Skip to main content

Full text of "Boston Computer Society - Sinclair Timex User Group Newsletter"

See other formats


OOOOThe Boston Computer Society 


SINCLAIR/TIMEX USER GROUP NEWSLETTER 


Volume 2, Issue 9 September 1983 

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 ^tt 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). 
This newsletter is free to members. Back issues are one dollar each. 


USER GROUP MEETING 


Date: Wednesday, September 21, 1983 

Time: 7:00 p.m. 

Place: Large Science Auditorium 

UMass, Harbor Campus 
(Directions on last page) 


SPECIAL 

ANNIVERSARY 

CELEBRATION 

IN 

OCTOBER 


Frank Kaplan from Compusa Corporation of Mountain Side, New Jersey 
(formerly Centronic Corporation) will be at our meeting to describe the floppy 
disk system his company has developed for the T/S 1000. The system consists 
of a disk controller compatible with many different types of disks, a floppy 
disk drive and case, power supplies, T/S 1000 software, and documentation, 
tested and ready to go. He will make a special preproduction offer to members 
at the meeting—the entire package for around $450. Additionally, Jeff Parker 
will review the MD1 and MD2 modem from ByteBack. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE 

Instead of our regular meeting in October, we will be having a special 
event Saturday, October 22nd, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. at the Boston Park 
Plaza Hotel. This will celebrate the second anniversary of our user group. 

We will not only be acknowledging the accomplishments and achievements of the 
group and its individual members, but we will also be examining the numerous 
ways in which the Sinclair and Timex computers can and are being used—in 
business, home, education, computer literacy, and entertainment. 

There will be the opportunity for you to see and buy items from vendors 
that support, and are compatible with, Sinclair and Timex computers, including 
hardware, software, publications, and services. There will also be workshops 
and demonstrations on various applications, and lectures on topics related to 
the Sinclair and Timex computers. For an informative and stimulating day for 
the whole family, please come and help us celebrate. Details inside. 



HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AUGUST MEETING 


The August meeting turned out to be a very busy meeting. It featured two 
software reviews, a hardware review, demonstrations of T/S 1500 and T/S 2068 
computers, and announcements. 

Brint Jefferis gave us a very interesting review of ToolKit, a $14.95 
software item from Gladstone Electronics, Buffalo, New York. He described 
several of the nine functions provided by the software, including a BASIC line 
renumbering function which even changes line numbers in GOTOs and GOSUBs. 

Brint found ToolKit easy to use. He cautioned that, because ToolKit must be 
located above RAMTOP, it is not compatible with some software, such as QSAVE. 

Jack Hill next described Master Math, a series of high school math 
quizzes from PMI. See Jack's review later in this newsletter. The entire set 
of quizzes were donated to the BCS for our review arid evaluation. 

Burt Fisher reviewed VOTEM, an analog interface for our computer. Burt 
says he is very compulsive about knowing the exact temperature and VOTEM is 
just what he wanted. See his review in this issue. 

Sue Mahoney demonstrated preproduction models of the T/S 1500 and the 
T/S 2068. The T/S 1500, which will sell for $79.95, has been delayed pending 
FCC approval. Sue said it should be available in September or October. 
According to Sue, the T/S 1500 is basically a T/S 1000 plus 16K RAM in a 
single package. It features movable keys and the capability of working with 
the 16K RAM pack to give 32K of user memory. It will also be capable of using 
"solid state" ROM cartridges which plug into a special holder. The cartridge 
holder module should cost less than $20. 

The T/S 2068, which is the Timex version of the Spectrum, comes in an 
attractive silver box, with an easy to use keyboard, edge connector for 
expansion, a 17.3 volt power supply, both television and monitor output, a 
"solid-state" cartridge slot, and two Atari type joystick ports, one on each 
side. It features both color video and sound. In addition to the familiar 
Sinclair BASIC, there is: a command to VERIFY that programs were SAVEd 
properly without LOADing and thereby erasing the program; multiple statements 
per line, each statement separated by a colon; a prompt option for the INPUT 
statement; the capability to SAVE and LOAD data, variables, and memory blocks, 
as well as to MERGE BASIC code; DATA, READ, and RESTORE statements; programmed 
recovery from errors with an ON ERROR command; and more. The graphics is much 
higher resolution than that of the T/S 1000. And there are convenient 
commands to draw lines, circles, and arcs of a circle. The reaction from a 
skeptical audience was one of delight; the T/S 2068 looks like a fun machine. 

In other Timex related discussion, Sue stated that all Timex products 
will be available via mail order. The cost will be the suggested retail price 
plus a 5 percent handling charge for hardware and a 10 percent handling charge 
for software. (We didn't ask in which category the "solid state" cartridges 
belong.) The Timex printer will work with both the T/S 1500 and T/S 2068. 

The Timex modem will be developed, but will probably not be available until 
late fall. It is still forecast to cost around $100. Sue also introduced 
Paul Schirloff, editor of Timex' newsletter Ramblings. 

A1 Cloutier (he's the person pictured next to Cliff Danielson on the 
first page of the July newsletter) says he needs some help charting a course 
through the game Inca Curse. He wants to exchange maps and information. It 
sounds like an interesting game. 


2 


WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!!! 


Our anniversary celebration represents the largest undertaking of the 
group so far. The success of this event depends on help and support from each 
of you. We need people to do many tasks, some of which involve work before 
the event and the majority of which involve support during the event. Some of 
the tasks include contacting various speakers, coordinating seminars, mailing 
announcements, addressing envelopes, making signs, posting signs and posters, 
selling tickets at the door, running the BCS membership booth, designing and 
producing the printed program, setting up the rooms, and monitoring and 
explaining the displays. In addition to your time, we need the loan of 
computers, tape recorders, and television sets for use at the different 
seminars. Contact Sue Mahoney, Will Stackman (666-8626), or Jack Hodgson at 
the September meeting or during the next few weeks to get things rolling. 

Outline of the Event 

In the Terrace Room of the Park Plaza Hotel, vendors will have booths at 
which they will be demonstrating and selling their products. We are 
anticipating a good representation frotn vendors, including many who are coming 
from out of state. Additionally, there will be displays and exhibits relating 
to our computer and projects by members. Feel free to contribute. 

In other rooms in the hotel, we will present continuing workshops and 
seminars on various topics including; the use of the computer in the 
classroom, home and business applications, computer literacy programs, and 
individual presentations from members. We are still in the process of 
developing these seminars. If you have an interesting application, please 
contact us to get on the program. 

To finance the event, we will be charging vendors for space and there 
will be a small admission: $1 for BCS members, $2 for students, $3 for 
general admission, and $5 for families. Thanks to a loan from Reston 
Publishing Company, we have been able to reserve the room and launch the 
effort. Even with this format, we must have a large user group participation 
to ensure success. Incidentally, your participation will gain you free 
admission. 


MACHINE LANGUAGE GROUP ACTIVITIES 

The Sinclair-Timex Machine Language Group meets on the first Wednesday of 
each month. Contact Bob Heath at (617) 276-2424 (work) for details. 

At the August meeting, Dave Miller demonstrated one of his computer 
systems and several programs. Dave's system features the DK Tronics keyboard, 
Memotech 64K RAM pack. Hunter 8K nonvolatile RAM, and QSAVE cassette tape 
loading system from Intercomputer. Dave says his keyboard has a good feel, 
but the stick-on labels to identify the keys tend to wear out. He especially 
likes the numeric key pad to the right of the regular keys on the DK Tronics 
keyboard. His demonstration with the Hunter nonvolatile was impressive in 
that the machine language programs he loaded into it at home were still there 
when he arrived at the meeting. 

Dave has made several modifications to the basic hardware, including: 
installing a play/record switch for the cassette interface, adding a circuit 
to allow machine code to be executed in the 32 to 48K region, adding memory 
decode and write protect circuitry to the Hunter board, and putting heat sinks 
on the regulator and ULA chip. 


3 


MACHINE LANGUAGE GROUP (Continued) 


Programs demonstrated by Dave included Hot Z from Sinware, ToolKit, and 
machine language routines to load and move blocks of memory as well as create 
large empty REM statements to store machine code. Hot Z is a program for 
debugging and disassembling machine language code. It is especially 
interesting in that it automatically recognizes references to the system 
variables and inserts the system variable mnemonic in place of the address in 
the disassembled code. 

Following Dave's presentation, Dave Wood briefly described the word 
processor he is developing. Dave has modified the machine language subroutine 
which scans the keyboard and generates the television display. He promised to 
show us his flashing cursor at an upcoming meeting* 



CLIVE SINCLAIR SPONSORS HALF MARATHON by Beth Elliott 

The Cambridge Festival second annual Half Marathon, sponsored by Sinclair 
Research, Ltd., was held on Sunday, July 17, with approximately 1700 runners 
participating. Encircling the city of Cambridge, England, home of Sinclair 
Research, the race followed a 2-lap, 13 plus mile course. The event was held 
as part of a full week of activities at the Cambridge Festival. 

The day promised to be extremely hot and humid and even necessitated 
advancing the official start time from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. This was a 
precautionary measure taken on the advice of medical authorities and city 
officials to protect runners from the midday heat. However, moving the start 
time was easier said than done. The race organizers assisted by Sinclair 
Research staff (this author included) spent Saturday afternoon phoning each of 
the over 2000 race entrants. Local radio, newspaper, and television 
announcements also helped get the word out. Needless to say, a few didn't get 
the word and there were about 50 disappointed runners who showed up at 10:00. 

Among the early morning participants was our own recently knighted Sir 
Clive Sinclair, running enthusiast extraordinair e. Clive had just passed his 
43rd birthday four days prior to the race. Happy Birthday Sir Clive! Also 
participating in the run were Leonie Baldwin and Beth Elliott, both of the 
Sinclair Research office in Boston. 

Official finishing times are not yet in, but Leonie and Beth both zoomed 
into the finish just minutes ahead of Clive in approximately 1 hour 45 
minutes. We have Clive placing an impressive 949 out of the 1700. This 
year's winner Bob Treadwell completed the course in just 1 hour 4 minutes 
36 seconds. The first woman to cross the line was Joyce Smith, the English 
world-class runner who finished in 1 hour 13 minutes 53 seconds. Ron 
Pickering, the "Howard Cosell of Great Britain," emceed the event. From his 
platform at the finish line, in true relentless sportscaster fashion, he 
rustled up enthusiasm to cheer Sir Clive and others into the home stretch and 
across the finish line. 

Following the race, competitors and supporters from the English and U.S. 
Sinclair Research offices attended a relaxed garden party at the Stone House, 
Clive's Cambridge residence. Familiar faces at the party included Nigel 
Searle, former Sinclair-Research marketing director in the U.S., and Mary 
Reinman, former PR representative for Sinclair Research in the U.S. Both are 
now working for Sinclair Research in the U.K. We all had a wonderfully 
exhausting weekend. Thanks go out to Clive for sponsoring a terrific sports 
event. 


4 



MARATHON OPERATING TIMES FOR THE TIMEX-SINCLAIR by Dave Miller 


I have had trouble keeping my four ZX-81 and T/S 1000 computers running 
for more than 7 or 8 hours. They would quit at the most inopportune times. 

I suspected high temperature problems and, therefore, made several changes so 
that the computers ran cooler. Here's what I did with each computer and a 
summary of my success. 


The first thing that I tried was building a custom regulated power supply 
for my first computer. Also, when I installed the power supply, I bolted the 
computer to a stand with more space under it than normally provided by its 
pads. This serves to increase the air supply to the vents underneath the 
computer. These measures kept the computer working all day and sometimes 
several days, but it usually quit before the end of the third day. 

My second computer has a custom built power supply but, in addition, has 
the 5-volt regulator mounted on a large metal chassis. This regulator stays 
very cool. This computer stayed up for at least 28 hours before quitting. 

My third computer, as it came from the factory, would quit after about 
8 hours. I put additional feet on the computer to increase the bottom 
clearance and found that it would last for about 17 hours. Then I bought a 
keyboard into which I mounted the computer. Once again I was back to only 
8 hours between crashes. I then cut a large vent hole in the keyboard case 
resulting in a computer which would run for 24 hours. This was not adequate, 
so I moved the regulator to a 4 inch by 4 inch aluminum plate along with a 
heatsink. Now the computer keeps going for approximately 2 days. 


My fourth computer is also 
mounted in an aluminum case along 
with the keyboard. I placed the 
regulator on the case with a 
heatsink. But this computer would 
quit after about 8 hours. It was 
mentioned at the June user meeting 
that the uncommitted logic array 
(ULA) chip gets hot. I removed the 
cover of this fourth computer and 
felt the chip. It was quite hot. I 
cut a piece of aluminum channel (2 
inches by 1/2 inch), applied heatsink 
compound, and attached the heatsink 
to the ULA chip. With this change, 
the computer ran for 12 days before 
quitting. 


(Editor's note: As reported in the 
June newsletter, Timex has recognized 
the heating problem with the ULA 
chip. The chip employs bipolar 
technology which consumes lots of 
power and thus the chip runs hot. To 
solve the problem, Timex is install¬ 
ing heat sinks on the ULA chips. The 
T/S 1500 logic chip employs CMOS 
technology and should not over-heat.) 


KOPAK 

GIVES YOU THE 
POWER! , 

Therma-prinT 

PAPERS & FILMS 


THERMA-PRINT™ for all printers, calculators & 
copiers that use heat-sensitive paper. . 

• THERMA-PRINT™ COPY PAPER, for photo-copy 
machines that use thermal paper. 

• THERMA-PRINT™ FILMS. 

• THERMA-PRINT™ PRINTING PAPER 

• KOPAK™ OVERHEAD TRANSPARENCY FILMS 

• KOPAK™ CUSTOM RUBBER STAMP KITS 

• KOPAK™ OFFICE SUPPLIES 


DEALERS WANTED! 


KOPAK, Inc. 

119 Peter Street, Union City, NJ 07087 
in New Jersey call: (201) 864-4410 

Use your Visa, MasterCard or American Express 
To order toll free (outside New Jersey) use our 

NEW TOLL FREE NUMBER 
( 800 ) 222*0903 

SEND FOR FREE CATALOG 
also 

Timex Sinclair Owners - Send $1.50 for 52 page Catalog. 
©1983 by KOPAK, Inc. all rights reserved 


5 




BUFFERING THE DATA BUS 


In this article, an approach to buffering the data bus is described. 

This approach entails modifying the internal circuitry of the computer, 
replacing passive components (resistors) with two logic chips. 

The data bus is the name used for eight specific input and output signal 
paths in the Sinclair-Timex computer. Almost every piece of information 
processed by the computer's Z-80 processor flows along these signal paths. 

The data bus extends from the Z—80 microprocessor chip through various 
internal circuits. It terminates on the edge connector on the rear of the 
computer. 


When peripheral devices are attached to the computer, it is often 
necessary to buffer the signals on the data bus. Buffering entails placing 
circuitry on the signal paths which isolate or eliminate undesired signals and 
amplify or enhance desired signals. Buffering is usually, but not always, 
provided in commercially available peripheral devices. If you plan to design 
your own devices, you will need to have buffering circuits. 

The buffering approach described here is currently in operation on a 
MicroAce computer. The MicroAce is similar in design to the ZX-80 and early 
ZX-81s. It was sold by mail order in the U.S. Our approach should be 
applicable to the ZX-81 and T/S 1000, machines with the uncommitted logic 
array (ULA) chip. However, some additional circuitry is required. 


In the Sinclair-Timex computer, the data bus is actually separated into 
two buses. On a schematic these are designated as D D ' .... D ' and 



G>OS 


D l> D 2 > •••» i*e., primed (') 

and nonprimed signal paths. 
Separating the primed and nonprimed 
data buses is a set of resistors. 

The value of these resistors is 
1 kilohm in the earlier computers, 
470 ohms in later ones. The 
separation of the data bus into two 
parts was done because of the unique 
way in which the computer generates 
the television display—the 
processor, or nonprimed, side of the 
bus executes NOP (no operation) 
instructions at the same time as 
display character information is 
being transferred on the primed 
side. Because of this approach, 
Sinclair was able to reduce the 
parts count and achieve a low cost 
computer. The existence of the 
resistors on the data bus, however, 
makes it more essential than 
otherwise to buffer peripheral 
devices. 

The figure to the left 
illustrates some of the electrical 
connections with the data bus. It 
shows the two parts of the data bus 


6 








separated by resistors. On the 
Z-80 processor side of the bus 
are the NOP function and the 
keyboard. On the primed side of 
the bus are the ROM and RAM 
memory, external peripheral 
devices, and other circuitry. 

Our approach to buffering the 
data bus is to replace the 
resistors with an octal bus 
transceiver chip (a 2-way 
buffer), such as the 74LS245. 


The flow of electrical 
signals through the resistors is 
always in the direction dictated 
by the read and write signals of 
the Z-80 processor. Thus the 
direction of propagation for the 
transceiver chip can be 
controlled by the Write Enable 
(WR) signal from the processor. 

The only hitch is that the tranceiver must be tristated (electrically removed 
from the circuit) whenever either the keyboard buffer or NOP function are 
active. With the MicroAce, generation of the signal to tristate the 
transceiver requires only one chip. More logic is required with the ZX-81 and 
T/S 1000 computers because certain signals, specifically the keyboard scan and 
NOP signals, are not output by the ULA chip. 

Above is a schematic of the required circuit for the MicroAce. The KBD 
signal is available at chip Ull pin 15 on the MicroAce (this is the same 
signal as on IC 10, pin 15 on the ZX-80). The NOP signal is available at U16, 
pin 1 (IC 15, pin 1 on the ZX-80). In the MicroAce it was possible to remove 
the resistors, bend the legs of a socket, and install the 74LS245 chip where 
the resistor network had been located* The 74LS0Q chip can then be mounted 
dead bug style between the 74LS245 and the Z-80 chip. (A dead bug mounted 
chip is one that is turned upside down, with its feet sticking into the 
air like the chip pictured in the last newsletter.) 

The schematic below shows the circuit required for the ZX-81 or T/S 1000. 

It should work, but has not been tested. 

a 






7 




REVIEW OF MASTER MATH by Jack Hill 


Master Math is a series of high school math quizzes* The quizzes come on 
six tapes, four programs per tape, two programs per side. Each program is a 
quiz. Note that there is only one copy of the program on each tape, so if one 
doesn't load you will need to get a replacement. This, in fact, happened to 
me and the distributor, PMI, promptly replaced the tape. 

The software was written by a Ms. G. Ludinski, a math teacher in England. 
Because the math curriculum in England is slightly different from that in the 
U.S., you will find the format of the tape slightly different from what you 
may he used to. I found this to be no problem. Each program contains two 
different problems. The program asks a question and, if not answered 
correctly, give the formula required for, or the method of, solving the 
problem. All that is then needed is to plug in the variables. If you still 
answer incorrectly, the program prints your score and asks if you would like 
to continue. 

The subjects included are algebra, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, 
percentages, indices, and elementary calculus. These programs, for me, were 
invaluable in reviewing my high school math. But they do contain some minor 
software problems. One program required a number in scientific notation for 
an answer. It was nearly impossible to duplicate the exact number on my 
calculator. Another program would not accept the answer X when the computer's 
answer was IX. All the programs scrolled correctly, except one that lacked 
the appropriate SCROLL statement. The programs are written in BASIC, but are 
unlistable due to a short machine code subroutine that is invoked. I 
discovered how to defeat the protection technique and listed the programs so 
that I could make the corrections. A salesman at PMI told me that they will 
be incorporating these changes. 

PMI plans a series of quizzes for the T/S 1000 and the upcoming T/S 2000. 
The tapes sell for $9.95 apiece or $50.00 for the entire set. Because of the 
large investment, it might have been better if PMI grouped all similar 
problems together, instead of offering a sample from each category on each 
tape. The tapes can be ordered from PMI, Inc., P.0. Box 87, Buckfield, 

Maine 04220, telephone 1-800-227-1836. 

REVIEW OF VOTEM by Burt Fisher 

VOTEM is an analog to digital converter which allows you to measure 
voltages, temperatures, and frequencies, and display the results on the 
television screen. Additionally, it is a signal conditioner. 

My main purpose for the purchase of the unit was in measuring 
temperature. The probe is sensitive to temperature changes as small as 1/100 
of a degree. To give an example of the precision of the unit, the high 
temperature on one day was 79.81 degrees Fahrenheit and the low was 60.07. 

You can automatically record temperature at any interval from 1 second to 
hours, retain 50 readings in 2K of RAM memory (more with extra RAM), and plot 
the readings against time. All calibration is done in software. The manual 
is well done, with sample programs. 

The operating principle of VOTEM is simple—it uses a frequency 
converter. Thus, for example, a dc voltage of 1 volt input will cause the 
VOTEM to output a 10,000 Hz signal (10,000 pulses per second). The computer, 
through software, counts and converts these pulses to a reading of temperature 
or voltage. If the input voltage goes up (down), the frequency goes up (down) 
as well. The temperature probe and its associated circuitry simply produce a 

8 


small voltage that is proportional to temperature. Thus, VOTEM can be used as 
a thermometer, voltmeter, or frequency counter for pulse rates up to 30 kHz. 
Potential applications of VOTEM include hooking it to a photocell to measure 
solar intersity or using it as a smart thermostat for heating/cooling control. 

In addition to the frequency converter, VOTEM is also a tape conditioner. 
The conditioner function allows you to use a much lower setting on your tape 
recorder, potentially improving tape loading. It also has a light emitting 
diode and earphone output for monitoring tapes and pulses. VOTEM is made of 
quality components and took me just 90 minutes to assemble. It is available 
for $39.95 (kit) and $59.95 (assembled and tested) from Down East Computers, 
Box 3096, Greenville, North Carolina 27834. 


ON THE TIMEX PRINTER/MEMOTECH MEMORY COMPATIBILITY PROBLEM 


Some of you with the Memotech 64K RAM pack and the Timex printer have 
found an incompatibility between these periperals. Bob Smith talked with a 
technician on Memotech"s information number about the problem and was given 
the following explanation and solution. The symptom of Bob's problem is that 
the keyboard would lock up after a period of time when he was running with 
both the T/S 2040 printer and the Memotech 64K memory. It was necessary to 
reset (unplug) the computer, resulting in loss of program and data, to clear 
the fault. Memotech's technician said the problem was with the printer, not 
the RAM pack! He said the problem was caused by filtering capacitors added to 
the printer to reduce radio frequency interference. The Memotech solution is 
to clip the lead on end of the capacitors C4, C5, and C6, thus removing them 
from the circuit. These are large, well-marked components. Bob has not tried 
this fix as yet, so if you attempt the modification, make the cuts such that 
you can repair the damage in case it doesn't work. 



A LARGE 60 KEY TACTILE FEEL KEYBOARD 
(MEASURES 10” x 4") THAT PLUGS INTO THE SAME 
CONNECTORS AS EXISTING KEYBOARD ON YOUR 
ZX81 OR TIMEX SINCLAIR 1000. IT HAS ALL 
SILKSCREENED LEGENDS IN 3 COLORS ON THE 
BASE; MOLDED LEGENDS & GRAPHICS ON KEY TOPS; 
8 AUTOMATIC SHIFT KEYS (NO SHIFTING REQUIRED) 
FOR EDIT, DELETE, SINGLE & DOUBLE QUOTES, 
COLON, SEMI-COLON, FUNCTION & STOP; 5" SPACE 
BAR; 2 SHIFT KEYS; NUMERIC KEY PAD. 


■■■■■ 

MASS. RESIDENTS ADD 5% SALES TAX 
SHIPPING a HANDLING $4.00/UN!T 

QUANTITY DISCOUNTS. WE 
WILL ACCEPT MC/VISA. PLEASE INCLUDE #’S, EXP. 
DATE AND SIGNATURE. FOR MORE INFORMATION 
SEND SASE. SEND INQUIRIES, CHECK OR MONEY 

ORDER TO: E-Z KEY 

SUITE 75 

711 SOUTHERN ARTERY 
QUINCY,MA 02169 


wm 

SERIOUS PROGRAMMERS 

“MUST-HAVE" UTILITIES 
For ZX-81 and T/S 1000 Computers 

FILE*SYS (taat, ttaxlbt*. r.Nable) _ 

_ Read/Write Cassette Data Tape Files 

FILE* BASIC Onclodaa FH.E«8YS functions) *^5 
Save/Merge/Erase BASIC Segments 

FILE* VARS (r.qoir.s FILE*SY8 or "BASIC) $ 5 
Save/Restore Strings & Arrays 

BASIC*OLAY (parmtt* ful uaa of #4K RAM) *-jq 
_ Overlay/Copy BASIC Segments 

COPY * (dupfcatea protect ad tapM) $10 

Copy Standard Cassette Tapes 

HEXAS* (generates relocatable code) $10 
Symbolic Hex Assembler - on basic) 

LOGIC* (provide# true logic functions) £ c 

_AN D, O R, XQR, NOR, H AND, NOT * ° 

- Sisnpie user Interface via USR function 
-Wei-documented user manuals 

- On tape cassette in relocatable machine language 

Check or MO delivers now 

SirL.W.re SASE for Info. 

6 Turning Mill Road, Lexington, MA 02173 



9 







COMPUSERVE IS TERRIFIC by Jack Hodgson 

It is perhaps best to think of CompuServe as a great big electronic 
library accessed by a computer and modem. This is gonna sound like a sales 
pitch anyway, so let me quote from their brochure; 

Press a few buttons, and find out about the latest advances 
in home management and nutrition, recent business mergers, 
and high school sports scores. Gather updated information— 
a process that used to require hours of painstaking 
research directly from your home or office. Communicate 
with business associates in other parts of the country, 
instantly and economically. Match wits with CIS (CompuServe) 
in computer game competition. We think you'll agree the 
capabilities of CIS are almost endless. 

CompuServe is very easy to use. Everything is accessed with a pyramid of 
easily understood menus. After a couple of times on the system, you'll be 
able to save time by GOing directly to the subject or page number you want. 

You can look at all kinds of information from the AP News wire and stories 
from the Washington Post to CompuServe's own movie reviews and magazine. Today. 

One thing that is particularly exciting on CompuServe are the Special 
Interest Groups or SIGs. There are SIGs covering topics from medical and 
legal through health, environment, and food. There are also computer SIGs for 
all types of machines and applications. And, if you think there's one they've 
left out, tell them. They may let you start it. 

The SIGs have three main parts. First, there is a message section where 
you can read, leave, and reply to messages. You'll find an active exchange of 
information relating to the particular interest. Second, there is a database 
containing articles, lists of resources, and, in computer SIGs, public domain 
software. And in the third, and perhaps the most exciting, part there is an 
on-line conference area. You can hold live conversations with other SIG 
members from around the country. Patterned after Citizen's Band radio (CB) 
open channel, the transmissions of participants scroll up your screen and you 
are able to speak by simply typing on your keyboard. 

Especially exciting to us Sinclair-Timex fans is that there is a SIG 
subgroup specifically for Sinclair and Timex computers (GO CEM-450). In 
addition to the message board and database area, this SIG holds a regular 
weekly meeting on Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) where users get 
together to exchange information and gossip about the Sinclair-Timex 
community. There are many lighter moments. Although few members have met 
face to face or talked by phone, they know each other fairly well and often 
engage in some friendly, non-computer related, banter. 

One Wednesday night recently, after our regular monthly BCS meeting, Sue 
Mahoney, Cliff Danielson, and I adjourned to my home where we logged onto 
CompuServe and joined the SIG meeting in progress. We spoke with Sinclair- 
Timex users in New Jersey, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and 
Virginia, simultaneously. Taking turns at the keyboard. Sue, Cliff, and I 
participated in a lively conversation about the Sinclair-Timex community and 
how it is evolving. 

My only reservation about CompuServe is that the cost ($5 per connected 
hour) can add up quickly, especially on the CB channels. But, with a little 
discipline, it can be a real valuable resource and lots of fun. 


10 




REVIEW OF BOUNCY by Beth Elliott 

As far as ZX-81 and T/S 1000 arcade games have gone, I haven't seen a 
whole lot of intriguing fast action. Bouncy, for one, can perform on the 
arcade level. 

Here's the setup of Bouncy: Your ship is trapped within the confines of 
the screen and you must fight off the bouncing attack balls while your oxygen 
supply is constantly depleting. You fire by hitting any key other than the 
direction arrows. Horizontal motion of the ship is achieved using right and 
left arrow keys. Points are accrued through destruction of the attack balls. 

Up to five balls appear on the screen at any one time. The balls reflect off 
the walls of the screen. They are slow but challenging moving targets. You 
can replentish your oxygen supply by seizing one of the oxygen ships as it 
periodically moves across the top of,the screen. The game ends when you have 
either exhausted your oxygen supply or your supply of three ships. The top of 
the screen indicates round, high score, current score, and oxygen level. 

Bouncy requires 16K RAM memory. It runs automatically after loading. I 
had some difficulty replaying, which may have been due to the computer I was 
using. Written instructions are not necessary because the instructions on the 
screen are sufficient to begin playing. The game starts and runs quickly. 

The startup display—the head of Count Von Der Bouncy—is impressive. But 
unfortunately it is only seen upon loading, not for replays. The author makes 
very good use of moving graphics. I recommend this game. 

Bouncy can be obtained for $7.95 from Infinity Research Development, 845 
Via de la Paz, Suite A120, Los Angeles, California 90272. Infinity also has a 
number of other fast action games. 

*** ZX PRO/FILE *** 
a 16K+ file manager for the Timex 

ZX PRO/FILE is a machine language data base 
that gives you tremendous versatility: 

*instant access to any file stored in memory 
*files of any size in the same program run 
^single or multiple word search capabilities 
^ordered file displays 

^comprehensive programmable printer functions 

A 59 page manual comes with the cassette. In it 
are complete instructions, examples, directions 
for upgrading to larger memories, modifications, 
program listings, and a detailed explanation of 
how the program works. There’s even an intro¬ 
duction to machine coding for beginners. 

ZX PRO/FILE is the best file manager you can 
get for your Timex. In fact, users report that it 
provides data handling functions found only on 
the most sophisticated systems. 

Price: just $16.95 

Let me send you full specifications. Write to: 

Thomas B. Woods 
P.O. Box 64, Jefferson, NH 03583 
Phone: (603) 586-7734 


WHAT DO YOU WANT 
FOR YOUR 
TIMEX SINCLAIR? 

• Applications 
® Utilities 

• Games 

• Expansions 

• News and Reviews 

• Practical Advice 

Get all this every month with SYNTAX newsletter. 
Everything you need to get the most from your ZX/TS 
computer. Just $29 for a full year of SYNTAX, 
devoted to your computer. 

Order yours today. 

^ 617 / 456-3661 
MC/VISA/AMEX/DINERS 


6 


SYNTAX RD 2 Box 457, 
Harvard, MA 01451 


n 




FOR MORE INFORMATION 


Sue Mahoney, Director of the Sinclair-Timex User Group 
c/o The Boston Computer Society or call (203) 573-5816 

Jack Hodgson, Publisher, (617) 354-7899 
P.0. Box 526, Cambridge, MA 02238 

Cliff Danielson, Editor, (617) 256-4638 
14 Davis Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824 

John Kemeny, Contributing Editor and User Group Correspondent 
284 Great Road, Apt• D5, Acton, MA 01720 

Beth Elliott, Librarian, (617) 742-4826 

c/o Sinclair Research, 50 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114 
Allan Cohen, Meeting Coordinator, (617) 961-3453 


ADVERTISE IN THE SECOND ANNIVERSITY ISSUE 
Computer Related Products and Services Only 
Open Rate: $40 per Quarter Page 
For Rate Card and Discount Information Contact the Publisher 


DIRECTIONS TO THE SEPTEMBER MEETING: The Sinclair-Timex User Group meets in 
the Large Science Auditorium (Room 8/2/009) of the University of Massachu¬ 
setts of Boston, Harbor Campus. The Harbor Campus is only 3 miles from 
downtown Boston and easily accessible by public and private transportation. 
From the north or west, take the Southeast Expressway to Exit 17. Turn left 
onto Columbia Road. Follow construction signs to Morrissey Boulevard in the 
direction of UMASS and the Kennedy Library. Turn left at the light into the 
Campus. From the south, take Morrissey Boulevard northward to the campus. On 
the MBTA, take the Red Line (Ashmont Train) to Columbia Station. Transfer to 
the free University shuttlebus in the T parking lot. 


OOTTie Boston 
OO Computer Society 

Three Center Plaza 
Boston, MA 02108 
617-367-8080 


Nonprofit 
U S. Postage 
Paid 

Permit 1138 
Boston, MA 


Circle Chess Group 
^• Stanonis 
P.0. Box 63 

Des Plaines, IL 

- ^ _ 


60017