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The Acorn Code Home Page

v1.01 (14-Jun-1997)

By Quintin Parker


*Introduction : What is Acorn code?
*How these codes work
*How to Begin Your Acorn Code
*Describing your Computer Setup
*Opinions and Character
*How to publish your Acorn Code
*If you have any ideas, complaints, money...
*Changes since last version
*Copyright notice



Ever seen Geek Code? The list of funny symbols often put at the end of sigs or in peoples pages??? If you haven't, you can visit the Geek Code homepage, where it is explained much more eloquently than here. The problem is, for us Acorn users, is that it asks you quantify all your opinions of UNIX and PC programs, whereas many of us wouldn't even touch them with a bargepole! You may have seen Brit Code, which is fine, but only contains one single little mention about Acorns and doesn't contain any extra information... This situation has gone unresolved until now ... the Acorn Code, a supplement you can use on its own or with your original Code!

Hurrah! It's thwogging brilliant!

How These Codes Work*


In this code and the Geek Code, you have a list of particular flags, plus a number of +s or -s, or other symbols, which demonstrate your opinion towards various things. Let's take bc meaning Bouncy Castles, as a convenient example. Somebody who rated themselves bc++ would be a bouncy castle enthusiast, but not nearly as enthusiastic as a bc+++. Similarly, somebody who was bc--- would detest the things. No flag - just bc on its own - would mean an impartial/apathetic view. There are also other things you can add to qualify these flags...

When this placed before the flag it means `not', therefore indicating a total refusal to participate in the particular activity or holding no opinion whatsoever.
eg. !bc I've never gone on a bouncy castle in my life!
This means that the user is one category but is aspiring to be another.
eg. bc+++>-- I have a bouncy castle addiction. I would so much like to stop going on them and see what it's like to dislike them for a change.
This means the opinion is likely to change due to circumstance.
eg. bc@ I used to like bouncy castles as a child, but now I can't abide by them. Sometimes I go on them when I'm plastered, though.
(...) parentheses
You may place these after your main opinion, and contain secondary opinions that you may also have. These are different to @ because @ means that the opinion you hold is likely to change to anything, whereas (...) is specific.
eg. bc(+++) Normally I don't really mind about bouncy castles. But I absolutely adore bouncy castles that are bright pink.
eg. bc--(---) I hate bouncy castles. Sometimes, though, I absolutely detest them.
Implies a lack of knowledge or a lack of information about the particular subject. Don't feel ashamed about using it - sometimes it can actually be a bonus not to be acquainted with a certain thing :) Placed after a flag.
eg. bc? Bouncy castle? What good are they when faced with a marauding Angevin besieging army?
This character is often called a `splat', and means just that : a sort of all over the place alternative sort of view. It's different to @ in that @ is in the boundaries of the code that is defined, whereas * means lots of other things. May be used in conjunction with other flags.
eg. bc+++* Not only do I like bouncy castles, I like bouncy sharks, bouncy life-belts, bouncy shopping malls, bouncy giant chess boards, bouncy...
eg. bc---* I utterly despise not only bouncy castles but also all things bouncy. I carry a sharp pin with me at all times so I can stop infernal bouncy demons annoying me.

You will find full descriptions of what exactly each inflection on each flag means - choose the one which fits your opinion most. There are also flags you can use that describe what computers you own, and so on. These will be dealt with in the next two sections, where the Acorn Code is described properly...

How to Begin Your Acorn Code*

First of all, you must declare that it is Acorn Code you are writing. This you do by starting with;


The version number is important to put in, as inevitably extra things will be added to the code. You can now go on, if you like, to describing your setup. None of the flags are completely compulsory, and you can leave some out if you want, but it's nice to have the full picture. By way of example, here is my own Acorn Code, with links within to various explaining parts. Don't feel daunted! It's very easy once you get the hang of it...

AcornCodev1.01: A2 rpc7sa/I1/10/Icd12 a441/I350/4/ro+/sa BB* ed++ dc200 nl+ EC pc-- pr+

Describing Your Computers*


After you've declared you are writing Acorn Code, it is important to say just how many Acorns you own, using the A flag..

Instead of x, put in the number of Acorns/Arcs you own, excluding BBCs (but including A3000s). BBCs are dealt with later..
Never used an Acorn! (In that case, why are you using acorn code, you pillock?)
I lost count...

Now describe your computers. The one you use most you should put in, but you can put another one if you like. Just don't put all twenty in...

Risc PC, with StrongARM on the motherboard. (not avail. yet :))
Risc PC 700, with StrongARM card.
Risc PC 600, with StrongARM card. If you've cut the tracks and changed the switches to increase the speed on any of these three, tack on a *.
Risc PC 700
Risc PC 600
A4000... not too difficult to work out the rest, is it?
A3010. Wow. That was hard.
A haddock. No, only joking. Though a haddock would probably be faster.
a421, a411

If I missed any out, mail me first for clearance.

To show how much HD space in total you have, put an oblique afterwards and then the number of megabytes or gigabytes. (It's pretty obvious which is which... but if you want to make absolutely sure, add a g or m afterwards.) If there's no HD at all, put a 0.

Prefix the number with the interface type.

Parallel port type thing

If there is more than one interface, divide it up.


Risc PC 700, doctored StrongARM, with 512Mb IDE HD.
A5000 with 2.2Gb SCSI HD and 100Mb IDE.
An A3010, with 20Mb ST506 HD.
A3000, no HD.

If you've upgraded to an ARM3 or another processor (excluding StrongARM) then add another oblique and put in

ARM 700

Finally, if it's not immediately obvious, add another oblique and put in the total memory (including VRAM) you have.

A StrongARM Risc PC with 512mb HD & 5Mb memory, would be rpcsa/512/5.

An A305 with 40mb St506 HD and ARM 3, as it's obvious it's only got half a meg memory, you can just leave it as a305/T40/A3.

You should also put what version of Risc OS you use on it, if that isn't obvious.

Risc OS 3.70
Risc OS 3.60
Risc OS 3.50
Risc OS 3.11
Risc OS 3.10
Risc OS 3.00
Risc OS 2.01, Risc OS 2.00
Risc OS? Pah! Arthur is fine for my needs.
I wrote my own version...
I don't have any Risc OS chips in my computer. I program using the LED switches on my Altair 8800.

So :

A5000 4Mb memory 720Mb total IDE HD space.
a441/I350/A3/4 ro+
A440/1 4Mb, ARM3, IDE 350Mb HD space and RO3.11
Risc PC 600, 5Mb, 1Gb SCSI HD space.

HD space is BIGGER, so it comes FIRST!

Any extra expansions should be added on with obliques separating them.

TV tuner/teletext card
Colour card
SCSI/IDE CD ROM (x=speed). If you have more than one, add them all separately.
Serial card. (Add sps as appropriate to the number of cards you have.)
Sound sampler (if separate to a MIDI card)
Digitiser (if separate to TV tuner card)

If I missed anything out (and I probably have), mail me first for clearance.

Opinions and Character*


An Acorn user is not just defined by his/her computer setup. Many hold quite strong and conflicting opinions as well... These flags are designed to show these opinions so the user can stand up and feel proud s/he is declaring them to the public...

BBCs, Electrons, and other relics

See, told you I would deal with them :) Many Acorn users have stayed with Acorn right from the early days, and have supported them, like a beloved football team. Often you will find many early Acorn computers in an Acorn users house, because the user is too attached to them to throw them away. Let us know how many of these old faithfuls you own, with the BB flag.

Number of BBCs, Masters, Electrons, Atoms, etc.. working or not!
I haven't got any!
BBC? I prefer ITV.
I haven't got any BBCs... but I do have a Spectrum or two. :-)

The Editor Wars

One of the most contentious and controversial issues in the Acorn world is which editor is the best - Zap? StrongED? Edit? Arguments, usenet flamewars, bar brawls, nuclear wars have started over this one small difference of opinion. I'm saying nothing. What do you say? Let people know and use ed to express your view.

Edit's too simple! StrongED's for pussy cats. I use Zap because it's got more features.
Edit sucks. I use StrongED. Zap's way too obscure.
I use Edit once or twice, like when it doesn't matter when things stuff up. The very fact people have written extra editors must mean that Edit is lacking something.
Edit I use for some things, the more sophisticated ones for others - I don't really have a preference, they've all got different purposes.
Edit's usually loaded. It's much easier for my fuddled brain.
StrongED? Zap?? Bleurgh! They're not even on my hard drive.
I trust Edit implicitly. In fact, I'm writing my novel in it, all 700K of it, it's perfectly fast, and it hasn't crashed once.
I really don't give a row of buttons about the whole issue..
Edit? Get lost. *Build is fine for me...
I haven't got a clue what editor I use... what day is it today?
I wrote and use my own editor. :-)

Discs ... Disks ...

The issue of how to spell this simplest of words has divided the Acorn Community right down the middle. Is `c' a disgusting and misleading Americanism? Is `k' a signal to conformity and an ugly spelling? What do you think?

spell `disc'
spell `disk'
I spell it either way.
That's boring. I normally spell it `teapot'.
I don't have any discs. I type everything out from memory.

If you like, you can put afterwards approx. the number of discs you own (dc200 means 200 discs, spelt with a c.)


Doggysoft's desktop enhancing program has caused more ructions in the Acorn world over one single principle ever since, er, the last ructions in the Acorn world over one single principle. Is it a life-saver, and are you unable to function without it? Or is it unnecessary makeup on an already perfect visage? Where do you stand?

Blib! I was one of the people who wrote it! Tee hee!
I always make sure I have the latest version. I use all of the features and bells and whistles, I even install things that are already implemented, and all the memory it takes up is worth it, believe me.
Yep. I got it installed. It's cool.
Yeah, I've got one or two icons from it, and nicked a few thingies from it, but I don't have it all installed.
Hmm. I really don't have a preference either way.
I don't like NewerLook much. I prefer NewLook, to be honest.
I don't like NewerLook at all. I much prefer the plain vanilla desktop.
NewerLook is an abhorration, an ugly boil on the face of any Acorn unfortunate enough to have it installed, and each Doggysoft member should die a painful death, one by one, slowly, bloodily.
I am Glenn Richards.
I've never used it.
I've never even heard of it...


Networking, using the native Acorn networking hardware Econet, is quite often a past-time of Acorn users, particularly Acorn Geeks. Use the EC flag to tell us whether you take part!

I am Glenn Richards.
I have networked several Acorns, Arcs and BBCs all around my house. I spend a lot of time comparing network times with serial rates. My mission in life is to network every single Acorn in existance. I have written, or I'm using, an alternative network manager replacing Level 4.
I'm the syst, and have more than two computers networked. Running the network takes a lot of my time.
I'm the syst on an Econet system... don't spend a lot of time with it though.
Yep. I have an account on an Econet system. Somewhere. What was my password again?
I've never used Econet. And what on earth is a syst? Isn't that some horrible kind of blister?
I've used Econet, and not liked it ... There are much more fun things to do with your Acorn. Like designing knitting patterns on it.
I flamethrower every Econet card I see. Econet spreads diseases!
I've never used any kind of network at all.
I network/used a network, but not with Econet. (In that case, add +s or -s as appropriate.)
Econet? That's like Greenpeace, isn't it?


Acorn Users have traditionally hated PCs. What about you? How much dislike do you hold for Gates and his Imperial Windows? Do you even like it? Tell us!

I wish my Acorn was more like a PC! I think Windows 95 is such a lovely, smooth, easy to use GUI and I can't stand the way in which the RISC OS desktop doesn't shield you from the actual files on the hard drive.
I quite like PCs - I use them at work/school/have another one, and think they're quite fun - they are the industry standard after all. But I still use my Acorn.
Yeah, PCs are fine. What's everybody else's problem with them? It's just My Computer Is Better Than Your Computer all over again.
I don't really care. I've got an Acorn, I've used a PC, and I don't see the difference in quality, quite frankly.
They've got little niggles in, and aren't particularly intuitive. I would use one, if forced, but I prefer my Acorn.
I don't like them at all. The software's too expensive, they crash perpetually, it's all too corporate and Bill Gates is a nerd with enough cash to fund a small country's defence budget. That's why I bought an Acorn, that's why I'm sticking, and I often get into fights with PC users.
PCs are scum. Anybody who buys them has got to have something wrong with them : in fact, I'm sure I read somewhere that the mark of the Antichrist, 666, actually means `Windows'! It makes sense - nobody can buy or sell without it etc etc, and it turns people into slavering minions of the night. Bill Gates is the Devil Incarnate. Acorns are the saving Light of the world.
I am Glenn Richards.


An integral part of being a geek, and indeed an Acorn user, is how good you are at telling your computer what to do? Are you king of the keyboard or programming peasant?

I am Richard Sergeant.
I challenge you to find a programming language I don't know. I use PASCAL regularly, and either have written or in the process of writing my own language compiler.
I can do ARM assembler, but do C and C++ instead. I only use BASIC for stupid things.
Hmm. I can do C or ARM code, with BASIC, but that's about it.
BASIC is cool.
I'm just learning it. Um, what does ENVELOPE do?
All my knowledge of programming is typing in programs in electrical stores that print `Dixons is Crap'.
Not a clue. Sorry.
I work for Generation Design.
Programs? My God! I thought computers just used instinct!
I'm a dab hand at Commodore 64 BASIC.

Publishing your Acorn Code*


You can do this in a number of ways - put it at the end of your internet sig (it's not very big at the moment, so you probbly won't get people upset), or in conjunction with your Geek Code or Brit Code if people finger you (don't for heavens sake add all this to your sig!)...

-------BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK--------
GC/O/L>$ d- H->+ s:+ g?+>- p2 !au>* a17 w++ v**(+) C++ U--- P? L-
!3 N++ E- K- W--- M* !V -po+ Y+ t- 5- !j R++ !G tv++ b++ D-- B-
e*>++ u*(+)(---) h! f+>++ r*@ n->+ y?
--------END GEEK CODE BLOCK---------
AcornCodev1.01: A2 rpc7sa/I1/10/Icd12 a441/I350/4/ro+/sa BB* ed++ dc200 nl+ EC pc-- pr+

For all of those parts that Acorn Code doesn't reach (ie. the non Acorn bits), you could do a hell of a lot worse than add in Brit Code, seeing as if you're an Acorn user you're likely to be living in Britain ;). It contains much more information, such as the H flag for hair, and so on.. Do what you like. As long as you use Acorn Code!

Contacting the Author*

This is the first version of the Acorn code, so if you have any new ideas or comments please don't hesitate to mail me at quintin@digibank.demon.co.uk or you can sign my guestbook if you want to publicise your comments :) You can go to my main web pages if you like too. I'm particularly looking for new flags to add ! Let me know, and don't go mad!

Changes since last version*



Thanks to everybody who's e-mailed me giving support and extra ideas. I can't list you now because my mail program crashed and I lost your names - sorreee! :(

Boring Litigious Copyright Notice*


The text of this document is © 1997 Quintin Parker of Gilbert the Hamster Software and may not, in part or whole except short excerpts for review purposes, be copied outside normal limits from the Internet, republished on the Web, broadcasted, lended, hired or fed to rabbits without express written permission of the author.

The author makes no claim on the text by the original author of the Geek Code, Robert Hayden, and every effort has been made to preserve copyright. All original ideas are attributed by the author to that source.



Original idea : Robert Hayden

Text : Quintin Parker

Graphics : Background by Brain Soup, graphics by Quintin Parker (using the Artworks Acorn)

!Note: Neither Dane Koekoek nor Werewolf Software is responsible for the crap that this person writes.

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