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SYNTAX 

A PUBLICATION OF THE HARVARD GROUP 


Timex 

Sinclair 

news 


VOL.5 NO .7 


ISSN 0273-2696 


JULY 1984 


IN THIS ISSUE 

8K Programs 

Stop AutoRUN.4 

TS2068 Programs 
64 Column Type.3 

Classified Ads.11 

Dear Editor.7 

Hardware Reviews 

AERCO FD-ZX Floppy.5 

Game Changer I/F.9 

Speedload.8 

Westridge 2050 Modem...4 

New Products and 
Services.2 


Software Reviews 
JRC BASIC Compiler ....10 


Index to Advertisers 


AERCO.. 

Byte-Back Co.. 

Knighted Computers, 


EMULATOR BOARDS AVAILABLE 

Doug Dewey called to let us know that he's 
making Spectrum Emulator Boards using 27128 
chips. His design is fully socketed. Doug 
says he can make these up if you want one— 
$60 for one-chip versions, $75 if you want 4 
sockets. Write him for details at 206 James 
St., Carrboro NC 27510. Hawg Wild is also 
offering an emulator. 

SYNTAX BUYS TIMEX-SINCLAIR NEWS 

This issue, with its new banner, inaugurates 
the combination of Timex-Sinclair News into 
our publication. We welcome the new readers, 
and urge them to send us a SASE or phone us 
to locate user groups in their area. 

PRICE RISE COMING 

Subscription prices must rise for SYNTAX. We 
can't hold the line any more. Cost increases 
force us to charge more. New newsletters by 
Time, Inc. reinforce our decision—they will 
charge $48/yr for their 12-page IBM and Apple 
newsletters. Less expensive newsletters are 
dropping like flies. All of us have suffered 
the failure of one or more TS publications— 
low price was not a bargain, but a costly 
mistake. SYNTAX will try to continue, but at 
a price where we can do the job—$48/yr. 

TIMEX SAYS NO DEAL 

Timex says no proposal has been received to 
take over retail sales of their computers. 
Judging from newspaper ads, they continue to 
sell off inventory via mail and phone. 

TECH MANUAL SHIPMENTS SLOW 

Timex says it's shipping 2068 manuals, but 
BCS members say they haven't gotten them, 
despite having ordered in May. 



























NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 


IT’S HERE.Finally i ! ! 


MODEL 2050 Node* (formerly TS2050) Cotes with Start I 
Software on cassette for TS206B, TS1000, and TS1500. 
- N0W ONLY *119.00 

COMPUSERVE STARTER KIT Includes 5 hrs. connect tite and 
3 ring binder with instructions-NON ONLY $29.95 

SAKATA 13* SC100 COLOR MONITOR - NON ONLY-$269.00 

BMC 12" 6reen Screen Monitor-NON ONLY $89.00 

RITEMAN PRINTER - 120CPS, 9 Print Styles, 9X9 Dot 
Matrix, ribbon and print head are user replaceable. Reg. 

$349.95-NON ONLY $299.95. 

AERCO Centronics Par. interface with driver software 
-NON ONLY $ 64.95 

Shipping & Handling - Monitor $7.50 — All others $3.00 

Mail Order To: Knighted Coeputers, 707 Highland St., 
Fulton, NY 13069 (315)593-8219 

NY Residents Add 71 Sales Tax. 



AFR Software announces ZX81 
Appointment Calendar, a time 
management programn for 16-64K 
ZX/TS machines. Holds 30 appoint¬ 
ments in 16K, 100 in 32K, 180 in 
48K, or 250 in 64K. Each appoint¬ 
ment record holds 220 characters. 
Features include enter, search/ 
check, change, save, clear, and 
print. $10 for cassette with 
instructions, from AFR Software, 
1605 Penna. Ave. #204, Miami Beach, 
FL 33139 305/531-6464. 

Zebra Systems Inc. now operates a 
computerized bulletin board system 
for Timex/Sinclair users. Features 
include a general message board, 
special boards for ZX/TS and TS2068 
users, user-to-user private mail, 
shop-at-home services from Zebra 
Systems, and news messages. Best 
of all, it's all free. You pay 
only for the phone call to 212/296- 
2229. You need a modem (Byte-Back 
MD or TS2 050) to call bulletin 
boards. Service provided by Zebra 
Systems Inc., 78-06 Jamaica Ave., 
Woodhaven, NY 11421 212/296-2385. 

Soft Images now sells the 1983 
cumulative edition of LAMP (Litera¬ 
ture Analysis of Microcomputer Pub¬ 
lications), marking the first 
complete year of publication for 
this international index. A 
bimonthly journal, LAMP presently 
indexes 130 periodicals dealing 
exclusively with microcomputers. 

The annual cumulative edition comes 
in two volumes and encompasses 
thousands of subject and author 
entries. It is available to non¬ 
subscribers at $69.95, or $39.95 
for subscribers (subscription is 
$89.95/year). Contact LAMP/Soft 
Images, 200 Route 17, Mahwah, NJ 
07430 800/526-9042. 

WHEN WRITING TO VENDORS... 

Mention SYNTAX. We can't grow 
without you. 


2 










64 COLUMN TYPE—TS2068 

This program allows you to 
type a full screen (24 lines by 64 
characters) on your TS2068. It's 
primarily in BASIC, so it runs 
rather slow and will not keep up 
with most typists. COPYing the 
screen will print only every other 
character (the ones in display file 
1), because the ROM routines do not 
support 64 column mode. 

U$ holds the machine code to 
clear display file 2 and rearrange 
memory so that display file 2 can 
be used. Variables A-F get values 
10-15 to assist in hexidecimal 
translation (because VAL("A")=10 if 
variable A equals 10). 

Lines 90 and 95 establish 
characters for the normal cursor 
(wide vertical bar), inverse video 
cursor (narrow vertical bar) and 
caps locked cursor (inverse C). 

The cursor for inverse video caps 
locked is a normal C. 

Variable DF contains the 
address of the current print 
position, and alternates from 
display file 1 to 2 and back. D 
(in line 25) counts through the 8 
scan lines in each character as it 
prints. B is the print line 
number; C is the column number, and 
S is the starting address of the 
character set. I is the inverse 
video flag. 

This program makes use of 
techniques explained in "Recipes 
for 2068 Advanced Video" (SYNTAX 
Feb'84). Further information 
appears in the TS2068 Technical 
Reference Manual (review in SYNTAX 
Jun'84) available from Timex. 

Lloyd Painter, Quakertown, PA 




3 




















STOP AUTORUNNING PROGRAMS—8K/1K 

If you have programs which 
autoRUN after LOADing, and would 
like to examine or back up these 
programs, you have a problem: how 
to keep control of the machine. 

You need a LOAD that never RUNS. 

To convince the ZX/TS machine 
not to RUN after LOADing, we CALL 
the LOAD routine in machine code. 

In normal operation, the operating 
system JPs (jumps) to the LOAD 
code: if we CALL, then after the 
LOAD it will return to our machine 
code calling routine. We can then 
JP to the STOP statement code, 
forcing the machine to STOP and 
give an error report. 

You need to put the machine 
code LOAD routine out of the way in 
memory. If you store it in a REM 
statement, it will be wiped out 
when LOADing occurs. You can 
safely tuck this routine above 
RAMTOP or in an unused portion of a 
64K RAM. To set RAMTOP, type: 

POKE 16389,n 
POKE 16388,235 
NEW 

Where n depends on your RAM size, 
one of the following: 


RAM 

RAMTOP 

n 

IK 

17388 

67 

2K 

18412 

71 

16K 

32748 

127 

32K 

49132 

191 

48K 

65516 

255 

64K 

65516 

255 


Now you're ready to input the 
machine code routine. This routine 
sets up the LOAD filename to be "" 
and calls the LOAD routine, then 
jumps to the STOP routine: 


LOC. 

Contents 

Mnemonics 

00 

2A 

14 

40 

LD 

HL,(E_LINE) 

03 

22 

16 

40 

LD 

(CH ADD),HL 

06 

36 

0B 


LD 

(HL) 

08 

23 



INC 

HL 

09 

36 

0B 


LD 

(HL) 

0B 

23 



INC 

HL 

0C 

36 

76 


LD 

(HL),76 

0E 

CD 

40 

03 

CALL 

LOAD 

11 

C3 

DC 

0C 

JP 

STOP 


To enter this program, set 
RAMTOP, then type in the BASIC 
listing and RUN it. Input each of 
these numbers, one at a time 
(reading left to right): 

042 020 064 034 022 064 054 011 
035 054 011 035 054 118 2 05 064 
003 195 220 012 

Now delete line 30 and save the 
program on tape. 

To LOAD a program without 
autoRUNning it, first set RAMTOP 
and LOAD this routine. Use GOTO 10 
to move the routine above RAMTOP, 
then use the USR call that this 
routine tells you to LOAD the tape 
you don't want to autoRUN. 

If all goes well, you should 
get an error report (STOP statement 
encountered) instead of having the 
program take off and RUN. 



Karl Brendel, Hutchinson, KS 

HARDWARE REVIEW 

Product: Westridge 2050 Modem 

Machines: ZX/TS, TS2068 
Price: $119.00 

From: Westridge Communications 

Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 
213/306-4103 

This product would have been 
the TS2050 Modem if Timex had sold 
it. A suspected heat sensitivity 
problem has been checked out by 
Westridge and they have found no 
problem with their units. 

MTERM/T, the software to make 
your computer into a simple ter¬ 
minal, comes on cassette with the 
modem. One side of the tape LOADS 
on TS2068s, the other side on ZX/TS 
machines. Our tape was difficult 


4 







to load on the TS2068. After a 
call to Westridge, I tried aligning 
the cassette heads to the MTERM/T 
tape and loading at a much lower 
than normal volume. This worked, 
and I saved the program on another 
tape (after realigning the tape 
heads to normal). 

Westridge's modem can transmit 
and receive data at 300 baud, with 
odd, even, or no parity, 5, 6, 7, 
or 8 data bits, 1 or 2 stop bits, 
using full or half-duplex protocol. 
It can also pulse dial the phone 
line and will answer automatically 
after a few rings. Of course, it 
communicates using either answer or 
originate tones, depending on whe¬ 
ther it called out or was called by 
another modem. 

MTERM/T will allow you to type 
to the computer you connect to, to 
read what it sends back, and to 
stop and print the screen. You 
cannot download or upload programs 
or data files, or save your trans¬ 
actions on tape or in memory. You 
could write your own programs to do 
these tasks if the manual explained 
what ports the modem used; it does 
not. Westridge says they do not 
know either. We have to wait for a 
smarter terminal program for these 
features. 

In comparison to the Byte-Back 
modem for the ZX/TS, the 2 05 0's 
hardware offers more features. 
Unfortunately, the software includ¬ 
ed with the 2050 doesn't capitalize 
on these features. Byte-Back's 
modem for the ZX/TS can up and 
download programs (if they are 
stored in an approriate format on 
the remote computer), can save your 
session in RAM to review it or SAVE 
it to tape, and can even send a 
pause character to the remote com¬ 
puter and COPY each screen as it 
comes in. It comes with complete 
documentation, including schematic 
diagram and port usage. These 
features are truly useful. 

This comparison does not apply 
to the Byte-Back modem for the 
TS2068; we have not seen it yet. 


HARDWARE REVIEW 

Product: AERCO FD-ZX Floppy Disk 

Machines: ZX/TS 
Price: Interface $179.00 

Disk Drive $189.00 
Cable & PS $79.00+$4 P&H 
From: AERCO 

POB 18 09 3 
Austin, TX 78760 
512/331-0719 

If you value your time and 
would like to eliminate waiting 6 
minutes for a program to LOAD, a 
floppy disk drive may answer your 
needs. AERCO's FD-ZX, while not 
inexpensive, satisfies my needs for 
fast mass storage. 

Floppy diskettes come in 
various sizes. They are thin mylar 
disks impregnated with iron oxide, 
just like the recording medium on 
cassette tapes. Magnetic heads in 
the disk drive record and play back 
data, like cassette players. But 
in a floppy disk drive, the 
diskette rotates at a constant 300 
RPM and the recording head can 
position itself (under computer 
control) to many different tracks 
on the diskette. Each track is 
circular and concentric with all 
the other tracks. An entire 
diskette can be searched for a 
program in a few seconds. 

AERCO's disk system consists 
of three major components: 

1. Interface board. This 
professionally designed circuit 
board contains a 2716 EPRQM chip 
containing the disk operating 
system, a 1797-02 floppy disk 
controller IC, and a number of 
smaller interfacing chips. It 
mounts on a special ribbon 
connector to the expansion bus of 
the ZX/TS. It provides a 34 pin 
edge-card connector for connecting 
the disk drive(s). Up to 4 drives 
may be run from this board. 

2. Disk drive. I purchased a 
Pertec FD-250 drive, which handles 
35 tracks per side. It can store 
almost 1/4 megabyte per side. 


5 


Pertec no longer manufactures disk 
drives, so you may want to get a 
different brand. 

3. Power supply. Supplies 12V 
at 2 Amps and 5V at 1 Amp. AERCO 
supplies cables for the drive with 
the power supply. You could make 
up your own cable from parts if you 
already have a power supply to use. 

AERCO provides a somewhat 
sketchy 10 page operating manual, 
but it suffices to get you up and 
running. After a brief discussion 
of disk theory it presents a step- 
by-step installation procedure. It 
says how to power up, insert the 
DOS disk and execute a USR call to 
bring the system up. In a scant 2 
seconds you'll get AERCO's 16K or 
64K DOS Menu. 

This will allow you to format 
blank disks (you have to do this 
before storing programs or data on 
them), LOAD one of sixteen 16K 
programs into memory, rename 
programs on disk, copy disk to disk 
(if you have two drives), and a few 
miscellaneous utilities. To SAVE a 
program, you must break the program 
(or add an extra line) and execute 
a USR call to the "page" on which 
you want to SAVE the program. I 
leave DOS on page 1 of all my disks 
and store 15 other programs on the 
disk. Any of these can be called 
from DOS by selecting the page 
number from sub menu, or they may 
be LOADed directly with a USR call. 

You can save up to six 64K 
programs on one disk, select single 
or double density recording (single 
more reliable; double more data). 

In some cases, the buffer used for 
double density recording (which is 
twice as long as the buffer for 
single density) may intrude into 
the variables area of your program. 

Despite its advantages, the 
AERCO system has some disadvantages 
you should know about. You must 
use USR calls to store and retrieve 
programs. SAVE and LOAD would have 
been easier to work with. It's too 
easy to use the wrong USR routine 
and write over the disk when you 


In Stock! NEW MD-2B kit 
smart MODEM $119. 95 

ASSEMBLED & TESTED $149." 

Now With Both 

_ORIG. /ANS. 

• Send Text from Memory 

• Send and receive Programs by Pb 

• Copy Information into memory 
Print it. Review it. Save it on Tape 

• U»e Timex 2040 Printer or RS-232 

• RS-232 Printer Port provided 

• No extra memory Required 
See Review in Feb. ’84 SYNTAX • 2 FREEHours on COMPUSERVE 

CO MPUSERVE PACKAGE WITH 5 F REE H OURS ONLY $39. 

NEW MD-68 FOR THE 2068 

SAME FEATURES & SAME PRICE AS T HE MD- 2B 



64-K MEMORY $109." k,t ! b p ShoTZc^ 

the “ULTIMATE MEMORY’’ $ 119 . 9S ASSEMBLED 
SEE REVIEW IN JANUARY ’84 SYNTAX 


KEYBOARD without case .... . $39. 


GORILLA/BANANA PRINTER . $199." 


nn A /ril r Cassette & Book $ 16.95 

£-A rHU/NLt including shipping 

Clearly the Best File Management Program Avaiable. 


NEW PRO/FILE 2068 including shipping 

A new version of the Popular ZX PRO/FILE Program with many 
new features for the 2068. Includes a 100 Page Manual 


RS-232 PRINTER INTERFACE Only $59. 95 KIT $69." ASSEMBLED 


CONTROL MODULE 8 relays, 8 inputs, $59. 95 KIT $69. 95 ASSEMBLED 


BYTE BACK CO. 

RL 3, Box 147, Brodto Rood 
LoooviHo, S.C. 29070 
ORDER PHONE 903-532-5912 
Add $4.95 shipping and handling 
>0 Day Warranty On AM Modul—. 10— Day Raturn Prlvlladga 




meant to read. 

Addresses of some of the EPROM 
disk routines appear in the docu¬ 
mentation, but not elaborated upon 
enough for the average user. The 
section on 64K programs seemed to 
indicate that they can be written 
to disk, but only 16K might be 
retrieved. AERCO says up to 52K 
will be retrieved, all the way up 
to E_LINE. 

You can only store 16 programs 
(up to 16K each) on a disk, regard¬ 
less of program length. Even a IK 
program takes up 16K disk space. 

This unit is an excellent 
value for those of us committed to 
our ZX systems. It's fast, reli¬ 
able, and reasonably easy to use. 
Better documentation and a more 
versatile operating system would 
have been a plus, but even as is, 
the FD-ZX fits the bill. [Editors 
Note: AERCO no longer offers the 
Pertec drive, and instead now sells 
an equivalent Panasonic drive for 
$210 + $6 P&H.] 


6 


P. J. Donnelly, Centerport, NY 





DEAR EDITOR: 


I recently wrote asking for 
help in using FIRSTLOADER [SYNTAX 
Dec'83]. You were kind enough to 
reply with an extensive list of 
things to try, however, they 
involved recreation of the tapes on 
the ZX81 and use of the Winky 
Board. I had no desire for recrea¬ 
tion and my Winky has never been of 
any use, so since the coding was 
correct as published, I returned to 
my efforts to use FIRSTLOADER. 

Although you mention that 
correct volume setting on the re¬ 
corder is important, you may not 
realize how important it really is. 
I found that within one division of 
the volume control I encountered 
four different conditions: 

1. Too low: no data transferred. 

2. Slightly low: garbarge in 
translated program. 

3. Just right: Translates OK. 

4. Slightly high: System crashes 
and screen whites out. 

Digging out my cleanest tapes 
and working from too low volume 
through slightly low, I finally 
reached the "just right" condition 
and translated the three tapes I 
wanted. Thanks for your help. 

John Harkreader, Jacksonville, FL 


I've just received a copy of 
the review of HOT Z-2 068 in your 
May issue. Many thanks. 

The reason you cannot run code 
in read mode is that the program 
wouldn't know where to start run¬ 
ning. Assigning the start address 
to the top of the screen would be 
unnecessarily restrictive. So a 
monomodal HOT Z would have to be 
based on the write (cursor-active) 
mode. That would be rather like 
having a bare wire to the power 
supply. The possibility of serious 
error would be constant. The 
reason for the separation of the 
write modes is an attempt to 
"engage brain before entering this 
command", rather than a result of 


more commands than keys. As one of 
the world's most experienced users 
of HOT Z, I still believe this 
modality cuts my entry errors by 
about half. The single-stepper is 
really only a mode because I don't 
have enough screen for the register 
values. On a wider screen I would 
get rid of it. 

My reason for using the BASIC 
key names was just that they are on 
all the machines, and everbody 
probably knows how to access them 
by name. Writing them out as 
symbol-shift-this-or-the-other is a 
reasonable alternative, but a more 
awkward format. A keyboard overlay 
would be nice, with real command 
names, and if volume ever became 
considerable I would do one. It 
hasn't however. 

Extra benefits of this modal 
system is that HOT Z provides a 
ready command processor for the 
user's routines, and the fact that 
any key can be reassigned any 
command. As for the maze of key¬ 
strokes, HOT Z generally requires 3 
or 4 less than IBM Debug for the 
same command, as a result of the 
active cursor. 

I did hope the command lists 
would make it easy for the expert 
user, but there were a couple of 
omissions in that first edition. 

At least 95 percent of my users are 
learners, and I think I could not 
sin too much on the side of 
explanation first. 

No sour grapes intended by 
these remarks. It was a good and 
useful review. I just wanted to 
remark that I've thought about the 
issues you brought up. 

Ray J. Kingsley, Sante Fe, NM 

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, 
Ray's letter is a reply to a very 
favorable review of his program, 

HOT Z-2068. He addressed all the 
criticisms I made in my review. 

Most are a matter of taste. HOT Z 
has been and is one of the best 
MC packages for TS computers.-EO 


7 


HARDWARE REVIEW 


I would like to know if you 
have any information about Timex 
Sinclair User . I have not received 
a copy from them since December 
1983. In March, I got a letter 
telling me they were reorganizing. 
Since then nothing. 

Michael L. Miller, Peoria, IL 


Product: 
Machines: 
From: 


Price: 


Speedload 

ZX/TS 

Intercomputer 

358 Chestnut Hill Ave. 

Boston, MA 02146 

617/738-5310 

$59.95 + $4.50 P&H 


Timex Sinclair User was purchased 
by Computer Communications Inc., 
Camden, ME. Expect to receive an 
offer for fulfillment with another 
magazine in the near future. 


Received my first issue of 
SYNTAX and was pleased. I would 
like to obtain a listing of the 
complete disassembly of the ROM 
used in the TS2068. I am willing 
to purchase at a reasonable rate. 

Gerald McKouen, Lansing, MI 

Zebra Systems, 78-06 Jamaica Ave., 
Woodhaven, NY 11421 212/296-2835 
sells The Complete Spectrum ROM 
Disassembly (ISBN: 0-86161-116-0). 
This book is not a disassembly of 
the TS2068 ROM, but rather the ROM 
in the Spectrum, the UK version of 
the TS2068. The TS2068 ROM con¬ 
tains changed code, and code in 
different positions. Coupled with 
the TS2068 Technical Manual (see 
review in SYNTAX Jun'84) and a 
disassembler/debugger like HOT Z 
(see review in SYNTAX May'84), you 
have nearly enough information to 
figure out how to use anything in 
the ROM. Expect to hunt around to 
find what you need in the ROM. 


A short note to say thanks! 
Though at some times some of the 
articles and programs are beyond my 
understanding, I'd hate to think 
where I'd be without my monthly 
copy of Syntax! I've written a 
number of vendors as a result of 
your listing and ordered over $300 
worth of programs last month! 


Loading and saving ZX/TS 
programs frustrates me. I 
sometimes have to adjust the 
controls on my recorder for 45 
minutes just to load a seven minute 
program. I tried software packages 
that purport to ease and/or speed 
up the process: to no avail. 

Finally I discovered 
Speedload. It works exactly as 
advertised. For less than $60 you 
get guaranteed performance almost 
identical to a $500 disk system. 
Speedload consists of an EPROM, 
attractively packaged with a ribbon 
cable to connect to your ZX/TS, and 
bus extension for your peripherals. 

Since using Speedload I have 
not missed a single save or load. 
16K programs save about 30 seconds. 
Existing programs can be loaded and 
then saved through Speedload. You 
call Speedload via one of three USR 
calls: one for LOAD, one for SAVE, 

and one for verify. 

Intercomputer advertising and 
documentation refers to the TS1500 
almost exclusively, although it 
works on all ZX/TS machines. 

After loading, all programs 
emerge in FAST mode. If you want 
SLOW, you should put it in your 
program at the beginning. 

Programs designed to autoRUN 
do not start automatically under 
Speedload. You need to type an 
appropriate GOTO command. 

Memotech's Memotext and 
Spreadsheet will not go into PRINT 
mode with Speedload connected. 

When I use these two programs and 
anticipate printing output, I 
disconnect Speedload. 


Dan Townsend, Germantown, TN 


Gerd Grombacher, Sierra Vista, AZ 


8 




HARDWARE REVIEW 

Product: Game Changer Interface 

Machines: ZX/TS and Atari 2600 
Price: $125.00 + $5 P&H 

From: Huron Valley Research 

POB 732 

Highland, MI 48031 

Clever hardware construction, 
both mechanical and electronic, and 
a solid comprehension of both 6502 
(the Atari 2600 CPU) and Z80 pro¬ 
gramming combine to produce the 
very powerful "Game Changer 
Interface". This unit cross¬ 
connects your Atari 2600 VCS and 
TS1000, allowing either to take 
control of whole blocks of shared 
memory. That "shared" memory 
includes the ROM inside the Atari 
game cartridge, and shadow copies 
of that ROM in the TS1000 RAM. 

Using this system, you can download 
ROM games to your ZX/TS, 
disassemble the 6502 machine code, 
vary the game (or create a new 
one), and upload back to the 2600 
to play the game. 

Physically, the system con¬ 
sists of two double-sided plated- 
through PC boards, professionally 
constructed. The mother board 
plugs into the back of the ZX/TS 
and connects via ribbon cable to 
the Atari VCS adapter board, which 
plugs into the VCS cartridge slot. 

A cartridge can plug onto the back 
of the adapter board. 

Huron Valley's mother board 
contains 4 HM6116S (2K Static RAMs) 
and uses some ingenious coding to 
remap internal RAM above their own 
8K, for a total of 10K RAM in an 
unexpanded TS1000. The 4K above 
RAMTOP contains the actual VCS ROM 
image. This information moves to a 
0 REM statement for manipulation by 
the ZX/TS machine; game execution 
can be accomplished by transferring 
the game code to the bottom of RAM 
and controlling the ZX/TS bus. 

Menu driven software, supplied 
on cassette, includes two programs 
in BASIC and MC which download the 


cartridges (one for 2K and 4K 
games, one for 8K games), and a 
6502 assembler and disassembler (to 
change the games). This feature 
comes in handy when you wish Atari 
had given you "just one more ship." 

This system works very well 
and even comes with high quality TV 
cables and a 3 way switch box for 
your TV set. You need that switch 
box, unless you use two sets, to 
switch back and forth between the 
VCS and the ZX/TS. I installed an 
extra RAM chip on the interface for 
an AERCO disk buffer and found the 
system completely compatible with 
the disk drive. With this combina¬ 
tion I can download, save or 
retrieve any program in seconds. 

If you don't have a disk 
drive, however, things can slow 
down a bit. 8K game cartridges 
download into 10K BASIC programs, 
and we all know how long they take 
to load from tape. After you make 
or modify a game, you may want to 
have an EPROM burned. Since the 
system uses BUSRQ, dynamic RAMs 
(like those in 16K RAMpaks) will 
not work with it. Hunter's ROM 
board, populated with 6116s, should 
work if everything decodes address 
line completely. 

I had very little trouble 
loading the programs. The menus 
are simple and the documentation is 
Spartan. It consists of 7 photo¬ 
copied typewritten pages, including 
an installation sketch and a hand- 
drawn schematic, important memory 
map locations, and operating 
instructions. Perhaps the only 
flaw in an otherwise superb system, 
is the documentation. 

Overall, while less than per¬ 
fect documentation usually causes 
me to think twice, I rate the Game 
Changer highly. It is exceptional¬ 
ly powerful and well designed, and 
can provide the ultimate in inex¬ 
pensive game play and design, for a 
total of less than $175 (including 
the price of the ZX/TS). 

P. J. Donnelly, Centerport, NY 


9 



SOFTWARE REVIEW 


Program: 
Machines: 
Form: 

RAM Req: 
Listing: 
Listable: 
Language: 
Display: 
Author: 
From: 


Price: 


Integer BASIC Compiler 

TS2068 

Cassette 

48K 

No 

Yes 

BASIC 

Poor 

John Richard Coffey 
JRC Software 
POB 448 

Scottsburg, IN 47170 
812/752-6071 

$24.95 with Z80 Assembler 


If you have lots of experience 
programming in languages that don't 
tell you about errors, JRC has a 
BASIC compiler that you may be able 
to use. But don't expect it to 
hold your hand. 

JRC's idea was to write a 
language that looked like a subset 
of BASIC, but ran closer to machine 
code speed. Many simple routines 
in machine code can be written in a 
simple BASIC and then translated to 
machine code by the compiler. The 
speed enhancement is impressive: 
JRC's compiled code runs about 100 
times faster than interpreted 
BASIC. Unfortunately, if you think 
you can just compile your existing 
programs, you're wrong. 

JRC Compiled BASIC supports 
only a small subset of TS2068 
BASIC. Variables may only range 
from A to Z, single letter only. 
Numbers may range from 0 to 65536. 
No FOR loops, no INPUT statement, 
no joystick access, etc. In total, 
JRC lists 35 specific limitations 
(things you may do in TS2068 BASIC 
but not in the compiler), not 
including statements and commands 
wholly unsupported. Of course, you 
could write code to get around most 
of these limitations, and it would 
probably run at reasonable speed, 
but the documentation for the 
compiler makes it difficult to know 
at a glance what's allowed. 

If you have a need for writing 


fast code that doesn't need alot of 
the power of BASIC, this compiler 
may be just the ticket. BASIC code 
typically runs after less debugging 
than a comparable assembly language 
program, since the commands do so 
much more each. Machine code 
generated by JRC's compiler will 
usually run completely without ROM 
support (of course, if it prints to 
the screen, it uses a ROM routine). 
You can specify where the machine 
code should be stored, and need not 
preserve the source code once you 
have a working program. You can 
save compiled code on cassette. 

I wrote a small test program 
that generates random points and 
blackens them on the screen. A 
listing appears below. 


After running for a while, it 
stopped with an Out of Memory 
error. This program shouldn't 
consume memory at all: it uses two 
variables and keeps reusing them. 
This bug must be in the compiler. 

Valid statements and commands 
in JRC Compiled BASIC include PRINT 
(including AT, BRIGHT, INK, PAPER, 
INVERSE, OVER, STR$ (only after 
PRINT), and TAB), BEEP, BORDER, 

CHR$, CLS, CODE (one char, argument 
only), COPY, DIM (to specify length 
of strings only), GOTO and GOSUB 
(constant line numbers only), IF 
(with a minimum of possible 
expressions), INKEY$, LET, LPRINT, 
OUT, PAUSE, PEEK, PLOT, POINT, 

POKE, REM, RETURN, RND*65536 
(always returns between 0 and 
65535), SOUND, and STOP. You can 
also use +, - (but not unary, and 
no negative numbers), *, /, =, <, 
<>, OR, and AND. 

If this list contains the 
functions you need, and you are an 
experienced programmer (preferably 
with knowledge of machine code), 
you might be happy with JRC's 
compiler. Otherwise, beware! 


lO 









SYNTAX is published monthly by a wholly- 

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When you send in articles for possible publication in SYNTAX, please include 
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SYNTAX 


ZX HARDWARE FIND 

We've come upon some hardware at reject 
prices—but it's reject hardware. Still, 
stuff is getting hard to find, so this may¬ 
be the deal to do. Of course you have a 
big advantage because you can use the full 
technical info published in SYNTAX and SQ 
back issues to find your way around. 

ALL COMPUTERS AND MEMORIES IN THIS OFFER 
ARE GUARANTEED TO BE DEFECTIVE IN SOME WAY 
None of these come with accessories like 
cables or manuals or tapes. 

Scratched ZX81 w/ standard power supply 

Defective ZX81 only 

ZX81 w/ case—NO KEYBOARD 

16K RAM—not known to work 

700 mA Desktop PS—Separate AC & ZX cables 

Just what you need for finding spare parts 
or for finding out what's inside. Get the 
funny UK transistors, or maybe a custom 
chip, or possibly a spare processor. We 
don't know what's wrong with this stuff 
and we can't afford to find out. You take 
the risks and you reap the rewards. Check 
the component prices in any catalog—parts 
alone are worth our prices—especially the 
custom chips. Don't miss out on these ZX 
bargains. Timex parts would cost you more 

Don't delay—these will go fast once the 
word gets around. One surplus house sold 
out of similar goodies in two days. 

GET THE WORKS II & GET YOUR CHOICE FREE 


As always, we give our best customers the 
best deals. Buy The Works II and get your 
choice of ANY ITEM FREE. Even if you're 
not into hardware, the desktop power unit 
makes it easier to connect your computer. 
This PS will run your ZX/TS & a RAMpak 
easily. Great for traveling—easier to 
fit in out-of-the-way plugs. 

Lots of good uses for the ZX/TS chassis, 
too. Fix 'em up and make code converters 
or mount in an old terminal to make a 2nd 
system. Great for control applications. 

We heard of one user who mounted a unit in 
an EBCDIC printer for an ASCII interface. 


Quan Code Item 


Price Amt 


|WRK The Works II plus any 
single item below. I 

want the FREE_ 

(code) 


$97 



PAK ZX 16K RAMDak Defective? $15 


ZXP Scratched ZX81 w/ds $25 



DZX Defective ZX81 $15 



NKB ZX81 w/case NO KEYBOARD $15 



PSU 700mA DesktoD PS etd OK $10 


We pay all P+H for P+H ($5/item) 


WRK and FREE item. TOTAL 



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