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NEW ZEALAND'S LEADING COMPUTER MAGAZINE 

BITS 6 BYTES 



June 1986. $2.25 




Reviews: 

Amiga / VP-Planner / AMPS m'user / 

The UK scene / PC86 Show & Software Awards 

Also featuring: 

Prepurchase advice / more w/p options / 3-D programming / 
RAM expansion / another home spreadsheet / Acorn's future ... 



New series: Q 



PORTERFIELD 




COMMODORE 
AMIGA 



ATARI 

520 ST 





AMSTRAD 
8256 



COMMODORE 
128/D 



ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS WELCOME 



WELLINGTON: 
Porterfield Computers 
84 Victoria St., 
Ph: 731-097 



Latest Hardware Auckland: 

Hottest Software Porterfield Computers 

Fastest Service 



415 Dominion Rd. 
Ph: 686-084 



PORTERFIELD 




microbee update: 




For 1986 we are proud to 
announce a Premium series to 
augment our existing range.. 

The new models offer as 
standard all the main features 
offered as optional extras on 
our standard models. Plus some 
new features and an upgrade 
in performance. 



This shows the graphics 
resolution of the new 
Premium microbees. 
It is possible to display 
131,072 individually 
controlled pixels. 



Of course the Premium models 
will cost a little more, but they're 
still cheaper than upgrading later. 
Briefly you get: Videotex and 
colour video as standard; gready 
enhanced graphics capability; 
four extra keys for cursor control; 



improved video circuitry and a 
volume control for the internal 
speaker. 

These improvements increase 
the flexibility of a Modular 
Microbee computer and let you 
choose the computer that's right 
for you. 



Microbee Systems NZ Ltd 



438 h Rosebank Road .Avondale, Auckland 
Telephone; (09) 88 1138 or 88 1 139. 

Wellington: P.O. Box 26045 Newlands, 
Wellington. Telephone: (04) 785548. 




Example: Microbee Modular 128K Computer 



Standard 



The 128K floppy disk based system 
designed for serious home or business 
work. With 12 8K of user RAM memory it 
is compatible with your choice of 5.25-in 
or 3-5-in disk drives and comes with an 
enhanced CP/M operating system and user 
friendly icon menu shell with Telcom 
communications programme. 
Choose from Microbee's range of monitors, 
printer, modem and world standard 
software to build ih e system that suits you. 
Software available includes Wordstar 3.3 
Professional Pack, Microsoft Muliiplan, 
and BASIC. 



Premium 



The Premium version of the 128K Computer 
provides all of the features of the standard 
model. 



PLUS 

• Videotex and colour video inbuilt 

• Gready expanded graphics: 131,072 pixels 

• Four extra keys for cursor control 

• Upgraded colour and keyboard circuitry 

• Sound volume control 

^Standard model above shown with 
economy monochrome monitor 



Show report 



PC86: Busy and brilliant 



PC86 has come and gone in Auck- 
land. 

During three rnad days of May some 
50 exhibitors were confronting a deluge 
of queries and requests from an esti- 
mated 12,000 visitors to the show. 

Ironically the number of exhibitors 
was slightly down on last year's show, 
but the amount of trading was signific- 
antly busier. 

During a so-called recession in the 
computer market, this upturn of trade at 
the show was an encouraging sign of 
renewed confidence in purchasing com- 
puter bits. 

Without exception, exhibitors re- 
ported hectic business being done at 
PC86. 

From the visitors' point-of-view there 
were obviously exhibits of intense in- 
terest, and indeed worth investing in, 
and there was an appreciation of com- 
puter companies bringing forward new 
products. 

Commodore Computers NZ Ltd 
launched the Amiga (see reviews in this 
issue), Olivetti launched three new 
machines (upcoming reviews), and 
other distributors were unveiling the 
latest in their ranges of printers and net- 
work systems. 

Seminar sessions, using screen pro- 
jections, were well attended, as was an 
auction. 

The pictures on these pages convey 
the vibrancy of PC86, which was held 
at the Princes Wharf terminal complex 
in downtown Auckland. 

The next show on the Bits and Bytes 
calendar is the Wellington Computer 
Show on July 10, 11 and 12 at the Over- 
seas Terminal. 

See you there. 



IBM lap PC 

The IBM lap-portable, released in the 
US On April 2 and selling well there for 
US$1995, was soon to be launched 
here, according to at least two dealers 
{one of IBM PCs, the other of a compet- 
ing brand). 

But IBM NZ late last month, was still 
unable to confirm a release date, and 
declined to speculate on the portable's 
release and its probable price. 

We do know that the preceding port- 
able model, the "luggable" PPC, was 
heavily discounted by dealers, to $2995, 
and that this seemed to be in anticipation 
of the new machine's arrival. 

IBM did say that the PPC was now in 
very short supply. 




Software Awards: 



Dr John Bircham, for Gropas. 
Jim Ferguson, of Otakou Software. 




Bits & Bytes - Jure 1986 S 



How much should you spend on computers and software? 

Look at these prices and then decide. 

Call Richard Barker today at (024) 774-464 to discuss your needs. 



Retail 
SYSTEM UNITS Price 

AT Comp. with 20Mb HD and 1 .2Mb Floppy $7,500 

JCT Comp. 256K/2x360K Floppies/ Par/Keybrd/No Mon $1,890 

XT Comp. 640K/2x360K Floppies/Par/Keybrd/Morutor/Clock...$2,895 
XT Comp. 256K/2x360K Floppies/Par/Keybrd/lOMb/No Mon.. .$3,695 
XT Comp. 256K/2x360K Floppies/ Par/Keybrd/20Mb/No Mon. ..$4,095 

MAGNUM TURBO 4.77 /8.0MHz/640K/Ix36OK Floppy $1,995 

MAGNUM TURBO 4.77/8.0MHz/64OK/2x36OK Floppies $2,295 

MAGNUM TURBO 4.77/8.0MHz/640K/2x360K Floppies/ 10Mb. $3 ,995 
MAGNUM TURBO 4.77/8.0MHz/64OK/2x36OK Floppies/20Mb.$4,495 

MONITORS 

RGB Colour Monitor $1,050 

RGB Colour Monitor + Medium Res. Graphics Card... $1,19S 

Hi-Res (TTL) Mono Monitor $395 

Hi-Res (TTL) Mono Monitor + Graphics Card $595 

Green Monitor $295 



DISKS AND CONTROLLER CARDS 

Seagate ST213 10Mb .....$1,295 

Seagate ST213 10Mb + Omti Controller + Cables $1,795 

Seagate ST225 20Mb HH $1,695 

Seagate ST225 20Mb + Omti Controller + Cables $2,195 

Seagate 32Mb Full Height Hi Perf/Self Park. $3,195 

Control Data 85Mb Plated Media/Self Park 

Omti HD Controller Card 

Teac HH Floppy Drive 



Retail 
PRINTERS Price 

Panasonic KXP109O-10", Par. , lOOcps, NLQ, 80- 1 32 Col $595 

Panasonic KXP1091-10", Par., 120cps, NLQ, 80-132 Col $745 

Panasonic KXP1092-10", Par., 180cps, NLQ, 80-132 Col $1,150 

Panasonic KXP1592-15", Par., ISOcps, NLQ, 136-230 Col $1,550 

NDK 5025-15", Par./Serial, ISOcps, NLQ, 24 pin $3,495 

C.ITOH CI30O-15", Par./Serial, 3001pm, NLQ, + Stand $11,750 

C.ITOHCI600-15", Par./Serial, 6001pm, NLQ, + Stand $14,500 

Dataproducts 8020/21/22-15", Par./Serial, NLQ, 180cps $1,295 

Dataproducts 8070/71/72-15", Par./Serial, - Colour Avail $3,795 

Dataproducts DP-20 Daisywheel Par./Serial $1,295 

Toshiba 24 Pin Printer -15", NLQ, Par./Serial $2,800 

Toshiba 24 Pin Printer Bin Sheet Feeder $1,650 

Toshiba 24 Pin Printer Tractor Feed $300 

Mitsubishi DX 120 10", 18 Pin, 120cps, Par., 80-132 Col $995 

Misubishi EP180EX 10", 18 Pin, 180cps, Par., 80-132 Col., 3K $1,095 

Mitsubishi EP1800 15", 18 Pin, ISOcps, Par., 136-230 Col., 3K $1,495 

Mitsubishi DX180 10", 18 Pin, ISOcps, Par., 80-132 Col., 1SK $1,345 

Mitsubishi DX180W 15", 18 Pin, 180cps, Par., 136-230 Col., 15K.$1,695 

Juki 6100, Daisywheel, 15", Bi-Directional, 18cps, Par $1,520 

Juki 6300, Daisywheel, 15", Bi-Directional, 40cps, Par. 

SOFTWARE 
Samoa 111 

Samoa I 




>750K) each $4.50 

["Certified 5 >A " (To 1 -2Mb) each $8.50 

Guaranteed and Certified 3 Vi " (To 400K) each 17.00 

' 100% Guaranteed and Certified V/i" (To 850K) each $8.50 

UPGRADES 

4.77 MHz Multifunction Board $375 

8 MHz Multifunction Board $375 

4.77 MHz Multifunction Board WITH 384K $475 

8087 Co-Processor $425 

Hercules Compatible Graphics Card $395 

RS232Card $125 

Parallel Card (Centronics) $75 

64K Chips - 16K 150ns DRAM $3.75 

240v 135 Watt Power Supply $495 

Floppy Controller Card $150 



$1,295 
..$175 
..$125 

tor Toolbox $145 

Borland Turbo Database Toolbox $145 

Borland Turbo Gameworks $145 

Borland Turbo Graph ix Toolbox.... $145 

Borland Turbo Tutor ...$99 

Borland Lightning $225 

Borland Turbo Pascal Ver. 3.0 $175 

Borland Turbo Pascal with 8087 Ver 3.0 $225 

Borland Reflex $275 

Borland Prolog — NEW — , $335 

Fastback $295 

Microsoft Pascal $625 

Keyworks $195 

Ready $125 

Norton Utilities Ver. 3.1 $245 

Crosstalk XVI $375 

Dae Easy (US Ver.) GL/AR/AP/PO/Billing/lnv./Forecasting $250 

Timeline Ver. 2.0 Project Scheduling Easy to use/Top Performer $875 

Before You Leap - Cocomo-based Software Dev. Cost Model $995 

MS-DOS 3.1 $275 



SERVICE AND SUPPORT: Prices include Sales Tax and are subject to change without notice. Computers are 100% MS-DOS Compatible, have 12-month 
Guarantee. Diskettes carry No-Questions Asked Replacement Guarantee. Printers carry 90 Day Guarantee. Telephone support available for software. 



To order use this form: 

pi^uppiy^foiiomn,: F «"" even faster service call (024) 774 464 




N*MF- 1 /^ &S*L "\ 


TOMPANY 1 X ■««. 


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phone No- (Computer Division) 


Cheque Enclosed D Please charge my credil cud D 7 Crawford Street, Dungdin 

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All orders musi be sijfted. Your mono 3u noi be Med U K after your order is despatched. «P< WW* Diskettes, Printers and Software, call or write today. 



B Bits & Bytes - June 1 986 




BUS e BVTES 



N. 




V \ 






June 1986 Vol. 4, no. 9 

PC 86 SHOW REPORT 4-11 

NEWS 11,12 

REVIEW: The Amiga 

First impressions reported by Noel Doughty 13 

Ground breaking significance seen by Mark James 18 

REVIEW: VP-Planner 

Osborne's Lotus look-alike charted by Richard Gorham 21 

MULTI-USER: amps 

A made-in-New Zealand m/user system, by Mark James 24 

THE UK SCENE: Regular columnist Pip Forer reports 
on his recent tour of BritTirst stop, UK home market 29 



COLUMNS: 




Sega 


41 


Atari 


43 


Spectrum 


45 


Spectravideo 


46 


IBM 


48 


Apple 


49 


Amstrad 


50 


BBC 


51 


Commodore 


53 



INTERVIEW: Apple "gurus" talk to John MacGibbon 31 
MICROS- AT- WORK: Advice on buying computers 35 
REVIEW: Easy, a new wordprocessor, by Selwyn Arrow 36 



Q + A: Your Questions and Geoff McCaughan's Answers 
A new series to torpedoe the hype on computing 37 



PASCAL: Part III, by programmer Bruce Simpson 



56 



BITS AND BYTES magazine is published monthly (excepting January) by Bits and Bytes Ltd, Denby House, third floor, 1 56 Pamell Road. 
PO Box 9870, Auckland 1 . Phone 796-776, 796-775. EDITORIAL: managing editor, Gaie Ellis ; editor, Steven Searle; Christchurch reporter, 
Dion Crooks, 66-566. ADVERTISING: Auckland - Peter Biggs, PO Box 9870, 796-775; Wellington - Vicki Eckford, 753-207; Christchurch 
- Jocelyn Howard, PO Box 827, 66-566. SUBSCRIPTIONS: First floor, Oxford Court, 222 Oxford Tee, Christchurch, PO Box 827, Phone 
66-566. Manager, Mavis Shirtcliffe. SUBSCRIPTION RATE: $1 8 for 1 1 issues, school pupils rate $16. Overseas subs are $27/year surface 
mail, and airmail rates of $59 (Australia, South Pacific), $86 (North America and Asia), artnd $106 (Europe, South America, Middle East) 
BOOK CLUB: manager, Dion Crooks, at above Christchurch address, 66-566. DISTRIBUTION INQUIRIES: bookshops to Gordon and 
Gotch Ltd, computer stores to publisher. PRODUCTION: graphic designer, Roger Guise; Typesetter, Manoset; printer, Rodney and 
Waitemata Times. DISCLAIMERS: The published views of contributors are not necessarily shared by the publisher. Although all material 
in Bits and Bytes is checked for accuracy, no liability is assumed by the publisher for any losses due to use of material in this magazine. 
COPYRIGHT: All articles and programmes published herein are copyright and are not to be sold or distributed in any format to non-subscrib- 
ers of Bits and Bytes. 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 7 



Show report 



Home-grown and high-class 



Top prize in the New Zealand Per- 
sona! Computer Software Awards went 
to Sott-Tech, of Hamilton, for an au- 
luminium joinery costing package. 

David Price (pictured) received a 
$2000 cheque on behaif of Soft-Tech, 
and the gold-plate award from the NZ 
Advanced Technology Trust 

Presenting the software awards was 
Mr Jonathan Hunt, the Minister of the 
Post Office. The Post Office, and Bits 
and Bytes, and the Advanced technol- 
ogy Trust, were co-sponsors of this 



year's awards event. 

The silver award went to Dr John Bir- 
cham, also of Hamilton, tor his Gropas 
software enabling farmers to analyse 
and predict pasture growth and stock 
performance. 

The bronze award went to Otakou 
Software, of Dunedin, for its educational 
Twist-a-Plot suite of three programmes. 

The awards were in four categories: 
business, farming, education and enter- 
tainment. 



Five of the best 
for less! 




DEBTORS LEDGER 



* Mur I C i Dttji&i I I'dy.'i Enowdn an eai> la- i 

aolonal tno and G 11 ana.-ysis 

Uawi up id racitfaOlM **H JOOG Manucla 



ca-npln-Tr linc-.^na ti S I Dna^i-s loi etinn irfjif n 
Aiirnrt full agaa Inai ucncei iep<vi| in£hjq»rig a 

Pio«Url lull monmw ,-jnij vnisj' anaf/vi icco'i 



CREDITORS LEDGER 

S399 



i- cgaucfil fevwofi 



■ lnul C S C w-3 r&i , im»>" f..i,h. t U'i Si* fOi* ti uie lcc.h\ ana hnnsacv 

wh^iu oiMfi" 1 O'wuQlw *fin*anj ctKJioii mitCTi "*iiii oatcncm 

□picnnl *nc and C? SI anatvsu rUMjsi Id 1 ontniNg £f i^injroi^ji adocc* 

MlOWfl up 10 ICO C'COlan, ¥r J_ - Hi.'.: I'lK.^fiVL fMu 1.11.- w-v-rjn* z~? r mr"'t lu> rnpr.-Tily ufid pnn 




3 



CASHBOOK System 

S399 



«1r»l C £■ C^"C"W>* D'tft«i*VOn|ifl W lLiu^ h n^»iJ ■"Jowl '!> WC* «ri"v r* Mlfneffl pr.d 

Bfl*frTi<uffclOW n>!i;yii'»iri an a ho- 1 ffdfl *nWB oppoi-i iianiarV^i win anaudii coniral ktfng 

*hjw* wL^'O JlTl ltoi'™jrilj.(]no^llcOj[>Lana 1 DD P*D>iCllK 'Oi COT.Di?ln panl roc 0"C«]l|On IuDDiC 

>i.n s.i ",- L v - ; oe-j ■- 'h ■ KM ftpnuK I'd"* -14*15 p*- iu* v i d ipiaii ai rnx h cmoirtft coas laial 



HIRE PURCHASE System 

499 



C 3 HUtfPil'CVlLH £>l'*mi |. 



nlPblU Wl^Jlull I^Y '■>& ?B 



□nn 5ii>£hr &c>ywii Vt'nrj) tf*:inv in cov^-n tha-iaing 




5 



PAYROLL System 

$499 



■ iha cv'pow e* in. i PgytuU Vita^ t '0 D'tr*ide ^Dmm oVaioa njnoKng oi oacr 

ChjiCk QC^uiQlff PoviOutOK ulDliC*]- blrtOOCCu>alei W I D and*1 D fctn cat ufcHCrt all igi d«irfHOt) 

mc^ijs 0" tfmnionje v*w d>XJ tJIot MnMr ana ^Uns ipiaistH aws accu"? 1 * 0'i nr i'^ »< rfl r ? 

I v.jii 'p.m i nKifilQ'v ia« «rtii-n rac hyra. 

Cdtactv delc-n-wied Dv fli* spac* ana nwrto'v 

i-rc iviiaiTii rra> </rr-t narn I DO iOO c 




S^tT CIFICA TlONS 

1 Runs untfer MS-DOS 2 As-ajiablfe lai IBM PC a no campHl'bfea 
Al so Sfl nvo 5 W ?«;i 1 1« I Com mGa ore > er 5.10ns a raiiafilej 

- Hardware refltiw^meilS 

- Mnlimyrri ?5fih RAW Miff a Computer (MS-DOS 5) 
IBM or comp-ahbif 



THAMES COMPUTER SERVICES 
P.O BOX S! 7 THAMES NJ 
PH (0843) 86 BM 




Education 



In education, software developers are 
emulating business software trends in 
fully employing clever graphics. 

Otakau's programmes, running on 
Apple lis, were developed by Jim Fergu- 
son, Chris Hilder and John Shanks. The 
suite encourages children to write with 
a simple word -processor and integrate 
illustrations from a pre-entered library. 

It comes with a spelling checker, and 
a simple but elegant graphics generator, 
called Sorcerer's Apprentice, enabling 
original illustrations. 

Second was Supergraph from Jamie 
Clark at Katikati College, whose sophis- 
ticated programming abilities were ap- 
parent in this graphical simulation of 
abstract mathematical concepts as 
commonly grappled with in the study of 
algebraic formulae. 

Entertainment 

The entertainment category is becom- 
ing more closely related to the educa- 
tional abilities of computers, and this 
year's entertainment winner was Jig- 
saw, a game easily adaptible to educa- 
tional mix-and-match exercises. 

By Castle Software, it splits an Apple 
II screen in two parts, one side present- 
ing mixed pieces, the other side an 
empty grid, and moving between the two 
a hand which can select and rotate the 
pieces. 

Again the control of graphic effects 
was stunning. Second was a flight 
simulator for the Sega, by T. Johnson, 
and third, a collection of compulsive 
Commodore games by Mark Sibley. 

Farming 

in the farming category first place was 
awarded to a pasture farm management 
system adjudged "ahead of its time". 

Gropas' developer, Dr John Bircham, 
of Hamilton, launched into this project 
armed with a strong faith in the potential 
of this type of farming aid, and had left 
the comforts and prestige as a former 
researcher with the Ministry of Agricul- 
ture and Fisheries. 

Gropas is applicable to any farming 
situation in New Zealand, excepting pre- 
dominant tussock country, and draws on 
a database holding average weather 
patterns, and the interactive effects of 
pasture slope, aspect, grass types, soil 
types and other factors. 

The farmer's own input is by way of 
simple menu choices. 

Part two of the package is a feed- 



B Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Show report 




P.O. Minister Jonathan Hunt 

budget - a database of stock require- 
ments under varying feed conditions. 



Business 



In the business sector accounting 
packages were predominant. 

The judges however picked on two 
non-accounting packages as prize-win- 
ners, presumably because they did not 
see new developments in the account- 
ing software apart from adaptations to 
handle GST. 

They were impressed with Profax, 
similar to CBA in using Dataflex, and 
well documented. 

But the two business packages sing- 
led out were the retail stock control pac- 
kage from Irdoss, and the costing sys- 
tem from Soft-Tech. 

Irdoss enables cash terminals to in- 
teract with a computer-held database 
and this system is continually up-dating 



Compaq launch 



Compaq Australia Is to establish at 
least four more dealers, in main centres, 
following on from its recent launch of 
Scollay Computers as its 
Wellington dealer. / 

The next Compaq dealership is to 
be set up in Auckland. 

Compaq claims it will win the 
second-time buyers of PCs, 
because of allegedly superior -gl 
hardware and ongoing service 
from Compaq and its dealers. 



inventories on the basis of each cash 
sale. 

Irdoss was runner-up in the business 
category. 

Small branch organisations here and 
in Australia using Irdoss have the ability 
to monitor sales. 

But even more innovative was an 
aluminium joinery costing system from 
Hamilton. 

It holds data on aluminium design 
standards, cutting designs, and other 
formulae, as well as unit costings of raw 
materials and other input 

Again the development began in "a 
garage", but fortunately the authors - 
David Price, Rex Doran and Sebastion 
Gourmet - were discovered by an AHI 
engineer checking rumours of such de- 
velopment underway. The result was 
AHI's initial purchase of 26 ol the joinery 
costing packages. 

This software presents the classic 
case of making the computer, in this 
case a Wang PC with hard-drive, an es- 
sential tool in an area where previously 
there was no application for a computer 

Soft-Tech's David Price. 




- apart from administrative functions. 

The joiners can now present instant 
quotes, tailor margins for more competi- 
tive tenders, plan cutting schedules to 
minimise wastage and meet cartage 
schedules, and eliminate previously fre- 
quent errors in meeting variations in re- 
gional building codes. 



Makin^ 
Sense of 
Business! 




Panasonic Computer 

Execftrtner 



Senior Partner 



10 meg. Hard Disk 
or Twin Drive 256k 

cashLinh 

G.S.T. plus Accounting 

Full/ integrated System. Debtor. Creditors. 

General Ledger. Wordprocessmg, Mailing 

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A full Installation Service provided 

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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 9 



Show report 



'Intelligence' is looking for buyers 



by Steven Searle 

The big software companies are get- 
ting bigger and the small are... trying to 
survive, according to this year's keynote 
speaker at the New Zealand Personal 
Computer Software Awards presenta- 
tion. 

Wendy Woods, the founder of an on- 
line news service called Newsbytes, 
which covers the US, Europe and Japan 
computer industries, told the awards au- 
dience that today's buyer (users) are not 
like the hobbyists, hackers and ex- 
perimenters of yesterday, but instead 



sought only to race through specific job 
tasks on their computers. 

"They are stubborn in their loyalty to 
the tried and tested software, and are 
not actively looking for more sophisti- 
cated options." 

Wendy's view of this trend is based 
not only on her Newsbyte sources in the 
US, England and Japan, but also as the 
result of research for two computer-re- 
lated series she presents to US televi- 
sion audiences. 

She told guests at the software 
awards, co-sponsored by Bits and Bytes 
and the NZ Post Office, that the software 
industry was risky - overall sales grew 



by about 20 percent last year, which was 
a lot less than previous years' rates of 
growth, and two-thirds of global sales 
were within just the top 1 software com- 
panies. 

The affect on smaller developers of 
software is that they are looking to join 
larger competitors in return for market- 
ing muscle, or are remaining indepen- 
dent but banding together into co-opera- 
tives where marketing costs are less 
burdensome. 

"In the latter case, in my area of 
California a dozen software companies 
have banded together into a co-opera- 
tive which enables sharing of mailing 




Timeis 
running out 

to get die 

FREE WATCH 

we offer with 
the floppy disks 

edto 




t a lifetime. 



Verbatim makes Datalife disks so perfect 
we guarantee Ihem for a human lifetime. 

If you buy the special 20 disk pack now 
available, you get to keep the quality digital 
watch strapped to the pack. 

Time is running out though. Only a 
limited number of special packs have been 
released and this offer ceases when they have 
been soldr 

\ferbafim. 



Word Perfect. For Life. 



'A >■<■!■!■■' j- lit Si ■■ ffl n> 



VERBATIM NEW ZEALAND LIMITED, WELLINGTON 856-615 
OR YOUR LOCAL COMPUTER STORE 



10 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Show report 



lists and marketing strategies, and a 
newsletter-type flier direct-mailed to 
100,000 potential customers. 

"They are kitchen-table companies, 
and they are finding ways to by-pass 
conventional retail outlets." 



Mergers 



The other trend, of seeking big- 
brother support, is apparent in the 203 
mergers of software companies last 
year - this year 300 mergers are pre- 
dicted. 

"Owners of small software firms are 
willing to sell-out because of the continu- 
ing slump in the computer industry." 

Among the big buyers of this 
"software intelligence" are banks, pub- 
lishers, investment companies and in- 
dustrialists, and, of course, the large, 
pubiicly-listed software companies 
which hope to grow by acquisition. 

An example of intelligence shopping 
is Apple Computer and its US$20m fund 
for encouraging third-party development 
of software (for Apple), mainly in 
graphics, telecommunications, artificial 
intelligence, video and compact-disc 
technology. 

Daring methods 

Wendy Woods said another effect of 
a tightened software market daring inno- 
vation in marketing techniques. 

For instance, pint-sized Brown Bag 
Software put trial-size demo-discs as a 
lift-out insert into 350,000 copies of PC 
Magazine - and fater direct-mailed the 
complete product to buyers. 

Others are more extreme, as in direct- 
mailing free copies of new product in 
the hope of seeding a targetted market 
category with enough copies to hope- 
fully generate further buying interest. 

An example is Microrim in 
Washington, which seeded accountan- 
cies with its R:Base 5000 database. 
What is more surprising is Microrim's 
result - for every free copy seeded, it 
claimed eight units were actually sold. 

Direct reach 

Larger software companies have 
caught the trend and have initiated their 
own direct-reach campaigns, commonly 
by having their own sales staff directly 
approach corporations with bulk purch- 
ase deals more appealing than deals 
traditionally sought through mail-order 
discount houses. 

An extension of this is "site licensing", 
enabling a client-company to freely copy 
programmes for employees' use. This 
tactic was initiated only a year ago, but 
now almost all the larger software pro- 
ducers are offering site licensing deals. 




Keynote speaker: Wendy Woods. 

Another outlet is through value- 
added-resellers (vars) who are encour- 
aged to tailor programmes to client's 
specific needs, and such liaisons are be- 
coming very popular. 

Wendy Woods says the retailer, who 
has been left out of the new tactics, con- 
tinues to be the mmain outlet and still 
account for half of total software sales. 

The retail trend countering direct sel- 
ling is basically that the big are getting 
bigger-four retail chains now own more 
than 100 stores each and are persis- 
tently prowling for more sites. 

Dictate range 

These big four dictate what gets on 
the shop shelf, and have the leverage 
to effectively close-out software for 
Apple and those other computer brands 
not stocked by these chains. In fact, they 
all carry IBM and Compaq stock, two 
carry AT&T as well, and one also carries 
Hewlett-Packard. 

"It will affect software producers and 
the buying public in the same way that 
record producers battle radio stations oft 
air-play, but listeners getting to hear only 
what the large stations will play," said 
Wendy. 

Such a monopoly of outlets will ulti- 
mately tame pricing, but for the moment 
pricing of software is cut-throat, al- 
though stabilised, and in two broad 
categories - over US$400 ($800), and 
less than US$200 ($400). 



Two courses 



Wendy sees this split remaining be- 
cause of the two main marketing 
courses of either costly and glossy mar- 
keting or low-cost, budget-conscious of- 
ferings. 

The former also have expensive copy 
protection and litigatory back-up. 

Such additional costs, she claims, 
cannot be readily justified by either the 
abilities of most big-name products, nor 
associated support which is claimed to 
be available. 

However, there are some new pro- 
ducts coming through despite the 
clamour and crowding - predominantly 
those products relating to specific types 
of users. For example, desktop publish- 
ing and telecommunications packages 
are two of the fastest growing market 
categories. 

"But the bankable grory will go to 
those who can build on these innova- 
tions, rather than those kitchen-table 
companies who conceived 'the brilliant 
idea'," said Wendy. 



Education 

society 

"policy" 



The "draft policy" of the NZ Computer 
Education Society which was recently 
handed to the Cabinet committee on 
education, is now being circulated for 
comment among society members. 

The Auckland group, one of eight 
branches of the society, was looking at 
the draft on May 1 9, 

The society vice-president, Ken 
Mount, told Bits and Bytes that the draft 
was presented by one of its co-au- 
thors, Ian Mitchell. 

"Apparently the Cabinet committee 
showed interest in our draft document 
and are wanting to see it again in its 
final form," said Mount. 

But, said Mount, all members of the 
society would have opportunity to com- 
ment on such a policy statement before 
it is formally presented to the Cabinet 
committee as a submission of the Com- 
puter Education Society. 



Draw winner 



The lucky draw at PC86 in Auckland, 
for a computer desk, donated by Com- 
modore Computer NZ, was won by: 
S. Moore, of St Johns, Auckland. 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 11 



Micronews 



Come clean, 
says Ashton 



The distributor of Ashton Tate 
Software, Arcom Paicific, is changing its 
trading name to Ashton Tate NZ Ltd. 

Ashton Tate also announced an "am- 
nesty" for current users of directly im- 
ported copies of dBase and Framework 
- if they come clean and buy upgrades 
currently on offer for these products, 
through the appointed distributor 
(Ashton Tate NZ). 

The name change follows significant 
shareholding being taken in Arcom by 
Ashton Tate Australia Ltd. 

The Australian arm of the US software 
producer was established last year to 
make Ashton Tate more prominent in 
the Pacific markets. 

Ashton Tate (not a real person) distri- 
butes dBase and Framework. 

The name change ceremony was in 
Auckland late last month and included 
the launching of Javelin, a new financial 
modelling and analysis tool riding high 
in the US. 

It enables objective forecasting, and 
will be reviewed in Bits and Bytes. 



Computerphone 
for sale? 



The Post Office Telecommunica- 
tions Division is offering a new deal 
to Computerphone customers. 

A single payment lease is now of- 
fered, at $4995 for the basic system, 
for a period of five years. 

It is an unwritten clause that after 
the five years lease ends, then ... 

One assumes that the Act which 
limits Post Office trading, and pre- 
vents it from actually selling equip- 
ment, will ultimately be changed in 
accordance with the reality of market 
practices. 



H.p. package 



A low cost hire purchase accounting 
package from Thames Computer Ser- 
vices, formerly running on Commodore 
computers, can now run on most com- 
puters using MS-DOS 2. 

It's not designed for billing or demand 
letters. 

TCS has also written debtors, cre- 
ditors and cashbook programmes to run 
on the Commodore C64 using a single 
disc drive. 



IBM cracks 
down on clone 



Computer Imports Ltd, the Auckland 
importer of Sigma and XEL micros, was 
(at time of deadline) to appeal against 
an interim injunction brought success- 
fully by IBM NZ to stop the importer from 
further trading of XELs. 

IBM also seized three of the XEL XT 
micros from Computer Imports as per a 
High Court order. 

The basis of the action was an alleged 
infringment of copyright regarding the 
IBM XT's cabinet and BIOS (basic- 
input-output-system). 

The appeal case was to be heard in 
Auckland on May 29. 

IBM NZ chairman Basil Logan told 
Bits and Bytes that "IBM intends to pur- 
sue vigorously the means to protect its 
intellectual property". 

"I am not saying there are others (in- 
fringing copyrights of IBM) but this litiga- 
tion is evidence of our determination to 
protect our property," he said. 

Logan said similar and recent action 
had also been taken by IBM against 
companies in Taiwan and Canada. 



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12 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Hardware review 



First impressions of the Amiga 



by Noel Doughty 



In this article I shall discuss some of the basic features of the Amiga 
Personal Computer released in New Zealand at the PC 86 Exhibition in 
Auckland on 8, 9 and 10 May. I shall give a physical description of the 
computer, including some of its specifications and pricing, a little on the 
iconic Workbench user interface and its demonstration software, supply a 
short guide to the recent articles on the Amiga and outline some obvious 
directions that the evolution of the Commodore 68000 and 68020/68881 
PC units could take in the near future. 

I shall leave till later the details of the AmigaDOS operating system, the 
languages, the software and the medium to top-end options that will be 
possible as a consequence of the ready expandibility of the Amiga architec- 
ture. It is, however, precisely these options, and what they offer along the 
road to friendly mainframe type power on the desktop, at a reasonable 
price, that has created the considerable interest in the Corqmodore Amiga 
68020/68881 family and its direct competitors, such as those from Atari. 

Indeed, it is this very interest, not only for home, business'and industry 
use, but also especially in education and research, that has led to the 
review whose first stages are being reported here. 



The bundled unit 



The Amiga 1000 PC unit being re- 
leased in New Zealand has its minimum 
RAM (Random Access Memory with 
read-write capacity) extended to 51 2 KB 
by an internal 256 KB RAM card, 
mounted behind an easily detachable 
front-centre panel. 

it has one internal 880 KB (formatted) 
3.5 inch built-in disk drive, arrives with 
the Amiga two-button mouse and with 
an Amiga RGB monitor. 

The unit being reviewed has, exter- 
nally, a second 3.5 inch drive. The ac- 
companying system developer's kit 
comprises 26 disks and 7 kg of manuals 
totalling about 2000 pages. Only one 3.5 
inch drive can be installed internally. 

This single-disk unit with 512 KB, will 
be the standard version sold in NZ. 

The main unit will not be sold without 
the RGB monitor. 

All three external drives may be for 
microdisks, or alternatively, 5.25 inch 
IBM PC format drives. 

Although this will not affect their use 
with the RGB monitor, since it will be 
bundled in the NZ sales, these units will 
initially be NTSC composite video ver- 
sions. 

The European and Australasian com- 
posite TV video version, conforming to 
PAL is being produced in Germany and 
is scheduled for NZ release in Sep- 
tember 1 986. A kit may later be available 
(from Commodore) for conversion from 
NTSC to PAL, for those, probably very 
few, with PAL cameras and similar ac- 
cessories, that might be affected by the 
difference. 

Other examples could be in the 
specialized mixing of external compo- 
site video signals to the computer's own 
video output via the AMIGA GENLOCK 



or the capturing and digitizing of external 
signals in Amiga itself with the AMIGA 
LIVE DIGITIZER, formerly known as the 
"frame grabber" (References: 1,10). 
Subject to FCC approval (US Federal 
Communications Commission), each is 
expected to be released in May and 
each is to sell for about US$250. 

Compact keyboard 

The Amiga is nicely tailored. 

The whole unit is easier to lug about 
than an IBM PC but clearly somewhat 
less so than the Macintosh or even the 
Apple lie, and similar PCs, which typi- 
cally have a hand-grip on the monitor. 

It is noteworthy that the Amiga is the 
first of the higher-powered micros for 
which I have not immediately noticed 
the noise of the fan. 

After being accustomed to a 97-key 
style KB-5151 keyboard with separate 
pads, the Amiga keyboard looked, 
miniscuie. 

I ndeed, it slides neatly under the smal I 
processor when not in use. 

The keyboard cable is channelled 
under the processor causing no clutter- 
ing of the work-table. This is important 
if operating with the mouse and also 
since peripherals will all be external. 

However, many of the latter may be 
stacked vertically, off the table, in com- 
pact side-cars on the right-top side of 
the processor. 

Despite its apparent small size the 
keyboard has 89 adequately spaced out 
keys including 10 function keys across 
the top, a full 13-key data pad on the 
right and a separate set of 4 cursor keys 
on the lower right of the typing keys. 

It can easily be moved over a metre 
from the main unit. 



I like the feel of the keys although 
some users consider them spongy or 
too light with insufficient slope-up. I 
found their layout well-designed with 
large well-placed SHIFT, TAB, RE- 
TURN, BACKSPACE and data ENTER 
keys. 



Starting up 



Plugging in and firing up the Amiga is 
a piece of cake with or without the very 
readable documentation in the User's 
Guide. 

My cable from Amiga to printer was 
delayed on arrival of the unit just before 
Easter. However, the documentation in 
the User's guide and printer manual was 
perfectly adequate, even for someone 
iike myself, with only rudimentary wiring 
and soldering skills, to make up a tem- 
porary printer cable with connectors and 
hook-up wire. 

The plugs and sockets are designed, 
at the expense of minor departure from 
standards, to mate only in the correct 
combination. 

Amiga responds after a few seconds 
with an icon (image-oriented) request for 
the first system disk, Kickstart (version 
1.1) whose information is loaded into a 
special 256 KB of RAM. 

This is then made non-writeable, be- 
having essentially like ROM (Read Only 
Memory). This Kickstart system RAM is 
independent of the 512 KB available to 
the user and opens up the possibility of 
eventually emulating an almost unli- 
mited variety of other machines. 

The IBM PC is the most obvious (see 
bBiow) but Commodore 64 and Apple II 
emulation are both rumoured to be on 
the way. 

The user is then prompted for the sec- 
ond system disk, Workbench (5). If used 
as supplied, this boots the system au- 
tomatically through the Amiga's UNIX- 
like Disk Operating System 
(AmigaDOS) to the very friendly image- 
oriented Macintosh- 1 ike (mouse or 
keyboard operated) Workbench inter- 
face. (An Amiga with a standard Unix 
operating system has been suggested 
as the next step, especially as there is 
always resistance to a new non-stan- 
dard operating system. There is also 
less than complete satisfaction with 
AmigaDOS: see Ref. 18.) 

From the Workbench one has access 
to the CLI (Command Line Interpreter) 
of AmigaDOS. One also has the choice 
of by-passing the Workbench com- 
pletely and going straight to the CLI, 
much more familiar to a non-iconic user, 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 13 



Hardware review 



This multi-level user interlace {called 
Intuition), giving each user the choice of 
mode of operation, is another excellent 
feature of the Amiga. 

The quality of the Amiga's colour 
graphics, animations (and sound) is 
breathtaking. The lowest resolution (320 
x 200 pixels) permits 32 colours while 
high resolution (640 x 400) gives 16, 
chosen from a palette of 4096 hues. 

The Amiga's HAM (hold and modify) 
colour graphics mode gives still pictures 
difficult to distinguish from the very best 
TV. 

I had heard a great deal about the 
high-resolution colour graphics on the 
latest 68000 computers. I was also quite 
accustomed to the excellent visual qual- 
ity of monochrome graphics and text at 
720 x 348 pixels with a Hercules-driven 
IBM PC compatible. 

I was therefore ready to be very impre- 
ssed with similar quality in colour on the 
Amiga. However, I found some of the 
text on the Amiga Workbench, although 
in colour, to be not in its highest resolu- 
tion. This was a surprise and a disap- 
pointment. 

I would find it difficult to word-process 
my scientific papers for long sessions 
with a text screen any poorer than 640 
x400. 

Unfortunately, I could not find the 
choice of high- resolution monochrome 
for text. This apart, the range of video 
outputs on the Amiga far exceeds those 
of its competitors, especially with the 
Commodore Genlock option (1) for mix- 
ing with signals from TV, camera, video 
cassette recorder or laser disk. 

The Atari is reputed to be a little better 
on text resolution. 

For one excellent detailed compari- 
son of Amiga, Macintosh and Atari 520 
ST, consult Webster (1 8), 68000 WARS 
: ROUND 1 . Others are available in Re- 
ferences 13 to 16. However, "low" is 
certainly a relative term. 

The Amiga, even in low-resolution 
mode, is much sharper by far than the 
Commodore 64s and 128s or an IBM 
PC compatible with colourgraphic sc- 
reen. Most standard printers are availa- 
ble immediately by selection from the 
preferences on the Workbench. 

These include Epson, HP laserjet, HP 
Laserjet Plus and at least two colour 
printers. 

One is the moderately priced Okimate 
20 which (for about NZ$700) gives very 
satisfactory results. 

Another is the Diablo C-1 50 (Gracely, 
Jim Commodore Powerplay Feb/Mar 
86, 72-75) capable of first-class colour 
printing appropriate to graphic design 
studios (approximately US$1300). 

Workbench demos 



Despite some obvious advantages of 
mice in certain situations, I had not, until 




The Commodore Amiga 1000 PC 



the Amiga, been much taken by them 
and less so by icons. I had found the 
CLI and knew I could go back to it when 
ready for what 1 might consider to be 
"more advanced" uses. 

I therefore gritted my teeth, read as 
little as possible of the User's Guide, 
went straight into mouse operation of 
the Workbench Demos and I soon had 
a ball I A colourful, noisy, rotating, bounc- 
ing ball: Boing! 

Disconnect the Y-adaptor linking the 
two stereo phono jacks to the single- 
channel speaker in the RGB monitor, 
reconnect them to your stereo unit, ex- 
periment with clicking on your choices 
from the Workbench Demos disk and 
within moments you can be exploring all 
the options and menus with ease. 

I soon had a view of Boing forming 
on the rear screen with the Workbench 
in front. A short time later I had noisy 
stereo Boinging in the background be- 
hind a half view of the Workbench, with 
carefully re-arranged icons, and high- 
speed, high-resolution colour animation 
in the form of Fields (or Molly) in the 
foreground. 

Then, with Fields, Workbench and 
Boing still displayed, I got Amiga to run 
through her delightful speech 
capabilities layered over the sound of 
Boing still busy in the background, but 
slower. 

Full text to speech software, not only 
on words but also via phonemes, comes 
with the Amiga. 



The various tasks share the use of 
the main processor, and its three 
specialized custom chips, and each will 
therefore be slowed down. 

I was, in fact, enjoying a playful use 
of one of Amiga's greatest qualities, its 
multitasking. In that example I was only 
left with 30-odd KB of RAM. 

Adding more tasks is asking for a 
crash. But RAM is coming down in price 
all the time. And the Amiga has incred- 
ible expandability, another of its great 
assets. RAM may be extended to a mas- 
sive 8.5 MB compared with 4 MB for the 
monochrome Macintosh Plus (I believe 
the Recommended Retail Price is 
$5995). 

Only the Amiga has the multitasking 
and this feature can scarcely be added 
to the others without, in essence, total 
redesign, ab initio. 

One needs to experience multitasking 
(9) and then have to go back to working 
without the advantages of simultaneous, 
or at least immediately accessible, sort- 
ing, printing, word -processing, number- 
crunching or anything else, like sending 
or collecting electronic mail, to ap- 
preciate the immense advantages it can 
bring. 

These same advantages wil! extend 
to the use of Amiga in education and for 
high-powered research applications 
where lengthy programs can be left 
going in the background and still leave 
the computer available for other work. 
And surely, its not such a great step 



14 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Hardware review 



from multitasking to multi-users on a 
micro. 

The Workbench comes with a line 
editor (EDIT) and a full-screen editor 
(ED). A tip on exiting from the Mandrill 
Demo: Position the centre, not the tip, 
of the pointer on the dot of its Close 
Gadget. 

IBM emulation 

With at least one Amiga 5.25 inch 
drive (or availability and handling 
facilities for IBM PC software on mic- 
rodisks) one can make use of the Amiga 
emulator programme (6, 8, 1 2, 1 7), now 
often called The Transformer, sup- 
posedly released (12) in the US last 
week. 

Keep in mind that I am writing this to 
a dead-line of the first week in May. It 
is expected that the transformer will be 
available here in NZ almost immediately 
but there are still some doubts about the 
precise release date. 

However, it transforms the Amiga to 
permit it to read and write IBM PC com- 
patible disks (6). Commodore utilities 
will interconvert AmigaDOS files and PC 
or MS DOS files. 

The transformer can also run with 3.5 
inch drives provided you have a prog- 
ramme to format all 80 tracks if you wish 
to make use of the full capacity. 

IBM FORMAT and DISKCOPY work, 
on the transformer, with either type 
drive. Some programmes (1 8 out of 20 
leading products, so far) known to work 
on the current release include Lotus 
123, dB II, dBI 1 1, Fancy Font, Symphony, 
and Crosstalk XVI (which makes heavy 
use of interrupts). dBI 11+ wasn't men- 
tioned. 

The transformer runs PC software 30 
to 50% slower than IBM PC compati- 
bles. (See Mark James' review - Ed.) 

It should be regarded as a safety 
cushion or a security blanket, important 
to many and especially crucial in busi- 
ness. 

It appears to be one of the most attrac- 
tive features that Amiga has to offer. 
However, graphics programmes may 
need more than just the software trans- 
former. 

Programmes that need highlight by 
flashing (e.g. Multimate) may not even 
be supported on the current transformer 
release. (They were not on version 3.7). 

However, it should permit an enorm- 
ous number of users to gradually pull 
themselves over to the Amiga version 
of modern technology, if they so wish. 

And with less likelihood of a lengthy 
non-productive phase during the period 
when thoroughly debugged and power- 
ful software is hard to get, as is always 
the case with new machines. 

The emulator sells in the US for 
US$200 and a further US$100 is be- 
lieved to secure the accelerator card for 
the emulator. 



It is understood that Commodore are 
working on a 4.77 MHz 8088 Sidecar 
that will run all PC software at full speed. 
It will also contain 2 MB of RAM expan- 
sion. Sidecar has three additional PC- 
compatible slots for extra RAM and a 
20 MB hard disk usable by Amiga or 
PC-DOS software. The 68000 and 8088 
chips canco-process in a hybrid state. 
Third-party hard disks and Ram expan- 
sion are already available from several 
manufacturers. 



Turbo- Ami gas 



Computer System Associates (2,3) 
have manufactured a piggy-back board 
comprised of a 68020 main processor 
with a 6881 floating-point co-processor 
plus 51 2K bytes of 32 bit memory which 
they add to a stock Amiga and run at 
14 MHz. 

The result benchmarks (3) at 2250 
drystones compared to 1500 for a VAX 
11/780. The Mandlbrot demo takes 3 
minutes compared with 50 on the stan- 
dard Amiga 1000. 

John C. Dvorak reports (4) that Com- 
modore's new Amiga, "Ranger", based 
on the 68020 with a super-high resolu- 
tion 1024 x 780 pixel display, is to be 
demonstrated in May, a few shipped in 
July and produced in numbers before 
the end of the year, selling, he believes, 
for about US$4500. 

This may not appeal to the home user 
but should delight those needing CAD/ 
CAM (Computer-Aided Design and 
Manufacture). 

Spanning spectrum 

The Amiga can apparently be applied 
to a great variety of types of computa- 
tion. These include a top of the range 
home computer lor accounts, word-pro- 
cessing and spectacular high-resolution 
games in colour. 

The games are all in good resolution 
with sound. 

Multi- instrument music synthesis in 
four independently programmable chan- 
nels, which can be mixed in two stereo 
outputs, is available in software and via 
a MIDI interface (Musical Instrument Di- 
gital Interface) for controlling up to 16 
separate devices such as synthesizers 
and digital drums. 

In business, apart from IBM emula- 
tion, which appears to be a somewhat 
uncertain temporary measure, it has its 
own rapidly growing base of software, 
which should execute at very high 
speed, for more demanding accounting 
problems, costing, database and 
spreadsheets and sufficiently good re- 
solution colour graphics for CAD. 

It has most of the requirements of an 
excellent school computer. 

It also has the potential (with and with- 



out peripherals) of a very powerful 
teaching and research tool in advanced 
education and research. 

MCC Pascal by Metacomco is availa- 
ble but not highly regarded while Bor- 
land's TurboPascal for Amiga and three 
or four other Pascals are on their way. 

"C is already available from both Lat- 
tice and Aztec). Lattice have supplied 
cross-compilers which permit Amiga 
programmes to run or be prepared on 
VAX, UNIX-based and MS or PC-DOS 
systems. Modula-2 (TDI, UK) is availa- 
ble and will be much sought-after by 
software developers. 

The much-praised AmigaBasic by 
Microsoft is bundled with the sale, re- 
placing AbasiC (Metacomco) which is 
also available. Metacomco have im- 
plemented the so-called "articial intelli- 
gence" language, LISP, in the Cam- 
bridge version, opening the way to 
algebraic manipulation programs, such 
as REDUCE. 

In fact, Amiga may find her greatest 
application as an alternative or replace- 
ment of computers like the Apple lis and 
BBCs in the home, schools, polytechnic 
institutes, universities and industry 
rather than in straight business applica- 
tion where continued relatively straight- 
forward use of standard packages pre- 
dominates over innovative computing. 



The Alpha and Amiga? 

By home computer and small busi- 
ness standards, Amiga is not a low- 
budget computer, at a recommended re- 
tail price of $3995 (including monitor, 
two-button mouse and one disk drive), 
especially compared to the low prices, 
as little as $1 900, for good quality Asian 
IBM PC compatibles of similar config- 
uration, if not similar performance. 

For the latter there is a great deal 
more very useful software, mostly very 
well debugged. 

But the Amiga, in addition to IBM PC 
emulation, will certainly do a great deal 
more than an unimproved IBM PC com- 
patible, and most of what it can do in 
common with the IBM PC, it will do much 
faster and with better resolution, espe- 
cially in colour. 

It is worth noting that Commodore US 
have recently (11) announced a mas- 
sive reduction of US$500 off the price 
of the Amiga bundled as for the NZ 
sales, thus considerably reducing the 
price difference with the Atari ST, one 
of their principal competitors. 

Commodore appear to have chosen 
the openess of the architecture of the 
Amiga, their latest release and a big step 
up, with a very careful eye to the future. 

The big question is Just where is 
Amiga to find her share of the market: 
in business? in the home? in education? 
or right across the range? 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 15 



Hardware review 



1 . Bateman, Selby Compute ! Apr 1 986, 21 - 

26 New Technologies: The Converging 
Digital Universe (Amiga's Genlock and 
AnserMate) 

2. Byte Information Exchange Byte Feb 86, 
363-372 Aiga Talk 

3. Commodore, Soft. Dept. Amiga Mail Apr 
86,3 Turbo-Amiga from Comp. Syst 
Ass. 

4. Dvorak, John C. InfoWorld 31 Mar 86 
Commodore, Atari have New Micros on 
[he Way 

5. Gracely, Jim Commodore Powerplay 
Dec 85/Jan 86, 74-77 The Amiga Work- 
bench 

6. Graham, C. AmigaWorld Nov/Dec 85, 
34-35 Amiga's Trump Card: IBM PC 
Emulation 

7. Grantham, Tim TPUG Issue 22, Apr/May 
66 14-16 Amiga Dispatches 

8. Halfhill, Tom B. Compute! Oct 85 28-29 
Amiga goes IBM-Compatible 

9. Halfhill, Tom R. Compute! Apr 86. 6 
Editors Notes (on Multitasking) 

10. Leeds, Matthew AmigaWorld Mar/ Apr 
86, 26-32 Success Story: A-squared 
Systems and the Amiga Digitizer 

11. Mace, Scott InfoWorld 31 Mar 86 Sales 
Promotion cuts US$500 off price of 
Amiga 

12. Mace, Scott InfoWorld 7 Apr 86 Commo- 
dore's PC-DOS Emulator Ready to Ship 

13. Mansfield. Richard Compute! Mar 86, 6 
Editor's Notes (Comparing Atari's 520ST 
with Commodore's Amiga) 

14. Meyer, Jim TPUG Issue 22, Apr/May 86 
16 Amiga vs ATari ST 

15. Pournelle. Jerry InfoWorld 14 Apr 86 
West Coast Computer Faire: Amiga & 
Atari 

16. Sugarman, Joseph Compute! Mar 86, 
41 Atari explodes (Atari advert compar- 
ing Atari with Macintosh and Amiga) 

17. Wallace, Louis R. Commodore Mic- 
rocomputers, Nov/Dec 85, 74-77 Com- 
modore Launches the Amiga: End of a 
Dream, Beginning of a Legend, Dawn 
of an Era. 

18. Webster, Bruce Byte Mar 86, 305-322 
6B000 Wars: Round 1 




If you want to 
sell your 
product, we've 
got a readership 
of 96,000 people 
who want to 
read about it 
every month! 



MICROCOMPUTER SUMMARY 



Name: 
Microprocessor: 



Clock speed: 
Power: 
ROM: 
RAM: 



RAM (system) 
Monitor: 

Keyboard: 

Graphics: 



Sound: 

Operating System: 
Languages: 



Built-in Disk Drive 

User Interface: 

Disk port: 

Pointing device: 

Bundled Software: 

Serial Port: 
Parellel: 
Audio ports: 

Video ports: 

Games Ports 

System Expansion 

Port 

Bundled 

Documentation 

Optional extras 



Commodore Amiga 1 000 Personal Computer 
Motorola MC68000, 32 bit internal bus; 1 6 bit data bus; 
plus 3 custom chips to control sound, graphics and peri- 
pheral input/output 
7.15 MHz 

120-240V,60Hz,2amp5. 

1 92 KB for graphics, sound, animation and multitasking 
Minimum 256 KB expanded in NZ internally (centre-front 
panel) to 51 2 KB and expandible externally via a 43-pin 
s)deslotto8.5MB 

256 KB for disk-based (Kickstart) operating system. 
Amiga 1 080 RG B anatag and digital colour input, 33 cm 
(13in) diagonal. 

Detached 89-key, with 10 function keys, 13-key numeric 
pad, and 4 cursor keys. 8-key type-ahead buffer. 
320 x 200 pixels, 32 colours 
320x400 32 colours 

640x200 16 colours 

640x400 16colours 

Hold and modify mode 

Four independently programmable channels, two per 
sterio channel 

AmigaDOS (by Metacomco) 
AmigaBasiC (Microsoft), MCC Pascal (Metacomco), 
Lattice 'C, Aztec 'C, AbasiC (Metacomco), Camb LISP 
Modula-2 (TDl), Macro Assembler/Linker (Metacomco), 
Fortran 77 Compiler (ADA, Italy). 
Double-sided double-density 3.5 inch 880 KB (formatted) 
in 160 tracks, each with eleven 512-bytesectors,whole 
track read at atime. Max. Transfer rate of 250 K bits/sec. 
Power:DC12V0.12A/5V0.22A 
Intuition; supports multitasking via virtual terminals; allows 
display of different resolutions simultaneously. 
D-23 (female) for daisy-chaining 3 extra disk drives ortape 
streamer. Power: as forbuilt-in drive. 
Two-button mouse, via D-9 (male) game controller side 
port 

Kickstart, Workbench, AmigaExtras with Amiga Tutorial 
and AmigaBasiC, Kaleidoscope, Voice synthesis library. 
D-25 (female), 19.2 K baud maximum transfer rate. 
D-25 (male), Centronics-compatible, reconfigurable. 
Two (female) RCA phono jacks for left and right stereo 
Signal to noise 70db, 20-6000HZ, less than 1 % distortion; 
impedance 300 ohms 
D-23 (male) RGB analogue and digital 
7-pin (female) DIN NTSC RFfor connecting to a TV 
US (female) phono jack for NTSC composite, 
Two D-9 (male) ports on the side (one used for the mouse). 
Reconfigurable. 

43-pin system bus edge connectorfor expansion chassis 

Introduction to Am iga; AmigaBasiC by Microsoft. 



External 3.5 or 5.25 inch disk drive, (W1 5.5 cm xH7.0xD20.5,1 kg) NZ$795 
Parallel printer cable (length 2.0 m): NZ$98 

NTSC to PAL conversion kit NZ$300 

Ratings (5 for highest): 



Expandibility'. 
Ease of Use: 
Documentation: 
Languages: 
Support: 
Valuefor money: 



5 
5 
5 



Not yet fully assessed 
Not yet fully assessed 
Not yet fully assessed 



Review unit from Commodore Computer (NZ) Ltd. 



16 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 




STANDARD SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS 

512 K RAM - Expandable to over 8 MB. 
KEYBOARD - 89 Keys. 

DISKDRIVE-3V2" Micro Floppy. 880k formatted 
colour monitor, Commodore Model mouse, Basic 
Tutor, Kick start, and Kaleidoscope. 

ONL Y $3995 complete 

EXTRA 3V 2 " *—-- 
DRIVE $795 

WE ARE NEW ZEALANDS 
LARGEST 

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DEALERSHIP! 

FIRST for specialised 
Knowledge, FIRST for 
service, m FIRST for 
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93 Ashby Ave, 
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Auckland, Ph 588 301 



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Bits & Bytes- June 1986 17 



Hardware review 






AMIGA: a ground-breaker 



by Mark James 

New computers, in order to be suc- 
cessful, have to do one of two things: 
either they must provide something ab- 
solutely new, or else they must provide 
something old and established, but at a 
better price. For the past couple of 
years, very little has appeared that could 
be called new; but now there is the 
Amiga. 

The Commodore Amiga is a computer 
that has the feel of history being made, 
like the Osborne 1 or the Apple Lisa. 

Since its American introduction last 
August, it has already had a significant 
effect on the industry, and will no doubt 
greatly shape the next generation of 
home computers. 

The Amiga itself might, as a business 
venture, succeed or fail; but its influence 
on the world of computing will remain 
incontestable. 

The New Zealand version of the 
Amiga was finally released at PC86 last 
month. This review, however, is based 
on the American model, a copy of which 
was kindly provided for the purpose by 
Commodore Computer (NZ) Ltd. 

From the outside, the Amiga lodks 
much like an IBM PC clone: a long, low 
plastic box, a detachable, 89-key 
Keyboard, and a colour monitor. There 
is a single 3 Vs-inch floppy disk drive in 
the front, two mouse (or joystick) ports 
on the right side, and a row of connec- 
tors in the back for serial and parallel 
interfaces, an external disk drive (up to 
three of these may be daisy-chained), 




COMMODORE AMIGA 

SURPRISE 

See Inside 
Front Cover 



audio outlets for four-channel stereo 
sound, and a choice of three video out- 
puts: digital RGB, radio-frequency, and 
composite. 

The radio-frequency port, unfortu- 
nately, uses only the American NTSC 
standard, and will therefore be useless 
to New Zealand television sets, which 
run on the PAL standard. A PAL version 
of the Amiga is promised for this winter. 

When booted up, the Amiga's interac- 
tion with the user resembles that of the 
Apple Macintosh, except, of course, that 
the Amiga is in colour. Icons appear in 
windows on the screen, along with a 
diagonal pointer that is moved about 
with the mouse. Icons are selected and 
"opened" by clicking one of the mouse 
buttons, while the other button causes 
menus to pop down from the top line. 

The mouse has control over the size, 
position and priority of the windows. Any 
number of windows may be open and 
active at onoe (the limit being the com- 
puter's memory); the operating system 
is completely multi-tasking. 

For those who prefer the traditional 
command-line interface (as with CP/M 
or MS-DOS), this is available as a click- 
able icon; a window appears, and you 
can type in AmigaDOS commands. We 
shall return to AmigaDOS later. 

Inside Amiga 

On the inside, however, the Amiga is 
radically different from any other compu- 
ter. In addition to its central processor, 
a Motorola 68000 chip, there are three 
other processor chips designed specifi- 
cally for the Amiga; these take care of 
specialty functions such as graphics ani- 
mation and sound generation. 

As a result, the graphics quality is un- 
rivalled by anything other than a dedi- 
cated CAD/CAM system, and the sound 
generating capabilities are the equal of 
most music computers. Each of these 
features is worth a closer look. 

The Amiga supports five different 
graphics modes. The lowest resolution 
is 320 by 200 pixels (the same as IBM's 
low resolution) and 32 colours; the high- 
est is 640 by 400 pixels in 16 colours. 
However, the limitation to the number 
of colours is really only formal. 

The palette (16 or 32) colours may be 
chosen from a selection of 4096 colours; 
not only that, but the display can change 
its palette in the middle of a screen, so 
that it is possible to have all 4096 colours 
on the screen at one time. 

This allows for a level ol realism not 
possible in other personal computer dis- 
plays. 

One of the Amiga's special chips, cal- 
led the "blitter", has as its sole function 



the massaging of the video memory. 

It moves images, sprites and sprfte- 
like objects around, and combines infor- 
mation from various sources to form a 
single video image. Since it can operate 
independently from the central 68000 
processor, windowing and animation 
are extremely efficient on the Amiga. 
The animation demonstrations, in fact, 
are better than some television cartoon 
programs. 

The Amiga comes with a demonstra- 
tion diskette called "Kaleidoscope", 
from Electronic Arts. This contains, in 
addition to a boring sales slide-show, a 
magnificent set of ten pattern generators 
which run the blitter at full throttle, and 
are likely to do the same to an unpre- 
pared brain. 

In my opinion, pattern 4 alone would 
nearly justify the cost of an Amiga. 

The quality of the graphics and anima- 
tion are due not only to the specialty 
hardware, but also to the sophisticated 
operating system routines that have 
been standardised and coded into the 
Amiga's ROM. 

These routines are accessible to user- 
written programs, so that animations 
and games should be fairly easy to 
create. 

The documentation on how to do this, 
however, consists of two massive man- 
uals; only the devout hacker is likely to 
survive an encounter with them. 



Sound 



The sound capabilities of the Amiga 
are nothing short of astounding. To one 
accustomed to the pale three-voice 
sound chip of the MSX machines, it was 
rather unnerving to walk into a room and 
hear the Amiga playing Bach's "Jesu, 
Joy of Man's Desiring" on a harpsichord 
and cello. 

A friend of mine, who can sight-read 
music, had "composed" it in twenty mi- 
nutes, using a demonstration Musicraft 
package that had come with the 
machine. He had simply used the mouse 
to paste the appropriate notes on to a 
musical scale. 

The Musicraft package includes sev- 
eral dozen synthesised instruments, 
from classical to heavy metal. . 

Wjth some quick changes to the in- 
strument and tempo settings, we had 
Bach's gentle melody under assault by 
a cross between Jean-Michel Jarre and 
the ghost of Jimi Hendrix. 

Elsewhere, we converted a flute into 
a World War II airplane engine by tweak- 
ing its synthesiser characteristics. 

This is not yourtypical music program. 



18 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Hardware review 



A talker 



The most striking of the Amiga's fea- 
tures, however, is its voice synthesis. 

AmigaDOS includes the command 
SAY. 

J didn't know what it did, so 1 typed 
SAY GOODNIGHT, DICK. "Goodnight, 
Dick" said the Amiga, in a voice, well, 
no worse than a telephone recording. 

SAY I AM A STUPID COMPUTER. "I 
am a stupid computer," said the Amiga, 
with an accent that must be described 
as midwestern American. The computer 
can speak in various pitches of mate 
and female voices, and in monotone or 
modulated speech. 

Sentence intonation in the modulated 
speech is surprisingly good. 

The possibilities are both endless and 
obscene. We discovered that the SAY 
command can read text from a file on 
disk, so we told it to read us the Lattice 
C language manual. 

It did. It made lots of mistakes (for 
example, the word "Lattice" rhymed with 
"that ice"); but it was nearly all under- 
standable. 



to the sound generator. Talkiing BASIC 
programs are thus very easy to write. 

The graphics, animation, music, and 
voice capabilities of the Amiga are 
theoretically possible on any computer. 
The Amiga, however, has implemented 
them as standard features of its operat- 
ing system; it has even gone so far as 
to incorporate special processors to 
handle them efficiently, removing a 
great burden from the central 68000 
chip. 

One other special feature of the 
Amiga deserves mention. This is the 
IBM PC emulator. 

Since its hardware and its operating 
system are both such radical departures 
from traditional micros, the developers 
of the Amiga apparently decided to build 
a bridge to the IBM world, with its vast 
array of accepted software. 

This was no mean task. 

The IBM PC uses a completely diffe- 
rent microprocessor and ROM BIOS 
routines. A program would have to be 
written, probably in 68000 assembly lan- 
guage, to interpret the assembly lan- 
guage of the Intel 8088 chip. 

Then all of IBM's ROM routines would 



Reviewer's Ratings: 



(1 =low, 5= high); Documentation 3; Ease of use 4; 
Language 4; Features 5; Value for money 4. 



If you imbedded pitch control com- 
mand in the text, you can actually get 
the Amiga to sing. 

The Amiga converts text to speech in 
two stages. First, it translates the written 
words into a phonetic representation; 
then it calls a routine that converts this 
phonetic transcription into sound. In 
theory, then, to make the Amiga speak 
any language other than English, only 
the first step need be modified. 

As with the animation and music mod- 
ules, speech synthesis is done in ROM 
routines callable from user programs. 
For example, Amiga BASIC has two 
speech instructions: B$= TRANS- 
LATE{A$) converts an English text 
string A$ into a phonetic string B$; and 
NARRATE(B$) feeds the phonetic string 



have to be imitated. All of this was actu- 
ally done, and the result is called the 
Amiga Transformer. 

The Amiga Transformer is a very im- 
pressive piece of software engineering, 
and almost completely useless. 

It is impressive because it does nearly 
everything that is promises to do; most 
IBM PC programs wilt in fact run under 
the Transformer. 

However, they run at less than one- 
tenth the speed. Generic WordStar, for 
example, took one minute and four sec- 
onds to reform a ten-line paragraph. 

AMPS, which boots in less than ten 
seconds on an IBM PC, took nearly two 
minutes on the Amiga. 

A program to calculate prime numbers 
between 1 and 1000 took 15.1 seconds; 



it takes 1 .5 on the IBM PC. 

In addition, there are some annoying 
bugs in the Transformer. The serial and 
parallel ports work in polled mode, but 
not in interrupt mode. 

The Transformer will format and use 
3Vfe-inch diskettes, but they cannot be 
read on an IBM PC/JX, or any other 
machine, to my knowledge. 

In spite of the Amiga's abundant col- 
our, IBM colour does not work under the 
Transformer; neither do bright and dim 
displays. The Transformer runs PC- 
DOS 3.1 much better than 2.1; in the 
latter, any message that includes 
"Abort, Retry, Ignore" or "Press any key 
to continue" kills the Amiga. 

There were a few other disappoint- 
ments with the Amiga as well. On-line 
help, for example, is limited, and almost 
non-existent in the icon screens. 

With the powerful graphics interface 
routines available, ft should not have 
been difficult to include a "Help" menu 
for most screens, describing to the 
novice just what is going on. 

AmigaDOS, although it seems a very 
powerful system, lacks such good- 
sense features as memory-resident 
commands and text printing. (You have 
to COPY textfile TO PRT:, and there are 
no options as to how it comes out.) 

If you happen to be using a disk that 
does not have a DIR command in its 
directory, then there is no way to find 
out what commands are available to 
you. 

These problems, however, are solu- 
ble; in fact, one suspects that they are 
very easily soluble, given the fine tools 
that the Amiga does have, and the obvi- 
ous thought and effort that have already 
gone into this ground-breaking compu- 
ter. 

Options: 

Printers, $995 to $2695 

External 3V2" diskette drive, $795 

External 4V4 diskette drive 

External hard disk 

Expansion box 

MIDI interface 



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Bits & Bytes - June 1 986 19 



"We decided on PROFAX 
because it gave us the most 
cost effective solution to 
streamlining our 

accounting system." 



Mr Robert B. Mackeley, 
Managing Director, 
Active Components Ltd 




"As an importer of a vast range 
of electronic componentry, we 
recently evaluated several 
brands of fully integrated 
accounting software for our 
company." 

"With little hesitation we decided on PROFAX. 

We found PROFAX easy to install and with little training 

our staff find PROFAX very simple to use in day to day operations.' 



PROFAX is the new, easy to use, accounting system 

designed in New Zealand to meet the real needs of the 

small business. 

PROFAX is completely integrated to handle all your 

necessary accounting in one. 

Accounts Receivable (Debtors Ledger) 
Accounts Payable (Creditors Ledger) 
Invoicing/Sales Analysis 
Inventory Control (Stock Control) 
Genera] Ledger. 



Other PROFAX features include: 
Comprehensive, easy to follow manual • easy to read 
screen layout • on screen editing to eliminate errors • 
immediate selection of options • simple extraction of 
information for budgeting • no loss of essential data 
through power failure • handles GST in an efficient 
way • designed to run on IBM PC, XT and 
compatible computers. 



Ask your local computer retailer to show you 
PROFAX. Put it side by side with any other 
accounting system and you will see the 
difference. Or, if you prefer, send in the 
coupon for more information. 

PROFAX 

SMALL BUSI N ESS 
ACCOUNTING SYSTEM 

Designed and marketed in N.Z. by Logical 
Methods Ltd. 



For a free copy of our brochure and for 
further information, call Auckland 398 105. 
Or, clip and post this coupon. 
To: PROFAX 

Logical Methods Ltd, 

P O Box 37-623, 

AUCKLAND. 

NAME: 



COMPANY: 
ADDRESS:, 

Ph 



LM861-B&B U| 



oTo 



20 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Software Review 



VP-Planner 



David & Goliath time 
for Lotus? 



by Richard Gorham 

In that corner of the software publish- 
ing arena reserved tor the elder-states- 
men of the micro-computer revolution, 
there has up to now been one supreme 
champion - the remarkably successful 
LOTUS 1-2-3. 

LOTUS 1-2-3 has arguably been the 
single most innovative and polished 
software produce involved in making 
people recognise and realise the poten- 
tial of the personal computer - without 
having to become programmers in the 
progress. 

1-2-3 has enjoyed a lengthy lead in 
the packaged software market by pro- 
viding a quality product which set new 
standards in the areas of the user-inter- 
face (emulated by countless other pac- 
kages since), interactive tutorials, 
documentation, and sheer speed of op- 
eration. 

The capabilities of packaged software 
has progressed rapidly with the startling 
growth of personal computer usage, and 
Lotus Development Corp has main- 
tained some of its dead with subsequent 
packages like Symphony, and the re- 
cently released upgrade to LOTUS. 

However signs of increased attack on 
this supremacy have been seen in re- 
cent times and VP-Pfanner, a veritable 
Lotus 1 -2-3 clone from Adam Osborne's 
Paperback Software International (PSI), 
makes no bones about the fact that it is 
a direct challenger to Lotus 1-2-3. 

Lotus is hardly likely to welcome this 
newcomer. 

Big target 

Given that the market for spread- 
sheets for corporate, small business, 
and single user is the largest single 
target audience of PC software, then 
Paperback Software would do well to 
prepare for what will likely be a lengthy 
toe-to-toe slogging match with Lotus. 

This should be a good thing for the 
end-user who could well be the eventual 
winner by way of faster, more powerful, 
and cheaper software. 

Preliminary reports from overseas 
suggest that VP-Planner is a formidable 
first salvo from PSI, already causing 
some concern to Lotus. 

With a price tag of only NZ$259 (as 
against Lotus' 1-2-3's $1280) it's easy 
to see why. 

The VP-Planner package comprises 



a large (you guessed it) paperback man- 
ual, which contains a stiff cardboard en- 
velope that forms the rear cover of the 
manual and acts as a sealed puch for 
the single program diskette and sample 
data diskette. 

The presentation of the manual is very 
good, with clear diagrams and screen 
samples. 

The manual does not however make 
any real attempt to describe spread- 
sheet theory, and instead recommends 
the purchaser to obtain a copy of one 
of the many independent reference 
books on Lotus 1-2-3 for both beginners 
and advanced users (several are listed). 

Beginners would be well advised to 
heed these comments if they are to ex- 
tract full potential from the package. 

Instead of providing a comprehensive 
beginner's guide, more time has been 
spent describing the differences bet- 
ween Lotus 1-2-3 and VP-Planner, and 
the extended VP-Planner features like 
dBase file acess, and multi-dimensional 
spreadsheets. 

Sample spreadsheets are provided 
on diskette and the manual refers to 
these in it's tutorials on the newer fea- 
tures, giving the reader the option of en- 
tering data from scratch or using the 
sample data provided (the lazy way out 
for experienced spreadsheet users). 

The samples are well thought out with 
explanations of the more abstract con- 
cepts presented with helpful diagrams 
and analogies. 

Copy-protection 

The program-disk itself is copy-pro- 
tected and must be present as a key 
disk at all times even if the software is 
loaded down to a hard disk. 

However, registered users can obtain 
a non-copy-protected version by signing 
and returning a pre-printed single-user 
license agreement (and US$10) to the 
supplier. This seemed to me to be a 
rather eieborate way to get the user to 
sign an agreement - and did lead me 
to wonder whether by implication that it 
you can crack the copy- protection 
scheme you are not breaking any agree- 
ments? 

The program requires a minimum of 
256K (in contrast to Lotus 1 -2-3 Rel 1 A's 
192K requirement) and DOS 2.0 up- 
wards to run. Use of some of the ex- 
tended multi-dimensional spreadsheet 
capabilities require a minimum of 320K. 

System memory up to 640K will be 



accessed by the program, extended 
memory boards (for over 640K) are not 
yet handled by the program, but it is 
most likely that they will be in a sub- 
sequent release. 

The program is claimed to run with 
co-resident packages such as Sidekick, 
Superkey, and Mouse-driver software. 

No installation process is required: 
you simply load the program disk and 
type "VP". 

Presumably hard disk users will want 
to take advantage of the "path for files" 
option from the main menu, and other 
system default options to taitor the file 
retrieval and storage to their own re- 
quirements. 

Lotus compatibility 

Dealing with the obvious comparison 
between LOTUS 1-2-3 and VP- Planner 
firstly, the initial question from most 
people will inevitably be "Just how com- 
patible is it with Lotus 1-2-3..?... 

The answer to this is simple - totally 
compatible with Lotus Relase 1A in 
terms of using Lotus 1-2-3 developed 
spreadsheets and macros In VP-Plan- 
ner. 

This is also true in the reverse; i.e. 
utilising VP-Planner spreadsheets and 
macros in Lotus 1-2-3 - providing none 
of VP-Planner's extra features (such as 
auto-key macros, multi-dimensional 
spreadsheets, dBase file accesses etc) 
are utilised. 

Lotus 1 -2-3 version 2 and Symphony 
files can be read if their file extension is 
renamed to .WKS, but if there are any 
cell formats, functions, or commands in 
these worksheets not available in VP- 
Planner then errors (ranging from "soft" 
error-messages to system crashes re- 
quiring re-boot) may occur when running 
these spreadsheets. 

Differences 

Spreadsheet screen layout is very 
similar to Lotus rel 1A, but with com- 
mand menus being shown at the bottom 
of screen {rather than top as in LOTUS) 
and with these options being selectable 
by means of function keys as well, 

A number of useful extra facilities 
(over Lotus rel 1 A) are provided for stan- 
dard spreadsheet usage: 
1. Zero column-widths, allow the user 

to hide unwanted columns on the 

Bits & Bytes - June 1 9B6 21 



Software review 



spreadsheet {such as macros). 

2. Recording of keystrokes as they are 
keyed into VP- Planner to develop 
macros, removing the requirement to 
key and debug macros as separate 
functions. 

3. A directory of range names is availa- 
ble at all times. 

4. Provision of relative GoTO' sallowing 
interpretation of two cells' contents 
from which the address references 
are derived. 

5. Up to 6 spreadsheet windows can be 
displayed at once. 

6. Spreadsheets can be printed in 
background mode, allowing the user 
to continue working with spread- 
sheets in the foreground. 

These are straight forward enhance- 
ments to Lotus' facilities; worthwhile but 
not particularly amazing. 

However there are also a number of 
major extra functions that really turn VP- 
Planner into something special. 

The first of these is something that is 
provided in Version 2 of Lotus 1-2-3, 
namely sparse-matrix storage. 

This impressive-sounding technique 
allows much larger spreadsheets to be 
developed in the same amount of work- 
ing memory than the equivalent Lotus 
Rel 1 A spreadsheet. 

In Lotus 1-2-3 Rel 1A the amount of 
memory required for a given spread- 
sheet is simply a function of the total 
size of the spreadsheet (viz columns x 
rows x size of cells) - regardless of 
whether the cells actually contain any- 
thing or not. 

In a sparse-matrix spreadsheet, the 
memory used is only related to those 
cells containing information. 

One drawback of this technique how- 
ever is that calculation times for largish 
spreadsheets can suffer somewhat, as 
cells no longer relate directly to memory 
table addresses. 

As a result VP-Planner, like Lotus 1 -2- 
3 version 2, is somewhat slower than 
Lotus 1-2-3 Rel 1A when calculating 
large spreadsheets. 

I do not feel that this would cause a 
significant decrease in performance, 
especially given the offset improvement 
in increased storage capabilities. 

However, it is somewhat disappoint- 
ing that like Lotus 1-2-3 Rel 1Athe Intel 
8087 math co-processor is not sup- 
ported in this version of VP-Planner. 



When this accessory chip is present in 
the system this provides a worthwhile 
speeding up of mathematical functions 
and would have compensated greatly 
for the slower performance due to 
sparse-matrix storage techniques. 

New concepts 



In addition to all the standard Lotus 
functions, one of the greatest strengths 
of VP-Planner is the ability to easily 
create, browse and update dBase II and 
dBase III database files. 

Basically this allows dBase files to be 
used as the storage medium for any 
cell*s contents. And these files can be 
linked together on key fields to provide 
relational data access. 

dBase files can even be used to 
create libraries of macros for use in 
spreadsheets. 

The multi-dimensional database facil- 
ity is in fact a separate database access 
method all of its own. It is particularly 
appropriate for consolidation of large 
quantities of data, where most spread- 
sheet programs (and users) would curl 
up. 

For example, a common spreadsheet 
might be product sales by month, with 
products being listed in rows across the 
spreadsheet, and sales listed in monthly 
columns down the spreadsheet (for cor- 
responding products). Typically another 
category of information wouid need to 
be added to this spreadsheet- sales-re- 
gion, or sales-person, or year etc. 

Previously this would have been 
achieved by creating a copy of this 
spreadsheet for each saies-region, 
sales-person, or year etc. To achieve a 
consolidation of figures, one would also 
have to link all these individual spread- 
sheets together and provide a consoli- 
dation spreadsheet at the end. 

Adding yet another category would 
mean creating many, many more 
spreadsheets... most users would give 
up after the 2nd category. 

In VP-Planner this same process is 
achieved by defining each of the 
categories, logic-statements relating to 
consolidation, and the pathway by which 
the data will be accessed by using the 
"create/edit multi-dimensional database 
structure" function on the main menu. 



At- A-G lance: 




Product Name: 


VP-Planner, by PaperBack Software 


Type: 


Lotus 1 -2-3 spreadsheet look-a-like with multi-dimensional 




spreadsheet and database access capabi lities 


Requirements: 


IBM PC/XT/AT and most compatibles 




DOS 2.0 or later 




256K minimum memory, (640K maximum usable by 




program) 


Cost: 


$259 


(Review software provided by Arcom Pacific, Hamilton) 



Five dimensions 



Databases with up to 5 dimensions, 
each comprising up to 254 categories, 
can be achieved (although the product 
of the categories in dimensions 1 and 2 
must not exceed 16,000 for some 
reason). The maximum file size is a sub- 
stantial 17 megabytes. 

This approach to handling spread- 
sheet data will probably be the most sig- 
nificant feature that VP-Planner intro- 
duces. It is something that I forsee all 
worthwhile spreadsheet packages to be 
emulating within 1 2 months or so, and 
it will be interesting to see Lotus's re- 
sponse. 

No doubt Paperback Software will 
also be developing and improving VP- 
Planner. It is interesting to speculate 
whether the next angle of attack might 
be to provide a complete dBase II look- 
a-like package to complement the excel- 
lent interface provided here. 

Rumour has it that a later VP-Planner 
release should be available by the time 
you read this, providing DIF file support, 
and some improvement in calculation 
times. This release will be available to 
registered users for a nominal (or zero) 
charge. 

New standard 

VP-Pianner sets a new standard in 
terms of spreadsheet styled database 
packages for four very important 
reasons: 

1. Comprehensive sparse-matrix 
spreadsheet facilities - at least as 
good as Lotus 1-2-3 version 1A - 
with the same command structure as 
Lotus, 

2. The ability to use multi-dimensional 
spreadsheets for those situations 
where data is defined in more than 
2 dimensions. This would be ac- 
complished by means of linked 
spreadsheets in traditional spead- 
sheet packages. 

3. Capability to create, update, and re- 
trieve dBase files and use within 
spreadsheets. 

4. A better than 4-to-1 price advantage 
over Lotus 1-2-3. 

Up to now Lotus 1 -2-3 may well have 
been the number one spreadsheet pac- 
kage for the rank and file IBM PC user, 
but it would do well to look to its laurels 
with a product of the calibre of VP-Plan- 
ner being released at a drastically lower 
price and with a number of significant 
improvements over Lotus. 

I suspect that right at this moment, in 
some cigarette smoke-filled office in 
Cambridge Massachusetts, a team of 
Lotus programmers may be working 
their little hearts out trying to come up 
with some answer to what is really a 
tour-de-force from Mr Osborne and his 
band of merry men. 



22 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



The biggest problem with 
personal computers 



is the long delay 



in between regular 



recalculations 



BURNETT 3824 



that's why 



ITT introduced the 

Xtra XP. A personal computer, 
compatible with all the IBM 
PCXT software but with an 
unheard of speed, made 
possible by ITTs unique disk 
caching system called FXP. 

FXP dramatically reduces disk 
accessing time, sometimes by 
as much as a thousand to one. 
It means the computer actually 
'learns' its user's work pattern, so 
the more you use a specific 
application, the less time it'll 
take. 

Zero wait state means instant 
access to memory, faster 
processing time and increased 
system throughput. 

THE ITT XTRA. 
DEPEND ON II 




'-'■-' BTC DATA PRODUCTS NEW 2E*LAM» UWTED 
AUCKLAND PH 500019. WELLINGTON PH 817-98} 
P O Bon 26-064 Auckland, P O Bos 40-140 Wellinglon 



The best ideas are the 
ideas that help people. 



ITT 



Bits & Bytes - June 1966 23 



Multi-users 



AMPS, an efficient weaver 

by Mark James 



In the growing market for multi-user 
microcomputers, halt a dozen operating 
systems are vying for prominence. One 
of them was designed and created in 
New Zealand, and it is this system, 
AMPS, to which we turn our attention 
this month. 

Before we start, let me confess to a 
lack of total objectivity when it comes to 
AMPS. For the past two years, I have 
been involved with AMPS in a technical 
support role. This means three things: I 
am an AMPS enthusiast; I know the sys- 
tem inside out; and I am on the payroll 
of Advanced Management Systems in 
Auckland, the company which de- 
veloped AMPS. I do not, however, speak 
for Advanced Management Systems. 
The following judgments are my own. 

Like the other multi-user systems, 
AMPS consists of an operating system 
kernel underlying a cluster of software 
sub-systems; these include text proces- 
sing, office automation, program de- 
velopment, system utilities and games. 
While all of these sub-systems are integ- 
rated, it is possible to purchase AMPS 
without the program development facil- 
ity. 

Efficiency 

AMPS resembles competitors PICK 
and BOS in many ways. Like BOS, it 
implements a form of pseudo-code that 
is totally portable from one machine type 
to another; programs written for one 
AMPS system are guaranteed to run on 
any other, regardless of hardware. Like 
PICK, AMPS uses an extensive disk 
cache, so that data need not be read in 
from disk if they are already in memory. 

What sets AMPS apart is its level of 
hardware efficiency. 

Of course, every system iikes to tout 
its efficiency; only AMPS, however, can 
claim to support 33 users on an IBM-PC/ 
AT. (By way of comparison, BOS claims 
to run 19 users on that machine; PICK 
is said to have a version "on the way" 
that can support up to 17; and XENIX, 
a UNIX variant, can run eight.) 

To be sure, even three or five users 
on one microcomputer is an impressive 
achievement, as long as response times 
average something Tess than a week. 

It would be senseless, for example, 
to have 33 people running disk-heavy 
programs on a PC/AT; IBM's hard disk, 
which is of only medium performance, 
could never keep up, no matter how ef- 
ficient the operating system might be. 
However, 33 people doing client look- 
ups, for example, or using the text editor, 
would be quite acceptable. 

24 Bits & Bytes - June 1 986 



There are, of course, trade-offs in- 
volved in achieving this level of effi- 
ciency; but AMPS uses a number of de- 
sign tricks to minimise the effects of 
these trade-offs. Some of these tricks 
are quite unique. To get an understand- 
ing of how AMPS works, it is worth look- 
ing at the database and the program 
development module. 

The AMPS database 



Like PICK, AMPS is structured en- 
tirely around a single, monolithic 
database. Everything about the system 
- programs and data, text, the spelling 
dictionary, even the database software 
itself - everything is stored as records 
on the database. Each record on the 
database has a unique key, and the sys- 
tem automatically maintains a hierarchi- 
cal, balanced-tree index structure of 
these keys. 



Multi-User series: 
Part V 



Although the underlying database 
structure is hierarchical, sections of it 
may be designed to function in a rela- 
tional or network manner. Except in the 
case of the query language {described 
below), this is not done automatically by 
the system; it requires the intervention 
of an analyst programmer. 

Other than physical disk space, there 
are no limits to the size of the database, 
or to the number of records that it may 
contain or that may be available to any 
one program. You do not have to declare 
file sizes or worry about data reorganisa- 
tions. The database can grow or shrink, 
have chunks deleted out of it and reuse 
the space for something else; related 
records may be scattered physically all 
over the disk, but the index structure will 
impose a logical order on things, All of 
this is done automatically, so that neither 
the programmer nor the end user need 
be concerned with it. 

Database segments are cached ac- 
cording to a strict most-recently-used 
order. This guarantees that frequently- 
used data are kept constantly in mem- 
ory. In addition, program modules have 
their own, separately-maintained cache. 

Since program modules are also re- 
cords on the database, they benefit from 
both caches at once. The result of this 
is that the system almost never has to 



read in commonly-used programs (such 
as the editor) from disk; they tend al- 
ready to be in memory. Response times 
for these programs, then, are very quick. 

This becomes very important with a 
targe number of users on the system. 
Under AMPS, all programs and data are 
snareable (unless specified otherwise 
for security reasons). If you have 33 
people using the editor, for example, you 
do not have 33 copies of the editor prog- 
ram cluttering up memory and slowing 
things down with constant disk acces- 
ses. There is only one copy, and it stays 
in memory all the time. 

Most of the memory in an AMPS sys- 
tem is devoted either to the database 
cache or to the program cache. The sys- 
tem manager can, if desired, adjust the 
mix between the two, depending on the 
diversity of the programs likely to be run 
that day. 

Program Development 

Like most multi-user systems, AMPS 
supports only one programming lan- 
guage; unlike most, however, AMPS 
uses its own language. 

It is called AMPLE, and it resembles 
a cross between PASCAL and a highly- 
structured COBOL. Although AMPALE 
contains a GOTO statement, this is al- 
most totally ignored in the documenta- 
tion; AMPLE aspires to be a completely 
structured language. 

Program development in AMPLE 
takes advantage of the system's 
hardware efficiency. Compiles, for 
example, are very fast - typically bet- 
ween five and twenty seconds for, say, 
a message switching system. 

A program generator can take care of 
simple database look-up and update 
programs, and is useful as a prototyping 
tool for more complex applications. 

The compiler, editor and debug prog- 
ram are integrated; you switch from one 
to another with the press of a function 
key. 

One of the trade-offs involved in 
achieving efficiency concerns trie use of 
AMPLE. It violates one of the most sac- 
red rules of operating system design: 
that the programmer should not have to 
bother with time-sharing. To understand 
this, we must look at how most multi- 
user systems share the system between 
tasks. 

Time share 



Most systems use a philosophy of 
time-sharing called multi-threading. This 
means that each task running on the 



Multi-users 



system is its own "thread", and need 
not be aware of the other threads run- 
ning around it. Since the microprocessor 
can handle only one thread at a time, it 
chops each one into arbitrary segments 
- typically one-tenth of a second in 
length - and flips from one to the next. 

The advantage of multi-threading is 
that it happens behind the scenes; 
neither the programmer nor the end user 
need be aware of it. The disadvantage 
is that it is ineffecient, and can be horri- 
bly so. 

If a task is in the middle of something 
when it gets cut off, the system must 
save its status and its snared buffers 
someplace, then replace them when 
that "thread" comes up for execution 
again. If there is not enough memory for 
all the threads, then the system must 
"swap" some of them out to disk, then 
swap them back in again. 

A multi-user system could easily 
spend much more time in its time-shar- 
ing duties than in executing the threads 
themselves. 

A single-threading system, by con- 
trast, treats each task on the system as 
different segments of the same thread, 
and does no arbitrary chopping. It is the 
responsibility of each program to give 
up control of the central processor in 
timely fashion. 

If this is done properly - for example, 



if each task gives up control exactly 
when it has nothing to save away - then 
the whole system can benefit from 
dramatically improved performance. If it 
is done poorly, you get people pounding 
their keyboards in frustration, whilB 
some selfish task forgets to yield control 
of the processor. 

Automated 



Single-threading was abandoned 
twenty years ago by most operating sys- 
tem designers, on the ground that it was 
impossible to train programmers to use 
it properly. This was particularly true with 
languages like COBOL, in which prog- 
rammers had to specify data move- 
ments to and from buffers; keeping track 
of all that across a time-sharing break 
was too much to ask. 

Two changes have occurred in the 
past twenty years which have once 
again raised the question of single- 
threading systems. One is the advent of 
so-called fourth generation languages, 
in which data movement has become 
an automatic function of the operating 
system, thus relieving programmers of 
that burden. 

The other change has been the 
growth of on-line transaction proces- 
sing. In this type of computer system, 



most of the activity involves recording 
certain transactions (for example, bank 
account deposits and withdrawals) on a 
computer -the kinds of things that used 
to be done on punched cards. Records 
are called up, perhaps modified, de- 
leted, new ones added. 

Transaction processing is ideally 
suited for a single-threading computer 
system, since there is a very logical 
place to insert time-sharing breaks in 
the programs: while you are waiting for 
an operator to key something in. The 
AMPLE language is designed entirely 
around this concept; and since 90% of 
the AMPS system is written in its own 
fanguage, it is fair to say that AMPS as 
a whole is tuned toward a transaction- 
processing environment. 

It is also fair to say that AMPS should 
not be considered for computer systems 
that are far removed from transaction 
processing. It would rate poorly at 
number crunching; since it implements 
an interpreted pseudo-code, calcula- 
tions are not rapid in AMPS. A batch- 
processing system, where large 
amounts of information are collected off- 
line and then fed into the computer in 
one massive update run, usually at 
night, would also run slower under 
AMPS than other systems, since there 
would be little opportunity to take advan- 
tage of single-threading. 



Roland DG 



Send for our 
full price list and 
catalogues. Contact 
us for your nearest 
ROLAND dealer! 



INTELLIGENT 
X-Y PLOTTERS 

From the precision A2-sizc 8-pen 
(Resolution 0.0125mm) for CAD and 
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all with parallel AND serial, wide range 
of commands, extensivce software support 
• PRICES NOW DOWN on all A3 plotters 



WORLD LEADERS IN 
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In RGB colour: 

720 k 400 line 12-inch. 15-inch 

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1 2-inch 80-char green or amber IBM-rvpc 
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GRAPHICS CARDS FOR IBM, ETC. 

FROM STB (USA) all programmable 

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■jc Mono graphics with grey-scale resolution of colour 
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SUPPLIES FOR ALL 

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OHP, ball- point, liquid ink 



Roland DG 



N.Z. Distributors for Roland Digital Group: 

Concord Communications Ltd, 9 Nugent St, Auckland. 
Box 36-045, Auckland 9, Phone (09) 398-715 



Bits & Bytes - Jure 1966 25 



Multi-users 



On the other hand, anything that can 
be operated as transaction processing 
will run well under AMPS. Text editing 
is a case in point. The AMPS editor 
treats text as records on the database; 
modifications to the text are simply 
transactions on those records. Similarly, 
spreadsheet recalculations are dealt 
with as transactions on the spreadsheet 
information. 

Friendliness and security 

AMPS presents two faces to the user. 
To the beginner, everything is listed on 
menus, with two-letter mnemonic codes 
calling up system functions or other 
menus, and there is plenty of on-line 
help available. 

The experienced user, however, will 
wish to bypass the menus; AMPS 
makes extensive use of function keys 
for this purpose. In fact, many people 
design their own menus containing no- 
thing but function keys and a few 
mnemonics. 

Menus are also one of the security 
elements in AMPS. Users are given {or 
denied) access to sensitive programs 
according to a set of access classes 
whose meanings are defined by the sys- 
tem manager of each company at an 
AMPS site (up to 255 companies may 



share an AMPS system). Menus are 
structured dynamically to reflect a per- 
son's access privileges. 

The system protects itself with a stan- 
dard password procedure; it does nasty 
things to you after an unreasonable 
number of unsuccessful attempts to log 
on. There are other such "hacker traps" 
as well, intended to defend the system 
against intrusion or tampering. 

There is the usual array of full and 
partial backup and restore programs, 
copying data to either diskette or tape 
(AMPS supports nine-track tape on all 
types of computers, even PCs). AMPS 
is, to my knowledge, the only microcom- 
puter system that offers a full transaction 
logging facility, so that all is not neces- 
sarily lost since the last backup if the 
disk should burn up. 

The AMPLE language offers a full set 
of file and record locking instructions, 
but surprisingly, these are seldom used. 
This is a side benefit of single-threading, 
since a program knows exactly how long 
it has exclusive control of the computer; 
it need not lock those records that it can 
finish with inside one time slice. 



tern; it was created simply as the in- 
house software development environ- 
ment at Advanced Management Sys- 
tems, who were writing insurance pac- 
kages (hence, of course, the emphasis 
on transaction processing). 

Since its launch as a separate product 
early last year, its user base has grown 
to over 300 in New Zealand and Au- 
stralia. This is not much by the standards 
of PICK or UNIX; but the company 
hopes to take AMPS to the American 
market later this year, where the poten- 
tial may be very large. 



Summary 



If its news. . . 

ring 

Steven Searle, 

796-775 



AMPS was not at first intended to be 
sold as an independent operating sys- 



Roland DG 



Send for our 
full price list and 
catalogues. Contact 
us for your nearest 
ROLAND dealer! 



INTELLIGENT 
X-Y PLOTTERS 

From the precision A2-si7.c o-pcn 
(Resolution 0.0125mm) for CAB and 
camera-ready PCB an, to entry-level I- 
ptn and 8-pen there are 5 Roland models, 
all with parallel AND serial, wide range 
of commands, extensivee software support 

>lc 



PRICES NOW DOWN on all A3 plotters 



WORLD LEADERS IN 
CAD/CAM PRODUCTS 



S9&&6 



HI-RES MONITORS 

In RGB colour: 

720 k 400 line 12-inch, 1 5 inch 
640 i 240 line 12-inch, 14-inch 

In Monochrome: 

1 2- inch 80 -char green or amber composite 
12-inch 80-char green or amber IBM-type 
12-inch black-on-whitc IBM-compatible 
14-inch black/white reversible IRM-compat. 

ROLAND- the preferred monitor for IBM & a!! compatibles, BBC, Apple. Apricot. 




GRAPHICS CARDS FOR IBM, ETC. 

FROM STB (USA) all programmable 
it Graphics in color and mono with automatic 
switching, spool, Ramdisks, port, accelerator, etc. 
it Mono graphics with grey-scale resolution ot colour 
♦ Super- Hi -res 400- line color 
•*• EGA Plus 



Roland DG 




FROM ARIES (Taiwan) all programmable 

it Mono graphics & port with utilities, suits CAD 
it Color Graphics adapror 
it Mono Displav of Test 



SUPPLIES FOR ALL 
PLOTTERS 

Glossy and Matt papers in A2 and 
A3, Pens in fibre, ceramic, oil 
OHP, ball -point, liquid ink. 



N.Z. Distributors for Roland Digital Group: 

Concord Communications Ltd, 9 Nugent St, Auckland. 
Box 36-045, Auckland 9, Phone (09) 398-715 



26 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 




Available in a wide range of models, both portable and 
desktop, the AWA CORONA Personal Computer is 
designed to give you MORE of everything. 

HARDWARE Based on a 16-bit 8088 microprocessor, 
the IBM-compatible CORONA PC comes with 128K bytes 
for twice as much memory and a fast access 320K 
byte floppy disk drive 

POWER The CORONA PC is equipped with an extra 
large power supply for an extensive hardware growth 
path capability. 

SPEED The addition of a 10M byte CORONA Personal 
Hard Disk affords you a highly reliable, greatly 
expanded storage system at 10 times the speed. 

EASE The CORONA PC has several features, 
ergonomically designed to ensure greater ease of 
operation with art appreciably reduced fatigue factor for 
the user. 

SOFTWARE MS-DOS is not the CORONA 
PC's only standard feature Standard as well 
are GW (Graphics WriterJ -Basic, the MultiMate 
Word Processor and the self-teaching PC Tutor 
training course Most IBM-compatible software 
tools will run on your CORONA PC 

"REVELATION" PC SOFTWARE A Pick- 
compatible operating system with access to a 
wide range of application software 
"Revelation", combined with your CORONA 
PC, will more effectively piace comDuter power 



in the hands of all operators, including those 
with minimal levels of DP experience. 

In a word: AWA's CORONA Personal Computers 
offer just one thing— MORE. 



For further information contact 
AWA Data Systems Division: 

AUCKLAND 

P.O. Box 1363, Grey Lynn 
Phone: 760-129 



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P.O. Box 50248, Porirua 

Phone: 851-279 



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P.O. Box 32054 
Phone: 890-449 



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THE PORTABLE PERSONAL COMPUTERS 

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Guaranteed by: 

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T 


14 05 


CSIEBBA55 


Kermits Elec Stnrymaker T 


46 70 


C5IERHA6E. 


Kermits Elec Starymake 


rD 


59 30 


CMASTERT65 


Kick Stan 


I 


14.95 


COCEAN185 


Knight Rider 


I 


41.20 


CDATAEA515 


Kung Ft) Master 


T 


45.75 


CBMAEASJ5 


Kung Fu Master 





62.20 


CEL/ARTS15 


Lasi Gladiator 


D 


45 00 


CMASTERT55 


Last V8 


I 


14.95 


CU5GOLD9S 


Law Of The West 


T 


43 95 


CMEL/H095 


Lord 01 The Rings ( + BkT 


52.50 


CMEL/HOU75 


Lord 01 Ihe Rings (+Bk 


60 00 


CNEWGENEll 


Machine Code Tutor 


1 


68. 80 


CMASTEBT+S 


Master 01 Magic 


T 


14.95 


CEKGLISHBS 


Mediator 


T 


43 95 


C ENGLISH 95 


Mediator 


D 


51 95 


CNOVAGEFH5 


Mercenary 


r 


39.95 


CNOVAGEM55 


Mercenary 
Mindshadow 


D 


50.00 


CACTIV95 


1 


45.95 


CBUGBYTE25 


Mr Menhislo 


1 


18.95 


CDATABYT2S 


Mr Robot/ Robot Factory T 


43 25 


CDATABYH5 


Mr Robot/ Bobot Factory D 


54.75 


CMEL/HOU3S 


Mugsy's Bevenga 

Nightshade 

PS) 5 Trading Co. 


I 


39.95 


CFIREBI15 


r 


45.75 


CACCOLAD25 


T 


39.75 


CCDMM0D045 


Pazazz 


D 


60 10 


CMASTER115 


Phantom ol tne Asteroid I 


18 65 


CBRDDERB<1S 


Printshop Lib. 1 
Racing Destruction Set 





69 51) 


CARIOLA55 


T 


42 50 


COCEAN13S 


Bambo 


r 


36 60 


CFIREBM4S 


Flasputin 


T 


31.95 


CADWSOF15 


HsM Plane! 


T 


35.50 


CMEL/H0O9S 


Red Hawk 


T 


37.85 


CFIREEJIR65 


Revs 


T 


52 00 


CFIREB1R75 


Bevs 


D 


58 00 


CMELBOIMb 


Bock M Wrestle 


c 


45. BO 


CMELB0UR4S 


Rock 'N Wrestle 


D 


68.60 


CMASTERT85 


Rockman 


' 


14.95 


CMICROPHB5 


Si leal Service 


B 


60.00 


CMlCBOPlS 


Silent Service 


i 


51.95 


CBUGBYT15 


Sky Hawk 


T 


33.00 


CUSGOLD255 


Spy Hunier 
Star Seeker 


T 


34% 


CM1RROR25 




55 30 


CC.D.S.45 


Steve Davi$ Snooker 


D 


53 95 


CTASMAN15 


Tasword 64 (80 Coll 





85 00 


CTASMAN25 


Tasword 64 (tO Col.) 


' 


75.80 


CEPY1S 


Temple/ Apsnai/Tniogy 
They Sold A Million (1 


D 


45.00 


CULTIMAT75 





SB.7S 


CULTIMAT9J 


They Sold A Million II 


T 


45 75 


CHITSQUA15 


ftiey Sold A Million II 


1 


3995 


CFIBEBI10S 


Thrust 


T 


14 95 


CTRAS AT 15 


Tigers In The Snow 


D 


54 50 


COCEAN125 


Transformers 


I 


38 00 


CHEWS0N6S 


Undiorn 


T 


43 95 


CHEWSON75 


Undium 


C 


51.75 


C0CEAN1JS 


V 


T 


39.95 


CIMAGINE75 


w S. Baseball 


T 


33 60 


CGREML1N8S 


Way 01 The T'ger 


I 


43 50 


CALLIGAT65 


Who Oaras Wins 2 


D 


4500 


CALLIGAT75 


Who Dares Wins 2 


T 


39.75 


CARI0LAH5 


Wild West 


T 


47 95 


CARI0LAt25 


Wild west 


G 


59.60 


CINFOCOMtS 


Wishbringer 


I 


147 00 


CIMAGINE25 


Vie Ar Kung Fu 


1 


42.50 


CIMAGINE4S 


Vie Ar Kung Fu 


D 


4! 25 


CRHIN025 


IU 


T 


1195 


CMAB1ECH35 


Zoids 


i 


42.95 



REFERENCE 

SMASTERT55 

SELITE25 

STMORI5 

SHAINBIFt15 

STH0RNEM55 

SC.P.S.14 

SHEW50N55 

SMASTERT35 

SMICROSP75 

SUECiR'15 

SOCEAN135 

SMIKROGE75 

SACCISS45 

SDKTRONI55 

SMIRBCB115 

SOXF0RD25 

SELITE45 

SBUBBLE825 

SC.P S 24 

SD5G0LDH5 

5LUCASF15 

SPALACE15 

SELITE75 

SBUDGIE15 

SFIREBI15 

SDURRELL6S 

SSYDNEYH 

5CA$fCOM:5 

SMAStEHflS 

SABTIC26 

SHEWS0N21 

SORPHEU525 

SHHtaiR55 

SFIRE1RD5 

SCRL55 

SBEV0NDI4 

SM1KROG45 

5PS.S.45 

SBABBITI5 

SMASTEBT25 

SFIBEBI45 

SD0MARK35 

SC P S 55 

SELITE55 

SIMAGINE45 

SDLTIMAr65 

SADV/INI15 

SCELECTR15 

SGILSOET35 

SSVSTEM315 

SABTIC15 

SOCEANI75 

SALLIGA115 

SeUOGET15 

SOCEAN165 

SMEL/HOU65 

SCAMPBELI4 

SQU/SILV35 

SIMASINE75 

SMEL/H0LI95 

SOCEA55 

SGEMINI75 

5ARIOLA525 

SIWAGIfiESi 

SDKTBONI45 

SHEWS0NB5 

S0CEAB5 

SA0U/SDF45 

SDATA8AS35 

SALPHA6A15 

SBUGEtVTE 

SMA5TERT45 

SDURREU85 

SMIBB0BI05 

SMARTECH55 

SALIIGAT25 

SMIKROGEI5 

SEL/ARI45 

SSTBRIDE15 

SBEVOND/5 

STASKET45 

SMIRRORS65 

SSEGA55 

SDCEANI25 

SBEVOND24 

SGARG0rL45 

SPSS25 

5TA5MAN25 

SfASMAN36 

STASMAW15 

SCR L45 

SABGUS15 

5MAR7ECH85 

SULTIMAT95 

SARIOLAS85 

SMIKROGE65 

SOIGIULS5 

SOCEANII5 

SDUSSEIL75 

SOCEAN15 

SINSIGHT25 

5MMARR15 

SIMAGIN115 

SINTERC15 

SLOTHL0R25 

SMEL/HOU25 

SGREMLI105 

SGREMLI35 

SALLIGAT35 

SEPVX85 

SELECTRI65 

SEL/ART35 

S1MAG1NE25 

SLEVEL995 

SACTIV75 

SOU/SILU25 

SIMAGINE21 

SMARTECH45 

SDATAS0125 



TITLE 

Action Biker 

Airwoll 

Arc od Vesoo 

Art Studio 

An 1st 

Astronomer 2 

Astrocione 

BMX Racers 

Back To Skool 

Back To The Fulure 

Balman 

Battle CI Tne Planets 

Beacnead II 

Benny Hill's Mad/Cnase 

Biggies 

Blast [Basic Compiler) 

Bomb Jack 

Brainstorm 

Bridge Player 3 

Sue* Rogers 

Ball hWe 

Cauldron 

Commando 

Conuoy 

Cos Is Capers 

Critical Mass 

Dambuslers 

Deseri flals 

Oevils Crown 

Discs Of Death 

Dragon Tore 

i lidon 

Elite 

Empire 

Endurance Racing 

Enigma Force 

Everyone's A Waily 

Fa Ik lands 82 

Fire Of London 

Formula 1 Simulator 

Gerry The Germ 

Gladiator 

Golfing World 

Grand National 

Green Beref 

Gun Fright 

Gremlins 

I Dl Tne Mask 

Illustrator 

international Karate 

International Rugby 

Knight Rider 

Knockout 

Laoyrmlrtioo 

Laser Comoiler 

Lord 01 Trie Rinjs 

Mastertile (With Prmn 

Max Headroom 

Movie 

Mugsy s Revenge 

N.O HAD. 

Office Master 

P^nradrome 

Ping Pong 

Popeye 

Quazilron 

Ram do 

Rebel Planet 

Red Arrows 

Robot Messiah 

Roborg 

Rocttman 

Saboteur 

Sai Combal 

Samaniha Fox/Sir/Poker 

Show Jumping 

Sir Fred 

Sky Fox 

Snow Queen 

Soroerons Shadow 

Sou is Of Darken 

Spittire 40 

Spy Hunter 

Super Bowl 

Superman 

Sweevo's World 

Swords And Sorcery 

T as copy 

Ta$wide 

Tasword Three 

Tau Celi 

The Bulge 

The Planets/Final Front 

they Sold A Million II 

Think 

three Weeks in Paradise 

Tomahawk 

Iranstoi liters 

Turbo Esprit 

V 

Vectron 3D 

View To A Kill 

w S Baseball 

Warlord 

Waterloo 

Way Of Exploding Fist 

Way Of the Tiger 

Wesi Bank 

Who Dares Wins 2 

Winter Games 

Winter Sports 

Wirard 

World Series Baseball 

Worm in Paradise 

Xcel 

vac oa Dabba rjoo 

Vie Ar Kung Fu 

Zoids 

ZorrD 



14 95 
33 95 

41 20 
49 50 
59.60 
43.50 
36.60 
14.95 
36 20 
43.95 
36 50 
45 BO 

42 95 
39.75 

45 75 
114.80 

36.60 
18 95 
J9 35 
39 95 
38 9:, 
36 95 
36 00 
II 50 
36.60 

38 00 

39 95 

46 95 
14 95 

32 DO 
36 60 
40. 30 
54 95 
45.75 
36 60 
49 35 
45 60 
36.60 
315 DO 
14 95 
36.60 
38 00 
29 95 
36 96 

42 00 

47 95 
47.96 
45 80 
62 95 
29 90 

38 73 
36 60 
24 95 
14 95 
45 95 

57 50 
4S 95 

43 30 

39 75 
42.95 
36.60 
69 00 

36 00 

40 95 
34.00 

37 85 
3B.70 
45 75 
42.95 
16.60 
IB 95 
14.95 

33 CO 
:>!■ 60 

42 95 
J3 00 
in Mi 

■iS 63 

41 20 

34 95 
><> i:D 

43 55 
34 95 
45 95 
B 95 
.13.95 
49.35 
45.55 

n :u: 

75 95 

42 50 
45 95 
45 75 
45.75 
39.75 
47 95 
39 95 
36 Ji- 
42 95 

42 00 

58 35 

44 95 
3 j oO 

32 00 

45 80 
■it Oil 

43 5; 

39 75 

40 3D 

38 70 

41 20 
36 00 

33 60 
32 95 
36.00 

38 90 
36 50 

39 75 
38.95 



REFERENCE 

RMICROGE65 

RAMS0F45 

RAMSOF55 

BELITEB5 

RC C 325 

BACTIV124 

RAC-IVI35 

H0CEAN165 

RS0LAR15 

RDKTRONI65 

RELITEI15 

RELITEI20 

RSILVERS45 

R02TSOFT15 

RBIGFIUE15 

RTHEEOGE 

RMASTERT45 

ROOMARK45 

RC.D.S25 

RBEAUJ0L35 

RBEAUJOL45 

R0CEAK155 

RPR0BE45 

RAMSTBAD15 

FBIBEBIRD5 

RMEL/HOU55 

REDGE15 

REDIGITAL45 

RMASTERT25 

RMIRROR25 

RMASTERT1S 

RELITE75 

ROCE4N125 

RP S S25 

RINCEN1I35 

RIMAGIME75 

RV0RTEX25 

RUORTEX55 

RIMAGINE85 

BIMAGINE15 

RE : .LC1RI65 

RC.R.L 55 

RC.R.t.25 

ROCEAN195 

RMEL/HOU75 

BDATABAS45 

R DATABASES 

HOCEAH85 

ROCEAN65 

RGEMIN155 

RGEMINI65 

rtGEM!Nl115 

RCENTRES15 

RARIOLA65 

RIMAGIN155 

RDIS/SOF15 

HACCESS55 

ROCEAN145 

RA0U/S0F45 

RLEISUBE45 

RLEISURE55 

RARI0LAS55 

BMASTERT35 

RMIRR0F145 

RVIRGIN35 

RMIRR0fl35 

RMIRP.0R15 

RAMS0FT35 

R0CEAN1/5 

RBEYOND65 

BGARG0VC35 

RGARGOVL55 

RAMSOFT15 

RTASMAN15 

RTASMAK35 

RC ft. I 85 

RC R.L 

RPSS25 

RPS.S45 

RULTIMAT45 

RULTIMM55 

RMEL/HDU65 

RGREMLIN25 

RALLIGAT35 

BELECTRI45 

RELECTRI55 

BIMAGINE65 

BIMAGINE55 



TITLE 



T/D NZI 



j Tvcdus m Paiauise 

3D Grand Prix 

3D Grand Prix 

Airwoll 

Arnhem 

B McCuigans Boxing 

B. McGu/gans Boxing 

Balman 

Battle Beyond The Stars T 

Benny Hill's Mad /Chase T 

BombJack 

BombJack D 

Lord 01 (he Rings I 

Boulder Dash D 

Bounly Bob Slnkes BackT 

Brian Bioodaxe D 

Caves Of Doom 

Codename Matt ll 

Colossus Chess 4 

Computer Hits 

CuTOuter nils 

D I Supei Tesl 

Devils Crown 

Electronic Studio 

Empire 

Es/fisr and F/Warrior 

Fairlight 

Fignier Pilot 

Finders Keepers 

First Sleps With Mr MenD 

Formula I Simulator I 

Frank Bruno's Boxing 

Frankie Goes/Hollywood T 



Get Dexter 1 

Graphic Adv Writer 

Green Beret 

Highway Encounter 

Highway Encounter 

Hypers port 5 

riyoers ports 

i. or The Mask 

Juggernaut 

Juggernaut 

Knight Bider 

Lord 01 Tha Rings ( + BkT 

Mini 01 free 

Mini Office II 

Movie 

N O.M AD 

Office Master 

Office Masier 

Office Mate 



Otlice Male 

PanMdrome 

Ping Pong 

Pyradev 

Raid 1 

Ram bo 

Rebel Planet 

ScrabPie 

Scrabble 

Skytox 

Soul Of A Robol 

Spill ire 40 

Sirangeioop 

Slrike Force Harrier 

Strike Force Harrier 

Stunt Rider 

Super bow i 

Superman 

Sweevo's world 

Sweevo's World 

Tank Commander 

Tasword 464 

Tasword 6128 

Tau Cell 

Tau Ceti 

Tnealre Europe 

T heal re Europe 

They Sold A Million ll 

They Sold A Million II 

Way 0! Exploding Fisl 

Way 01 The Tiger 

Who Dares Wins II 

Winter SBDI15 

Winter Sports 
Vie Ar Kung Fu 
vie Ar Kund Fu 



45 76 

39 95 

58 95 
59.95 
47 95 
39.95 
43 75 
41 20 

40 50 
34 00 
45.75 
6B.75 
36.00 
49.50 
39 95 
52 00 
14 95 

38 DO 

47 95 

39 95 
52 00 

41 95 
119 95 
73 95 
45 75 
82 50 

51 75 
52.00 
14 95 
49 95 
14.95 

52 00 
42.95 
43.30 
87 40 
41.20 
52 00 
3B.00 
39 95 

59 80 
39.95 
36 50 

51 95 
41 20 
66 50 
J9.95 
72 40 
41.20 
41.20 
B2 95 
66 95 
62 95 
64% 
42.95 
41 20 
82.50 
54.00 
4395 
68 75 
39 95 

52 00 

48 60 
14.95 
49.95 
41.20 
54 95 
43 30 
43 20 
41 20 
39.95 
45.80 
53.25 

48 00 
54 95 
99 96 
54 00 
45 75 
45 75 

49 95 
45 75 
68.75 
39 95 
54 35 
49 lit, 
41 20 
54 75 
36.00 

■' 



REFERENCE 

PAUDIDGE15 

PC0MM0D015 

PAMERICA75 

PMASTERT25 

PACCESS1S 

PELITE55 

PBODGIE1S 

POCEANI5 

PSUPERSSS 

PSOLARS015 

PCO MM 1)465 

PANIROG85 

PKINGS0F15 

PWARNERB15 

PGREMLIN15 

PTVNESOF45 

PCOMMOD035 

PNAMJOU 

PGREMLIN45 

PAUDI0GE15 

PGREMLIN35 

PMASTEBT35 

PTYNESOF55 

PTYNES0F35 

PATLANTI15 

PTYNES0F65 

PCHANNEL15 

PRAZOBS025 

PGHEMLIN95 

PCOMMOD055 

PH4/OBS0I5 

PBUCDYI1F, 

PATIANTI25 

PADVENT015 

PC.D.S 15 

PGREMLIN25 

FANC015 

PMEL/HOD25 

PANIROG96 

PCITISOF25 

PIMAGINE15 

PTYNESOF2S 



TITLE 

3D Glouoer 

Ace 

Asylum 

BMX Racers 

Beachhead 

Commando 

Cybetg 

O.T Star Events 

Flight Simulator 0-15 

Galax ions 

Games Designer 

Ghosi Town 

Grand Masier 

Gremlins 

Gullwing Falcon 

Gunsllnger 

Harbour Attack 

Home Otlice 

JethMx 

Kactus 

Kung-Fu Kid 

Mr Puniverse 

Mouni vesuvious 

Olympiad 

Panrk 

Pago Pele 

Pufsar 7 

Raider 

Reach For The Sky 

Script/Plus 

Sea Strike 

Sky Hawk 

Space Escort 

Spiderman 

Steve Davis 

Sword Of Destiny 

Thai Boxing 

The Wizard &/ Princess 

TomThumb 

Torpedo Run 

W.S. Baseball 

winter Olympics 



T/D Hit 



T 


31.95 


T 


24.95 


1 


40.50 


7 


24.95 


T 


41.20 


1 


37.65 


T 


18 95 


T 


24 95 


T 


33 00 


1 


24 95 


I 


46.00 


1 


35 80 


T 


29 95 


T 


24 95 


T 


24 95 


T 


39 95 


T 


24 95 


T 


29.95 


r 


3B.25 


r 


31.% 


I 


35.45 


T 


14 95 


T 


31.95 


T 


24 95 


T 


27.40 


I 


31.95 


r 


24.95 


t 


30.00 


T 


36 95 


C 


B9 95 


T 


30 00 


T 


33 00 


T 


18.95 


T 


24 95 


T 


24 95 


T 


24.95 


T 


39 95 


T 


24.95 


T 


27 40 


1 


42.00 


T 


39 75 


T 


39.75 



ATARI 



AAMERICA65 

AAMERICA75 

AARIOLAS75 

AOATASOF76 

AFIHEBIR15 

AENGLISI35 

ALLAMAS015 

ADATAS0F35 

ADATAS0F55 

AN.D.S.L 

AACTIVI165 

AENGLISH56 

AEIJGL1SH45 

AAOiC1175 

ASPINNAK97 

AINF0C0M65 

ASPINNAI27 

AMICR0P0B5 

AMICBOP095 

AAMEBICA15 

AORIGIN25 

AENGLISH95 

AENGLISH85 

ANOWGEN35 

ANOVAGEM45 

ASMEBICA25 

ADATABYT75 

ADATABVT65 

A0CEAU5 

AAHGUSPR45 

ASPINNAK15 

AC.D.S 15 

AC.D.S.75 

ATASKSET15 

AP SS.15 

AF1REBIR25 

A1RANSATB5 

AORIGIN35 

ADOMABK15 

AINFOCOM15 

ALEVEL985 

AGREMLIIJ45 



Asylum 


y 


Asylum 


T 


Axis Assassin 


D 


Bruce Lee 


r 


Chimera 


r 


Colossus Chess 


i 


Colours pace 
Conan the Barbarian 


1 


1 


Cunan the Barbarian 


D 


Dam Busters 


T 


Eidolon 


3 


Eleklra Glide 


) 


EleKira Glide 


r 


Fooloail Manager 


T 


Grandma's House 


D 


H/Hickars Guide /Galaxy D 


In Search/ Amazing Thing T 


Kennedy Approach 


T 


Kennedy Approach 


::■ 


Luciler's Realm 


1 


Lucifei's Bealm 


" 


Mediator 


F 


Mediator 


D 



Mercenary 

Mercenary 

Mission ftsteroul 

Mr Robot/ Robot Factory D 

Mr Robot/ Robot Faclory D 



NevereJiding Story 
Schunlrema 
Snooper Troops 1 
5t&v& Davis SnooKer 
Ste^e Davis Srtwkfit 
The Big Dig 
Tfraatre Europe 
rhu^OerDir-ds 
TigErs In The Snow 
UtW III 
View To A Kill 
Wishftrinftar 
Worm In Paradise 



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The UK scene - Part I 



Home micro market: Going, gone? 



by Pip Forer 



Recently Pip Forer was invited to 
attend an international symposium 
on educational computing in social 
sciences in London. While there he 
took the chance to review changes 
in the UK micro-computing scene 
over the last six years. In this first 
article he looks at the situation in the 
British home computer market. 

The hardest thing to get in London 
right now is a ticket for the Andrew Lloyd- 
Weber musical "Chess"; the easiest is 
probably a knocked-down Sinclair QL. 

In five years the British home micro 
industry has peaked and fallen back to 
sfump, and some would say is headed 
for further contraction. 



The evidence on the ground speaks 
of dramatic rationalisations and growing 
chatlenges and is mirrored on High 
Street by retrenchment and changing 
options. 

There are fewer {and often thinner) 
microcomputing magazines in the book- 
shops. 

While the business computing retail 
centres have grown larger and glossier 
the home machines have dropped back 
from public display. 

The small shop dedicated to home 
microcomputers has often given way to 
a few feet of shelves for software dis- 
plays in a bookshop or a space in an 
electronics shop window amongst the 
video or home security gear. 

Prices are low, but margins are lower 
and knowledgeable service and support 
is almost totally absent (plus ce 




REDUCE EYE FATIGUE 

Wittl THOMSON O 

Thomson - the European-designed range of flat- 
faced PC monitors that make your computer hours 
easier, more productive. 

Competitively-priced monochrome models with 
unequalled 35MHz bandwidth tor crisper clearer 
characters. 

RGB colour models with finer dot pitch for clear 
80 column text ond a switch tor full colour, green or 
amber 

Configured for IBM PC, compatibles, Commodore, 
Apple - Thomson monitors are available throughout 
New Zealand from any dealer with an eye for the 
finer points. For a dealer near you contact 



Phone (09) 600-687, P.O. Box 68-474, Auckland. 



change..?). 

The war between different home 
machine brands is a hot war and it is 
clear that four groups are involved. 

Slashed prices 

The first contains the old cheapos. 

The 8-bit Ataris, the Commodore 64, 
the Sinclair Spectrum and the Acorn 
Electron can be seen at slashed down 
prices. 

The one oddity in this has been 
Acorn's (discontinued) BBC model B 
microcomputer, of which new speci- 
mens are still avidly hunted and for 
which the second-hand market has 
boomed since its supercession. 

All of these machines have been re- 
placed by enhanced models. 

Upgrades 

These upgrades are the second 
group. 

They are 8-bit based but all use bank- 
switching to provide additional memory 
and often include additional processors 
and hard-wired software. They have 
begun to hit the shelves in some volume 
in the UK. 

Apart from the Apple llc/lle (which has 
been around some time but never really 
seen as a home machine in the UK), 
there are now the Commodore 128, the 
newer Amstrads, the BBC Master 128, 
a 128k Atari and, most recently, a 128k 
Spectrum that has had anything but 
glowing reviews. 

Prices are drifting downwards, but not 
too quickly. 

MSX presence 

Next there are the MSX machines. 
MSX as a hardware standard is really 
targetted at the games market, so com- 
petes most directly with the cheaper 
128s, especially the Spectrum. 

These largely Japanese MSX 
machines are around and selling, but 
perhaps because they are designed to 
be interchangeable the individual 
brands make little impact on the micro 
scene. Even in combination MSX seems 
to have made limited impact. 

New generation 

Finally, in the wings, there are the new 
generation machines: the Macintosh, 
the Amiga and the Atari ST520 and 
1040. 



Bits & Bytes -June 1986 29 



The UK scene - Part I 



All of these are 68000 based (you 
would be hard put to find any home 
machine in UK that has chosen the Intel 
chip set for its base). 

All have been designed on the notion 
that what home computing needs are 
machines so attractive that they can per- 
suade the existing users to change their 
models and can also attract new users 
(a trick which the original 8-bit machines 
have increasingly lost). 

The 128k 8-bit machines in particular 
are looking over thei r shou Iders at these 
new machines. 

However while all three models above 
are attracting attention from the keen 
home computerist one of them is cur- 
rently priced out of most homes (the 
Macintosh) and one (the Amiga as of 
May 1st) was as ethereal in its actual 
presence in the UK as it has been in 
New Zealand. 

This leaves the Atari ST series. With 
the 1 megabyte 1040 system, disk drive 
and all, selling for under $2,500 this was 
proving a magnet to many users and 
even beginning to attract a software 
base. 

In spite of criticisms of its overall ar- 
chitecture and being overshadowed by 
Amiga hype the Atari has not lain down 
and died. It may indeed be making it 
successfully through its first few critical 
months of life. 



Buy British? 



From a British perspective the con- 
cern is that none of the new technology 
above is domestic (although some com- 
ponents of the systems have British ori- 
gins). 

The one British home machine that 
broke from the 8-bit mould was the 
Sinclair QL. This is not widely rep- 



resented in any current British develop- 
ments and is now in possibly terminal 
eclipse, depending on the whims of its 
new owner. 

Dogged by premature release, exces- 
sively optimistic publicity and in- 
adequate peripherals most observers 
see the QL as too recent to have 
adequate software and too flawed now 
to attract it. 

And what of the British manufacturers 
behind the machines? 

Most potent has been the rise of 
Amstrad which enjoys by far and away 
the lion's share of exposure through re- 
tail outlets. 

By marketing a full system at a low 
cost Amstrad have turned a brand of 
reliable but unexciting micros into ir- 
resistible buys of the moment which 
dominate new purchases. 

Although initially short of software 
many authors have converted games 
across to the Amstrad home computer. 

The real excitement has been 
Amstrad's scheme to produce an IBM 
clone (with access to all IBM-PC's 
software) for under four hundred 
pounds. 

Amstrad typifies the lesson that mar- 
keting counts. 

Amstrad are the winners. The losers 
and runners-up so far have tended to 
be more innovative but less well man- 
aged. 

Numerous small makers have gone 
forever (glittering names like the Dra- 
gon, Oric and Jupiter condemned to the 
dusty pages of back numbers of Per- 
sonal Computer World). 

The most publicised problems how- 
ever have been those of the survivors, 
principally Acorn and Sinclair. 

Acorn have recovered from their delu- 
sions of grandeur when they tried to 
'break out of the educational ghetto' 



(one of their executive's misplaced 
words, not mine) by trying to bite off the 
home market, the US market and the 
business market simultaneously. 

Acorn soldier on under Italian owner- 
ship, concentrating now on their real 
strengths and still selling an apparently 
expensive machine through its unusual 
capabilities. 

In the long run the sale of Acorn to 
European interests may come to be 
seen as a significant loss to British in- 
dustry. 

More so in fact than the collapse of 
Sinclair. 

The sale of Sinclair's home computer 
operations to Amstrad in April caused 
much bitterness amongst his (now 
former) workforce since alternative of- 
fers were on the table that would have 
saved their jobs. 

The take-over leaves the QL in limbo 
and the Spectrum to be repackaged. 

The optimists see the merger as com- 
bining Amstrad's market strengths with 
much-needed innovatory expertise. 
Financiers seem more cautious. 

Declining prices will eventually bring 
the new-wave machines down into di- 
rect competition with the likes of the 
Spectrum 128, until the savings on the 
smaller machine will not be worth the 
difference in performance. 

At present there are no signs of any 
significantly new home machine under 
development to meet this challenge, and 
it seems doubtful that any British man- 
ufacturer (even Amstrad) can live on im- 
itating others indefinitely. 

All is not gloom however. There are 
some interesting software initiatives, 
some exciting development combining 
computers and video, and the start of 
progress towards a European educa- 
tional (and possibly home) micro. More 
on these in future issues. ■ 




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30 Bits & Bytes- June 1986 



Exclusive to Bits & Bytes 



Wozniak sees hope for Apple 



by John MacGibbon, 

in Wellington 

Steve Wozniak, who less than a year 
ago made his much publicised exit firm 
Apple Inc. now believes the company he 
co-tounded is back in good shape. 

"Things ae in good hands now — 
echnically and businesswise," Wozniak 
oid members of New Zealand's Wei- 
ington Apple Users' Group in 
December. 

Wozniak was speaking and answer- 
ng questions during his second annual 
breakfast meeting with the 250-member 
user group. 

Wozniak first visited Wellington on a 
crazy whim in 1 984, after club members 
nvited him to a champagne breakfast at 
Pizza Hut. During that first visit Steve 
was extremely critical of the direction 
Apple was headed, and he particularly 
objected to the cavalier way he believed 
he Apple II division was being treated. 

At the 1985 breakfast Woz' attitude 
had swung practically full-circle. ThB 
Apple II now enjoys much support 
throughout the company, Woz told his 
audience. 

"Good enhancements — things that 

ould have been done five years ago, 
re all happening, he said. 

"Look at the recent peripherals that 

ive come out: the megabyte memory 

rd, 3.5 inch BOOK disk drives, the 
rinter is in excellent shape. Every- 

ing's starting to come together. 

"The next real enhancements are 

ore along the lines of increased mem- 
ry, increased memory capability with a 
slightly different processor, a lot of co- 
processor thinking, the Apple II working 
into an environment where another com- 
puter and software exists Including IBM. 
Also more Amiga-like colour. 

balance 

"John Sculley has put together the 
'ight management and key teams — 
3nes who work well together and work in 
the interests of the company. He's done 
a very good job of planning our three 
major product lines — He, lie and Macin- 
tosh — and making them all play in 
balance. They're all doing wetl, all being 
enhanced and all being supported well. 

We'd been in a mode for quite a few 
years at the company where one pro- 
duct would be a personal favourite and 
would get all the attention and support 
while other products would be neg- 
scted. That's not the case currently." 

Wozniak praised the technical direc- 
tion being pursued by ex Apple France's 
Jean Louis Gasson. He particularly liked 

new policy of giving major develop- 



REFLECTIONS FROM STEVE WOZNIAK AND 

ANDYHERTZFELD ON APPLE INC, AND OTHER 

OCCUPATIONS DURING A FLYING VISIT 

DOWNUNDER FOR BREAKFAST 



ment work to outside contractors, includ- 
ing some people who had previously 
been key engineers within Apple itself. 

On his latest visit, Steve brought his 
friend and fellow Silicon Valley legend, 
Andy Hertzfeld. Hertzfeld worked on the 
Apple II. and then transferred to the 
Macintosh project, where he wrote a 
good deal of the operating software. 
Now working independently of Apple, Mr 
Hertzfeld is perhaps best known for his 
Switcher software for the Mac, and the 
Thunderscan digitiser. 

On Steve Jobs 



Wozniak was generally more sub- 
dued in 1 985 than in the previous year, 
but he did open up at great length on the 
subject of his former partner Steve Jobs: 

"Steve Jobs — let's see — there was 
an episode occurred, and ah ... a rela- 
tively interesting set of stories led up to it. 
(Laughter) 

"Let me give you a little bit of a story ... 
(more laughter). 

"I had fallen in love with an idea for a 
really great product — a hand-held prog- 
rammable remote control nifty little thing 
(to control household appliances like 
videos). 

"I could obviously have got its 
development funded at Apple to any 
extent I wanted, just because of who I 
was. 

"But if I ever developed it at Apple it 
would never become an Apple product. 
Every manager at Apple said it wouldn't 
because it wasn't a computer and it 
didn't plug into a computer. If I did it at 
Apple, they would not put It out as their 
product, but meanwhile they would own 
tt. And that the world could be deprived 
of it, was the risk. 

"So I left and started my own company 
(Cloud Nine). But I was very up front. I 
went on the bulletin boards, drew pic- 
tures, showed everyone at Apple, tight 
up to Scully. I told Steve Jobs. I made 
sure everyone knew what I was doing, 
because you can't make it look like you 
were holding something back later. That 
will always haunt you." 

Early in his new company's history 
Wozniak contracted a plastics design 
and moulding company to produce a 
case for his product. Trouble occurred 



on Sunday when Steve Jobs visited the 
company and saw drawings for the 
case. 

When told what it was, Jobs "told 
them to package them up and send them 
to me and he'd pay for them." 

"It's hard to understand why he did it 
He stated publicly that it was because it 
was a product related to Apple's pro- 
ducts. That I should not use a firm that 
Apple was using. Privately, he said a lot 
of different things. It was a personally 
motivated gesture. 

"We had it, of course in writing from 
Apple in the friendliest terms that it didn't 
relate to Apple's products. But publicly 
he took a stand that it was competitive." 



On Jobs' departure 



s with 



"Well now he's kinda on the outs 
Apple. Jobs brought Scully on board a 
couple of years ago. And boy, Steve was 
his spiritual leader — Scully s inspiration 
as to the direction computers were 
going: what did they mean to the people, 
they would change our lives and in what 
way. For about a year, everywhere Jobs 
went, John Scully was two feet away — 
six inches awayl 

"After about a year I started noticing at 
conferences that Jobs and Scully would 
be on opposite sides of the room. There 
wasn't the same close-talking 
friendship. That link was no longer there. 

"Recently it was just as if he'd taken a 
little too much of Jobs' view, and now 
saw it might not be totally in the interests 
of the company owners. At the end of it, 
Steve was out of any direct responsibility 
at Apple. 

"Oddly enough, when I go 'round to 
Scully now we sit down, ana he's OK. 

"In the meantime Steve has decided 
to go off and start this company. I can't 
really talk too much of what I know 
regarding discussions at different levels 
with different people, because it's in liti- 
gation. But Apple Is claiming that he's 
doing somtning using Apple 
technologies or whatever the term is. 

But the two former partners have not 
severed all connections: 

"StevB Jobs called me up one night 
and thanked me, because I said on a TV 
interview that whatever he builds will be 
so great it'll improve my life and I'll go 

Bits & Bytes - June 1986 31 



Exclusive to Bits & Bytes 



and buy one. 

"But there's a lot of points where I 
wouldn't totally trust my future in his 
hands," Woz added. 

A further curious twist in the Jobs 
saga: Wozniak volunteered the informa- 
tion that Andy Hertzfeld was about to 
start a part-time job at Jobs' new com- 
pany. Hertzfeld explained: 

"Steve's a very persuasive character, 
and he decided a few weeks ago he 
wanted some of the people who worked 
on Macintosh to work with him there. 

"He was able to convince me it was an 
opportunity to make the next great com- 
puter. And that's what I want to do in my 
life: make better and better, greater and 
greater computers. 



Wozniak uses a C-Vue and considers 
it is "as good as they can be", given cur- 
rent technology, "You can see the left 
and the right of the screen at the same 
time. It's better than Apple's. 

"It also has better characteristics as 
far as carrying, and portability. Physi- 
cally it's a better arrangement the way it 
fits on the Apple case, and you can set it 
at any angle you like. 

On Appletaik 

Says Wozniak, "We have quite a few 
Macintoshes in our office. One thing we 
use the AppJetalk network for is we have 
two LaserWriters. One always has let- 



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The company 

on out of compute 




terhead paper in it, so you don't have to 
get up and feed paper into it by hand. 

"And when a phone call comes in — 
the receptionist always used to take a lot 
of notes and messages, and you'd get 
em a little bit late. Now she can type in 
quick little messages and send them 
right to our computers. Also we send 
messages to her saying don t disturb me 
for the next two hours. We've got about 
to that level, but not much further, 

"There's not much software around 
that takes advantage of the network. 
That which does exist tends to crash 
your hard disk and cause problems with 
the Switcher. 

Hertzfeld feels AppleTalk has a lot of 
un exploited potential. 

But, "It's not one of the problems I've 
been working on. t prefer to work on the 
interface between humans and comput- 
ers, rather than between two computers. 
Networking is very important within an 
office ... I guess I just don't like offices!" 

On AppleWorks 

Hertzfeld described a project, appa- 
rently aban oned last August, to pro- 
duce a vers.on of AppleWorks for the 
Mac. The project was initiated by 
Apple's Don Williams, and AppleWorks' 
developer Rupert Lissner had hoped to 
sell the program through Microsoft as 
MouseWorks. One reason cited by 
Hertzfeld for demise of the project was 
lack of financial incentive: AppleWorks' 
success had already made Lissner 
wealthy. 

On Jam Session 

The Macintosh's potential as a music 
synthesiser was well demonstrated by a 
just-released program from Hayden 
Software called "Jam Session". 

Mac's screen shows a ghetto blaster 
in great detail — even down to needles 
waving on individual VU meters for the 
six separate recording tracks. There is a 
moving tape counter, the cassette turns 
around, while the tape moves from one 
side of the tape to the other as it is 
played. The mouse-driven pointer oper- 
ates controls, just like the real thing. 

Jam Session's sound is amazingly 
realistic, and a clever feature is the abil- 
ity to write a melody and then tell the Mac 
what style you want it played in: jazz, 
reggae, acid rock and so on. 

"It shatters the boundaries: you can't 
do that, but it's being done," declared 
Hertzfeld, who was the principal 
architect of Macintosh's audio software. 

Hertzfeld claimed the Mac is becom- 
ing the computer of choice for music 
synthesists: at least seven US com- 
panies are producing MIDI interfaces to 
allow other instruments to connect with 
it. Pluses for the Mac are its user inter- 
face and portability. 



32 Bits & Bytes -June 1986 



Exclusive to Bits & Bytes 



On Hyperdrive 



Both Wozniak and Hertzfeld use 
them, and consider them the best hard 
disk available for the Mac. 

However, Andy points out that while 
they are the best performers and have 
the best software, they are relatively 
expensive for what they deliver, and 
being internally installed, if they break 
down, your Mac is out ot commission. 

On Mac's future 

Very healthy, according to Hertzfeld: 
"You can learn a lesson from the 
Apple II. Computers are different, 
because they are a foundation. They're 
not a product — they're open-ended, 
totally customisable by software. 

"A computer has to be around a few 
years before it reaches the prime of its 
life. I still think Mac is kinda like where 
the Apple II was in 1979, when Vtsicalc 
hadn't yet come out for it." 

On Thunderscan 

"A botanist at the University of Califor- 
nia at Berkley is using Thunderscan to 
take very precise measurements of the 
veins and capilliaries in leaves. Previ- 
ously he had to use a microscope to get 
measurements down to 200ths of an 
inch or so. Very tedious. 'Now he sticks 
the leaf in Thunderscan, and scans it. 

"He wrote his own program to analyse 
the image and extract the information 
automatically. Something I never would 
have thought of! 

"Something that is wonderful about 
Apple II and Macintosh products is that 
everything is magnified by the creativity 
of the world. (The hardware) is only the 
start. The tens of thousands of people 
who are using it are always going to 
come up with amazing things you've 
never thought of yourself." 



On Bill Budge 



Hertzfeld says his friend Bill Budge is 
working on Macintosh software and on a 
space shuttle simulation for the Mac with 
true shaded details, "... that is going to 
be just amazing." 

"He's also done his Pinball Construc- 
tion Set for the Mac, and his ultimate 
goal in life is to write construction set 
construction set!" 

On Desktop Publishing 

Hertzfeld described two directions 
being pursued by manufacturers: grea- 
ter resolution than the present 300 dots 
per inch available on the LaserWriter, 



and lower cost. 

He sees resolution moving up to 1000 
dpi in the near future, and costs dropping 
to US$1000. Unfortunately not in the 
same machine ... 

Wozniak believes Apple's current 
priority is for low cost, ratherthan higher 
resolution. 

Hertzfeld believes page layout prog- 
ram programs have a long way to go, 
but: "They'll get there over the next year 
or so. What you see now is only the tip of 
the iceberg: Pagemaker is rudimen- 
tary." 



Apple 



Mac links 



Hertzfeld says Apple's move to 3.5 
inch drives for the Apple II family will 
allow easier transfer of files between 
those machines and the Macintosh. 

"Apple is working on utility programs 
that will allow you to stick a Macintosh 
disk in your Apple II and convert files to 
ProDos very easily — and vice versa. 
That media compatibility is an important 
step in linking the two machines," 
Hertzfeld said. 

"There are some other quite strange 
products. One actually transforms Apple 
II programs into Macintosh programs. 

"That was a very, very difficult prob- 
lem. The guy's got special hardware in 
the Apple II that's reading DOS refer- 
ences and stuff. 

"The problem is that you have to run 
the Apple II programs through every 
stage you can possibly get to; you have 
to execute every instruction to translate 
the program completely. It can't work in 
each case — it's too hard a problem. 

"With hardware cards it's certainly 
possible to translate Macintosh prog- 
rams to the Apple II. There are cards 
already, but that doesn't solve the prob- 
lem. You have to have correct video 
etcetera. 

"The other thing you're now seeing is 
the Macintosh spirit, and the essence of 
Macintosh, finding its way into a variety 
of Apple M programs. So maybe it 
doesn't matter whether you can run 
Macintosh programs on your Apple II if 
the Apple II programs are as good as the 
Macintosh programs." 



On the Amiga 



Hertzfeld has his own Commodore 
Amiga, but while he thinks it has great 
potential as a games machine, he is less 
enamoured of it as a general computer. 

"It's kinda like a colour Mac in that it 
has the same processor. But the Amiga 
in some sense is more like the Apple II, 
because it is built around the NTSC tele- 
vision standard. It has the limitations of 
NTSC. It will never have the clarity of dis- 
play or the number of pixels that a Mac 



has. In the interface mode the Amiga flic- 
kers, making it less useful as an office 
machine." 

Hertzfeld is not impressed by Digital 
Research's GEM product: "The screen 
looks the same (as the Macintosh), but 
when you start using it you see the 
dynamic behaviour is quite different" 



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Micros at Work 



How to assess computer needs 



A common reason lor computer fai- 
lure is the business manager's total dis- 
interest in the system. 

A manager needs to know how to 
"drive" the system so that he/she can 
make crucial decisions as to the direc- 
tion of computerisation. 

The manager needs to be convinced 
of the benefits and to "sell" them to staff 
- negative reaction from the top will 
quickly rub off, and grind the computer 
to a halt. 

So once you are convinced and the 
appropriate software package is lo- 
cated, then review your hardware op- 
tions. 

Single screen or multi-user? Some 
systems will let you start with one screen 
then move to two or three. Some won't. 
If you need a second screen within two 
years allow for it now and build it into 
your needs now. 



Asian imports 



Simply, we tread warily of the Asian- 
sou reed PCs. 

One brand in particular is proving too 
unreliable, and a few others also appear 
to lack expected standards of quality 
control or on-going support. 

If you are a large corporate buying a 
30-plus-10 pack then it's not the end of 
the world because mainstream proces- 
sing will be on a large, reliable machine. 

But if you are a small business and 
all your accounts are on a cheap micro 
and it fails, then your records are locked 
up and you are snookered. You could 
lose your machine for several days while 
it is being checked over. 

You can't afford these disruptions. 
What happens to payroll? Do you ask 
your employees to stop eating until you 
can pay them? 

Spend a little more for reliability. 

Hard disk is essential. The price differ- 
ence is nothing, but convenience is 
dramatic. 

Forget the dual floppy unless you're 
an accountant. 

What size hard disk? Allow for growth 
in your volumes and present that to the 
computer suppliers, and let them calcu- 
late your storage needs. 



Justifying buy 



Now that we know what to expect in 
a PC, how do we determine whether we 
need one. 

Where do we start?) 

Start by looking at areas of your bus- 
iness that are particularly labour inten- 



sive and ask yourself: 

- are these tasks repetitive, 

- is there a lot of mathematical number 
crunching, 

- are we forever analysing figures, 

- do we spend a lot of time budgeting 
using analysis paper, pencils and rub- 
bers, 

- do we type documents containing 
similar phrases time after time, 

- do we find ready accessibility to our 
systems difficult. 

OK so we have established that a 
computer system may be of benefit. 
Where to from here? 

Firstly, as a businessperson you need 
to recognise the likely cost of computer 
system before you start assessing alter- 
natives. We find, as a guide only , that 
a companyt ought to look at investing 
1 Vs% x turnover on a computer system. 
If you are a $2m turnover company then 
$30,000 could be your investment level . 

Don't expect to pay home computer 
prices for a business solution. 

Now we get down to setting some pre- 
requisites before proceeding further. 

An expression has been coined in the 
computer profession: GIGO, meaning 
"garbage in, garbage out". In other 
words, don't feed in tripe at one end and 
expect fillet steak at the other. This ties 
back to the fact that a computer system 
will be a disaster if existing manual sys- 
tems are poor. 

Be certain to get manual systems on 
to a good footing before introducing a 
computer - otherwise a computer will 
merely highlight existing organisational 
problems. 

Give examples of the flow of paper 
from inwards goods to the operator. 

We should establish three things: 

1. justification for installing a computer 
system, 

2. a rough cost figure, 

3. existing manual systems being 
sound. 

Now let's look at software. 

Forget the machine at this stage, be- 
cause the software will determine suc- 
cessful application, not the computer. 

So we look at those areas of business 
justifying computerisation and relate 
them to existing software for: debtors, 
inventory, invoicing, creditors, payroll, 
product costings, sales analysis, job 
costings, time and cost, financial report- 
ing, budgeting, etc. In defining the areas 
that we would possibly computerise we 
also note down existing volumes of 
work. For example, in debtors, note 
number of customers, number of in- 
voices per day, number of month-end 
statements. 

It is also important to note per system 




In this regular column we keep the 
business person in touch with develop- 
ments in the microcomputer industry. 

The research reports are from Phil 
Ashton and Grant Furley at MicroLab, a 
"neutral" d.p. consultancy established 
by the accountancy KMG Kendons, in 
Auckland. 

your needs, particularly of reports. Di- 
vide these needs into essential and use- 
ful. 

Microlab helps to define these needs 
for our clients as they are often difficult 
to prepare. 

All software on the market now is re- 
ferred to as packaged or pre-written 
software. 

As consultants we suggest you stay 
with existing software as it is: cheaper, 
more reliable, widely supported, availa- 
ble now. 

With the disadvantage that it may not 
satisfy more than 80% of our needs, we 
need to find atl your essential features 
in the software and as many useful fea- 
tures as possible. 

In "fitting" the software we can also 
consider support issues, such as the 
"hand-holding" at the installation stage, 
likely upgrades and portability to a multi- 
user system. 

Many smaller businesses are being 
compelled to look at computers solely 
because of GST. 

It would be a mistake to underesti- 
mate what will be expected of you in 
terms of GST records and returns. 

Unfortunately some of our software 
houses are underestimating what is re- 
quired by releasing products with 'GST 
built-in' - which really only accounts as 
a sales tax calculation. 

Finally, you personally do have to be 
committed to this project, and to making 
it work. 

kWWWWWWWV 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 35 



Software review 



Easy word processor 

Easy for first-timers 



by Selwyn Arrow 



If you have never used a word proces- 
sor before or you have been frightened 
off by their apparent complexities then 
Easy could be just what you have been 
waiting for. 

Recently released for the IBM PC 
{and clones) by Micropro, the same 
people who brought us Wordstar all 
those years ago in 1978, this package 
certainly lives up to its name. 

Sophisticated enough for every day 
use, it is easy to learn; unlike its controv- 
ersial predecessor which makes heavy 
use of the control key and multiple key 
strikes to achieve a multitude of func- 
tions. 

Easy is completely menu driven using 
pop-up windows and a highlight bar to 
allow selection of commands from a 
subset of the original Wordstar com- 
mands. 

Using only a subset means some 
more advanced edit features are not 
available, but for the first time or occa- 
sional user it still offers plenty. 

It includes a help index and screens 
for each function, which can be turned 
off as you become more familiar with 
their use. 



A selection of 19 editing functions in 
two windows are available at the press 
of function key 2, and a 65,000 word dic- 
tionary. 

On this last item you can have as 
many personal dictionaries as you wish, 
within the limits of disk space. 

A selection of personal dictionaries, 
each for a different topic (i.e. technical, 
correspondence, business) is good 
value. 

Unlike some word processors, Easy is 
not limited to available RAM (from the 
256K minimum) for each document, but 
limited only by the available disk space. 

If you have been reluctant to use a 
word processor in the past because they 
are too complex (a la Wordstar) and 
appear to require months of use to 
become proficient, then Easy should suit 
you. 

Although quite compatible internally 
with the three current varieties of 
Wordstar, it bears no resemblance to 
any of them in use or in its screen pre- 
sentation. 

It is obviously designed for small office 
use as it can handle one line headers 
and footers plus page numbering start- 
ing anywhere in a document. These use 
the familiar dot commands where a new 
line starts with a dot followed by a two 
letter command then comments as 
required. 



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After installing and using Easy to do 
this review I found both good and irk- 
some points. 

First up, Easy is very simple to set up 
on floppy disks (4 required) and even 
easier (sic) on a hard disk system as it 
leads you by the hand as it were — even 
setting up its own sub-directory in the lat- 
ter case. 

It comes with a very good tutorial, 
even giving typical times for working 
through each state. 

On top of that it keeps a personal 
record of what you have completed, so 
that if you need to come back to the tuto- 
rial at a later date there are ticks on the 
menu next to your completed sections. 

Setting it up for printing was a breeze: 
would you believe there are set-up 
details for over 1 25 different makes and 
models of printers given in the hand- 
book. 

One debatable point I found was its 
habit of reformatting text after I made my 
usual deletions and additions to earlier 
text. Several times I deleted several 
characters more than I required as the 
text jumped back and forth. 

Fortunately this auto-formatting can 
be disengaged. 

One design shortcoming appears 
when moving blocks of text. There is a 
limit of 750 characters able to be moved 
at one time, i.e. only 8 or 9 lines. 

To overcome this the handbook did 
suggest deleting any large block of text 
to be moved and then restoring it to the 
desired position with the Restore 
Deleted Text menu function. 

I would not like to be disturbed in the 
middle of such a process as all could 
easily be lost! 

In evaluating this product I found Easy 
very simple to install, to learn and to use, 
and worthwhile value at $340 {taking 
into consideration its intended beginner- 
and-occasional-user target). 



I I 

Software summary 


Name 


Easy 


Function 


Word processor 


Manufacturer 


Micropro 


Cost 


$340 


Memory required (min) 


256K 


Copyprotected 
Tutorial on disk 


No 


Yes 


Max file size (approx) 


Disk capacity 


Machine type 


IBM PC and compatibles 


Operating system 
Number of drives (min) 


MS-DOS 


Two 


Ratings: 


Ease of use 4, Getting started 5, 




Manual 5, Value for money 5. 


Review copy from Imagineering Micro Distributors Ltd. 







36 Bits & Bytes - June 1985 



Questions & Answers A new series 



Do you get scrambled eggs? 



by Geoff McCaughan 

Before we get started with Q&A, a 
word or two about the sort of questions 
we will be answering. 

Questions on virtually all aspects of 
computing are welcome: hardware, 
software, programming, interfacing, and 
communications are our bread and but- 
ter. Some of the more esoteric queries 
may take some time to research, but we 
will do our best to provide an answer to 
all your questions where possible. 

Regrettably, we are unable to tell you 
how to overcome the forces of evil in 
'Attack of the Sludge Monster', and we 
have no idea how to escape the clutches 
of the mutant arkleseizure 's mother-in- 
law in 'The Road to Frustration '. If you 
MUST know, we will publish your ques- 
tion in the hope that other readers will 
be able to help. 

Subject: DOS 

System: Commodore 64/1541 
(Q) I have some disks with duplicate 
IDs, is it sufficient to change the ID 
located in the BAM? 

(A) NO! The disk ID on Track 18, Sec- 
tor is actually part ot the Directory 
Header, and is tor the use ot the direc- 
tory only. 

When a disk is formatted a sector 
header is written to EVERY track and 
sector (that's why it takes a while). This 
header contains several items of infor- 
mation, one of which is the disk ID. 
When you insert a disk to the drive, the 
first thing it does is loads the BAM (Block 
Availability Map) into drive memory, as 
long as that disk is used the drive knows 
where everything is. 

The BAM is re-written to the disk every 
time a write file is closed. 

But what happens when we change 
disks? 

The BAM in memory then refers to a 
different disk, and any writes to the disk 
could write over existing information. 

The drive has to know when a disk 
has been changed and this is what it 
uses the ID for. 

When the disk reads or writes a sec- 
tor, the first thing it does is checks the 
sector header (which is how it knows 
which sector it is at) and one of the things 
it checks there is the disk ID, if the ID 
is different to the current one (the ID of 
the BAM in memory) the BAM is im- 
mediately loaded into memory again. 

Thus if we had two disks with the 
same ID, and we read off one, then 
wrote to the other, the drive would write 
to a free space as indicated by the BAM 
of the first disk, which could be space 



which is already used on the second 
disk. 

When the file is closed, the BAM of 
the first disk will be written to the second 
disk, which really scrambles things up. 

As you can see, unique disk IDs are 
vital, and duplicates should be changed 
without delay. 

The only time duplicate IDs are 
(barely) acceptable is if both disks are 
read-only e.g. write protected program 
disks (and on backups of course). 

The only way to change duplicate IDs 
is to format a disk with a unique ID and 
transfer all the files from one of your 
disks onto it. Note that the DOS never 
reads the ID on the directory header, so 
changing that will only confuse you, 
when you see a unique ID on the direc- 
tory, and your files still get turned to 
scrambled eggs. 

Subject: Memory 

(Q) What is BANK SWITCHED MEM- 
ORY, and how does It work, and why 
Is it used, and what are its limitations 
when used? 

{A) Bank Switched Memory, as op- 
posed to Mapped Memory, is becoming 
more common with the increasing mem- 
ory sizes of today's small computers. 

When the 9-bit processors in use 
today were designed, they all had a 1 6- 
bit address bus, which allows up to 64k 
of memory to be mapped. Back then a 
microcomputer that actually had 64k of 
memory was virtually undreamt-of. 



But the times, they are a-changing, 
and 64k of RAM is as common as mud 
these days. 

However, if your computer has 64k 
(or more) of RAM plus (say) 1 6k of ROM, 
and the processor can only address a 
total of 64k, you clearly have a problem. 

The solution is to use one of a number 
of varying types of Bank Switching. 

This is achieved by setting aside an 
area of address space {usually 8 or 1 6k) 
into which the left over' memory is 
switched (or paged) as required. Instead 
of having the memory spread out like a 
map, it is arranged like the pages of a 
book, so you can only 'see' one page 
at a time. By means of bank switching, 
a computer with only 64k of address 
space can have virtually unlimited mem- 
ory added. 

As you have doubtless surmised, 
there are problems and limitations with 
this sort of arrangement. 

The most obvious problem is speed. 

The extra memory not only has to be 
switched as required, but also needs 
some means of keeping track of what 
information is in which bank must be 
achieved - this processing overhead 
can significantly slow down an applica- 
tion which stores information in several 
banks. 

There are other problems, for in- 
stance some of the latest BASICS make 
provision for bank switching by storing 
variables or graphics screens in different 
banks, but most BASICS require a con- 



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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 37 



Questions & Answers A new series 



tinuous block of memory to work in, and 
very few other languages make explicit 
provision for bank switched memory. 

Therefore using the extra memory 
makes more work for the programmer 
{and his program). 

Subject: Terminology 
(Q) Just what is meant by the term 
'Masked ROM', how is it different to 
ordinary ROM? 

(A) Masked ROM is the term used to 
denote ROM which has the program 
placed in it during the manufacturing 
process. 

As this process is largely photo- 
graphic in nature, with each layer of the 
semiconductor substrate being selec- 
tively etched or not etched, the selection 
being done with a 'mask', the derivation 
of the term is obvious. 

The other main types of ROM are 
PROMs (Programmable ROM) and EP- 
ROMs (Erasable PROM). In both cases 
the chip is programmed after the man- 
ufacturing process, often by the end 
user. 

The term 'Masked ROM' is usually 
used when it is necessary to differentiate 
between ROMs and PROMs of one sort 
or another. So, in fact Masked ROM is 
'ordinary' ROM; there is no difference. 

Why the different types? 

EPROMs are great for equipment 



which may have to be customised, pro- 
totypes, or for low volume work. 

Masked ROM is cheaper, but only in 
large quantities (several thousands) 
plus. 

If you go ahead and order your 
Masked ROMs and discover a bug after- 
wards, you have the choice of using the 
bug ridden software, or throwing out 
several thousand dollars worth of chips. 
For this reason early versions of 
hardware are sometimes released with 
firmware in EPROM, and Masked ROMs 
come along after a few months or so. 

Subject: Trig, functions 
System: Apple lie 
(Q) I have found that SIN and COS 
give strange values that do not make 
sense, is this a bug, or is my compu- 
ter faulty? 

(A) Most likely there is no bug , and your 
computer is not faulty. 

People get into trouble the first time 
they use trig, functions on a computer. 

The Apple II series, and many other 
computers, expect an argument in ra- 
dians to follow a trignometric function, 
whereas humans are usually used to 
working in degrees. 

So what is a radian then? 

Radians are just another means of 
measuring angles; degrees are a purely 
arbitrary form of measurement, and as 



arbitrary forms of measurement are not 
very popular in mathematical circles (no 
pun intended) it was decided to use a 
measurement that related the circumfer- 
ence of a circle to the radius. 

A whole circle (360) degrees is equal 
to 6.28318530717 (2*pi) radians, and 
one radian equals 57.295779513 de- 
grees. 

Great, now you can't even use whole 
numbers to divide a circle. 

Why Radians are used so often in 
computers escapes me, because the 
vast majority of programs just have to 
convert back to degrees. After all, 45 
degrees is a whole lot more meaningful 
to most people than 0.785398163395 
radians! 

To use your trig, functions with de- 
grees, first multiply by pi/180 thus: 

100 PI = 3.14159265358: RA = PI/1 80 

110 INPUT"Angle in Degrees";A 

120 PRINT SIN(A*RA) 

Finally, if your computer doesn't have 
a built-in pi constant, try this mnemonic 
- count the letters of each word to obtain 
pi to 7 decimal places: "How I Wish I 
Could Enumerate Pi Easily". 

Subject: Boolean Logic 
System: Commodore 64. 
(Q) How can I do an Exclusive OR 
in Basic? 

(A) Two ways: 



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3fl Bits & Bytes -June 1986 



Questions & Answers A new series 



1. Do the XOR in machine language. 
100 REM Setup the ML 

110 Data 77,13,3,96 

120 FOR X = 679 to 682:READ Y: 

POKE X,Y:NEXT 
900 REM Do the XOR 
1 000 POKE 780,A: POKE 781 ,B: SYS 
679:C = PEEK(780) 

2. If you MUST use Basic, try this. 
1000 C = (A OR B) AND (32767-(A 

AND B)) 
In both cases line 1 000 is the equiva- 
lent of C = A XOR B. Of course you 
could use a REAL language and you 
won't have the problem. 

Subject: Declaring Variables 
(Q) What is meant by the term 'dec- 
laring variables', and why Is this 
necessary? 

(A) Firstly, it should be noted that in 
most Basics, variable declaration is not 
necessary. 

However in some versions of Basic it 
can be advantageous to assign fre- 
quently used variables first. These var- 
iables will then be located at the start of 
the variable table and can be accessed 
faster consequently. 

When this is done you will see a line 
at the start of a program like this: 

100 A=0:B=0:C=1 :T=0:X=10 

It should also be noted that most 
Basics initialise variables to zero, i.e. the 
first usage of a variable will find a value 
of zero if a value has not previously been 
assigned. This is by no means a univer- 
sal rule. 

The one time you must declare vari- 
ables from Basic is when dimensioning 
arrays, the statement 

100 DIM X(100) 
tells the interpreter to assign a certain 
amount of array space for X(}, 

The situation is considerably different 
with a compiled language. Normally a 
compiled language requires explicit de- 
claration of all variables, constants and 
data before the beginning of the prog- 
ram. 

Examples: 

The Pascal VAR declaration: 

VAR A,B : REAL; 
I.J.K : INTEGER; 
TEST : BOOLEAN; 

Declares variables A & B as real, I, J, 
& K as integer and TEST as boolean 
(i.e. either true or false). 

The PROMAL global declaration: 

CON FULL PAGE = 40 

CON VECTOR = $02C7 

BYTE VIDARRAY [54] 

BYTE SYNBYTE 

BYTE TSFLAG 

INT PAGE 

WORD WSPOINT 

DATA BYTE POWER2 [] = 0,2,4,8, 1 6, 
32,64,128 

Declares two constants, FULL PAGE 
and VECTOR (constant type is implicit), 
a 54-etement byte array, two byte vari- 



ables SYNBYTE and TSFLAG, an in- 
teger variable PAGE, and a word vari- 
able WSPOINT (both two bytes). Finally 
a DATA declaration specifies a byte 
array POWER2. 

Note that the DATA declaration alone 
suffices to initialise the array POWER2 
without the need for a READ loop as 
would be required by Basic. 

The compiler is also smart enough to 
count the data elements, so there is no 
need for an array dimension. 

Comal DIM declaration: 
DIM link$ OF 2 
DIM validkey (32:90) 
DIM filesize (1:144) 
DIM filenames (1:144) OF 16 
Comal is a little different. 
String lengths must be declared, as 
in link$, the following three declarations 
are for arrays. 

Arrays may be dimensioned not only 
for size, but also for the required starting 
and ending indices. 

The siring array dimension is foliowed 
by the string length. 

Comal does not require declaration of 
other variable types, but does require 
explicit variable and constant assign- 
ment. 



All three languages 1 have mentioned 
here allow local variables, it is usual for 
local variable declarations to be made 
in the same manner as globals, but the 
declaration occurs at the start of the pro- 
cedure or function to which they are 
local. 

Now all this probably sounds like an 
awful lot of work to go to just so your 
program knows what variables it is sup- 
posed to be using, and for someone who 
has only ever used Basic it is. 

But in the long run the declaration re- 
quirement becomes second nature and 
it can save a lot of problems when it 
comes to deciding if a variable has been 
used before or not. 

In addition, it is worthwhile remember- 
ing that variable declaration goes a long 
way to making a compiler more efficient 
and therefore faster, a point that will not 
be lost on anyone who has used com- 
piled languages to any extent. ■ 





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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 39 




•II 



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BETWEEN DOT AND DAISY. 

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40 Bits & Bytes - June 1 986 



CLAUDE 3127 



Sega 



Grappling with 3-D graphics 



by Dick Williams 



This month I want to explain the use 
of matrix transformations for 3D 
graphics. This is a bit complicated but 
the subject of computer graphics is such 
an important one that it is well worth 
spending a little time coming to grips 
with the underlying mathematics of the 
subject. 

Last month I showed how to alter a 2 
dimension shape on screen with move- 
ment scaling and rotation about the 
centrally positioned X,Y axis. The 
method used was to erase the shape 
on screen then to alter the X and Y val- 
ues for each point, and to redraw the 
altered shape on screen by joining up 
the new points. 

If the shape had to be moved 30 pixels 
to the right all that was needed was to 
add 30 to each of the X co-ordinates 
and redraw, and the shape was moved 
the required distance. The same method 
of direct control (using equations) was 
also used to obtain scaling and rotation. 

The method I used is good for show- 
ing the basic principles of shape man- 



□LB 

4 


* MATRIX 


DIAGRAM I W 
= MEU CO-ORDINATES 
4- ^,-2*2 


x 

Y 


A B 

E F 


X= 
Y= 


X*A ♦ Y*E 
X*E + Y*F 


k~ ,3*3 
J <t*4 
















x 

Y 

u 


ABC 
E F S 

I J K 


X= 
Y= 


X*A * Y*B + IJ*C 
X*E * Y*F + U*6 

X*l + Y*J + U*K 




7 












X 
Y 

z 
u 


ABC] 
E F S H 

I J K L 
M H D P 


Y = 

z= 


X*A + Y*B + Z*C * U*D 
X*E + YtF + 2*6 + U*H 
Ml * Y*J + Z*K + tJ*L 

x*m + y*n + z*n + u*P 







Basic Keywords for the 
Apple III 



Eddie Adamis Wiley. 

Books about that unfortunate citrus 
fruit, the Apple III, are quite rare - as are 
the computers themselves, so this title is 
unlikely to have mass appeal . It contains 
one page explanations of every Basic 
statement supported on the Apple III, 
and does a very capable job of explain- 
ing them. 

-Mike Wall 



ipulation and getting going, but is limited 
in scope for more complex drawing such 
as 3D graphics. 

Before getting into the details I should 
mention that most home computers are 
not fast enough or have sufficient mem- 
ory on board for acceptable real time 
3D graphics. Some models with fast 
basic can almost create the impression 
of realism, but this is only with simple 
wire shapes and it's not until you get up 
into high speed 1 6 and 32 bit units that 
you can get better graphics and that's 
only by pushing everything to the very 
extreme of the computers ability. 

The next step up to custom machines 
made specially lor high speed graphics 
drops the bank balance to a large minus 
figure and even then there are limita- 
tions on the performance obtainable. 

An ordinary colour television set is 
capable of reproducing very lifelike im- 
ages when receiving pictures from the 
tv stations. These images are transmit- 
ted at the rate of 50 half-pictures or 25 
total pictures every second. This trans- 
mission rate is sufficient to show a 
smooth movement picture that is pre- 
sented to our eyes every 25th of a sec- 
ond. 



EIASRAM 2 DIJ 
3*3 MATRIX HELD IN 3*3 ARRAY EG. R 

^ 12 3 



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R3 


! 


■J 


K 



SCALE 



ROTATE 



SFx 





Ci 





SFy 











1 



CDS* 


-SIM* 


a 


SIMa 


CDS* 


o 








! 



mf=mdue 

FACTOR 



SF=SCALE 
FACTOR 



CDSa=CD'5an.3le a 
SI Ha 'SI Mangle a 



3*3 matrioe For 2 dimension draining 



EXAMPLE OF SCALING 
USING 3*3 MATRIX 



MATRIX REPRESENTED 
EY 3*3 ARRAY ft 
INITIALISED TQ 



DIAGRAM 3 

_J 2 

Rl 
R2 
R3 



DIJ 



[1 


11 


[i 


fl 


Ij 


'.i 


(1 


3 


1 



._ ect scile fiic tor 2 (double size) 
Alter array elements RO.!>=2 R<2>2^2 



x» 


X*? 


+ 


Y*0 


+ 


w*o 


7 


XX2 


Y- 


x*o 


+ 


Y*2 


+■ 


u*o 


- 


Y*2 


IJ = 


x*o 


¥ 


Y*0 


+ 


U*l 


- 


IJ 



array equations from diagram 1 



The new X and Y values -for- a point are 
doubled. THE U item is added to present 
a uniform 3*3 or "1*4 matrix and after* 
calculations are Finished U should be 
tested to see if it'S value is i.IF not 
then fjy x/u and u^u mw be rjeegsssra. 



Considering their low cost, computers 
can produce good images also, but 
there is a "wait time" while the computer 
calculates the next image ready for dis- 
play by the tv or monitor. 

3D graphics requires an ability to 
create an illusion of depth. 

To this effect we must establish (liter- 
ally) a point of view and 3-D impres- 
sions, but on a 2-dimension plane (the 
screen). 

Drawing a realistic looking apple on 
a piece of paper requires you to draw 
in three dimension, you have to draw 
across the paper (the X dimension), you 
have to draw up and down the paper 
(the Y dimension) and you have to draw 
into the paper and out of the paper (the 
Z dimension). As it is not possible to 
actually draw into or out of the paper, 
your drawing must create the impres- 
sion that you have done so. 

When you draw a 3D object on screen 
you have to use a method of TRANS- 
LATING the three co-ordinates of a point 
(X,Y,Z) into 2 co-ordinates (X and Y). 

How do we go about handling this 
translation, how do we look after the 
"point of view", how do we relate the X 
and Y pixel values with real world units 
of measurement? 

The answer is easy: we use "matrix 
transormations" . 

Matrices (plural of matrix) are availa- 
ble from the maths books which will 
handle scaling or rotation or translation 
(movement), one at a time or combined 
into one matrix to handle all three or 
more operations. 

Diagram one shows three matrices, 
the first and simplest being a 2 by 2. 
This would be quite satisfactory for 2D 
except that it won't handle movement. 

For movement we need 3 columns 
and it would be possible to have a 3 by 

2 matrix, but this is not considered good 
maths, so we add another row and end 
up with a 3 by 3 matrix. This enables us 
to calculate the new X value, the new Y 
value and a value for W which in 2D 
graphics is not needed. The last one is 
a 4 by 4 matrix suitable for 3D graphics. 

Diagram two shows how the 3 by 3 
matrix for 2D graphics is arranged for 
movement, scaling, or rotation. Comput- 
ers don't start out with matrices built in, 
but a directly equivalent implementation 
can be obtained with an array such as, 
DIM R (3,3). 

The array R has been defined to have 

3 columns across and 3 rows down with 
a total of 9 cells altogether just like a 3 
by 3 matrix. The next step is to place 

Bits & Bytes - June 1986 41 



Sega 



suitable values in each cell for move- 
ment, scaling or rotation as shown in 
diagram 2 and multiply the old X,Y val- 
ues by the values held in the array in 
the manner shown in diagram 1 and you 
have a new X and Y value for a point 
plus a spare W which is not used. 

You have to do this for point 1 and 
point 2 and as many points as the shape 
has. You can start to see the amount of 
calculation required of the computer. 

Diagram three shows a worked exam- 
ple in 2D graphics lor scaling by 2 
(doubling in size). 

The 3 by 3 array is initialised (set up 
from start) to hold the values of except 
for the bottom right cell which has 1 
placed in it. 

The scaling factor of 2 is placed in the 
appropriate cells of the array, and the 
new X and Y values are calculated. 

The new X,Y values turn out to be 
twice the old X,Y values which is what 
you would expect for a doubli ng of size . 

The text at the bottom of diagram 3 
describes how the W value may need 
testing after calculations have been 
completed. 

This is not necessary for 2D graphics 
and the W value can be ignored but it 
does come into play in 3D graphics. 



A short program is included to show 
a 3D shape (a cube) on screen. The 
program lets you try out different 
perspective views of the cube to see 
which looks the most matural, and ad- 
justment is by the up/down and left/right 
cursor keys. 
le reh 3D cube nw 



20 SCREEN 2,2:P0£iriCN [105,75] 
30 X=500 :T=500 :?*4000 : 



REH 



IBS) R£n CUBE POINT FIND l INE PflTfi 
liS) DIWC2BJ,T(2e:,iC2BJ,£t303,F[?BJ 
120 REM POINT (mTft 

139 DATA ,0 ,0 

1 40 DpTA E ,0 ,75 
150 DflTf* ,75,0 
160 DPTP ,75, 75 
170 DPTP 75,0 ,0 
1S0 DATA 75,0 , 75 
130 DATA 75,75,0 
700 DATA 75,75, 75 

210 REM LINE DPTfl 

270 DPTP 0,1,4,5,6,2,2,0,1,5,5,7 
230 PRTfl 7,3,3,1,0,1,4,5,6,7,2,3 

710 REH READ X,T,£ POINT DATA 

250 FOU P=0 TO 7 

260 READ X(PJ,-r[P),Jtr} -NEXT 

276 REfl REPP I. I HE START 6N0 FINISH--- 

280 FOR P>0 TO ! I 

790 READ SCPl.FCP) :NEXT 

388 Dill Pt70:,B(20J: REP 



100 REP CURSOR KET CONTROL 

110 CURSOR-30, 95:PRJNT "X* 500 T= 500 

FRE5S CR TO REDRAU OR N 
120 Ti=]NKE"f* 

130 IF rs=CHR*[78J THEM X^X-100 
140 IF Tt=CHR*[29) THEM X-X+100 
150 IF Tt=CHRi[30) THEN T-Y+I00 
160 IF T*=CHRIC3jJ THEN f=T-l00 
470 IF ft=CHRifl3) THEN 600 
4B0 I FY I = "N" THE NX = 500 :T=500 -GOTO60B 
43B CURSOR- 30,]0S:pR]NT CHRI< 5) ; "#■ " ; 
?■ ;" '■; ,, Y= ,, ;T 
500 GOTO <t;0 : R Ef1 



600 REn TRWSFORIWION DF P01NTS- 

610 FOR P=0 TO 7 

620 A(P)= X(PJ * I t JCP) * X 

630 BCPJ- TCP] * 2 f 2[Pi * T 

610 U=?[P )-Z 

650 ft(P)=fl[P)yy +50 

660 BCPJ=BIPVW tS0 :NEXT: 



REn 



70S REH DRPU CUBE 

710 CLS:FOR P=0 TO 1 I 

720 S-S(P):F-F(P) 

730 L]NE[A(SJ,BCS]J-CACF),BfF)J, 1 

740 NEXT :GOTO 400 




BINDERS! 

for BITS & BYTES 



$17.95 EACH 



We now have available 

binders to hold your copies of BITS & BYTES, 

We have opted for the same type of binder 

used last year (pictured) as these provide 
high quality protection in an attractive finish. 
These are available in two styles. 

STYLE 1: With the words "BITS & BYTES, VOL 3, 

September 1984-August 1985". 
(For those who have a complete volume.) 

STYLE 2: With the words "BITS & BYTES" only. 

(For recent subscribers or those with a mixture of volumes) 
Each Binder holds ll magazines 

Order now as stocks are limited!! 
Please use the book club order form in the 
centre of the magazine and be sure to 
note which style of wording you require. 



Cost: $17.95 per binder 




42 Bits & Byles - June 1986 



Atari 



256K and beyond? 

by Harvey Kong Tin 



For those of you who cannot afford 
an Atari ST - you can think about in- 
creasing the memory of your 8-bit com- 
puter. 

If you have an Atari 800XL (or 
1200XL), there is an upgrade called 
Rambo XL which will increase the mem- 
ory of your computer Irom 64K to 256K, 
it is available from ICD -the Spartados 
company. 

Installation should be done by some- 
one very experienced with hardware 
modifications. 

The upgrade itself consists of a small 
circuit board. 

Existing 8K chips are removed (some 
800XLs have them soldered in, which 
means it can be time consuming to get 
them out) - if they are socketed, then 
it's no problem. 

They are then replaced with the 256K 
chips (correct handling must be ob- 
served or else you can destroy them 
easily). 

A chip is replaced with the Rambo 
board. 

Jumpers and a ribbon cable are con- 
nected. 

With careful installation, it is possible 
to reverse the process - if you wish to 
change your computer back. You may 
like to hang on to your old memory chips 
for this reason. 

Full instructions are provided. 

Compatibility 

Once you have it up and running, you 
wiil find it compatible with the existing 
RAMDISK.COM file on DOS 2,5, which 
only provides you with a 64K Ramdisk 
-like the 130XE. 

My board extension has already 
tested the Basic XE, Synfile+ and 
Paperclip, and all functions as with a 
130XE. 

Paperclip can be configured to use 
the full memory, according to its man- 
ufacturer's claims. 

Rambrandt, the drawing program, 
works OK storing screens in the extra 
memory. Only Basic XE will allow you 
to use the extra memory for bigger Basic 
programs - normally there is only 32K 
free to use. 

Rambo XL claims compatibility with 
the 130XE in CPU mode and not Antic 
mode. 

There have been programs de- 
monstrating the Antic access mode in 
Antic and Analog which flip into the extra 
memory -these will not work on Rambo. 

If you get Dickering with a program, 
this can be avoided by keeping the dis- 
play list out of $4O00-$7FFF. 



So far as I know, there is no commer- 
cial program using Antic access on the 
130XE - it's not a very efficient way of 
using the extra memory, as using it via 
ramdisk allows for compaction of sc- 
reens. 

ICD is a company which apparently 
supports an upgrade policy, so if there 
is a need for improved modifications to 
Rambo XL, they could provide it. 

Essential DOS 



Spartados is essential to set up the 
extra memory as a 192K Ramdisk. 

You will need a fast and powerful DOS 
like Spartados to move files around con- 
veniently. The new ramdisk file 
RD.COM sets it up, and SC0PY.COM 
can copy at high speed (via reading 
tracks, not sectors). 



Rambo XL 256K 
upgrade 



Before getting Spartados it is recom- 
mended that you buy the US Doubler 
1050 upgrade first, because you get the 
latest Spartados with it. This hardware 
upgrades the 1050 to true double de- 
nsity and provides a high speed skew 
alignment mode for use with Spartados. 

Again - the US Doubler must be fitted 
by someone experienced with hardware 
mods - full instructions are provided. A 
180K disk drive and a 192K ramdisk 
makes sense, rather than staying with 
a standard 130K disk drive. 

MS DOS and TOP DOS are reported 
to be supporting the Rambo XL upgrade 
too, according to ICD. 

130XE owners need not sell their 
computers to upgrade to more memory 
either, as it is possible to upgrade an 
XE to 320K with a 256K ramdisk. 

But so far no company markets such 
an upgrade. 

However, there is already the approp- 
riate Ramdisk support file on the latest 
Spartados, called RD260.COM. 

For programmers 

Those who have used a 1 30XE (I pre- 
viously owned one) - will know how 
great it is to use a Ramdisk. However 
192K is a much more useful area than 
64K to use. 



Assembly Language programmers in 
particular should appreciate the speed 
involved when you assemble from and 
write to a 1 92K Ramdisk for your large 
source files. 

There was an article which appeared 
in the Sept 1985 issue of BYTE 
magazine, about how to upgrade a 
800XL to 256K. Full details were pro- 
vided. Unfortunately it did not claim com- 
patibility with any 130XE software. 

Rambo XL sells for US$49.95, and 
the 256K chips are available for 
US$30.00 extra. They are available 
from: ICD Inc, 1220 Rock Street, 
Rockf ord , I L 6 1 1 01 - 1 437, United States. 

NOTE: You shouJd be able to buy the 
256K DRAMs locally, but first buy the 
upgrade to find out what type are re- 
quired! 




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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 43 



Atari 



Identity Quest 

Deletions and removals byB - A Bridger 



by Savern Reweti 

These mini programs or subroutines 
will enhance your programming ability. 
Also they will enable you to overcome 
any shortcomings that Atari Basic might 
have. 

One major problem I have had while 
programming in Atari Basic has been 
the lack of a DELETE function. Atari 
Basic will quite happily allow you to de- 
lete a single line at a time but has no 
capability to delete a whole block of 
lines. 

Therefore I have produced a program 
that will do the job. 

Type it in carefully then list it to disk 
or cassette (ie LIST C: OR LIST D:). 

Then when you have loaded the prog- 
ram you wish to work on, ENTER the 
DELETE program and it will merge with 
your main one. 

To use it simply GOTO 32000 and 
answer the prompts. When you have 
completed your main program and wish 
to save it, GOTO 32100 will erase the 
DELETE program. 



The next program will delete all Rem's 
from your BASIC program. 

Remember that when you write your 
program you must ensure that there are 
no GOSUB or GOTO's that are directed 
to a REM statement. 

This program works the same as the 
first, you must load your main program 
and then ENTER this program. 

When you have completed your main 
program and wish to remove all the 
REM's then GOTO 31500, GOTO 
31 51 5 will erase the REM remover prog- 
ram. 



320C5 
320^ 
?20I2 
RT: 1 
FiTEP 
32020 
>31<?9 
32030 
EM<5 
32030 
T303A 
320A0 
5 TOP 


320P0 

" DEL 



REM PRPSPAM H'JS DELETION 

GRAPHIC? 

'RAF ?ZOi<?:POKE E^ , 1 1 

7 "DELETE";' "3TART NO";:INPUT STA 
■Ewr HQ'i-INPUT EN:' "STEP" s : INPUT 
ST'START 

IF INTtSTARTX >ABS(START> OR START 
? THEN "> ;HR*!2S31 : GOTO 32010 

IF !HT(EN) :>AEE I EH) DR EN>319?¥ 3F. 
TART THEN 7 CHPSI253) : GOTO S201C 

GF.flPHICS c:' ;■» 

? STHPT:START=3TAPT'STEP 

» "CONTRAPOSITION 0,0;P0I £ 912,13) 

PrrKE S-32,l£;7~ 3TflRT<-EN T^Efr 3204 

r ^PH1CS 0:? "M^E NO " ISTI "-" iEiNt 
ETE3" : E~'ID 



RF"f REHDUER PG 1 

Sta^fl REM B REM REMOVES ■& 

3.1S8B TRftP TlSl^JCLH ! OF6^ t*i J ±2,0 I "SS" 

31SD1 ^-PE^Kf!3fO *756«PEEKC;^7: POKE 752, J. : DIM B5 C12SO .25=^" 

31102. K"T:L~PrrKC5*ZJ 

TJSBJ T-FE^r r5J4-356»FEEKr5«-U fXF T>327'i» THEN CLOSE (tl : EMU 

xi-so* tr prer tsuou <>e then sisiz 

31^*15 f CHRSI125J -POSITION 2,4:LIST T 

ItSR6 POSITION 2,+ 

71587 GET «1,T:IF T<>82 THEH 315B7 

3150B GET ttl,T!IE T<>69 THEH 31507 

71581 GET m,T!IF T<>77 THEN 31507 

31519 •> "«44«";BS; [POSITION 0,0 1 POKE 842 , 13 : POSI TION 2,10;? 

"CDNT"!POSTTION 2,2l5T0P 

31511 POKE 842,12:GOTO 315BZ 

31512 K=PEEKtK*S- iT-PFIXtK-tS-lJ :iF T<>22 ANE- Ti>iS3 i HEN 3i# 
OT 

3151.3 5=5+L!GTT0 31582 

31514 * "ERROR IC'JPFWtWS) 

T151S POfCe 752,01* til^»iPTr,"Tj;C>* Z,,f:FMi Jli3150fl JO 31516:7 K 

1151? PflSTTTOH 2,21:' »" POKE t4>i, Jl" :P«SIT10N 2,»:i>OKt 942,1 

44 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Adventure games don't normally 
appeal to me but I have become fasci- 
nated with this one. 

The aim is to find your name, which 
you have forgotten after waking in a 
strange place. 

While searching through The Temple 
of Sezeen' 'The Caves of Purb' The 
Ghoulish Coolish Greenish Forest' etc 
there is treasure to be found and traded, 
monsters to fight or run from, and at 
intervals the necessity to replenish your 
food and drink supply. 

Perhaps more use could have been 
made of visual and sound effects but 
these are probably regarded as distract- 
ing by the true adventure game 
enthusiast. 

A good feature is that any time an 
Mega! command is entered a list of the 
correct commands is displayed. 

The list of commands available to the 
player includes the usual ones for move- 
ment N S E W, eXamine, Drop and Get 
for dealing with objects, various ones 
(including a secret weapon) to use when 
confronting Monsters, and Eat, Drink 
and Inventory. 

The game can be saved to tape or disk 
at any point for continuation at another 
time. 

Continuing interest in the game is 
maintained by the different character of 
the game at different levels. 

Iquest is available on tape ($24.95) 
and versions are available for SV-328, 
expanded SV-31 8 and MSX computers. 
The program is marketed by Action 
Computers, Wellington South. ■ 



COMPUTER 

GAMES 

FOR HIRE 

Games available for weekly hire 
for the following computers: 

* AMSTRAD * APPLE 

* COM 64 * VIC 20 * BBC 

• ATARI * TRS 80/SYS 80 

Send for catalogue and 
membership details to: 

COMPUTER GAME RENTALS LTD 
P.O. BOX 30947, LOWER HUTT. 

Name ,. 

Address 

Type of Computer 



Spectrum. 



Program writing is child's play 



by Gary Parker 



There are not many new Spectrum 
books being published any more, due 
mainly to the fact that books on most 
subjects concerning the Spectrum are 
already available. 

But I have noticed an increasing 
number of books aimed at children ap- 
pearing, so this month I'll take a look at 
a few of these. 

Write your own programs 

by John Parry. Magnet Books. $4.95. 

This little 70-page book is designed 
to teach children computer program- 
ming. If explains programming in fairly 
simple language, giving lots of exam- 
ples. 

No target age-group is mentioned, but 
I'd say it would De most suited for 8 to 
1 6 year-olds. 

The type used is fairly small, so chil- 
dren at the lower end of that age range 
would have to be keen readers. 

"Write Your Own Programs!" is de- 
signed to work with most computers, but 
since this is a British book, the Spectrum 
is concentrated on. 

This does mean that there are some 
passages irrelevant to Spectrum users, 
and which may be confusing to children. 
But usually brand differences are well 
explained. 

Often a paragraph explaining the var- 
iations between computers is followed 
by a paragraph specifically for Sinclair 
users. 

The book begins with an explanation 
of how to use a keyboard, and leads 
into a step-by-step guide to program- 
ming. 

Each section explains a particular 
facet of programming in a clearly-writ- 
ten, logical sequence which children 
should find easy to understand. 

Since learning to program is hard 
work no matter which way you present 
it, the book will probably be most useful 
if adult help is available. 

I recommend this book to any Spec- 
trum-owning parent with children, and 
to teachers. 

Games for your ZX 

by Peter Shaw. Virgin Books. S8.95. 

This is a book of twenty-four game 
program listings which you can type in 
and run. The programs consist of Basic 
listings two or three pages in length - 
short enough for children to type in. 



The listings are made on a ZX printer, 
but they have reproduced fairly well and 
shouldn't be difficult to read. 

The book concludes with a short 
eight-page section on how to write better 
programs. 

This section explains how to come up 
with an idea for a game, how to structure 
this into a set of tasks, and how to turn 
these tasks into a program. 

While much of what is said will be 
more or less common sense to many 
people, it may be just enough to help a 
beginner click on to the idea. 

Many books explain how to program, 
but few explain how to turn a problem 
(in this case a game) into a program. 

As for the games, they are of reason- 
able quality (you can't expect too much 
from short Basic programs). 

I suspect that children used to com- 
mercial programs may be a little disap- 
pointed. 

But if this book gets kids involved in 
programming rather than just playing 
commercial games, then it will have 
served a useful purpose. 

The book would have been improved 
if the games had been accompanied by 
explanations of how they worked, be- 
cause as it stands it is little more than 
a collection of the sort of programs avail- 
able from magazines. 

The Bytes Brothers 

by Lois & Floyd McCoy. Armada. $4.95. 

This is part of a series of books aimed 
at children who are interested in comput- 
ers. 

The two I have seen are "The Bytes 
Brothers Record a Robbery" and "The 
Bytes Brothers Go to a Getaway". 

Each book contains several fictional 
short stories about the Bytes brothers 
and the adventures they have. 

The brothers use computers to help 
them solve mysteries, ,and the Basic 
programs they use are listed in the book. 

The programs are also explained, so 
these books not only present an i nterest- 
ing story but teach programming as well. 

You might think such an unlikely com- 
bination could not be successful, but I 
am amazed at how well the programs 
are integrated into the stories. 

At the end of each story, the reader 
has to try and work out how the Bytes 
brothers solved the mystery. Then a turn 
of the page reveals all. 

To give an example, in one story the 
Bytes Brothers help an archaeologist 



date some bones by writing a program 
which averages the amoung of lead 
found in the bones. 

At the end of the story, the reader has 
to guess what the results mean before 
turning the page and finding out how the 
brothers interpreted them. 

During the story, the program is listed 
and explained by the brothers. 

I think these books are winners. 
They're well-written, interesting, and 
high on reader involvement. What kid 
interested in computers could resist 
them? 



The Puffin dictionary of 
computer words 

by Robert W. Bly. Puffin Books. $6.95. 

As the title implies, this is a dictionary 
of computer jargon. 

If you often come across words in 
computer publications which you don't 
understand, this book would be invalu- 
able. 

It lists every imaginable word as- 
sociated with computers, from Abacus 
to Zuse, in a clear and often entertaining 
way. (What is a Zuse, I hear you ask? 
Konrad Zuse built the first computer to 
use binary code). 

The entries are clear and helpful, For 
example, under the entry Binary, you 
are not simply told what binary is, but 
taught how to perform binary addition 
as well. 

This book is not especially aimed at 
children, but I mention it here because 
its readable explanations and amusing 
cartoon drawings would make it also 
useful as a child's reference book. 



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Bils & Bytes - June 1986 45 



Spectravideo 



Tips on shrinking programmes 



by Don Stanley 

You have read in last month's Bits 
and Bytes that the Spectravideo impor- 
ter/distributor CDL, has ceased trading. 

What does this mean for the SVI 
owner in New Zealand? 

I spoke to Peter De Zwart (formerly 
CDL's SVI product manager) and he in- 
formed me another New Zealand com- 
pany is trying to obtain the SVI distribu- 
tion rights. Meanwhile MSX owners can 
seek support from South Auckland 
Computers, where Tom Johnson has 
bought SVI stocks from CDL. 

Now the bad news for 318/328 own- 
ers: SVI has discontinued production of 
the computers and peripherals. 

For recent buyers of cassette systems 
this will make expansion a little more 
difficult, however a number of people 
are moving from 8 to cheap 16-bit 
hardware, so keep an eye out for second 
hand SVI bargains. 

Software-wise both Action Computers 
and Pandasoft International locally sup- 
port the SV318/328 and MSX. 

There is a large user base for the 31 8/ 
328 in New Zealand, and I suggest 
people consider joining a users group 
for sourcing information. 

My bias is the Wellington group be- 
cause its newsletter is regular and use- 
ful, and offers technical expertise. 



Cramming 



A common question is how to write 
BASIC programs which grow outside of 
the 29k (21k for disk users) size limit. 
Often only a few more bytes are needed 
to complete the program, or maybe the 
program is complete but will not run in 
the remaining space. 

It is nothing unusual in programming 
to have to consider whether you need 
to sacrifice efficiency for space, particu- 
larly on a micro. 

Sort method X may be particularly fast 
but uses 3 times as much space as a 
simple bubble sort. 

This article considers ways of fitting 
in programs by using features of BASIC. 

Defining variables 

The first consideration is how to define 
variables. 

For numeric variables BASIC will al- 
ways assume them to be double preci- 
sion unless you tell it otherwise. Double 
precision means BASIC uses 8 bytes to 
store the value of your numeric variable. 

46 Bits a Bytes - June 1986 



But if your variable only uses integers, 
it's value can be stored in 2 bytes. 

If you don't need the high amount ot 
precision which 8 bytes gives, you store 
the variable as single precision, which 
uses 4 bytes of storage for the value. 

To define a variable to take only IN- 
TEGER values, use either a DEFINT in- 
struction or place a % after the variable 
name. The difference between the two 
instructions is that DEFINT needs a let- 
ter after it, and the instruction makes all 
variables starting with that letter be in- 
teger valued, while placing a percent 
sign after a variable name forces just 
that variable to be integer. 
DEFINT X all variables starting with an 
an X will be INTEGER 
unless forced otherwise 
XZ% = 10 -only variable XZ will be 

integer 
Forcing a variable to be SINGLE pre- 
cision is similar, A DEFSNG instruction 
can be used, or place a ! after the vari- 
able name. 
DEFSNG X- all variables starting with 
an X will be SINGLE PRE- 
CISION unless forced 
otherwise 
XZ!=3.13 - only variable XZ will be 
single precision 

For programs with lots of variables, a 
little thought can save a lot of space. 
Often you can reuse a variable some- 
where else in your program, after using 
it at an earlier point. 

A prime example is variables which 
exist solely for use in loops. Perhaps 
your program has a number of loops 
and you use a different variable as the 
loop counter in each. 20 loops would 
see 20 variables used and of course 
would require space for each of them. 

Provided your loops never need to call 
a subroutine with another loop, you can 
use the same loop variable for each. 

1 find it useful to call my loop variables 
L1, L2, L3... Generally I only need L1, 
but if L1 calls another loop I need L2 as 
well and so on. 

At this stage lets have a quick look at 
how BASIC stores values. 

When you run a program an area of 
memory is set aside called the variable 
table. This always begins 2 bytes after 
the end of your program. 

As each variable is encountered it is 
added to the variable table. For an in- 
teger variable, say X, the table looks like 
this (X = 648) 
B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 

2 X 88 02 (hex) 

B1 (Byte 1) is the variable type and 
will be 2 for integers, 4 for single preci- 
sion, 8 for double precision and 3 for 
Strings. 



B2 and B3 are the variable name. B3 
is a null byte here (ascii 0) since only 
one character is used. 

For integers B4 and B5 are the integer 
value in hex with the bytes reversed, 
0288h = 648. Note that integers are re- 
stricted to values between -32768 and 
32767. 

B1 to B3 have the same meaning for 
INT, SNG or DBL numeric variables. For 
single and double precision variables B4 
refers to the sign of the number and also 
its magnitude. The rule for B4 is: 

If B4 > 127 the variable is negative 

I f B4 < = 1 27 the variable is positive 
and 

If B4 < = 127 there are B4-64 digits 

before the decimal point 

If B4 > 127 there are B4-192 digits 

before the decimal point. 

Thus if B4 is less than 64 the number 
is between and 1 ; if B4 is between 64 
and 127 the number is greater than 1; 
if B4 is between 1 28 and 1 92 the number 
is between and -1 , and if B4 is greater 
than 192 the number is less than -1. 

egX! = -2713.03 

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 

4 X C4 27 13 03 

B4 is C4 (hex) so we have a negative 
number less than -1 , and since C4 (hex) 
is 196 (decimal) we have 196-192=4 
digits before the decimal place. Thus the 
number is -2713.03 

eg X = 542.3654764 (double precision) 

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 

8 X 43 54 23 65 47 64 

B10 B11 

00 00 

B4 is 43 (hex) so we have a positive 
number greater than 1 and since 43 
(hex) is 67 (decimal) we have 67-64=3 
digits before the decimal place. Thus the 
number is 542.365476400. 

That's how Basic stores your num- 
bers, to find the start of the variable table 
type ? HEX$(256*Peek(&HF7EF) + 
PEEK (&HF7EE)). MSX users would 
type ? HEX$(256*PEEK(&HF6C3) + 
PEEK (&HF6C2)). 

Now that you know how BASIC stores 
numbers you should be able to see the 
considerable saving in space that can 
be accomplished by using integers and 
singles where appropriate, and by not 
carrying around too many variables 
(which could be done away with). 

Line numbers 

The next suggestion for saving space 
concerns the line numbers. 

You do not need to start each BASIC 
statement on a new line - doing so uses 



Spectravideo 



5 bytes of memory per line number. 

Furthermore it can lead to faster prog- 
rams to put as many statements on one 
line as possible, because BASIC does 
not have to update its line pointer area 
as much. 

Up to 255 characters may be placed 
in a single line number. 

Separate Basic statements on a 
single linenumber by colons, 
e.g. 

100 PRINT "Hello" 
110 INPUT "Enter Your Name";NA$ 
120 IF NA$="" GOTO 100 
130 PRINT "Have A Good Day";NA$ 
140 STOP 
uses 25 bytes overheads for line num- 
bers while 
100 PRINT "Hello": INPUT "Enter 
Your Name";NA$:IF NA$="" 
GOTO 1 00 ELSE PRINT "Have A 
Good Day";NA$;STOP 
uses 5 bytes for line number overheads. 
The first program uses 108 bytes of 
memory, the second uses 93 bytes. 



Blank spaces 



The above example leads to another 
space saver - removing blanks. 

You don't need spaces between 
BASIC keywords, it makes your prog- 
ram look a bit messy, but you can save 
a lot of space by removing blanks in 



large programs. 

By the way, observe in the above 
example that the IF has no THEN on 
but just a GOTO. You do not need to 
type THEN GOTO in BASIC, another 
byte saved! 

REM markers 

The REM statement can be a bit of a 
gobbler space-wise. It's good program- 
ming practice to use REM as a reminder 
of what's been going on, but try not to 
overuse it. 

Furthermore, wherever possible 
avoid using the 'as a substitute for REM 
- it needs 3 bytes while REM needs only 
1. 

Print calls 

This next idea is a space saver which 
can also speed up your program in some 
circumstances (iarge amounts of text 
printing on screen). 

Suppose you have a series of PRINT 
statements like this: 

10 PRINT TAB (15) "MENU" 

20 PRINT 

30 PRINT "1 - LOAD DATA" 

40 PRINT "2 - SAVE DATA" 

50 PRINT "3 -SEE FILES" 

60 PRINT "4 - EXIT" 

70 PRINT 



80 PRINT "ENTER NUMBER" 
We know now that they can all go on 
one line, saving 35 bytes from the line 
number overheads. But we only need 1 
PRINT statement! 
Compare the above with this... 
10 LF$ = CHR$(10) + CHR$(13): 
PRINT TAB(15) "MENU"LF$LF$ M 1 
- LOAD DATA"LF$" 2 - SAVE DATA 
"LF$" 3 - SEE FILES "LF$" 4- EXIT 
"LF$LF$"ENTER NUMBER" 
This program uses only 1 call to the 
rom PRINT routine. The previous prog- 
ram uses 8. 

Thus BASIC does not need to jump 
round in the rom finding the PRINT 
routine, setting up stack entries and so 
on, more than once. 

The LF$ variable causes a linefeed 
and a carriage return - exactly what typ- 
ing PRINT does. 

Note that the first program requires 
178 bytes of memory while the second 
needs 153. Note too that when using 
LF$ in the PRINT we do not need to 
precede or follow it with a semi colon - 
PRINT does NOT need semicolons 
around character variables. 

Those are some useful ways to save 
memory. Next month I'll try to follow on 
the same theme. These ideas apply to 
both SVI and MSX, indeed similar 
suggestions apply to most versions of 
BASIC. 



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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 47 



IBM 




Easier on the eyes 

The VDT operator problem of eye- 
strain through light 'bounce-back' from 
screens has been recognised for some 
years, and in the USA. several states 
have introduced legislation regarding 
the responsibility of employers in coun- 
teracting health hazards associated with 
VDT operation. 

Vision Enhancement NZ Ltd's CP-70 
is a circular polarizer, which is claimed to 



IBM fingertrap 
subroutine 

Some readers who have IBM compat- 
ible machines running GW Basic may 
have encountered a little problem which 
I found recently. 

The problem with Basic programs was 
to devise a routine to detect an errone- 
ous input caused by prolonged holding 
down of the ENTER key. This would 
usually occur between successive in- 
puts. 

A common ploy is the following: 
10 IF !NKEY$<>"" THEN 10 
20 IF !NKEY$="" THEN 20 

Program execution halts at line 10 
until you take your finger off any key you 
happen to be pressing. Control then 

be more effective than the linear type of 
filter screen, acts as a light-trap', 
increasing contrast without the fuzzi- 
ness that is a major contributing factor in 
eye- strain. 

The Polaroid screens have been 
installed in most government depart- 
ments. 



stays at line 20 until you again press a 
key. 

When I tried this, which worked well 
on my previous computer, it didn't work 
- line 10 appeared to be ignored! 

The problem seems to be that the 
keyboard does not give a continuous 
signal but a series of intermittent ones 
separated by "null" signals. 

The computer does indeed respond 
to line 10 but in a fraction of a second 
the condition is changed and so control 
passes to line 20 giving the impression 
that line 1 was ignored - and of course 
rendering the subroutine useless. 

Once the problem is recognised it is 
an easy matter to change to the follow- 
ing form which achieves the desired ef- 
fect: 
10000 REM Fingertrap — 
10010 REM The counter limit should 
not be reduced much 
below 200 
1 0020 FOR N = 1 TO 200: 1 F IN KE Y$ 

<> ""THEN N=0 
10030 NEXT N 

10040 IF INKEY$="" THEN 10040 
This subroutine causes a slight delay 
in the execution of the program and I 
wonder if there is a more efficient solu- 



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48 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Apple 



Home spreadsheet blues 



by Murray Miskelly 

A new addition to the home-computer 
spreadsheet is Practicorp Interna- 
tional's Practicalc II, a spreadsheet writ- 
ten for either the Cat or the Apple com- 
puter. 

Other versions are available for the 
Commodore 64 and the B.B.C. Micro. 

The programme creators have en- 
deavoured to not only equal Visicalc, but 
surpass it's features. 

But to begin with, the manual, al- 
though widely comprehensive, has poor 
facilities for those inexperienced with 
spreadsheets. 

This is a real dissappointment while 
Practicalc itself appears to offer so 
much. 

The advertising for it also claims that 
Practicalc offers word processing, 
database and graphics capabilities, 
which I considered an exaggerated re- 
ference to simply storing alphanumerics 
in the spreadsheet cells. 



You could store entire sentences in 
cells, but this constitutes very rudimen- 
tary word processing. 

In the same regard, the nearest I could 
get to "graphics" was to manually place 
astericks in cells to simulate a histog- 
ram. 

Unusual 

An unusual feature for this level of 
spreadsheet was the command 7X' or 
'Sort', to allow columns (not rows) to be 
sorted in alphabetic or numeric order. 

The program prompts for co-ordinates 
for the start of the search and uses the 
cursor for the sort-section terminator. 

Multi-column sort is a further refine- 
ment by which spreadsheets with iden- 
tical entries in certain cells {mailing lists 
are a good example} can be sorted 
again into a second column. This is 
clarified in the manual. 



Well presented editor 



by Murray Miskelly 

Of all uses of the micro-computer, 
word processing has proved to be the 
third most popular software package fol- 
lowing business management programs 
and games. 

And of all word processing packages 
the ones that survive are those that are 
designed for the most common comput- 
ers. 

This is the case with Sandy's, a prog- 
ram originally written for the Apple Com- 
puter and now modified for the Cat (or 
American Laser 3000). 

The program comes in a padded 
bound folder with three ring-binder clips 
so that the manual lies flat on any page 
that you are using. With this you also 
receive two copies of the Sandy disk 
(double-sided), two quick reference 
charts and two cutout overlays to sit 
above the Cat keyboard. 

In comparison to virtually all of the 
Apple programs that I have used or 
tested this piece of software has a very 
comprehensive manual and instruc- 
tions. (As mentioned above the folder 
that it comes in is robust, practical and 
easy to use.) 

Chapters included cover the use of 
the manual, an introduction to word pro- 
cessing, a full tutorial detailing the use of 
the package and more advanced editing 



features. 

The tutorial refers to two sample prog- 
rams on the disk that contain examples 
of the inbuilt features of Sandy. It has 
been liberally sprinkled with light 
humour and amusing (if not corny) illust- 
rations which add to ease of learning — 
an easiness lacking from more "serious" 
program. 

The tutorial leads the reader through 
the installation of all peripherals, exp- 
laining how the program is activated, 
and finally how to start on the first work- 
file. 

It may sound like spoon-feeding, but it 
does provide excellent coverage for 
first-time w/p users. 

The three chapters following the tuto- 
rial contain detailed explanations of 
advanced features not usually required 
by the novice, but ideal for the expert. 

As mentioned previously, the program 
comes with two overlays which sit just 
above the keyboard to indicate the com- 
mands accessed by the function keys. 
This is useful because with shift and 
control options the Cat can accommo- 
date 24 single-key functions, such as 
going to the beginning or end of a file. 

The program itself also makes good 
use fo the cursor controls for efficient 
editing of documents. For example, cur- 
sor speeds up as the key is held down. 

The package, costing $195, comes 
equipped with a glossary system that 



This copy of Practicalc II was the Cat 
version - very similar to the Apple ver- 
sion except that entry of option com- 
mands can be accomplished in single 
keystrokes with the function keys. 

This fact can be a time saver but the 
relevent information is almost hidden in 
Appendix D under the title 'Laser 3000' , 
which is the US name for our Cat. 

A better approach would have been 
to release with the Cat version a 
cardboard overlay to sit on top of the 
keyboard as a reference to function key 
options. 

I feel the power of Practicalc II is likely 
to meet home programmer needs, like 
developing budgets and tax-return esti- 
mates. 

Future copies of the manual could/ 
should include a tutorial for unexperi- 
enced spreadsheet users. Similarly, a 
key-reference overlay would speed up 
the initial learning of commands. 

Practicalc II was supplied by Dick 
Smith Electronics ■ 



allows all commonly used phrases and 
addresses to be accessed with three key 
strokes, thus easing the writing of com- 
monly-used letters. This is recorded in a 
file marked "Glossary'' (strangely 
enough). 

At any stage in the use of this prog- 
ram, the command level can be obtained 
with a single press of the Break key, 
making this a good training package for 
those liable to make horrendous botch- 
ups in their programming entry (isn't that 
all of us?) 



In conclusion 

Overall I was highly impressed with 
the Sandy Word Processing System. 

From the initial reading of the manual 
to the stage of using all the given 
facilities, I found all documentation and 
prompting on the screen clear and con- 
cise. 

My only complaint is the initial print- 
out confusion — you must have the cur- 
sor at the top of the text to be printed. 

The operator is prompted if this is not 
the case, but otherwise you have to 
know to 'Home' the cursor (by pressing 
F1) before saving or printing the docu- 
ment. 

This is a well thought out program and 
is ideal for the home or small business 
market. 

It uses the Cat's facilities well and 
doesn't baffle the user with jargon. 

Sandy was supplied by Dick Smith Elec- 
tronics ■ 



Bits S> Bytes - June 1986 49 



Amstrad. 



New word processing options 



by Craig Beaumont 

How useful a computer is depends 
greatly upon the quality of the applica- 
tions software like word processors, 
spreadsheets and databases available 
for it. 

Amstrads have a mixed (and rather 
small) bag of such software. 

To be practical this sort of software 
really needs to be used with a disc drive 
and printer. 

Let's take a look at the word proces- 
sors. 

Tasman Software has dedicated itself 
to the production of comprehensive yet 
easy to use word processors. 

They have succeeded. 

The range includes Tasword 6128, 
the first program to utilise the RAM disc 
ability of the 6128. 

Other versions are Tasword 464- D, 
Tasword 464 and Am sword - the last 
two being equivalent. 

Both Tasword 6128 and 464-D have 
a mail merge facility which allows you 
to print copies of similar documents with 
say different addresses taken from a file 
on disc. 



Similarity 



One of the features of these programs 
is their similarity. 

You can easily upgrade from one to 
another learning the new features in a 
familiar environment. 

Files are completely compatible, but 
Am sword and Tasword 464 have a 1 0K 
capacity compared to 22K on 464-D and 
64K on Tasword 6128 (this article is 7K 
long). 

Each program has a tutorial file you 
can work through to get the hang of 
things, and while you are using the prog- 
ram there are a number of help pads 
that show what the various keys do. 



Your products 
are our 

business. . . lets 
hear about them 
CALL — 
Bits & Bytes 
796-775 

50 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



The manuals cover the features of 
each program well. They could perhaps 
have more detail on how to format output 
for the printer - it took me a process of 
trial and error and a little wasted paper 
to get it right. 

Editor 



One thing that these programs are 
especially useful for is the editing of 
Basic programs. 

Save the program you want to edit 
using SAVE" PROG", A then load PROG 
into one of the word processors. 



This is Leeiura Light, 
This is Coipacta, 

IrilS 15 DflTfl RUCI| 
ana this is Median. 



You can then do things like giving var- 
iables better names using the find and 
replace function. 

Once you think you have finished edit- 
ing just save the file - it will run fine 
even though it is of ASCII type, and it 
may even take up less space on disc. 

Alongside these programs Tasman 
offer Tas-Spell and printer utilities like 
Tasprint and Tascopy. 

Tas-Spell works only with Tasword 
464-D and 6128. 

It looks through your document for 
words that don't match those in it's dic- 
tionary. If it finds one you have the op- 
tions of changing the word, ignoring the 
word or making Tas-Spell learn the word 
by adding it to it's dictionary. 

Tas-Spell initially has a dictionary of 
20,000 words - to which you can add 
about 8,000 depending on their length. 

It took seven minutes to check the 
spelling of this article, in which time Tas- 
Spell found 27 words it didn't recognise. 

An example of the output of Tascopy 
was in the Bits & Bytes March issue. It 
transfers (dumps) whatever is on screen 
to the printer. 

I use this program to put graphs made 
with Screen Designer on paper to go 
with text from the word processor. 



Tasprint gives you five different type 
fonts which are accessed by printer con- 
trolcharactersyouplacewithinthetext. 

These printer control characters are 
one of the gripes some have about these 
programs. This is because one of the 
desirable features of word processors 
is that "what you see is what you get". 
For example to underline a title in Tas- 
word you would place an inverse J at 
each end of the title - it would be nicer 
to see a line on screen. 

Competitors 

Tasman are not the sole producers of 
Amstrad word processors. 

Strong competition comes from Pro- 
text, an expansion ROM from Arnor Ltd, 

It is very much faster and more refined 
than Tasman products. It presently lacks 
a spelling checker and mail merge facil- 
ity, but these are being produced. 

it's speed is especially telling in the 
saving and loading of files and screen 
handling - e.g. scrolling and justifying. 

As an expansion ROM it leaves 40K 
of memory free for text and is ready to 
perform the instant you type lp - ROM's 
like this should be installed in the mother 
board - members of the Wellington User 
Group are looking at making one of 
these with a number of extra goodies. 

I expect Protext to be about twice the 
cost of Tasword 6128 when it gets here. 

New W/Ps 

For the 8256 and 6128 a number of 
CP/M word processors are now on 3- 
inchdisc. New Word, Word Galaxy, Poc- 
ket Wordstar and the original Wordstar 
are some of these. These will be even 
more costly than Protext. 

Given that the 8256 comes with 
Locoscript for free, and some opinion 
that Protext is as good in most areas as 
the CP/M software, then I can see little 
demand for these products. 

Next month we'll have a look at two 
spreadsheets - Mastercalc and Super- 
calc II. 



A number of people have been in- 
terested in how the Wellington Amstrad 
User Group is getting on. 

The monthly meetings have been suc- 
cessful and the last newsletter had arti- 
cles on: an Amstrad interfacing project, 
public domain software held in the 
groups library, PIP in CP/M, basic de- 
bugging, computer jargon and cryptic 
hints for befuddled adventurers. 

I hope other groups around the coun- 
try are as successful. 



BBC 



Acorn visit: - 

by Pip Forer 



A day in the Fens 



Since it isn't every year, let alone 
every month, that I get the chance to 
visit Acorn headquarters in Cambridge 
this month's column takes a look at what 
is happening with Acorn in educational 
{and other) computing in the UK. 

On a general front the BBC micro in 
its various guises is still in evidence in 
many areas, notwithstanding the rush 
to Amstrad for word -processing and 
cheap games systems. 

The Electron continues to sell to a par- 
ticular group of home users while un- 
badged BBC mother boards have been 
incorporated into a range of producits, 
including use in various dedicated com- 
munications systems in business, the 
Reuter's network amongst them. 

A few new BBC Bs remain displayed 
on shop shelves and there is a strong 
market in second hand Beebs. 

Where however were the Masters? 

The shopkeepers revealed demand 
was greater than their supply, a fact con- 
firmed by Bob Coates at Acorn who 
claimed that in spite of Acorn exceeding 
their production targets by 10% the 
machines were going straight off to 
buyers. 

It is pleasing to see that Acorn are 
continuing their process of consolidating 
their technology into the market they 
have traditionally been strongest in, 
education, while utilising the same 
technology in other applications where 
effective. 

Their clear strength at present is the 
range of systems they are able to work 
with: the processors they support di- 
rectly include the 6502 and Z80 families, 
the Intel chips (via the 80186), a 16 bit 
successor to the 6502 (used currently 
in the Communicator work station) the 
NS32016 and a reported RISC chip. 

Olivetti of course bring a very deep 
experience in traditional MS-DOS 
machines too, a link stressed by the re- 
lease of the Acorn M19 (see below). 

While this breadth can be argued to 
dilute their efforts it also gives them a 
flexibility to construct tailor-made sys- 
tems and respond in various ways to 
different demands that is not evidenced 
by many other manufacturers with roots 
in the micro world. 



New products 



That flexibility is mirrored in two exam- 
ples of new products. 

One is the Viewpoint Interactive Video 
Workstation. 



The UK is experiencing considerable 
growth in the area of interactive video 
being used for job training. This is predo- 
minantly in terms of using a computer 
with a tutoring program to drive a video 
disk (Philips Laservision being the stan- 
dard). 

In spite of the cost of mastering such 
disks large corporations, whose training 
costs may be tens of millions of pounds 
a year, are increasingly using disks in 
their staff training programs. 

Half a dozen projects are aimed at 
bringing the same technology to bear 
on areas of the school curriculum. 

Acorn have produced a workstation 
to drive such a disk based around a BBC 
system on a 6512 chip and with a cus- 
tom ROM that contains a variety of stan- 
dard options plus the Microtext author- 
ing language and specific calls to man- 
age the laser disk. 

IBM compatibility 

The second instance is the game-plan 
for the expansion of the capabilities of 
Econet and MS-DOS machines. 

Acorn is releasing its own DOS plus 
version of the Master (the 512) which 
will be MS-DOS but not IBM-PC 
hardware compatible. 

To cater for those who need full PC 
compatibility Acorn is also releasing the 
Olivetti M19 under Acorn's name. 

The question that then springs to most 
school user's minds is how all this fits 
in with Econet and networked systems. 
Will using the 51 2 mean a new network 
and new software? 

Acorn's answer comes in three 
stages. Firstly the 512's first networking 
system is likely to differ from Econet... 
but most importantly will still use the 
SAME physical wires. 

However, plans are afoot to incorpo- 
rate the 512 into Econet. 

More ambitiously Acorn is to offer a 
plug-in Econet card for the M19 (and 
thus for any IBM-PC or hardware clone). 

Machines of different types will be 
able to share the same Econet wiring at 
the same time, and in an advanced ver- 
sion use the same file server. 

The ability to plug together a mix of 
machines for different purposes, includ- 
ing substantial administration machines, 
is very attractive and offers great flexibil- 
ity with access to a very large, multi- 
brand software base, all on one system. 

Acorn are trying to implement these 
developments now and if they succeed 
will offer a very valuable facility. 



Education focus 

A more immediate development 
which also indicated for me that innova- 
tion is alive and well at Acorn is one I 
can not tell you about just yet: the suc- 
cessor to the Viewpoint workstation 
mentioned above. 

This is an upgrade for a humble Mas- 
ter Turbo that will do the fancy tricks 
with interactive video that are currently 
restricted to enormously expensive 
training workstations. Come August, 
more will be revealed. 

Acorn are recovering lost ground and 
continuing to focus their resources more 
coherently to produce a range of pro- 
ducts especially suited to education and 
training. This is starting to produce a 
great breadth of options at a conven- 
tional level. 

Europe is also starting to look for a 
new generation machine specifically for 
education and Acorn is involved through 
the European Educational Computer 
design group (motto 'Amiga non amigo 
est'). In the longer term continued suc- 
cess will hang on the capabilities of pro- 
jects such as this. 

Software Hits 

The BBC software base continues to 
grow, particularly as MEP from projects 
that began some time ago begin to ma- 
ture. Three pieces get special recom- 
mendation for this month: 

For Viewdata Systems: The Poseidon 
System, This is a Dutch product for the 
BBC, now marketed by Acorn. It offers 
full interactive editing and creation of a 
teletext database along with user en- 
quiries. 

Not a cheap product but it comes in 
a hard disk version that will provide a 
full local data base. 

For Geographers and other Earth Sci- 
entists : Watch out for GeoBase II from 
Longmans and Gerry Hone at Bath Uni- 
versity (due out in June). A fine package 
for working with data collected on a re- 
ctangular grid (geology, contours, popu- 
lation). 

For speech synthesis software: 

Speech! This is a realy cheap package 
that delivers excellent value; and isn't 
just a must for Daleks. 

In fact Speech! is so good it is going 
to feature as the review item in next 
month's column. See you then. ■ 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 51 




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we don't look down our noses! 

Genisis announce the ARRIVAL of the New NX-1 0. The new technology printer 

of the STAR dot matrix range. 

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IL 




Disfnbuieo: by: 
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52 Bits & Bytes - June 1966 



Commodore 



Construction of numeric keypads 



by Evan Lewis, PhD 

Entering long lists of numbers using 
a QWERTY keyboard with its numerals 
spread out along the top row can be 
very tedious. Typing in machine code in 
hexadecimal is even worse than deci- 
mal. 

The solution is a numeric keyboard 
which can be constructed to include not 
only the numbers to 9 but also the 
letters A to E, a delete key, cursor control 
keys, a carriage return key and whatever 
else you think might be useful. 

Special purpose keyboards such as 
alphabetically arranged keyboards for 
children can also be designed quite sim- 
ply. 

An ordinary numeric keypad can be 
constructed from an old calculator at 
zero cost. 

Solder & wire 



No special circuits, hardware or 
software are required. 



Consequently such hard-wired 
keyboards will work with any package 
of software you may wish to use. 

All you need is a soldering iron, some 
wire and appropriate switches for the 
key contacts. 

Of course, fully or partially made up 
numeric keypads are available commer- 
cially at a price. 

The keypad is wired into the keyboard 
connection cable inside the computer 
housing. 

There are 64 keys on the Commodore 
64 keyboard so you might expect to find 
64 wires and an earth connecting the 
keyboard to the computers main circuit 
board. 

Not so! You will find that a 20 wire 
ribbon cable and.plug are employed. 

If compact binary code had been used 
only 6 wires would be necessary since 
2 6 = 64. However, that would require 
logic circuitry on the keyboard to pro- 
duce the binary codes, adding to the 
cost. 

Instead the conversions are carried 
out on the main circuit board of the com- 
puter by a 6526 Complex Interface 



Adapter (CIA) chip, which is connected 
to the keyboard by a 20 wire cable. 

Matrix 



Yes, but why 20? Well four are used 
as power supply, ground and restore 
button connections, leaving 1 6 wires ac- 
tually connected to the keys. These are 
divided into two groups of eight wires. 
One group is used to represent rows 
and the other represents columns of a 
conversion matrix (see the table). 

As a matter of academic interest lets 
see how this matrix is used. 

To discover whether a particular key 
(E for example) is being pressed, a vol- 
tage is applied to the wire representing 
the appropriate column of the tabie (ie 
column 1 which is connected via pin 
No.19). This is connected to one of the 
contacts of the switch under the 'E' key. 
The other contact of the switch is con- 
nected to pin 6 which represents row 6. 
If the CIA chip detects a signal appear- 
ing on row 6 when a voltage is being 

(Continued on page 54 



TABLE I. 

Commodore 04 Keyboard Dec oding Table. 

Arranged According to Pin Connections. 
PIN CONNECTIONS FOR COLUMNS 



PiN 


i 3 


14 


15 


16 


17 


IS 


19 


20 




5 


T7 


homr; 


- 





5 


6 


4 


2 


3* 


b 


f5 


t 


e 





U 


T 


E 


Q 


(j 


1 


i".3 


^ 




K 


ll 


F 


S 


Comm 


5 


■£ 


I'l 


nu 1 1 




M 


G 


C 


/ 


space 


* 

i 


9 


» 


' 


j 


N 


V 


X 


sli i ft 


stop 


7 


] 


=^ 


i 


L 


J 


c 


n 


A 


CTRL 


2 * 


1 1 


CR 


* 


P 


I 


Y 


R 


W 


■<- 


1* 


12 


del 


£ 


#■ 


9 


7 


5 


2 


1 


0* 


PIN yT 

/COL 


0* 





5 


i," 


3* 


2* 


'' 


7 


\^0W 
COI \^ 



5 



* indicates connections to joystick 

control ports 
Comm is the Commodore key. 
CR is the carriage return or enter key. 
CTRL is the control key. 
Null is no key represented by CHR$(0) 

Note: The Commodore 64 and VIC 
20 keyboards are identical and inter- 
changeable since they have the same 
pin connections. The numeric keypad 
will work on either machine too even 
though the logical assignment of row 
and column numbers are different and 
a different decode matrix is used in the 
VIC 20, 



COLUMN NUMBERS 




COMMODORE 

AMIGA , 



SURPRISE 

See Inside Front Cover 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 53 



Commodore 



applied to column 1 it knows that the 'E' 
key must have been down at the time. 

To detect which keys are being pres- 
sed the computer must rapidly scan 
through all 65 possible combinations of 
rows and columns. Having determined 
which key is being pressed the approp- 
riate ASCII code is recorded by the mic- 
roprocessor chip (the 6510}. Graphic 
and special characters are detected by 
simultaneous c/osure of a normal key 
and the shift, Commodore or control key 
giving a total of 256 possible key codes. 

The CIA chip treats the signals on the 
eight row lines as a byte of memory at 
address 56320 which is used as output 
to the keyboard. Similarly the byte at 
address 56321 represents the rows of 
the table and is used as input. (These 
are the A and B parallel ports of CIA 
chip number 1.) 

Typewriters 

Standard QWERTY typewriters follow 
a convention which is very similar to the 
Commodore conversion matrix and the 
wiring methods described here are simi- 
lar to those used for converting typewrit- 
ers into letter quality computer printers 
(see E.T.I. October 1983 p.21.). 

So much for theoretical background. 
To make use of it we have to tap into 



the 16 row and column wires or at least 
some of them. Actually rows to 4 and 
columns to 4 are connected to joystick 
ports 1 and 2 respectively making 5x5 
= 25 key codes available through these 
convenient plugs. 

Examination of the table shows, how- 
ever, 1,2,-, . and E keys are not in- 
cluded in the reduced 5x5 matrix, mak- 
ing the joystick ports useless for this pur- 
pose unless software is provided to 
change the decoding table. (This is how 
some commercially available numeric 
keypads work,) 

Direct tap 

To avoid possible conflict with various 
software packages it is preferable to tap 
directly into the 20 pin plug mounted on 
the printed circuit board. 

For those who are sufficiently adept 
with a soldering iron it is possible to sol- 
der a ribbon cable directly to the bases 
of the pins in such away that the original 
keyboard socket can still be plugged in. 

(Expose a short section of wire and 
tin it with an adequate but not excessive 
amount of solder. Position it beside the 
base of the pin. A quick touch with a 
small iron will provide good contact.) 

It would be more advisable, however, 
to use a 20-pin plug and socket pair to 



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provide simultaneous plug-in connec- 
tion for both the original keyboard and 
the ribbon cable leading to the numeric 
keypad. 

On the printed circuit board of the 
computer pins 5 to 1 2 represent the rows 
and pins 1 3 to 20 represent the columns. 
But they are not arranged in the same 
order as the bit positions recognised by 
the CIA chip and shown on the circuit 
diagram in the "Programmer's Refer- 
ence Manual". 

Both numbering systems are provided 
in the accompanying table, but it is the 
pin numbers which are required for wir- 
ing the keypad. 

Recircuit 



Mount another 20 pin plug on the 
keypad circuit board to allow convenient 
connection to the ribbon cable. Scrape 
any existing printed circuit off the back 
of the keypad and replace it with your 
own wiring as follows: 

Run an insulated wire from pin 5 to 
the switches for the -,0,2,4,6 and 8 keys 
(note that all of the odd numbers are on 
row 3 of the table and are connected to 
pin 5). Similarly connect pin 12 to 
+ ,1,3,5,7,9 and the delete key. 

Connect pin 8 to the decimal point key 
and if the letters A to E are included 
make the following connections: Pin 8 
to B and C; pin 6 to E, and pin 10 to D 
and A. Connect the carriage return 
(enter) key to pin 11. 

Now a similar procedure is carried out 
to connect the appropriate column pins 
to the other contacts on the key 
switches. Connect pin 13 to enter and 
delete; pin 15 to +,- and decimal point; 
pin 16 to keys and 9; pin17 to 8, B 
and 7; pin 1 8 to 5,6,C and D; pin 1 9 to 
3,4,E and A; and finally connect pin 20 
to keys 1 and 2. ■ 



^coi 



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FOR PEOPLE 

W SANYO MBC 
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Phone (09) 393-408 



54 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



Commodore 



Games 
bonanza! 

by Andrew Mitchell 

Here are six games, all on tape, 
offered through Alpine Computing, 
which is offering a mail order service. 
BATTLE THROUGH TIME 

You are sent back through time with 
an "all terrain vehicle" and to get back to 
your own time (2525AD) you must fight 
through various time periods. 

The vehicle is like that found in Moon- 
buggy and the action is very similar, with 
the flying perils changing to match the 
time period (eg bi-planes in 1914). 

The graphics are simple but effective 
and the background music can be 
turned on/off, which I think is always a 
good point. — $24.95 
SPACE PILOT 

Similar scenario to the above except 
your vehicle is a plane this time. 

You have to shoot 56 planes in each 
era, then a mother-ship. 

The cover describes the "breath-tak- 
ing graphics" but they are rather blocky 
in my opinion. 

In one era it looked like I was shooting 
at planes from the previous time period. 



The action is very fast and a continu- 
ously shooting joystick would have been 
a great help. 

I think I'd soon have become bored. — 
$29 95 
GATES OF DAWN 

This is a type of graphic adventure 
game. 

You are dreaming and play a knight 
moving through various rooms and pas- 
sages. 

You find various objects and can pick 
them up and use them. You fight various 
demons and monsters, and each room 
has its own traps and illusions. 

The graphics are average, and the 
action rather limited, however I think a 
dedicated game player wanting some- 
thing different could be attracted. 

The music is nothing special, even a 
little tedious after a while. — $29.95 
SORCERY 

Similar to Gates of Dawn but in out- 
side scenes rather than rooms. 

You play a sorcerer trying to save the 
world from the Necromancer. 

I know someone addicted to this game 
on a Spectravideo and there is a lot more 
involved in playing than first meets the 
eye. 

The graphics are good, music is sup- 
portive and the action has to be fast if 
you don't want the meanies to suck your 
life away. — $29.95 



Machine Language 



FOUND 



Last months "Notes on the R item an 
C+", by Joe Colquitt, included reference 
to machine-code listings to rotate bit- 
map characters. 

If you had looked in vain for the MC 
programme "reproduced below" and not 
found it... then it's fortunate you're now 
reading this. 

Reproduced below is the (found) list- 
ing: 

Output fVpgram 1 L 



S C = L*-\ J EF(_=1 THF-NLDAD"FVE1}E:F1NING DflTA" h Q 1 1 
10- I Fr.: = "^1HE:NLOfln "SCREEN" ,Q, 1 
70 PUKES7272 . ?B i F'OI-: E5 3265 , S9 
30 SYS4931.:. 
tO REH LINES 40-105 AS PER PftOGftAn 1 



U _■ 1 pu t . _rjr O CI r- a in. ,1_ 

5 U L> L : IF-C=lTHENLOAD l "bli:m*p be r«?EW' T B , 

6 lF"r^2THEWL0AD"Btn ML",e,l 
tO FOKESoSiS, PEEK (53265) DR3? 
CO FO;E53272,fEEK (53272) ORS 

flil FORI=OTQ999:F L D^.E10^4+l , \ i NEXT 

35 8VS19-7BH 

8*1 FQRJ=OTD3ArREM * OF LINES 

53 0PFEN3,4:PRINT*3,CHR* i?? i "T'CHR* <22) ; 

bO FmNT*3,CHR*t27* "K"CHR« (64)CHR*< l) ; 

70 F0RT = lTO3?O: A=PEEK- (9191 + 1+ J + 320) 

BO PRTMT#3,C:HP* f A) ; 

9ii H£* I 1 

LUU rfclNr#3:CLOSE3 

UK NlfXTJiBYSin 



LAZY JONES 

What a great little game. You are Lazy 
Jones, the cleaner in a hotel, but as 1 5 of 
the 1 8 rooms in the hotel contain video 
games you would much rather play them 
than do any cleaning. 

The other three rooms contain a bed, 
brooms or loo; none are deadly, just a 
waste of game playing time for Lazy 
Jones. 

The graphics are simple but clear, and 
the music causes no problems to the lis- 
tener. 

This is really 16 games in one, as you 
play each of the games in the rooms 
separately. — $24.95 
GHETTOBLASTER 

Now for something completely diffe- 
rent! A non-violent game about deliver- 
ing cassette tapes for a record company. 

Having obtained tape, and batteries 
you can use your ghetto blaster to make 
the people in the street buggie-on-down, 
while on your way. 

The printed instructions include a map 
of the town, so you shouldn't get lost. 

There are some meanies to avoid, 
including a "tone-deaf jaywalker" who 
bumps into you, breaking the ghettob- 
laster which you have to have repaired in 
order to get people dancing again. 

Graphics are good, and the music 
makes full use of the C64 capabilities. — 
$29.95 

Each of these tapes comes with full 
instructions and I 'm pleased to see the 
quality of these instructions improving 
as each month passes. 

This was really a very high quality 
selection and represents the latest in 
what's offering. 

Each game represents at least 
reasonable value for money, with the top 
two or three being excellent value. My 
order of ranking are: 

1 . Lazy Jones 

2. Ghettoblaster 

3. Sorcery 

4. Battle Through Time 

5. Gates of Dawn 

6. Space Pilot ■ 



READY. 



I K' 
I L5 



[ VS 
140 

k43 
zoo 

205 
210 



!EM MC FILE CREATOR 
B = 49152:F0F;l=0r0276=REBDMLl- 
[FLEFTifMLt, 1 > = "X -THEN [-1 - 1 iGQTOHS 
A^VftHflLtl ,-POKEFn-I , A: CK = Ch. t-A : G0TD1 25 
C=VAL(RlGHTt (MLt-.S! 1 

[TC: .-CKTHENPft INF "ERROR" , ML*, A: END 
NEXT 

PR INT " ITQKE57 , 208 : POKES*, 208 : CLR " 
PRlNT"WF0rE4 3,O:F'ObE44, 19S" 
PRINT"MgpaiE45,21 :F0^E46, 193" 

PRlN'f«IEAiJE"CHRt(T<ll "BM ML"CHM I34> ",B, I" 
P0KE19B,5i.P0KE63l , 19:FORI=0TC3:POKE632+I , 13: NEXT 
UATA l 60 , , 1 62 , , 44 , , 96 , 4B , 3 , 76 , XOOSSf 
DATA 22, 192,24, 185,0,32, 125, 127, 192, 133, XOl 641 
DATA 0, 32,232,276, 5, 192,224 ,G , 208,230 , X03O10 
DATA 162 + 0,30,0,96,232,224,8,20B,24B,XO421B 



*r<> 


DATA 


??s 


DftlA 


230 


Dfi 1 * 


rfi-.'h 


1JM L A 


240 


DATA 


245 


DATA 


?50 


DATA 


L-55 


DATA 


2&0 


DATA 


2'fiS 


DATA 


?70 


DATA 


375 


DATA 


2HO 


DATA 


2B5 


DATA 


290 


DATA 


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Urvrfl 


Tl H- 


DATA 


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DATA 


:. 1 1 ■ 


DATA 


jIS 


DATA 


3.1'VJ 


DttTA 


3£S 


DATA 


"'30 


DATA 


^35 


DATA 



173. 135, 192,141 ,5, 192,200, 192,8, 20B, X05664 
2'>7,24,173, 135, 192,1 OS, 8, 141 , 135, 192, X06976 
111,5.192,141 , 1 4 , 1 92 , 1 '1 1 , 20 , 1 92 , 14 1 , XOB 1 55 
33, 192, 144, 12,238,6,1*2,238, IS, 192 , X09417 
238,21, 192,238,34, 192,173,6, 192,201 , X1O904 
128,208,163, 169,32,141 , IS, 192, 141 ,21 , XI 2114 
192, 169,96, 141, 6, 192, 141, 34, 192, 169, XI. 3446 
o , 1 4 1 , 5 , 1 92 , 1 4 1 , 1 4 , 1 92 , 1 4 1 , 20 , 1 92 , X 1 4484 
141,33,192, 141 , 135,192,96, 12B , 64 , 32 , X 1567.S 
1 6, B, 4, 2, 1 .0. 169,32, 133,251 , X 16254 
169,0,133,250, 168, 145,250 , 200 . 208, 251 , X 1 8028 
230 , 25 1 , 1 66 , 25 1 , 224 , 64 , 20B , 243. , 76 , , K 1 974 1 
192, 162,0, I69,i?, 137,252, 169,48, 1.33, X20999 
253,234,2-4,234,234,234, 1B9,0,4, 13.3.X2274B 
2<J , 1 69 , , 1 77 , 2 1 , 6 , 20 , 38 , 21 , 6 , X 23 1 82 
2ij, 38, 2 1,6, 20, 38, 21 ,24. 165 , 20 , X 23555 
101 ,232, 133,252, 165,21 , 101 ,253, 1 33,253, X2S2 19 
160,7, 177.252, 133,0,96, 1 36, 16 , 248, X26464 
24, 1 73,215, 192, 105, B, 141 ,215, 192, 1 44, X 27877 
7,238,216, 192,232,203, 182,23B, 176, 192, r. 29752 
173, L7B, 192,201 ,8 , 2i;l8 , 1 70, 169,96 , 14 1 , X3 12R8 
216, L92, 169,4. 141 , 178, 192, 162,0, 169,K32711 
1 . 157,0,4 , IS?, 0,3, 1 57 ,(l , 6 , X33A9B 
1 5 J , . 7 , 232 , 208 , 24 1 , 96 , 1. "4 1 39 



Bits & Bytes - June 1986 55 



Pascal programming 



User-defined data types 



by Bruce Simpson 

This month I will try to explain the ad- 
vantage of Pascal's user-defined data 
types. 

The following is not intended to be a 
tutorial on Pascal programming, rather 
it is an attempt to show how this ability 
makes Pascal a very powerful language 
for database type programming. 

Pascal is not the only language to 
offer this facility, many other computer 
languages (such as COBOL) also allow 
the programmer to create new data 
types. 

What is a data type? When information 
is stored in the computer's memory, it 
must normally be classified as a particu- 
lar type. BASIC for instance recognises 
two elementary types: Strings and Num- 
bers. Most modern implementations of 
BASIC further define numbers as being 
Integers, Single Precision, or Double 
Precision. 

Why have different data types? In- 
deed there are a number of languages 
that do not differentiate between data. 
Many assembly languages as well as 
some higher level languages such as 
BCPL use untyped data. BCPL was spe- 
cially designed for writing programs 
where the type of data being manupu- 
lated is of no consequence to the prog- 
ram's ooperation. The creation of 
operating systems and compilers is 
often suited to this untyped form of prog- 
ramming language. 

There are two main reasons for using 
'typed' data in aprogramming language. 
1 : Ease of programming. Imagine the 
difficulties involved in writing a mailing 
list program if your language could 
handle only numbers (early versions of 
Fortran had this exact problem). Simi- 
larly try to write an engineering program 
in SNOBOL which is basically a strings 
only' language. 

2: Program reliability. If your data must 
conform to one of a fixed number of 
types, the language you are using can 
automatically check to see if the prog- 
rammer has made fundamental errors 
such as trying to divide a number by a 
string. Without data typing, this kind of 



error is undetectable and will produce 
unpredictable results which are very dif- 
ficult to trace, 

Pascal vs Basic 

Let's look at a typical real world' situ- 
ation where a user-defined data type 
can save a lot of work. 

Imagine we are writing a program that 
will keep an inventory of all our cassette 
tapes. This system will mimick a manual 
index card file system and as such, we 
need to store the following information 
on each tape: 

Title (up to 30 characters) 

Group {up to 30 characters) 

Music Type ... (up to 10 characters, 
'Rock', 'Classical', 
etc) 
Media Type ... (up to 10 characters, 
'Metal', Chrome', 
etc) 
Tape Length . (numeric, 45 to 120 
minutes) 

These individual pieces of information 
(Title, Group, etc) are called FIELDS. A 
group of these fields for any individual 
cassette tape (the equivalent of a single 
index card) would be called a RECORD. 
Using BASIC, we would be forced to 
use the following data types for the 
fields: 

Title TITLES 

Group GROUPS 

Music Type MUSICTYPE$ 

Media Type TAPETYPES 

Tape Length Length 

Using Pascal, we could define the fol- 
lowing data types and at the same time 
group these fields together to form a re- 
cord: 
Type 
Cassette-Type = Record 

Title : String(30): 

Group : String(30): 

MusicType :String(10): 
MediaType :String(10): 
TapeLength: 45.. 120 
End: 



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Ok, what's the big deal? you're prob- 
ably saying, so far Pascal has taken a 
lot more work to achieve the same result 
but let's see what happens when you 
wish to set up an array in memory that 
will hold the data: 

DIM TITLE$(100), GROUP$(100), 
MUSICTYPE$(100), MEDIA- 
TYPE$(100), TAPELENGTH(IOO) 

Pascal allows us to set up the same 
array for all the separate pieces of data 
at once by using this line: 

Var Tape : Array (1 .. 1 00) of Cassette- 
Type: 

Now Pascal is making life simpler for 
the programmer. Things change even 
more when you wish to sort your cas- 
sette tape information into a particular 
order. Because BASIC has no way of 
knowing that the individual fields 
(TITLE$(), GROUP$(), etc) are actually 
all part of a single index card, the prog- 
rammer must write the foliowing code 
to replace one array entry with another: 
TITLE$(10)=TITLE$(99) 
GROUP$(10)=GROUP$(99) 
MUSICTYPE$(1 0) = MUSICTYPE$(99) 
MEDIATYPE$(10)=MEDIATYPE${99) 
TAPELENGTH(10)=TAPELENGTH(99) 



Pascal: Part III 



The same operation with our Pascal 
program becomes: 

Tape(10) := Tape(99): 

As you can see, Pascal is able to treat 
all the information relating to each cas- 
sette tape as a single entity. Tasks such 
as sorting (where a large number of 
array entry swaps are necessary) be- 
come much simpler to write and under- 
stand. 

It is also much easier to write prog- 
rams that use disk files in Pascal be- 
cause of this ability to define data re- 
cords. Consider the following example 
in BASIC where we open a random ac- 
cess file to store our information: 

OPEN "R",1, "TAPES.DAT" ,82 

FIELD 1 , 30 AS DTITLE$, 30 AS 
DG ROUPS, 10 AS 
DMUSICTYPE$, 10 AS DMEDIA- 
TYPE$, 2 AS DTAPELENGTH$ 

In Pascal this becomes: 

Var TapeFile: File of Cassette-Type: 

Begin 
Assign(TapeFile, TAPES.DAT'): 
ReSet(TapeFile): 

In the BASIC version a programmer 
would have to get out his calculator and 
work out the combined size of all the 
different fields (82 bytes). It is also 
necessary to produce code that will field 
a set of strings to hold the data prior to 
a disk write and after a disk read. All of 
this is performed automatically by the 
Pascal compiler. 

To write a new set of data at the 1 0th 
record in the file requires this code in 
BASIC' 
LSET DTITLE$=TITLE$(X) 



56 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 




1986 

WELLINGTON 

COMPUTER 

SHOW 



FOCUS: The Uses of your Personal Computer; 
Communications Emphasis. 

OVERSEAS PASSENGER TERMINAL 

THURSDAY 10th JULY, FRIDAY 11th JULY, SATURDAY 12th JULY. 

COMPUTER COMPANIES - IF YOUR MARKET INCLUDES WELLINGTON 

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WELLINGTON PUBLIC, YOU SHOULD BE EXHIBITING AT THE 

1986 WELLINGTON COMPUTER SHOW.... BOOK YOUR SPACE NOW! 

CONTACT: 

Marc Heymann 1 986 Wellington Computer Show 



P.O. Box 27 205 

Wellington. Phone (04) 844 985 

Gaie Ellis Bits & Bytes 

Box 9870 
Phone (09) 796 684 



Vicki Eckford 
(04) 753 207 

Jocelyn Howard 
Christchurch 
Phone (03) 66 566 



SEMINARS! A range of seminars on major areas of interest will be presented 

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FOR BUSINESS PASSES, PLEASE COMPLETE COUPON AND POST... 

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Guide to Spread sheets [ 

Guide to Word processing [ 

Guide to Databases □ 

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Return to: 1986 Wellington Computer Show, P.O. Box 27-205 Wellington 

PH. (04) 858-589 



Bits & Bytes - June 19B6 57 



Pascal programming 



LSET DGROUP$=GROUP$(X) 
LSET DMUSICTYPE$=MUSICTYPE$(X) 
LSET DMEDIATYPE$=MEDIATYPE$(X) 
LSET DTAPELENGTH$=MKI$(TAPE- 
LENGTH(X) 

PUT #1,10 

In Turbo Pascal: 

Seek{TapeFile,x): 

Write{TapeFile,Tape(10): 

in Pascal MT+ 

TapeFile " : = Tape(x) : 

SeekWrite(TapeFile,1 0): 

Being able to treat all the separate 
fields as a single data record is very 
convenient, but how do you separate 
them out if you need to print out the title 
of a tape? Very simple, you only have 
to use the name of the record (TAPE[x]) 
and then the name of the field you wish 
to refer to (Title). These two parts (re- 
cord name and field name) should be 
separated by a full stop, eg: 

WriteLn(Tape[10]. Title), 

will cause the title of the tenth entry 
in the array of tapers to be displayed. 
Similarly... 

WriteLn(Tape[10],Group), 

will display the Group for the tenth 
entry. 

Pascal's ability to group data together 
into a user-defined record, which may 
be treated as a completely new data 
type may be somewhat confusing to 
BASIC programmers at first. A small 
amount of effort and experimentation 
however will reveal how useful this can 
be. 

That's the tutorial for beginners, now 
for the experts... On the same subject 
of data records, do you know what will 
happen if you run this program? 

I won't tell you what will happen (try 
it for yourself), but you may find that the 
results are not what you would expect. 
A clue is that the WITH statement is a 
'compile time' instruction, not a 'run 
time' one. Being aware of what happens 
can save many hours of head scratch- 
ing, believe me, I found out the hard way. 

Illllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll 



tf 



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FOR PEOPLE 



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; . Now time to answer my mail. 

Rupert Glover from Christchitrch has 
written asking me if I know of a good 
pascal compiler for the Commodore 64, 
something in the vein of Turbo. He has 
seen Pascal 64 and G-Pascal but 
neither of these are suitable. 

Unfortunately I can't help here, 
perhaps sbrhe of the Commodore users 
out there may be able to assist. Please 
drop me a line if you can. 

Steve Peacocke (author of the 
Amstrad Trader Series: accounting 
software) has written about my solution 
to the binary maths errors found in some 
Pascal compilers. He quite rightly points 



out that many Pascals (including Turbo) 
will restrict the maximum integer value 
to 32,767. This ; means the largest dollar 
amount you could handle using my 
technique is 327.67. 

He offers us a solution that goes part 
of the way to solving the problem. 

I will include this in next month's col- 
umn. Anyone using a compiler which 
supports long integers should have no 
problems since the long integer type is 
typically capable of representing values 
up to 2,147,483,648, which would allow 
dollar values of over $21 million. 

That's if for another month. 



PROGRftH VI thTest; 



Type 



Var 



NumType = Record 

Value : Integer; 
Written I StringCIO] 
END; 

Number : Array L1..53 Of NumType; 



Procedure INIT; 

(* initialise the data in the array of records t) 

Var Count I Integer; 

BEGIN 

For Count := 1 to 5 Do 
Number CCount] ;= Count; 

NumberCi ] .Wr i tten I* 'One'; 

Number [2]. Written 1= 'Two'; 

Number[3] .Wr i tten : = 'Three'; 

Numbert 4] .Wr i tten ;= 'Four'; 

Number [ 5] .Wr i tten := 'Five' 
END; [In it) 



Procedure TEST; 

Var Count ' Integer; 

BEGIN 

For Count != 1 to 5 Do 
With Number [Count] Do 
Wr i teln( 'The value of 
END; (Test) 



', Written,' is ', Number} 



BEGIN CMithTest) 

WritelnCTest of the WITH statement'); 

Wr i teln; 

Init; 

Test; 

Wr iteln( 'End of Test') 
END. (WithTest) 



58 Bits & Bytes - June 1986 



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Bits & Bytes - June 1986 59 



SOFTWARE 

WIZARD 

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59 
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34 
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PC Power 12 

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Wellington PC Show 57 



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APPLE II AND IBM PC SOFTWARE FOR 
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MSX SOFTWARE AT BARGAIN PRICES 
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WANTED TO BUY: AMSTRAD 464 ($575) 
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FOR SALE: SEGA SC-3000 32K COMPU- 
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FOR SALE: SPECTRAVIDEO 328, DATA 
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FOR SALE: VZ200, DATA CASSETTE, 
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FOR SALE: APPLE He, MONO SCREEN, 
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COMSEC: WE TRADE NEW AND USED 
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60 Bits & Bytes - June 1966 



Read what the 
experts say: 

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