STOSSER Issue #1 (April 1993)


Matthew Green


Computer robotics may sound very complicated and hard to learn but it is rather very simple. Before I go any further, I shall give a small list of what you need to start.

You first need an input/output port. This plugs into the printer port and also the joystick port (this may vary, depending on where you buy it from). The port I use is a SWITCHSOFT port, which I bought for 30 pounds. With this I got some experiments, which I could run from the port.

Also, it may help if you know a little about electronics because this will help you along the way. You do get some software with the port that you can use to control it, but I found this not very good. You also get example programs that run in various languages. If you haven’t guessed which language I program in by now – it is STOS.

The port itself has two options:

  1. You can have 13 inputs on their own.
  2. You can have 8 outputs and five inputs, which I find enough.

The port is very easy to control. If you have a LED plugged into the first out- put port, you can turn in on by typing the following:

10 OPEN #1,”PRT” : REM you always need this at the start
20 PRINT #1,CHR$(1) : REM this lights up the LED on 1
30 WAIT KEY : REM wait for a key to be pressed
40 PRINT CHR$(0) : REM switches it off completely

This small program lights a light up on output one. You use the CHR$(x) to light up which one you want.

REMEMBER: Always finish the program using CHR$(0) to switch everything off on the port. At a later date you will see why, but for now it is best to get used to doing it.

Well, that’s about it for this time. But if you have a port try changing the number in the brackets to see what happens.

If you do not have an INPUT/OUTPUT port, ring SWITCHSOFT on 0325 464423. They should be able to help you.

Well, that’s all for now…

Matthew Green.

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About author View all posts Author website

Neil Halliday

Neil started coding in STOS in 1989 just after it was released in the UK.

During those 31 years he has written numerous demo screens, routines, games and extensions, most of which are now lost due to a massive hard disk crash. What remains on floppy disk is still being discovered and posted on the STOS Coders website and stored in the cloud for everybody to enjoy (or laugh at).

Neil is the author of the GBP Extension which added some pretty cool commands to STOS, along with the "Development" extension that enabled enhanced STE functionality, including probably one of the simplest hardware scrolling routines around.

Along with Bruno Azzara, Geoff Harrison and Mike Halliday we had loads of fun back in the day trying to push STOS to it's limits. We are all now enjoying bringing our knowledge to a new generation of STOS Coders.

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