Over 90% of the traffic on comp.sys.sinclair is Spectrum related.
Comp.sys.sinclair gets a broader reach, but maus.sys.ql.int has
more QL specific information. I'm finding that the most serious
QL discussions are on maus.sys.ql.int.
What kind of topics are discussed on USENET? Questions and
discussions about QL products (both hardware and software),
commercial announcements, freeware announcements, and general
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
FTP is a protocol that transfers files between computers. FTP
Servers store files for others to get. An Anonymous FTP Server
is set up to allow anyone to connect to it and get files. There
are a few QL specific Anon-FTP Servers that store both text files
and QL software. I have found that most of the sites do not get
updated all that often. They can go many months without adding
any new files. They are a good place to get some older software
that you need, but the real source for the latest software is the
Web. The primary FTP server for the QL is ftp.nvg.unit.no.
Login with the username 'anonymous' and the password of your
e-mail address. Programs like C68, POV, some games, some
commerical demos, and general QL utilties are available on
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is similar to FTP, but instead of files, the
Web Servers hold text files that when displayed in a Web Browser
allow mouse-click access to text informatin, graphics, and any
type of file. The World Wide Web is the second killer
application of the Internet.
A number of QL traders have web sites descripting the different
hardware and software they well. Examples are Jochem Merz, TF
Services, W. Richardson, Di-Ren, QubbeSoft, PROGS, Quo Vadis
Designs, and FWD Computing. A couple of QL software writers have
their pages, such as Jonathan Hudson, Marcel Kilgus (the creator
of QPC), Daniele Terdina (the creator of Qemulator), Jan Venama
(the creator of QLAY), Phil Borman (the creator of PBOX), Dave
Walker (maintainer of C68), and Johan Klockars (the creator of
QLem). A number of Sysops for QL BBS's have web pages such as,
Thierry Godfrey (QLFC BBS), Jan Bredenbeek (Syncnet BBS), and
Eros Forenzi (QItaly BBS). And lastly there are web sites
created by QL users like myself, Peter Jaeger, Davide
Santachiara, and Richard Zidlicky.
Most of the vendors web sites have information about the products
they carry. The software developers web sites contain the
software they develop (when Freeware) and information about the
software, any extra utilities, etc.
A key site is Thierry Godfrey's web page. It has links to all
the other web sites, a list of the known QL users e-mail
addresses, a local QL newsgroup, a list of addresses for vendors
and user groups, links to FTP sites, links to QL newsgroups, and
a fairly expansive QL download page. He lists files available on
his web site and files available on other web sites. If a
Freeware package is not listed on the download page, Thierry can
usually be persuaded to get it off his BBS and put it on his web
The key point I'm trying to make is this: before you either jump
on the Internet or choose to ignore it, it is best to known what
exactly you are getting into or missing. There is not much QL
specific stuff on the Internet, but what is there can really
enhance the hobby. As a QL user with no local group to meet
with, I keep up in the hobby with the Internet and a few QL
publications. I talk via e-mail with a number of QL users all
over the world. Most of the freeware I get comes from the
Can I get buy without Internet access? No, but I don't think so.
But I have been spoiled by working at sites that had full and
free access to the Internet. If I was limited to accessing the
Internet from home, I would only do so with a PC and a PPP
connection. Getting full access to the Internet with just a QL
can be diffucult and painfull. So look before you leap.
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