Q. Before Christmas I bought your magazine and at Christmas I got a Commodore 64. I decided to type in one of your programs, Goal Power by Andy Clarke.
I got to line 304 before encountering some signs that I can't get from my keyboard. They are open suqare bracket, small s, capital q, close square bracket [sQ]. Can you tell me how to do these?
A. Sorry, this one is our fault - we should have explained it at the time. It is a printing convention used by many magazines and books which arises out of the difficulty in accurately reproducing the Commodore character set for things like graphics, colour and cursor controls.
Instead, we use a program which converts those tricky characters into more recognisable symbols. In the case you mention, [sQ] means press the SHIFT key and the Q key together to get the proper graphics symbol.
Other conventions include using a 'c' for the Commodore key, things like UP, DN, etc for cursor controls, and RED, GRN, BLK, etc for colours. Don't type in the square brackets, simply press the keys enclosed between them.
You might also come across some listings which use the ^ charracter instead of 's'. Use SHIFT when you see this too.