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OOOCThe  Boston  Computer  Society 


Volume  1,  Issue  5 

November  1982 

This  newsletter  is  produced  to  inform  group  members  of  the  agenda  and 
logistics  for  future  meetings,  as  well  as  to  recap  and  amplify  the  information 
provided  at  the  last  meeting.  It  also  provides  a  forum  for  members  and 
interested  parties  to  communicate  what  they  have  learned  or  developed  relating 
to  Sinclair  and  Timex  computer  products.  Meetings  are  open  to  the  public; 
however,  attendees  are  encouraged  to  join  the  Boston  Computer  Society  (BCS). 


Date:  Wednesday,  November  17,  1982 

Time:  7:00  p.m. 

Place:  Large  Science  Auditorium 

UMass,  Harbor  Campus 
(Directions  on  last  page) 


Is  the  ZX-81  or  TS-1000  a  good  gift  to  someone  you  know  (including 
yourself)  this  holiday  season?  The  November/December  issue  of  Computer  Update, 
BCS's  magazine,  suggests  it  is.  At  our  November  meeting,  we  will  address  the 
pros  and  cons  (mostly  pros  —  but  we're  biased),  and  discuss  the  problems  that 
a  novice  user  of  the  machine  is  likely  to  encounter.  Also,  Robert  Masters  will 
review  VU-CALC,  a  spread-sheet  program  being  marketed  by  both  Sinclair  and 
T imex . 

In  addition  to  the  above,  we  will  break  up  into  groups  to  discuss  topics 
of  special  interest.  Tentatively,  we  will  break  into  an  advanced  group  and  a 
beginners  group.  Dave  Wood  has  volunteered  to  lead  the  advanced  group  in  a 
discussion  of  how  the  floating-point  calculator  works. 


In  future  meetings:  we  will  have  a  demonstration  of  the  new  Timex  printer 
and  modem;  Mindware  has  promised  an  update  on  their  products  and  plans;  and  we 
hope  tq  have  a  joint  meeting  with  the  Robotics  User  Group  of  the  BCS.  The 
rDecember  meeting  will  be  on  the  13th.  We  have  not  established  the  itinerary 
for  that  meeting  and  welcome  suggestions. 


Last  meeting  we  celebrated  the.  first  birthday  the  user  group.  Ms.  Maggie 
Bruzelius  of  Sinclair  Research,  Ltd.  and  Mr.  Dan  Ross  of  Timex  Computer 
Corporation,  the  top  executives  of  their  respective  companies  in  the  U.S.,  each 
provided  a  very  interesting  talk  about  their  company's  history,  objectives,  and 
products.  See  articles  starting  on  page  4. 


October  broke  the  attendance  record  —  more  than  200  people  came  to  hear 
our  guests.  This  was  the  first  meeting  for  perhaps  as  many  as  one  third  of 
those  present.  Also  there  were  6  of  the  original  18  members  who  first  met  in 
Kenmore  Square  on  October  14,  1981. 

In  addition  to  the  talks  by  Ms.  Bruzelius  and  Mr.  Ross,  Sue  made  her  usual 
plea  for  attendees  to  join  the  BCS  and  to  become  active  in  the  user  group.  A 
questionnaire  was  passed  out  to  solicit  volunteers  and  ideas.  Also,  each 
vendor  who  brought  a  display  to  the  meeting  gave  a  brief  pitch: 

•  Mindware  -  Michael  Levy  promised  to  provide  an  update  of  Mindware's 
products  at  an  upcoming  meeting. 

.  E-Z  Key  -  Henry  April  described  his  60-key  keyboard  and  enclosure. 

.  Demystifying  Computers  -  Mike  Weiskoff  described  his  introductory 
computer  programming  course* 

•  Syntax  -  Ann  Zevnik  said  a  few  words  about  the  newsletter  she  edits 
and  promoted  her  new  quarterly  magazine,  SQ. 

.  Compucart  -  George  Peterson  displayed  a  cart  for  the  computer, 
peripherals,  references,  etc. 

.  Sinclair  Research,  Ltd.  -  Leonie  Baldwin,  Cynthia  D'Angelo,  and 
Beth  Elliott  were  present  to  answer  questions.  They  brought  an 
interesting  brochure  containing  a  collection  of  articles  about 
Sinclair.  They  also  had  a  new  Sinclair  software  listing. 

.  Timex  Computer  Corporation  -  Tricia  Bonze,  Joanne  Ciarlo,  and  Pam 
DiLeone  were  present  to  answer  questions  and  to  demonstrate  Timex 
software.  However,  they  couldn't  do  much  demonstrating  because 
people  monopolized  the  machines  playing  games. 

•  Siriusware  -  Dave  Wood  described  his  data  tape  and  BASIC  merging 
utilities.  He  is  targeting  his  products  for  programmers  as  opposed 
to  end-users. 

Following  the  formal  meeting,  cake,  punch,  and  coffee  were  enjoyed  —  in 
spite  of  the  fact  that  the  baker  misspelt  Sincliar. 


Our  October  meeting,  the  First  Anniversary  Meeting,  was  a  big  success 
thanks  to  efforts  of  the  following  people: 

•  Sean  O'Rahilly  who  coordinated  all  pre-meeting  activities  in  the 

•  John  Cahill  and  Allan  Cohen  who  prepared  and  posted  signs. 

.  Rick  Kane  who  obtained  the  facility  and  ordered  refreshments. 

.  Rosemary  Fortin  who  took  the  photographs. 

•  John  Kemeny  and  Dave  Wood  who  manned  the  membership  table. 

Thanks  also  goes  to  the  many  people  who  contributed  labor  setting  up  and 
tearing  down  the  displays.  And  a  special  thanks  goes  to  Mindware,  Sinclair 
Research,  and  Timex  for  the  refreshments. 


As  a  service  to  members,  we  are  instituting  a  question  and  answer  section 
of  the  newsletter.  We  have  the  resources  within  the  group,  and  through 
contacts  with  Sinclair  Research  and  Timex,  to  answer  most  any  questions  you  may 
have.  Send  your  questions  to  the  editor.  The  address  is  on  the  last  page. 


With  some  ZX-81  and  TS-1000  computers,  you  may  find  lines  or  shadows 
between  characters.  The  lines  are  sometimes  more  apparent  when  you  add  memory 
or  peripherals.  It  has  been  suggested  that,  if  the  antenna  connector/switch 
box  is  covered  with  aluminum  foil,  the  lines  are  made  less  objectionable.  The 
foil  should  make  electrical  contact  with  the  shield  (outer  conductor)  of  the 
cable  going  to  the  computer.  Be  careful  not  to  short  the  signal. 


The  Sinclair/Timex  BASIC  interpreter  has  been  criticized  for  not  having 
DATA,  READ,  and  RESTORE  statements.  Users  familiar  with  the  system  realize 
this  is  not  really  a  problem*  The  function  of  the  DATA  statements  can  be 
mimicked  by  the  computer  in  many,  flexible,  ways.  However,  a  novice  user  often 
finds  himself  needing  to  translate  programs  from  a  BASIC  language  which  uses 
the  DATA  statement.  We  offer  the  following. 

The  DATA  statement  allows  a  programmer  to  define  a  list  of  numbers  in  his 
program.  The  READ  statement  retrieves  these  numbers,  one  at  a  time,  and 
assigns  them  to  a  variable.  The  RESTORE  statement  forces  the  READ  to  scan  the 
list  from  the  beginning  again. 

In  order  to  translate  a  program  which  has  DATA  statements,  you  must: 

1.  Include  the  following  routine  in  your  program: 

500  LET  DI=DI+1 

510  IF  D$(DI)="  "  THEN  GOTO  500 
520  LET  DJ=DI 
530  LET  DJ=DJ+1 

535  IF  DJ>  LEN  D$  THEN  GOTO  550 
540  IF  D$(DI)  <>  "  "  THEN  GOTO  530 
550  LET  D=VAL  D$(DI  TO  DJ-1) 

560  LET  DI=DJ 
570  RETURN 

2.  Have  a  statement  LET  DI  =  0  somewhere  near  the  beginning  of  your 
program  (before  doing  any  READs).  Follow  this  by  the  DATA  statement 
LET  D$  =  "YOUR  DATA  HERE".  The  data  elements  (i.e.,  numbers)  are 
separated  by  blanks.  For  example,  if  the  program  being  translated 
has  DATA  5,  10.4,  -3,  6.9E-10 

then  use  LET  D$  =  "5  10.4  -3  6.9E-10" 

3.  Replace  RESTORE  statements  in  the  program  by  LET  DI  =  0. 

4.  Finally,  replace  READ  statements  by  GOSUB  500  followed  by 

LET  VARIABLE  =  D.  For  example,  READ  A  becomes  GOSUB  500  and  LET  A=D. 
Error  3  resiLLts  if  you  READ  passed  end  of  da 


Ms.  Maragret  Bruzelius,  Executive  Vice 
President  for  the  U.S.  Operations  of  Sinclair 
Research,  Ltd.,  was  the  first  speaker  at  our 
October  Anniversary  meeting.  She  described  her 
company  —  its  history,  achievements,  and  plans. 

Maggie  described  Sinclair  Research  as  a 
high-technology,  idea  company  providing  research 
and  development  to  bring  new  products  to  the 
marketplace.  Examples  of  products  developed  by 
Sinclair  include  the  Executive  Pocket  Calculator 
(1972),  a  digital  wrist  watch  (1975),  a  2-inch  TV 
(1977),  calculators  and  multimeters  (1977-78),  the 
ZX-80  (1980),  and  the  ZX-81  (1981).  Clive 
Sinclair  has  done  this  with  a  very,  very  small 
company  —  currently  only  50  employees  worldwide. 

The  ZX-80  was  the  first  computer  to  sell  for  under  $200.  This  was  made 
possible  because  the  ZX-80  containe  one  tenth  the  number  of  parts  previously 
required  for  a  computer.  Since  the  introduction  of  the  ZX-80,  Sinclair  has 
sold  more  than  500,000  computers  in  21  countries,  more  than  any  other  company. 
Maggie  said  that  the  computer  is  well  matched  to  the  job  of  improving  computer 
literacy,  which  we  all  know  is  essential  today. 

Sinclair's  licensing  agreements  with  Timex  allows  Timex  to  use  Sinclair's 
name  and  technology  in  North  America.  Maggie  said  Sinclair  chose  Timex  because 
of  its  marketing  capability.  She  pointed  out  that,  before  the  licensing 
agreements,  Timex  had  been  the  manufacturer  of  the  ZX-81. 

As  for  Spectrum,  the  new  computer  Sinclair  has  developed,  Maggie  couldn't 
say  when  it  would  find  its  way  to  the  U.S.,  because  of  the  "complex  agreements 
made  with  Timex."  She  said  that  there  was  tremendous  demand  for  the  Spectrum 
in  the  U.K.  (more  than  30,000  sold  in  just  three  months),  and  that  this  demand 
would  have  to  be  satisfied  before  the  computer  could  be  introduced  in  the  U.S. 

Maggie  concluded  by  saying  that  Sinclair  was  searching  for  the  "world's 
best  computer  designer,"  and  that  there  would  be  a  sizable  reward  for 
information  leading  to  his  or  her  "capture." 

Maggie  presented  Sue  Mahoney  with  a  check  for  $100  for  the  group's 


For  the  past  two  months,  we  have  sent  copies  of  the  newsletter  to 
approximately  60  user  groups  across  the  country.  Syntax  has  been  our  best 
source  in  identifying  these  groups.  In  response,  we  have  heard  from  eight 
groups  and  received  copies  of  newsletters  from  five:  Westinghouse  ZX80/81 
Users  Group,  Baltimore,  Maryland;  Sinclair  User's  Group  of  Oklahoma,  Tinker 
AFB,  Oklahoma;  T/SZ  Users  Group,  Kansas  City,  Missouri;  Gulf  Coast  Sinclair 
Users  Group,  Slidell,  Lousiania;  and  Sinclair  User's  Network  (S.U.N.), 
Palatine,  Illinois.  In  future  issues  of  this  newsletter,  we  plan  to  pass  along 
what  we  learn  from  these  groups.  Copies  of  the  newsletters  will  be  maintained 
in  the  library. 


Mr.  Daniel  Ross,  Vice  President  of  Operations,  Timex  Computer  Corporation, 
was  the  second  speaker  at  our  Anniversary  meeting.  He  described  the  Timex 
company  —  its  relationship  with  Sinclair  Research,  its  announced  computer 
products,  and  its  plans  for  a  national  user  group. 

Timex  is  the  company  largely  responsible  for  popularizing  the  wrist  watch. 
According  to  Dan,  this  occurred  primarily  because  Timex  built  an  affordable, 
durable  product  and  put  the  product  in  a  marketplace  where  people  felt 
comfortable  buying  it.  In  addition  to  wrist  watches,  however,  Timex  has 
demonstrated  the  capability  to  mass-produce  many  high-technology  products. 
Gyroscopes,  Polaroid  cameras,  and  computer  assemblies  are  just  some  examples. 

Timex  began  manufacturing  the  ZX-81  for  Sinclair  in  January  1981  in  its 
Dundee,  Scotland  plant.  In  12  months  Timex  assembled  over  500,000  computers. 
Dan  commented  that,  if  Sinclair  is  the  largest  seller  of  computers,  then  Timex 
is  the  largest  builder.  Timex'  first  computer  product  was  introduced  in  the 
U.S.  on  July  29.  Timex  plans  to  expand  into  the  Mexican  and  Canadian  markets 
when  their  production  capabilities  allow. 

Dan  suggested  that  Sinclair  selected  Timex  to  market  its  computer  in  North 
America  because  of  Timex'  distribution  and  marketing  skills.  According  to  Dan, 
Timex  has  the  largest  distribution  system  of  any  company  in  the  world.  In 
addition,  Timex  has  very  high  brand  identification  (only  two  companies  have 
higher).  Fifty  percent  of  the  world's  population  see  the  name  "Timex"  daily. 

The  Timex  Computer  Corporation  is  a  new  company,  with  dedicated  sales  and 
support  staff.  It  is  headquartered  is  Middlebury,  Connecticut.  Distribution 
for  the  TS-1000  is  currently  through  computer  specialty  stores,  major 
department  stores,  and  some  chain  drug  stores.  Dan  confided  that  distribution 
was  constrained  this  year  by  production  capability.  Demand  has  run  three  times 
production.  Currently,  Timex  is  producing  one  computer  every  ten  seconds! 
Manufacturing  of  the  TS-1000  has  expanded  to  plants  in  Scotland,  Portugal,  and 
France.  Two  of  Timex'  Far  East  plants  will  be  used  for  additional .computer 

Timex  launched  its  advertising  campaign  in 
September  with  national  TV  and  magazine  ads.  The 
tag  line  in  Timex'  ads  is  "The  Power  is  Within 
Your  Reach."  The  magazines  were  chosen  to  avoid 
confusion  with  Sinclair  products,  which  also  are 
advertised  nationwide.  Response  has  been 
tremendous.  For  example,  in  the  third  week  more 
than  52,000  call  attempts  were  metered  for  the 
toll-free  phone  number  in  the  ads.  This  tied  up 
all  800  lines  into  Connecticut.  Obviously,  Timex 
was  not  able  to  service  all  the  calls.  Dan  said 
Timex  is  busy  trying  to  get  a  better  answer  rate. 

Timex'  toll-free  number  is  800  24  TIMEX. 

Products  announced  by  Timex  include  the 
TS-1000  (the  ZX-81  plus  an  additional  IK  of  RAM), 
the  16K  RAM  module,  and  30  software  packages. 
Timex  will  have  more  that  50  software  packages  by 
the  end  of  the  year.  They  will  cover  four  areas: 
home,  education,  entertainment,  and  business. 

CONT.  .  . 

The  Timex  printer  is  expected  to  be  available  in  December.  The  printer 
prints  40  columns  on  heat-sensitive  (thermal)  paper.  It  plugs  into  the 
computer's  edge  connector  and  comes  with  its  own  power.  In  addition,  it  uses 
the  computer  s  LPRINT,  LLIST,  and  COPY  commands.  The  computer  commands  produce 
32— column  output,  but  the  programmer  can  use  all  40  columns.  The  printer  will 
sell  for  $99.95. 

The  Timex  modem  is  due  the  first  quarter  of  1983.  It  will  provide  direct 
interface  to  the  phone  line,  i.e.,  to  the  small  connector  on  the  back  of  your 
phone.  Software  to  use  the  modem  will  also  be  included.  From  what  Dan  said  it 
can  be  inferred  that  the  modem  will  provide  automatic  dial  and  answer 
capabilities.  The  cost  of  the  modem  will  be  $99.95. 

Timex  has  announced  that  they  will  market  a  family  of  computers.  Timex 
has  research  and  development  facilities  in  Middlebury,  Connecticut;  Cupertino, 
California;  and  France. 

Timex  will  also  have  a  national  user  g£oup.  Each  person  who  returns  the 
warranty  card  for  a  new  TS-1000  automatically  becomes  a  member.  Members  will 
receive  a  quarterly  publication,  new  product  information,  and  a  plastic  card 
good  for  promotional  discounts.  Dan  said  that  members  of  user  group 
organizations  may  also  be  given  the  opportunity  to  participate  in  these 

In  the  question  and  answer  period,  Dan  stated  that  Timex  is  working  on  a 
computer  literacy  series  with  WGBH,  the  educational  TV  station  in  Boston.  He 
also  said  that  programs  in  ROM  packages  are  coming  in  the  future,  and  that 
several  companies  are  working  on  such  an  approach  to  program  distribution. 


The  ZX-81  and  TS-1000  perform  all  arithmetic  using  floating-point  numbers. 
A  floating-point  number  is  the  representation  of  a  number  by  a  fraction  and  an 
exponent.  For  example,  the  number  373  is  represented  as  0.373xl03,  where  0.373 
is  the  fraction,  and  3  is  the  exponent.  Of  course,  the  computer  uses  binary, 
and  not  decimal,  representation.  Each  floating-point  number  occupies  five 
bytes  of  storage.  The  first  byte  conveys  the  exponent;  the  remaining  four 
bytes  the  sign  (positive  or  negative)  and  fraction.  The  four  byte  fractional 
part  gives  the  computer  eight  or  nine  decimal  place  accuracy. 

The  Z-80  microprocessor  chip  contained  in  the  ZX-81  and  TS-1000  is  capable 
of  arithmetic  with  only  single  bytes  and,  in  some  cases,  pairs  of  bytes.  To  do 
floating-point  arithmetic  (with  five  bytes),  rather  elaborate  software  exists 
in  the  ROM.  This  software,  plus  an  area  of  scratch  pad  memory  referred  to  as 
the  calculator  stack,  constitute  the  floating-point  calculator.  Details  of  how 
it  aH  works  will  be  discussed  in  the  advanced  session  at  the  next  meeting. 



Although  we  haven't  used  the  Sinclair/Timex  to  reproduce  graphics  from  the 
Star  Trek  movies,  we  made  some  graphics  from  the  TV  series  —  the  Tholean  web* 
The  main  procedure  demonstrates  a  good  way  to  use  BASIC  (without  machine  code) 
to  bounce,  or  ricochet,  objects  from  side  walls.  This  method  is  useful  in 
writing  many  kinds  of  games  —  for  example  billiards. 

Here's  the  program: 



P$="  m  " 

(the  graphics 




















Yl  =  31 



x$="x  >=  o  Aigr  x  <= 


(>=,  AND,  and 

<=  are 




Y$="Y  >=  0  AND  Y  <= 

Y1 " 





(AND  is  a  token) 











IF  VAL  Z$  THEN  GOTO  200 



DX=DX*(2*VAL  X$-l) 



DY=DY* ( 2* VAL  Y$-l) 



X=X*VAL  X$+X1*(X  >= 





Y=Y*VAL  Y$+Y1*(Y  >= 







PRINT  AT  X,Y;  P$ ; 


GOTO  100 

Run  the  program  in  SLOW  mode.  Try  changing  the  values  in  lines  5  through  60. 

For  fancy,  three-dimensional  looking  images,  change  lines  120  and  200  to: 

120  IF  VAL  Z$  THEN  GOTO  180 
200  PRINT  AT  X+I,Y;  P$ ; 

and  add: 

180  LET  I=LEN  P$ 

190  LET  1=1-1 

220  IF  I  >  0  THEN  GOTO  190 

Use  various  length  graphics  strings  for  P$ .  The  string  consisting  of  the 
graphics  on  7 ,  G,  S,  T,  and  8  does  nicely. 

Try  adding  the  following  lines: 

115  LET  DX=DX+1.6 
135  LET  DX=DX+3.2 

What  happens?  Hint:  Think  of  line  115  as  adding  gravitational  deceleration, 
and  line  135  as  adding  inelastic  bounces. 


Two  publications  which  provide  useful  information  about  the  Sinclair/Timex 
computers  are  Sync  and  Syntax: 

•  Sync ,  P.0.  Box  789-M,  Morristown,  NJ  07960.  Sync  is  a  bimonthly 
magazine  which  provides  well  written  articles  and  lots  of  ads.  It 
costs  $12.97  per  year. 

•  Syntax,  RD  2,  Box  457,  Harvard,  MA  01451.  Syntax  is  a  monthly 
newsletter  providing  short  articles,  hints,  reviews,  and  ads.  It 
costs  $29  per  year.  If  you  join  with  five  or  more  members,  you  will 
receive  three  additional  issues  free. 

Occasionally,  you  will  find  Sinclair  or  Timex  information  in  other 
publications,  such  as  Byte  or  Microcomputing. 


For  more  information,  contact  either: 

Sue  Mahoney,  Director 

c/o  The  Boston  Computer  Society  or 

or  leave  a  message  at 
(617)  361-4736  or  361-5819 


The  Sinclair/Timex  User  Group  meets  in  the  Large  Science  Auditorium  (Room 
8/2/009)  of  the  University  of  Massachusets  of  Boston,  Harbor  Campus.  The 
Harbor  Campus  is  only  three  miles  from  downtown  Boston  and  easily  accessible  by 
public  or  private  transportation.  From  the  north  or  west,  take  the  Southeast 
Expressway  to  Exit  17.  Turn  left  onto  Columbia  Road.  Enter  the  rotary  and 
take  the  first  right  (Morrissey  Boulevard).  Bear  right  on  the  traffic  island, 
following  UMass/Boston  sign.  Turn  left  into  the  campus.  From  the  south,  take 
the  Southeast  Expressway  to  Exit  18  (near  the  Boston  Gas  tanks).  Follow 
Morrissey  Boulevard  northward  to  the  campus.  On  the  MBTA,  take  the  Red  Line 
(Ashmont  Train)  to  Columbia  Station.  Transfer  to  the  free  University  suttlebus 
in  the  T  parking  lot. 

QOThe  Boston 
03  Computer  Society 

Three  Center  Plaza 
Boston,  MA  02108 

617-367-8080  6^4  &U, 

U  S.  Postage 

Permit  1 1 38 
Boston,  MA 


Cliff  Danielson,  Editor 
14  Davis  Road 
Chelmsford,  MA  01824