When I became a member of OUM I wanted to help out where I could. I was then at college studying musical instrument repair and thought I could write a series of articles explaining something about music to help people use the sound facilities on their Oric's. Unknown to me Jon Haworth also came up with a series on music at the same time. Some said OUM must stand for "Only Useful to Musicians" ! I am a qualified piano tuner and also hold an HND in musical instrument repair, specialising in woodwind. I have a business repairing and selling woodwind and brass musical instruments. Marshall McGurk
My other contributions (apart
from regular letters to the editor, Dave Dick), include a
review of Sonix by Twilighte and an article about how to use it. A
series "The 8-bit A to Z" ran for nearly two
years making it, (I think), the third longest running
series in OUM after Jon Haworth and Peter Bragg's
excellent long running articles, which I could never hope
to getting any where near to in terms of quality. I also
took charge of the Ultimate Hi-Score Chart and tried top
encourage people to beat my scores.
I hope someone learned something from my articles, but if nothing else I hope some enjoyed my efforts.
|Early Oric work.
First I had a 16K Oric-1. There isn't too much you could do with that. I had a handful of games I played. I typed in BASIC programs, and tried to work out how to program. Early programming was versions of 'Random 1000'. This is the game where you guess what the number is, between 1 -1000, chosen by the computer. The main routine is simple. Use RND to generate the number, INPUT to get the guess and compare that with the randomly generated number. An IF statement termines whether the guess is higher, lower or equal to the number. If the number isn't guessed you go back to the INPUT stage until it is guessed.
This is all rather dull, but the interest came in finding ways to improve the look and feel of the game. I used to play with the graphics and sound, add scoring and so on. Creating something unique was something I liked doing and I still enjoy playing around with 'user interfaces' in this way.
I wrote several programs on the Oric-1. I made one of those synthesizer programs, where you can use the Oric keyboard to play music on. I had key presses for just about all the variations available under basic, except for chords. I could never work out how to get the Oric to understand that two keys were pressed at once. I wrote various little mazes routines and odd little bits of BASIC, but nothing too good. Most of it is now lost.
On the Atmos the one major program I did was Cybojudge. It took years of work and isn't very good after all that effort. Laurent at CEO thought I had given up on it and the CEO released a version he made from a early copy I sent him. I was mad at the time. I thought they had stolen my program, and I wasn't happy with some of the alterations. I was negotiating with Dave at OUM how to release it just as the CEO put out their version. I guess it was just a lack of communication and water under the bridge now. It is a shame we couldn't have collaborated and released the game I wanted Cybojudge to be. Never mind !
My work on Cybojudge required a HIRES screen drawing utility. I wrote my own simple program and used it alongside 'Lorigraph' to design the Cybo screens. As with most things I did, I sent it into OUM for their disk. There were a few of my other programs on those disks. Some were conversions of listings for other machines, like the 'Variations on Jabberwocky' - a small program that generated poetry.
Like Jon Bristow I have several unfinished programs. I started a Backgammon game, but got stuck with the graphics. I've got some projects that are conversions of Amstrad programs that are needing debugging. The conversion from one BASIC to the other wasn't too easy ! There are things in the pipeline that I may get round to doing. 'Weird Wacing Cweatures' is a variation on horse wacing (!) 'Optical Illusions' is a graphic display etc etc One day maybe .......
|What I Do Now (or did !)
Since Rhetoric was formed I have written articles on whatever subject I could think of. Some of the early articles I did were just me rambling on, so it goes to show it isn't difficult to contribute. If I can - anyone can !!!
I have done book reviews and a series called 'Collector's Corner' about the various different ways a piece of software has been released. Hardware projects were covered, but I accept no responsibility for anyone that got frazzled !
Most of my other Oric time was spent typing in old listings, from where ever I could get them. Much of them found their way onto later OUM disks. Others I have were put onto Rhetoric Disks, or printed as listings in Rhetoric. I may try and produce some disks of all the Oric type-ins. Maybe one day ......
I try to buy software that I don't have in my collection. www.ebay.co.uk is the place to look, but I keep getting outbid - it isn't fair !!!
After buying Dave Dick's Oric system, I was pretty much committed to producing the Rhetoric disks. I encounter several problems and frustrations doing this, but it kept me using the real Oric system, so I kind of enjoyed it, though there were many problems encountered along the way..
Dave has little time now for Oric questions, so I handle most of the problems and enquiries that get sent to OUM. I buy up what software and hardware I can in an effort to continue support for Oric users. I have at present a stock available to known Oric users, including books, cassettes and a few computers - I'm not sure what else is left.
I now have a large collection of software and instruction sheets and inlays and other Oric paperwork. If you need help on something try asking. I may be able to help.
If you have trouble with your Oric the first thing I try and do is repair it from the spares I have. If I can't get it working that way then I replace it with a working computer. I've helped a few out already including happy customers in Turkey and Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.
It is claimed sometimes that I am running or want to run a business making profit from the Oric. I could have sold all my Oric computers on the internet by now and have a big fat wallet. I have a box of Oric's and an unhealthy bank account - go figure !
Go to Rhetoric page
Me and my Oric's
© Copyright 2000 by S.D.Marshall email me