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S& BYTES 



HARDWARE 



TOSHIBA 
13100 

- portability 
and power 

TELECAT 

- purr.Jecting 

A. T. compatability 

SOFTWARE 



Smartstuff 

Cambridge ■ 
spreadsheet 

Geos 



4 / 






£S£2§S 









ss£ 



fcSfH 



*as&£ 






CAD.CAM 



- Where's it heading? 

- Where's it been? 



DATA TRANSFER 

mainframe to mini - plain sailing? 




PORTERFIELD 







COMMODORE 

AMIGA , 



ATARI 

520 ST 









AMSTRAD 

8256 




COMMODORE 

128/D 



ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS WELCOME 



AUCKLAND HAMILTON WELLINGTON 
Porterfield Computers Porterfield Computers Porterfield Computers 
41 5 Dominion Rd . 1 st Floor, Govt. Life Bldg. 84 Victoria St. , 
Ph: 686-084 Centreplace, Ph: 393-648 Ph: 731 -097 

PORTERFIELD 



i 



A 



kbacus. n. Device, esp. 
frame with balls sliding on wires, 
used for calculating. 

An abacus is one of the 
earliest forms of a 'user friendly' 
microcomputer. It is lightweight, 
portable, has linger touch 
controls, clear display panels 
and an enviable reputation 
for reliability. 

No wonder it was 
extremely popular in its day. 

And contrary to pop- 
ular belief modern clay 
microcomputers have an 
equally good reputation for 
reliability, considering the vu)rk 
load many have to cope with. 

But because of society's 
dependance on computers, when 
they do break down many people- 
are inconvenienced . 

This is where Tisco Service 
Centres can help. 

Tisco started out 25 years 
ago to sen-ice only black and 
white TV's, but then along came 
colour, then videos, microwaves 
and computers, and Tisco grew to 
meet each new challenge. So 
much so that Tisco are now the 
recognised leaders in all forms of 



s 



x 



V 



X" 



X 



31 



TS~ 



N 



CTTO * * 






Tisco doesn't service, 



electronic servicing and repair. 

Microcomputer owners 
now have their own Tisco 
microcomputer contract. This 
gives you the same peace of mind 
as docs the immensely popular 
Tisco Television Service Contract 

It covers all makes and 
models too. It doen't matter if 
you have an NEC CPU, IBM 
printer. Corvus disc, ail combined, 
our Tisco Contract covers the lot. 



The contract is tailored to 
suit your needs and maintenance 
visits can be scheduled depending 

on machine types and workloads 
Cost also is flexible and is once 
again dependent on how many, 
what type and how hard your 
computers work. 

For a small monthly 
payment, have it paid 
automatically from your bank if 
your wish, your microcomputer 



system will give you year after 
year of trouble free operation. 
That we can guarantee with a 
Tisco Service Contract. 




TISCO 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 3 



POSIG 

TOP TWENTY 

1 . K78 PC-WRITE 2.6 — The Word Processor thai is hard to 
beal Supports laser Printers . 

2. K199 PC-CALC — General Purpose Spreadsheet 

3. K405 PC-DESKMATE UTILITIES — Alarm Clock. Calculator. 
Calendar. DOS commands. Notepad. Punter Ccnlrol. Typewriter 
— with online Help. Super Sidekick alternative 

4. M20 TOUCHTYPE — Tutorial lor learning ihe iBM-PC 
keyboard and turns your printer into a typewrite*. 

5. »5 PC-FILE III — Easy lo use database syslem wilh excellent 
documentation A must lor anyone wanting inexpensive liling 
systems 

6. K184 DISKETTE UTILITIES — Protect and Unprotect 
utilities. RAM disvs and more 

7. *414 COPY PROTECTION/UNPROTECT UTILITIES — A 
gold mine about running copy-protected and key-disk programs 
Irom your hard disk 

8. K274 BEST GAMES - A collection ol the pes', games in the 
library. All games run on me PQr or ihe JX 

9. #273 BEST UTILITIES — A collection ot the Belter -j)*y 
programs in Ihe Horary 

10. #254 PC-DOS HELP — Gives you on-line help capabilities lor 
DOS commands. Jusl type help 

11. M37 PC-GENEBAL LEDGER — Witlten by an accouniant 
wilh over 25 years experience 

12. #390 MISC. GAMES — Good selection o! educational, 
adventure and video type games 

13. #344 PC-KEY-DRAW *1 — Very powerful corrftmalion ol 
programs Buill in technical Vjnclions allow use as a CAD syslem 

14. #376 PATCHES — 90 programs that would seem lo appeal 
to everyone 

15. #133 ULTRA-UTILITIES — Recover erased Hies, modilyand 
look into any tile on disk. 

16. #480 PC-OUTLINE — Comparable lo Ihe popular Thmkiank 
Outline and organise your thoughts. Excellent Documentation 

17. #174 GAME MIXTURE— 1 3 games lor kids ol all ages 

18. #292 SPACEWAR — Excellent asteroid I ype arcade game 
Fast paced 

19. »293 ARCADE GAMES — II you cant find a game to sun 
you here perhaps you are not a games player 

20. #270PC-SIG DIRECTORY ON DISK VOLUME 1 — Foi 
disks » 1—1200 



HIGHFLIERS 



1. #271 PC-SIG DIRECTORY ON DISK VOLUME 2 — For 
disks #201— MOO. 

2. #302 1 -2-3 WORKSHEETS — Several templates lor the 
popular spreadsheet including travel business expense lepoit 

3. #304 1-2-3 MACRO LIBRARY & WORKSHEETS — 

Inciudeo IRR. New Venture Budgets etc 

4. #10 CHASM — CHeap ASseMbier For tnose ol you wishing 
lo learn about Assembler — and theie seem to be a lew. 

5. #310 QM0DEM COMMUNICATIONS - Wnllen in Turbo 

Pascal, this is a steal communications program 

6. #105 PC PROFESSOR BASIC TUTORIAL — A well liked 
tutorial lor leaching BASIC 

7. #88 EPISTAT STATISTICS PACKAGE — Slals pack 
extraordinaire Chi, Poisson. T-Tests etc 

8. #151 FINANCE MANAGER — Small business accounting 
Includes lots of documentation. 

9. #301 1-2-3 WORKSHEETS, TECH NOTES. UTILTIES — 

Operation pints. Tech notes utility piograms and templates tor 
1-2-3 

10. #303 1-2-3 WORKSHEETS, DEMO. TECH NOTES — 

Includes template lor lorm lellersa«o labels 



LIBRARY CATALOGUE FOR DISKS #1 — #45J - S49.95 
REVIEWS OF DISKS #455— #563 ONLY S9.95, includes P . & P 
Plus G.S.T. 

"Well run and well organised. PC-SIG is rapidly becoming the 
defacto 'maste-. library' ol the IBM public domain 
Unconditionally recommended " 

Author ol ' 'How 1 o Gel FREE Soltware" 



iRetncirkabfeEiitetprisesLMi 

(Compute' Division) 



7 Crawford Street. Dunedin. 
Freepost 191, P.O. Box 1415, Dunedin. 

Telephone (024) 774-464, FAX (024) 770-999 
Telex NZ 5406 REMPAR 



Six of the best from Remarkable 



Word Perfect 
Version 4.0 

Time Line 



What's Best 



Profax 
Accounting 

Smart Notes 



Logger 



"Absolutely superb . . . you have a word processor without 
equal ..." Infoworld. What more can we say? Demo Disks 
only $10,00 including P. & P. Dealer enquiries welcome. 

Project Scheduling soltware for big jobs or for lots of smaller 
ones. Usee! throughout the world to plan, schedule and 
budget business projects of all sizes. Demo Disks only $10.00 
including P. & P. Dealer enquiries welcome. 

What's Best combines Lotus 1-2-3 technology and 
mathematics. Minimis* your costs and maximise your profits 
wilh What's Best. Demo Disk only $10.00 including P. & P. 
Dealer enquiries welcome. 

New Zealan.d designed and supported. Profax has evolved 
over a number of years. The design is therefore suited to New 
Zealand businesses. Demo Disk only $10.00 including P. & P. 
Full Demo and Manual $100. 

Uses "electronic glue" to attach notes to virtually anything 
you see on your screen. "We've added it to our short list ot 
indispensable utilities." Infoworld. "Brilliant. Smart Notes may 
well be the next Sidekick." PC Magazine. To order, call 
Dunedin (024) 774-464. Dealer enquiries welcome. 

A RAM resident monitor that runs quietly in the background, 
tracking and documenting the everyday use of your PC's. To 
order, call Dunedin (024) 774-464. Dealer enquiries welcome. 



Remarkable develops Software too! 



TIM SANDERS - PRODUCER OF 

••RETURN TO EDEN" AND THE MAJOR 

NEW SERIES "THE LAST FRONTIER". 

"Remarkable Enterprises are the people 

who developed Australasia's leading film 

and television computer software — The 

Film Management System — right here in 

New Zealand. 

We have used it on several ol our recent 

productions. 

I know from experience they back up their 

service. They flew to Australia to help us 

set up our computer systems. 

When Remarkable put together a Business 

System — no matter what the price — It's 

put together by a team of experts who are 

used to developing export quality 

systems. They're not just selling home 

computers to play other people's games 



COMPUTER 




If you are looking for unique software in your business give us a call. 
No job is too large — none too small. 

The team at Remarkable is experienced at developing software for 
micro's, mini's and mainframes. 

We also know about single user, multi-user, real-time and multi-tasking 
operating systems, 

We can develop in C, Pascal, dBase, Clipper, Modula 2, Basic, Cobol, 
Fortran, Assembler and PL1. 

(We write our manuals in English). 

For further information call Remarkable at Dunedin (024) 774-464. 



4 Bits S Bytes - October 1986 




TheTeleCAT-286 



BITS & BYTES 

October 1986 Vol. 5 No. 2 



ISN 0111-9826 



HARDWARE REVIEWS 



A smaller CAT - the TeleCAT-286 9 

Roy Purvis thinks we should all stop thinking PCs and start thinking 
advanced technology 

A real AT on your knee! 21 

Toshiba's T3100 is just the thing for the executive to carry about, 
says Peter Taylor 

Desk-top mainframe link 32 

Allan Manson finds the 9800 tape drive by Thorn EMI to be ail 
plain sailing 



SOFTWARE REVIEWS 




PRINTERS 1986 

less then $2000 - Part I 



COLUMNS 


Amstrad 


66 


Apple 


60 


BBC 


68 


Commodore 


64 


Machine Language 


69 


Multi-user 


12 


Spectrum 


62 


News 





Pop-up office DeskTools 

Smartstuff's eight-program suite is handy, according to 
Shane Doyle 



15 



Analysing your spreadsheets — painlessly 17 

Dennis Lally considers the uses of Cambridge Spreadsheet Analyst 



Icons on your Commodore 64 

Berkeley Softworks' GEOS has allowed Joe Colquitt to do 
interesting things on his C-64 



26 



FEATURES 



On micros and mainframes 30 

Paul Bieleski compares the micro with the patriarch for speed and 
ease of use 

CAD/CAM - Keeping up with the Joneses 39 

John King looks at where the CAD/CAM scene has been, 
and where it's going 

Amiga learns to draw 43 

Colin Marshall reviews the Aegis Draw package for CAD work 
on the Amiga 

PRINTERS in New Zealand - 1986 45 

A roundup of what's currently available for less then $2000 — Part I 

COMPUTERS IN THE RURAL SECTOR - PART 2 55 

Does a farm computer pay? 

Peter Nuthall weighs the issues in a time of economic uncertainty 
for farmers 

The software writers 58 

A brief look at who's writing what, and some opinions from Neil Rennie 



BITS AND BYTES magazine is published monthly (excepting January) by Bits and Bytes Ltd, Denby House, third floor, 15G Parnell Road, 
PO Box 9870, Auckland 1 . Phone 796-776, 796-775. EDITORIAL: managing editor, Gaie Ellis; editor, John King. ADVERTISING: Auckland 
- David Meyer, PO Box 9870, 796-775; Wellington - Vicki Fckford. 753-207. SUBSCRIPTIONS: third floor, Denby House, 156 Pamert 
Road, PO Box 9870, Auckland, phone 796-775. SUBSCRIPTION RATE: $19.80 (incl GST) for 11 issues, school pupils rate $17.60 (incl 
GST). Overseas subs are $35/year surface mail, and airmail rates of $68 (Australia, South Pacific), $100 (North America aid Asia) and 
$1 25(Europe, South America, Middle East). BOOK CLUB: manager, Sharon Fairlie, at above Auckland address, phone 796-775. DISTRIBU- 
TION INQUIRIES: bookshops to Gordon and Gotch Ltd, computer stores to publisher. PRODUCTION: graphic designer, Roger Guise; 
typesetter, Monoset; printer, Rodney and Waitemata Times. DISCLAIMERS: The published views of contributors are not necessarily shared 
by the publisher. Although ad 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 programs published herein are copyright and are not to be sold or 
distributed in any format to non-subscribers of Bits and Bytes. 



Bits & Byles - Octobei 1986 5 



MICRONEWS 



SUPPLY 

AND 

DEMAND 



The word out there is that compu- 
ter hardware is having supply prob- 
lems. Dealers are having trouble ob- 
taining sufficient numbers of 
machines to meet demands, and even 
some distributors are — guardedly - 
admitting there is a problem, while 
others say things are fine. What's the 
situation? 

Where a problem exists, it seems 
to fall into either one of two separate 
categories — inaccurate forecasting 
of demand, or a supply bottleneck 
caused by the New Zealand operation 
being controlled from Australia. The 
distributors there, for reasons of their 
own, are slow or unwilling to acknow- 
ledge the demand from what might 
be regarded as a minor market. A 
third minor reason is that of limited 
credit resources of a company want- 
ing to place a large order overseas, 
restricting the size of any one order. 

Inaccurate predicting is what IBM 
admits is the situation with its PC 
Convertible, launched in this country 
a couple of months ago but not yet 
seen in any great numbers. 

"There has been a supply prob- 
lem, " says Ray Harding, IBM's man- 
ager of external affairs. "The demand 
against the early forecast — which 
was strong — has been even stronger. 
The problem is not restricted to New 



Zealand, but we expect it to come into 
balance by the end of September." 

IBM's objective is to have off-the- 
shelf supply, geared to the level of 
production, but it also acknowledges 
that overall assessment of the PC de- 
mand is made difficult by the success 
of the Convertible. 

Comodore's problem, however, is- 
thought by others to be linked to its 
relationship as a dealer with the Au- 
stralian opeiation. "February is 
when we last had adequate 
supplies," according to Dick Ander- 
son, managing director of Commo- 
dore Computer (New Zealand). 
"There have been financial problems 
overseas. Plants have been closed 
down in the UK and California, and 
the German production has been cut 
down. They've moved much of the 
manufacturing to the Far East." 

While the Amiga is proving popular 
among the advertising agencies and 
others, supply has been restrained 
because of its popularity overseas, al- 
though that is thought to have been 
resolved. Much worse is the situation 
with the C-64, which has dried up al- 
together as Commodore has been 
tooling up for the new C-64C, inter- 
nally the same as the old model but 
externally different. 

"It's amazing how strongly the 
dealers have stayed with Commo- 
dore in spite of a rough ride," says 
Anderson. 

Dealers, perhaps, but not necessar- 
ily the buying public. According to Bill 
Porter of Porterfield Computers, the 
shortage of Commodores has caught 
other suppliers out as people have 
been driven to other makes. 

"There's been an unprecedented 
demand for computers in the last two 



MoS TOP 10 


MoS TOP 10 

P.C. Software 


P.C. Software 




1. Lotus 123 




6. Wordstar 2000+ 


2. WordPerfect 




7. Harvard Presentation Graphics 


3. XTREE 




8. Perfect Writer 


4. PARADOX 




9. Microsoft Windows 


5. dBase 111+ 




10. IFPS/Personal 


OCTOBER 



months," he says. "That has led to 
some shortages and some delays, but 
the situation can change from day to 
day. I would expect another rush be- 
tween now and Christmas, particu- 
larly October, as businesses haven't 
yet been organised for GST. " 

He also points out that while 
Amstrad has been satisfactory, it 
could have a shortfall, with the 6128 
in particular, which will be filled from 
Australia at higher cost to keep the 
customers happy. 

So some are having more problems 
than others. In such a competitive 
market, it would pay the distributors 
to keep a very close watch on the 
question of supply. 



Copy 

protection 

removed 



Taking what it says is a "calculated 
risk", Ashton-Tate is removing copy 
protection on its software, including 
dBASB m Plus, dBASE III Plus LAN 
Pack and Framework II, and also from 
Javelin 1.1 which it markets. 

The company says the non-copy 
protected software will be easier for 
users to install and make personal 
back-up copies, although it points out 
that the standard licensing agree- 
ment still stipulates that the software 
can be used by only one person at a 
time, and prohibits duplication of 
software for unlicensed users. 

"The move will end problems with 
users inadvertently corrupting disks 
and being unable to use the software 
until a replacement is secured, " says 
Ashton-Tate (New Zealand) manag- 
ing director, Kerry Baillie. 

He says copy protection will be re- 
moved for all users, not just corporate 
users, and upgrades to non-copy pro- 
tected programs will cost about $100. 



Seagate 
distributor 



Hard-drive manufacturer Seagate 
(US) is now officially supported here 
by Christchurch-based Solstat Indus- 
tries. This means warranties can now 
be supported locally. 

The range is from 10Mb half -height 
drives to 96 Mb full-heights. 

Solstat claims more PC importers 
will choose the option of importing PCs 
without drives and installmg the Sea- 
gates offered here under warranty. 

Solstat is buying direct from Sea- 
gate's Singapore factory and claims 
pricing advantages over competitors. 



8 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



MICRONEWS 



New range of 
compatibles 



American Research Corporation, 
based in Los Angeles with its 
hardware manufacturing plant in 
Taiwan, is planning to extend its op- 
eration into the Pacific, starting with 
Australia and New Zealand where a 
distributorship is in the process of 
being set up. 

Apart from the keyboard, all the 
hardware is made by ARC, and prices 
are expected to be "lower than IBM, 
but higher than normal Taiwan- 
sourced compatibles," according to 
Michael Gardner, ARC's product 
planning manager. 

At the moment, four ARC machines 
are available: the turbo PC with 640 
Kb RAM and 8088-2 processor; the 
286 turbo, an AT based on the 80286 
with 640 Kb or optional 2 Mb; and 
two versions of what ARC calls itss 
transportable, one stage up from 
luggable - The World, a small XT; 
and The World 286, an AT equivalent. 



All come with Microsoft and 1.2 Mb 
floppy drive, with 360 Kb floppy and 
20 Mb hard drives optional. 



Australian 
expansion 



Calibre Group of Auckland, the dis- 
tributor of TeleVideo hardware and 
microcomputer local area networks, 
has been bought by Impact Systems 
Ltd, the Australian laser printer man- 
ufacturer, as part of Impact's planned 
expansion programme into New Zea- 
land, USA, UK and Europe. 

Starting business in 1983 as Data 
Peripherals NZ Ltd with rights to mar- 
ket TeleVideo computers, Calibre 
focused its attention on local area 
networks, becoming NZ distributor of 
the Novell range of products. 

In addition, Calibre has announced 
the introduction of the vLAN local 
area network for the IBM PC/XT/AT 
and compatibles. From NetWorth 
Engineering of Texas, vLAN was 



developed using Novell's operating 
system software, and is intended for 
small installations of two to eight 
workstations, but can be expanded 
to as many as 50. 

Soft mice 

Software publisher Ashton-Tate is 
in the process of taking over Decision 
Resources Inc, the developer of the 
business graphics software pac- 
kages, as part of its stated strategy 
of "having a range of market-leading 
software for IBM PCs and compati- 
bles in all business applications". 

In another direction, Ashton-Tate 
has announced the planned release 
in New Zealand next month of dBASE 
Mac, the rewritten version of its 
database management software 
dBASE III PLUS for the Apple Mac- 
intosh. 

"It looks and acts differently from 
other dBASE products," says Kerry 
Baillie, managing director of Ashton- 
Tate (New Zealand), "and makes full 
use of the Macintosh mouse's 'point- 
and click' environment. 




Turbo 
Prolog™ 

The natural 
language of 
Artificial 
Intelligence, Turbo Prolog 
is our second language and 
the latest product in the 
Borland software library. 
Turbo Prolog is a fifth 
generation language, and 
probably the most powerful 
programming language 
ever conceived. Includes a 
200-page reference manual 
and free GeoBase™, a 
natural query language 
database with commented 
source code on disk, ready 
to compile. It's all you need 
to know about Artificial 
Intelligence at a Humanly 
Intelligent price. Minimum 
memory: 384K. 

Turbo 
Lightning™ 

An electronic 
reference 
library which 
includes the 80,000- word 
Random House Concise 
Dictionary and the 50,000- 



^^ 



BORLAND 

INTERNATIONAL 



\fi* 




word Random House 
Thesaurus. Checks your 
spelling as you type. Gives 
you instant synonyms. 
Leads the revolutionary 
way in electronic 
publishing. Minimum 
memory: 256K. 

Word 
Wizard™ 

Intriguing 
new addition 
to the Turbo 
Lightning Library™. Solves 
unsolvable crosswords, and 
challenges your word skills 
and ability to break codes 
and ciphers. Scrambles, 
twists, turns, and boggles 
your mind. Includes Turbo 
Pascal source code and all 




^#^ 



the technical information 
you'll need to figure out the 
"nuts and bolts" of the 
Turbo Lightning access 
system. Minimum memory: 
256K. 

SuperKey™ 

Amazing 
keyboard 
enhancer for 
your IBM PC. 

With easy- to- write macros 

that can turn 1,000 

keystrokes into 1 . Also 

includes powerful 

encryption technology that 




keeps confidential files 
confidential; locks your 
keyboard with secret 
password protection. 
(Because of encryption 
technology, SuperKey is 
under US Government 
export ban.) Minimum 
memory: 128K. 

SideKick™ 

Powerful 
desktop 
management 
program. #1 
best-seller for the IBM® PC. 
Includes notepad, 
calculator, appointment 
scheduler, telephone 
directory and autodialer, 
and ASCII table. RAM- 
resident, it's always there to 
help, and stays in the 
background while you run 
other programs. One 
keystroke activates it. 
Minimum memory: 128K. 




Turbo Pascal, SideKick A SuperKey are registered trademarks and TurboLighUiing, TurboProlog, 
WordWixiard & GeoBase are trademarks of Borland International, Int. Random House in a trademark of 
Random House, In*. IBM is a regiBterod trademark of Interna tionat Business Machines, Inc. 



^n 



Computers tore 

DIVISION OF A1BERTLAN0 ENTERPRISES LTD. 

PO Box 31-261, Auckland 9 
Phone (9) 499-458 Telex NZ 60963 
Phone Wellington (4) 851-683 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 7 



MICRONEWS 



New distributorship for Imagineering 



Imagineering Micro Distributors 
has signed an exclusive NZ distribu- 
tion agreement with AST Research, 
the major add-on hardware company. 

Founded in 1980 by three first-gen- 
eration imigrants to the USA whose 
initials (Albert, Safi and Tom) gave 
the company its name, AST Research 
today numbers more than 800 people. 
Its management is presently looking 
at the possibilities of micro-main- 
frame connections, using any PC as a 
connection to IBM mainframes or 
minis. 



"We have observed a large trend 
world-wide to do away with dumb 
terminals, since you can do so much 
more with a PC for the same price," 
said Peter Wagner, AST Research's 
sales manager for Africa and the 
Pacific when in this country recently 
to finalise details of the agreement. 
"Many or most corporations have 
both dumb terminals and PCs, so they 
may as well make them talk. " 

He believed the New Zealand mar- 
ket was closer to that in Australia 
than the US, mainly for exchange 



reasons, but pointed out that because 
of the expensie, New Zealand users 
tended to squeeze the last drop of use 
out of their equipment. For that 
reason, reliable servicing was impor- 
tant. 

The latest AST product to be distri- 
buted through Imagineering is 3G, a 
graphics board which combines 
monochrome, colour and extended 
graphics in one, for a price one-third 
more expensive then any one of the 
boards normally necessary for just 
one function. 



Government 
Computing 
Service report 

In the Government Computing Ser- 
vice's first annual report since it be- 
came an autonomous trading agency 
within the Public Service, revenue for 
the year ended March 31 totalled 
$59.3 million, an increase of 26 per 
cent on the previous year's earnings 
of the old Computer Services Division 
of the State Services Commission. 

However, in real terms the revenue 
growth is said to be closer to 36 per 
cent, as the 1984/85 year included in- 
come from the MWD's Vogel House 
facility, which was transferred to the 
MWD on April 1 last year. 

The GCS was formed in September 
1985 following a State Services Com- 
mission-chaired review which led to 
freedom for permanent heads of de- 
partments to make their own deci- 
sions on where they would obtain 
their EDP services. 
▼ "It was set up as an autonomous 
agency, to concentrate solely on pro- 



AT released 

NEC has released its APC-IV, 
another in the burgeoning range of 
IBM PC/AT compatibles, with stand- 
ard 640 Kb RAM expandable to 10.5 
Mb, and 40 Mb hard disk and 1.2 Mb 
floppy disk drives as standard. 

A 640 x 350 pixel screen displaying 
16 of a possible 64 colours is also 
standard with an optional 1 120 x 7650 
pixel power graphics display avail- 
able. Both show the normal 25 x 80 
characters. 

NEC says the APC-IV costs less 
than the IBM equivalent, and spear- 
heads its thrust into the corporate 
market. 



viding EDP services to clients rather 
than having to pass judgement on 
whether clients should have the ser- 
vices they were requesting," says 
Mike Foden, general manager of GCS. 
"At the same time, it was given the 
opportunity to extend its market 
beyond the public service if desirable 
and appropriate." 

He forecasts total revenue for the 
current year will be $68 million, an 
increase of $8.7 million over 1985-86. 
The GCS will implement a capital ex- 
penditure programme of some $20 
million this year, and expects pay- 
ments to the government of more 
than $10 million to cover interest on 
debt, tax, and dividend. 



Trade in 
software 

In a move thought to be the first of 
its kind in New Zealand, the Auck- 
land microcomputer software com- 
pany Sybiz Distributors is offering 100 

per cent trade-ms to dissatisfied 
users of rival software. 

According to Sybiz general man- 
ager Lindsay Kirschberg, the offer is 
not intended as a sales gimmick, but 
as a positive gesture to help small 
businesses. 

"So many of them, largely through 
inexperience, have purchased 
software which does not meet their 
accounting needs, " he says, "that we 
have decided to help rectify the situa- 
tion by offering them a trade-in up to 
the value of 1500." 

As well as being inappropriate, 
many of the small businesses' 
accounting software is said to be out- 
dated, lacking in vendor support, or 
not accommodating GST. The full 
trade-in on the old software will be 
subject to the purchase of a suite of 
Sybiz business accounting software, 
available only thorugh official Sybiz 
dealers. 



IBM slow-down 
continues 

"IBM's financial results reflect a 
continuation of the business slow- 
down in the North American 
economy that began in 1985," said 
IBM chairman John Akers when re- 
porting the worldwide financial re- 
sults for the six months ended June 
30. 

Worldwide nett earnings for the 
period were $2,322 million, down 3.2 
per cent from the corresponding 1985 
figure of $2,400 million. However, 
gross income of $22,395 million was 
up 5.6 per cent on the previous year's 
$21,203 million, with currency rates 
having a positive effect in countries 
outside the USA. 

IBM New Zealand reported " strong 
financial results" for the 1985 calen- 
dar year and is experiencing continu- 
ing strong demand in 1986. 



Wyse WY-60 

terminal 

released 



Imagineering Distributors has 
announced the release of the WY-60 
which it describes as "Wyse's most 
powerful offering to date for the 
ASCII market". 

The terminal features the choice of 
three keyboards: ASCII, IBM PC AT, 
or RT/316X; its 44-line capability and 
seven pages of screen memory pro- 
vide users with more editing capabil- 
ity; and among other features is the 
choice of green, amber or white phos- 
phor screens. 

Imagineering Microdistributors 
says the Wyse 60 terminal will retail 
for $1620. 



8 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



A smaller CAT 



by Roy Purvis 



TeleVideo Systems originally 
came into the New Zealand com- 
puter scene with a range of terminals, 
and later produced CP/M micros, 
pioneering the linking together of 
micros into local area networks. As 
the CP/M operating system declined 
with the advent of the IBM PC and 
its numerous variations, TeleVideo 
moved into that aggressive market, 
and has increased its product range 
in the area with the slump in the ter- 
minal market. 

Among that range is a series of 
printers and, most recently, a com- 
petitively-priced AT compatible PC. 
While the TeleCAT-286 emanates 
from TeleVideo's own factory in 
South Korea and costs well under 
$NZ9,000, TeleVideo points out that 
its long-established (since 1970) his- 
tory gives it a strong funding base 
and what it sees as an increasing 
share of the competitive New Zea- 
land marketplace through the local 
distributor, Calibre Group. 

So, then, to the newly-introduced 
AT with a small footprint. 

First impressions 

TeleVideo's TeleCAT-286 compu- 
ter is a machine with style. It's com- 
pact, more so than a clone. It has a 
nice box and is obviously designed to 
sit on the desk top, looking about half 
the size of an IBM PC AT. The beaut- 
iful 14-inch green screen with match- 
ing styling can tilt and swivel, and 
although I've never been very keen 
on grey, perhaps it's the horizontal 
stripes that appeal. 

However, when I turned it on I got 
that ghastly IBM lumpy type display, 
as it emulates the colour graphics 
card. It is possible to put it into a 
slightly better form of display be- 
cause this is TeleVideo's own 
graphics adaptor which has high-re- 
solution colour, monochrome, with 
monochrome grey levels emulating 
colours, but it seems that, like most 
do-anything systems, it doesn't do 
any one of those things very well. For 
example, it doesn't manage what a 
Hercules card does, which is an excel- 
lent monochrome display. 

The TeleCAT-286 comes with three 
books, very good documentation in 
two parts - installation and user's 
manuals, filled with heaps of detail 
on how to set it up. I worked my way 
through this when setting up the 







Stop thinking PCs and 
start thinking Advanced 
Technology 

hard disk and down-loading the 
operating system. It comes with 
PCDOS 3.1, GWBASIC with its own 
full documentation, and some Tele- 
Video utilities as well. The IDISK util- 
ity makes it very easy to work off the 
menu and set up the hard disk, parti- 
tion it for more than one operating 
system, and other tasks. 

One of the advantages of the AT is 
that more than one partition on the 
disk can be running different operat- 
ing systems. By changing the active 
partition it's possible to change from 
one operating system to another. 

The machine also runs Theos 286V, 
and Xenix System V should become 
available in the near future. Both 
these operating systems can use up 
to 16 Mb of memory. 

I was a little bit lost when I couldn't 
see the light which shows when the 



hard disk is being accessed. Since it's 
also fairly quiet, it's a bit hard to know 
whether the thing is actually working 
or not. However, the DISK procedure 
was very easy to use. It gives a choice 
of interleaves, which is convenient 
because an interleaf of one is proba- 
bly the quickest for a single user, 
while a multi-user system requires an 
interleaf of five or seven. 

The hard disk is a half-height Sea- 
gate, with a fairly slow access time, 
which formatted out to 20.3 Mb. I 
found it interesting to note that it 
comes up with PCDOS 3.1, copyright 
to TeleVideo and Microsoft, with ab- 
solutely no mention of IBM there. 

Inside the case 

I took the cover off the machine to 
have a look inside at the physical 
equipment. It has two cards — the 
video and disk controllers - and three 
spare 98-way slots, with a system 
board which can slide out of the case, 
even though it goes underneath the 

Bits & Bytes - October 1986 9 



drive and power supply. The board 
contains the 80286 processor, with 
512 Kb of RAM in 256 Kb chips, and 
the memory can be expanded to 1 Mb 
on the system board, but at more than 
640 Kb there has Co be software that 
will talk to it. 

Togettheoomrwpactsize, the Tele- 
CAT-286 has its half-height hard disk 



eludes a test pattern which can be 
thrown up on the screen in order to 

align the display, along with the 
choice of colour, pseudo-colour, 
monochrome, 40 or 80 columns, etc. 
(The IBM colour graphics adapter 
was originally designed to work with 
40 columns because it's a 320 x 200 
pixel screen.) 



DISPLAY 


CGA 


MONO 


TeleCAT 
extended 


Hercules 


EGA 


pixels HxV 


320x200 


640x200 


640x400 


720x348 


640x350 


colour 


4-colour 


green 


green or 
16-colour 


green 


16 or 64 

colour 


Char, block 


4x8 


8x8 


8x16 


9x14 


8x14 



standing on its edge. The floppy drive 
Is a high-density type, storing 1.2 Mb 
of data, and is also two-speed which 
allows it to run at 300 rpm to read 
standard PC 40 track 360 Kb disks. In 
high-density mode the disk rotates at 
360 rpm as in 8-inch drives, and has 
twice the data packing density with 
80 tracks. 

The mode command is a useful util- 
ity, enabling many system paramet- 
ers to be set up through a simple 
menu, such as the parallel ports, se- 
rial port parameters, and changing 
the screen operating mode. It also in- 



This might be a good point to go 

into screen displays and the formats 
that are happening in the AT theme. 
What has basically been done here is 
that TeleVidoo has taken the stan- 
dard low-resolution IBM colourgraph 
mode (320 x 200) and doubled it, giv- 
ing a 640 x 400 display with an 8 x 
16 pixel block for characters in 16 col- 
ours. Alongside that is the Hercules 
graphics card with monochrome 720 
x 358 pixel display and the enhanced 
graphics adapter card which adds 
colour with the 640 x 350 pixel resol- 
ution, 16 or 64 colours. This allows 



an 8 x 14 dot matrix for each charac- 
ter, which is really the IBM high-re- 
solution colour standard. 

Keyboard 

Anyone used to a PC keyboard 
should enjoy the TeleCat keyboard 
because of its large return key and a 
generally uncluttered appearance. I 
gave it a touch-typist who rattled 
along at 100 wpm and pronounced it 
to be satisfactory for typing on. Aver- 
age pressure is required on the keys, 
and the Caps and Num locks have 
small green lights in them for easy 
identification when they are in oper- 
ation. A tilt function allows the 
keyboard to be angled for comfort, 
and it's excellent — everybody should 
have a keyboard like this. 

And how does the TeleCAT-286 
perform? If you're used to working on 
a PC, you'll love it. The 80286 is a true 
16-bit processor, and the architecture 
of this machine has a 1 6-bit data path, 
24-bit address path, allowing it to 
process very quickly. Norton tells us 
that this processor is 7.3 times faster 
than a PC, and I don't really see why 
people should buy a PC XT for busi- 
ness use, when a low-cost version of 
an AT like the TeleCAT-286 is availa- 
ble for around $8,700. 

The table shows some benchmark 
tests i ran, and it came up as quite a 



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10 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 





IBM 
PCAT 


TeleCAT 
-286 


Sperry 
IT 


ITT 
Xtra 


Altos 

586 


Units 


Norton 


5.7 


7.3 


8.3 


8.6 


n/a 


PC=1 


Primes 


1.0 


1.36 


1.43 


1.64 


0.65 


AT=1 


[BCbench 


357 


278 


249 


256 


464 


Second 



good machine, a little bit faster all 
round than the IBM PC/AT which 
was running at 6 MHz as opposed to 
the 286's 8 MHz. The three-part per- 
formance test relates to five 
machines, all with hard disks. It 
should be noted that although the 
TeleCAT is switchable at 6 or 8 MHz, 
all my tests were run at 8 MHz. 

Another point to remember is that 
a simple sequential read of the hard 
disk is twice as fast as on a PC XT 
machine, so both processing and disk 
access are faster than a PC's, good 
for productivity in a work situation. 

What does it mean? The prime 
number and Norton tests relate really 
to pure CPU throughput and memory 
access time, which would show up 
for example when doing a recalcula- 
tion on a spreadsheet, while the ac- 
cess time for a sequential read is re- 
ally the time for loading and changing 
programs. The average seek time in 
this drive is about 65 milliseconds, 
not as quick as mDSt ATs, and this 
would show up where a lot of random 
records have to be read, as tested by 
IBC Bench. That is designed to test 
a machine's ability in a multi-user 
situation where a lot of processing, 
serial input-output and disk access is 
going on. 

The machine scores quite well 
there, a little slower than the Sperry 
IT (an 8 MHz processor with no wait- 
states on memory access, as well as 
having a slightly quicker disk drive 
access time). Overall, the TeleCAT- 
286 is significantly quicker than an 
IBM PC/AT and lightning when com- 
pared with a PC. 



In summary, it is a very fast PC to 
put on a desk. It is also a work station 
when linked into a much larger com- 
puter through the unbuilt serial port 
with suitable terminal emulation and 
file transfer programs, and it can also 
work as a multi-user machine. The 
80286 processor, remember, was 
originally designed to operate in a 
multi-user environment, and the 
Theos operating system allows ac- 
cess to up to 15 Mb of memory 
through eight serial ports by way of 
something like an Arnett card. Three 
or six users can be run on this 
machine, but any more than that and 
I think it would be too slow. It de- 
pends on the application programs 
being run, but at a guess I would rate 
this as a three-user machine with ex- 
cellent performance. 

Options and add-ons 

The only option available from 
TeleVideo is a 30 Mb disk drive in- 
stead of the 20, but it must be remem- 
bered that this has an AT bus. The 
three spare expansion slots aire stan- 
dard 98-way AT types, so other 
things such as the serial ports, mem- 
ory cards and alternative video cards 
can be plugged in there, while an 
EGA card would also drop in. 

The TeleVideo standard video card 
will run either a colour screen in low- 
resolution colour graphics adapter 
type mode, or TeleVideo's own 640 x 
400 mode, but this is only applicable 
when running TeleVideo's operating 
system. 



SPECIFICATIONS 




Name 


TeleCAT-286 


Make 


Televideo Systems Inc. 


Processor 


Intel 80286 


Clock 


8 MHz with one wait state RAM 


ROM 


BIOS and self test 32KB 


RAM 


512 KByte 150nS 


DISK 


20.3 MByte hard disk; optional 30 Mbytes ; HD floppy 




drive 1.2MB. 


In/Out 


Async serial port 9-pin; parallel printer port; video for 




mono or RGB VDU; 3 AT expansion slots; Built-in 




speaker 


Display 


14-mch green screen; 640x400 pixels; optional 16 




colour display 


Keyboard 


Querty keys + numeric pad; + 10 function keys 


Dimension 


400x420x160 (WxDxH) 


Power 


230 Vac 140 Watts 


Bundled 




Software 


PCDOS 3.1 and GWBASIC 


Price 


$8695; +$1000 for colour screen; + $260 for Western 




Digital disk controller (required for Xenix and Theos) 



A similar thing happens with the 
disk controller. It seems they have a 
quick disk controller with some buffer 
in it, but in order to run other operat- 
ing systems it needs to have a stan- 
dard Western digital type disk con- 
troller installed. Novell network cards 
can also be installed, and the three 
expansion slots are 16-bit buses, full- 
length slots. 

So - take it away, all you dealers 
and programmers. Stop thinking PCs 
and start thinking Advanced 
Technology. 

I'm sure we're going to see a lot of 
ATs like this (a low-cost version of an 
AT), as weD as the super- fast higher- 
priced 80286 machines in the Sperry 
IT and the ITT Xtra range, and we 
will start to have some real program- 
ming power. 

To anybody who thinks he or she 
can run multi-user on an ordinary PC, 
I would ask, "Why bother?" An 8088 
has only an 8-bit data path and is a 
much slower processor. Down the 
road, maybe, somebody will come up 
soon with a 32-bit machine, but in the 
meantime we have a low-cost high- 
power computer in the TeleCAT-286 
which should find many users in bus- 
iness applications. Q 

(Review machine supplied by Calibre 
Group, Auckland.) 



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Bits S Bytes - October 1986 11 



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Q #523 Side Writer Allows printers to output sideways on 

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LJ *524. 525 Expresscalc Ver 3.09 A Spreadsheet which 

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; 1 #528, 529 New York Word Ver 1.2 Powerlul word 

processor tha\ aHcrws Split Screen Editing. Movement of 

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MULTI-USERS 



UNIX : A powerful 

can of worms 



by Mark James 



When UNIX System V was un- 
veiled three years ago, AT & T 
accompanied it with a massive pub- 
licity campaign that ran under the slo- 
gan, "From now on, consider it stan- 
dard". The following year Multi Solu- 
tions, the developers of the SI operat- 
ing system, responded with a series 
of articles entitled "UNIX: From now 
on, consider it dead". Nothing could 
better reflect the two attitudes that 
systems people hold regarding UNIX. 
You are either a religious convert or 
a saboteur. 

UNIX is, of course, neither standard 
nor dead. It is one of the most flexible 
operating systems ever designed. 
There are at least five incompatible 
versions of UNIX, and many more look 
alike systems. UNIX is capable of 
doing almost anything, slowly. It is 
as powerful, and as friendly to use, 
as a cobra snake. It is a system pro- 
grammer's dream, but it is not catch- 
ing on in business. 

It is difficult to understand the 
beast without knowing its history. 
UNIX was created in the late 1960s 
as the in-house operating system of 
Bell Laboratories, the giant research 
institution attached to the American 
telephone monopoly, AT & T. The 
name UNIX is actually a play on the 



name MULTICS, one of the most ad- 
vanced operating systems of the 
1960s, in whose design the Bell en- 
gineers also had a hand. 

At the time, UNIX was far and away 
the most radical computer software 
in existence, not only in its design 
but also, especially, in its politics. 
That fact goes a long way towards 
explaining the cult following that 
UNIX quickly built up; this was, after 
all, the 1960s. The most radical fea- 
ture of all was UNIX's portability. 

For heavy database 
operations, get a horse 

Operating systems had always 
been the private preserve of the 
hardware manufacturers, and were 
generally written in the machine code 
of the computer. No two computers' 
operating systems were compatible; 
and the hardware manufacturers 
took advantage of this fact to "lock" 
their users into one brand of compu- 
ter. 

Those who resented this situation 
tried repeatedly to devise a portable 
operating system, one that would run 
identically on several different 





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12 Bits & Bytes - October 986 



MULTI-USERS 



brands of computers. Most of these 
efforts failed because the computer 
manufacturers were not interested in 
supporting standards. Thus when 
word goc out that the Bell engineers 
had achieved, by themselves, a port- 
able operating system, the cult of 
UNIX was born. 

UNIX is an operating 
system designed by 
programmers, not by 
computer manufacturers 

Today, of course, many operating 
systems claim portability; each of the 
multi-user systems that we have con- 
sidered in this column is portable to 
a degree, and some are much more 
so than UNIX. Nonetheless, the pride 
of being first belongs to UNIX, and it 
is still far and away the most wide- 
spread of the portable systems. 

Another UNIX innovation that has 
been widely copied (by MS-DOS, 
among others) is the hierarchical fil- 
ing structure. Under other systems 
each user had his or her own directory 
of files; no one, except a hacker, could 
gain access to anyone else's files. 
Under UNIX, sub-directories can be 
nested within directories. The result- 
ing hierarchy of files reflects the or- 
ganisational structure of a place like 
Bell Labs, where departments are di- 
vided into projects, which are in turn 
subdivided into teams. 

Pipes and shells 

UNIX is an operating system de- 
signed by programmers, not by com- 
puter manufacturers. As such, it pro- 
vides a program development envi- 
ronment that is difficult to imitate on 
other operating systems. Two fea- 
tures of this environment are pipes 
and shells. 

In UNIX jargon, an executing prog- 
ram is called a "process". A pipe is a 
means whereby the output from one 
process can be used as the input to 
another. These processes manipulate 
files, and under UNIX, everything is 
a file; not only data files, but also 
programs, directories, terminals, 
printers, plotters, even other comput- 
ers, are all treated as "files" by UNIX. 
A pipe can connect a process to a file, 
or to another process. 

The fluid that flows through the 
pipes is mostly commands. A process 
may be started up, for example, by a 
user typing a command at the screen, 
or by another process piping that 
same command to the command in- 
terpreter. In either case, the com- 
mand interpreter receives the com- 
mand from a pipe; it doesn't matter 
whether the pipe is connected to a 
screen or to a process. 



The command interpreter itself is 
called a shell. The shell is actually just 
another process and if you have the 
source code, you can modify or even 
completely rewrite it. Since it is the 
shell that provides the interface bet- 
ween UNIX and the user, a system 
programmer can totally change the 
way UNIX looks to the user, simply 
by implementing another shell. Most 
versions of UNIX allow multiple shells 
to run concurrently. 

To a programmer, then, UNIX is 
close to ideal. The kernel of the 
operating system chugs away in the 
background, scheduling processes 
and managing the pipes and files. 
The programmer controls everything 
else through the flexibility of the 
pipes and the power of the shells. 

Unfortunately, what is ideal for a 
programmer is not always best for the 
end user. The price that UNIX pays 
for its power can be measured on 
three scales: compatibility, efficiency 
and friendliness. 

Friendliness and efficiency 

The standard shell that comes with 
UNIX is called the Bourne shell after 
its creater, Steve Bourne. Most of the 
UNIX commands and utilities were 
designed with the Bourne shell in 
mind. The problem with the Bourne 
shell is that it is horrible to use for 
anyone who doesn't know UNIX well. 

The shell commands appear to 
have been designed by someone who 
took a sadistic delight in ambiguity. 
The command cat looks as if it should 
give a catalogue or directory listing. 
Not true; cat is short for concatenate, 



and it displays the contents of files, 
like the LIST command in BASIC. 
What that has to do with concatena- 
tion is not immediately clear. The 
command Is, short for list, looks as if 
it should do the same thing, but no, 
it gives directories. The pwd com- 
mand means not "change password" 
but "print working directory"; mv 
means rename, not move. 

Sinister-looking commands like 
grep, uucp and yacc explain, in part, 
why UNIX has never had much ap- 
peal to non-technical people. Of 
course, UNIX gurus can (and do) mod- 
ify or even scrap the Bourne shell in 
favour of a more friendly interface. Al- 
ternative shells can also provide 
other features useful to the non-pro- 
grammer, such as decent password 
protection, friendly error messages 
and multi-user database features like 
record locking and selective backup. 

One problem here, however, is that 
processes written for one shell will 
not necessarily function properly if 
their pipes are connected to a differ- 
ent shell. This is at the root of many 
of the incompatibilities between the 
various flavours of UNIX and UNIX- 
like systems. 

A related problem is that UNIX 
marketers who dare tamper with the 
Bourne shell risk the wrath of the 
UNIX faithful, who will become un- 
derstandably upset if their yaccs and 
greps stop working. The only way 
around this limitation is to have two 
shells in the system, or three, or four. 
The UNIX kernel, already an over- 
worked .animal, now has to support 
more shells and more pipes, and 
quickly becomes the bottleneck for 
the whole system. 



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P.O. Box 2344 Auckland 
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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 13 






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- co-processors 

- 60 Megabytes streaming tape 

- 1.6 to 16 Megabytes memory 

- 40 to 400 Megabytes hard disk 
drives available 

Systems available for 

- Large and small businesses 

- ACA accounting 

- Car Dealers 

- Bakeries 

- Horitculture industry 

- Local Authorities 

- Traffic departments 

- Share Brokers 

- And many more incorporating office 
automation and fully integrated systems 



CONTACT: 




limited. 



NAPIER 



P.O. Box 874 Napier 
Phone (070) 53-772/58884 
AUCKLAND 1 Heather Street 
Parnell 

Phone (09) 393-923 
CHRISTCHUHCH 

P.O. Box 423 
Christ-Church 

Phone (03) 799-278 



MULTI-USERS 



The irony is that UNIX, the pro- 
grammer's Utopia, starts to break 
down in terms of efficiency and 

friendliness as soon as someone else 
tries to. use the products of that 
Utopia. The efforts of dozens of UNIX 
software houses to resolve this prob- 
lem have only resulted in more ver- 
sions of UNIX. 

Flavours 

AT &. T has released, at various 
times, four different official versions 
of UNIX: Version 6, Version 7, System 
HI and System V. Each of these has 
had various sub-venons. In addition, 
the University of California at Ber- 
keley has distributed its own en- 
hanced flavour of Version 7. Each of 
these versions has been issued to 
many UNIX licencees, who generally 
implement the system on one or more 
machine types. Not all of the im- 
plementations correspond precisely 
to the UNIX specification, and not all 
of the licencees have bothered to up- 
grade whenever AT & T comes out 
with a new release. Some regard the 
Berkeley version as superior to AT & 
T's own. Many have implemented 
their own shells, or built interfaces to 
their own proprietary operating sys- 
tems. 

On top of this, several software 
companies have developed operating 
systems that copy many of the fea- 
tures of UNIX, and are marketed more 
or less as UNIX clones. In the mic- 
rocomputer world, the two most 
popular of these are Coherent, from 
Mark Williams, and Idris, from 
Whitesmiths. These operating sys- 
tems are not licensed by AT & T, but 
generally take their inspiration from 
one or more of the standard UNIX ver- 
sions. 

As a result, UNIX is not really one 
operating system. It is dozens of 
them, a real can of worms. These sys- 
tems all have certain areas of com- 
patibility, such as the Bourne shell 
commands, but there are also broad 
areas like communications and C-lan- 
guage library calls where nearly 
every system is different. UNIX has 
thus lost some of the portability and 
hardware independence that once 
set it apart. 

Micro UNIX 

Except in comparison to the older, 
lumbering mainframe operating sys- 
tems, UNIX cannot be considered 
very efficient. The overhead involved 
in supporting pipes, shells and multi- 
ple processes is often too much for a 
microcomputer to handle. It is no ac- 
cident that the great majority of UNIX 
sites in New Zealand are running on 
supermicros (like Altos and Stride) or 
larger computers. 



Recently, however, UNIX has be- 
come a more practical option for 
micros. Few machines now are sold 
with less than 256K in them, and 
memory upgrades are cheap, so that 
UNIX's memory-hungry kernel has 
some room to manoeuvre. The price 
wars on IBM PC/AT-type machines 
have brought powerful systems with 
hard disks within reach of mere 
mortals. (A hard disk is essential for 
UNIX, which does no disk caching.) 

AT & T sells something called a 
UNIX PC, which implements UNIX 
System V, but by far the most popular 
form of UNIX on microcomputers is 
Microsoft's XENIX system, because 
it runs on IBM PCs. XENIX began as 
an adaptation of the Berkeley flavour 
on microprocessors, but later ver- 
sions of XENIX have conformed to 
System HI and, most recently, System 
V. The XENIX version used on the 
low-end Altos computers is System 
HI, while that used on the newly-re- 
leased ITT Xtra XL is System V. 

Even although XENIX was de- 
signed for microcomputers, it is not 
practical to run it as a multi-user sys- 
tem on anything less than" a PC/AT- 
type machine. Even those PC/AT- 
type computers which cater directly 
to the XENIX markets often make use 
of special hardware to attempt to im- 
prove system response times. For 
example, the ITT Xtra XL boasts very 
fast hard disk drives and a multi-port 
serial controller that performs direct 
memory access to the computer's 
memory, thus reducing the number 
of interrupts, from the users' termi- 
nals. 

The need for such advanced 
hardware to strengthen the system's 
disk and terminal management illus- 
trates a central problem with XENIX, 
and with microcomputer UNIX in 
general. In its efforts to be a universal 
operating system, in the flexibility 
and modularity inherent in its pipes, 
and in the adaptability of the shells, 
UNIX has given itself a lot of over- 
head. It is a powerful but slow-mov- 
ing system. VAX users might not 
notice; micro users will. 

Although the hardware is now 
available, on a micro level, to handle 
the UNIX overhead, one could always 
wonder whether it would be better 
to run another multi-user system on 
that same (or cheaper) hardware. The 
answer, of course, depends on the 
kind of work intended for the compu- 
ter. For software development par- 
ticularly in the C language, it would 
be difficult indeed to find a better en- 
vironment than UNIX. For heavy 
database operations, get a horse. 

In other words, programmers, en- 
gineers, hackers and computer hob- 
byists will be among those most likely 
to consider UNIX standard, while 
others might be forgiven for thinking 
it was dead. r~\ 



14 Bits & Bytes - October 1086 



Pop-up office DeskTools 



by Shane Doyle 



Smartstuff is another collection of 
DeskTool programs from FBN 
Software, the people who gave us 
SmartKey. As with other PC DeskTool 
products, you can choose to use all 
or only one of the programs, depend- 
ing on available system resources 
and your requirements. 

Smartstuff offers eight DeskTools - 
standard full function calculator, ex- 
tended financial and statistical cal- 
culator, calendar, alarm clock, DOS 
command accesser, modem phone 
dialler, word processor, and a prog- 
ram that allows you to run another 
application program as a DeskTool. 

All these programs take up memory 
of course, and to use the whole collec- 
tion will chew up around 195k abso- 
lute minimum, while mote memory 
will be used by installing various load 
time options. It is recommended that 
the required DeskTools be loaded 
from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, and if 
you do not use this file, a further prog- 
ram is provided to create it for you 
from a simple choice menu. 

Any DeskTool is called up (invoked) 
by holding down the ALT key and 
pressing on another key, eg ALT/A 
for alarm clock, ALT/W for word pro- 
cessor. If you are using an application 
program that uses the same ALT key 
sequence, then the keys need to be 
pressed twice. The first time calls up 
the Smartstuff module, and the sec- 
ond is passed through to the applica- 
tion program. If this is still a problem, 
the invocation key sequence may be 
user defined by a load time parame- 
ter. 



Each DeskTool can be repositioned 
on the screen and appears in the 
same position each time it is invoked. 
I liked this as I get annoyed at pop- 
ups that appear in different locations 
each time they are invoked. Most of 
the DeskTools offer menu bars and 
function keys to select their func- 
tions, and also have an online HELP 
function. 

Briefly, the functions of the indi- 
vidual DeskTools are as follows. 
SmartAlarm is quite useful, offering 
six alarms with individual messages 
and a snooze facility, an event timer 
stopwatch, optional on-screen time 
display and hourly time signals. Stan- 
dard daily alarm settings may be en 
tered into a file which is then read at 
prognam load time. A feature called 
"time feed" allows the clock tc pass 
a message back to DOS or other appli- 
cation program. This can be used to 
run programs, print documents or 
perform other functions while you are 
away from the machine. Finally, the 
date and time can be "stamped" onto 
the application program. 

SmartDos gives access to the most 
commonly used DOS commands 
while working in the application 
program. These commands are DIR, 
XDER (a utility that displays the first 
few lines of a file), CD, DEL, COPY, 
REN, TYPE and CHKD. There is also 
a most useful little PRINT function, 
offering a menu to set standard IBM 
compatible printer options - em- 
phasised, compressed, etc. 

Additional to this menu is a f acuity 
to allow you to send printer control 



code sequences direct to the printer, 
giving a handy basic feature printer 

setup program, always available. 
Another useful feature is the Type- 
writer mode that allows you to place 

an envelope into the prmter and type 
an address directly onto it. 



A detailed month display 
with daily messages can 
keep track of recurring 

events 

SmartCalculator has fairly standard 
functions, but offers 10 memories and 
an on-screen "tape" that records all 
calculations and scrolls up the screen. 
This tape can also be printed out. I 
found the calculator totally useless, 
as are all on-screen calculators - it is 
far quicker to use the real thing. The 
only use I have ever found for an on- 
screen calculator is for decimal/bi- 
nary/hex conversions and binary/hex 
calculations. SmartCalculator does 
not have these features. 

Probably of more use would be the 
extended financial and statistical cal- 
culator, as this provides a host of fi- 
nancial calculation and statistical 
analysis functions. It includes such 
mystifying beasties as "Depreciation 
by Sum-of-the- Year's Digits Method" 
and "Calculating the Slope and Inter- 
cept of a Regression". There are too 
many to list here, but I am sure most 
of these functions would be used at 
one time or another. 



Exit 


ESC 


Feed 


ALT-F 


Le+t 
Right 
Print 
C\ ear 


CTRL | 

CTRL 

P 
C 


CI ear 


last X 


Percer 


t •/. 


Dollars t 

Ln N 


Log 
E*?X 

Sqrt 


L 
E 
Q 



Mode CTRL-M Interest/Annuity Mode: 

PV Fl F2 FV 

NUM F3 F4 INT I 

PRN F5 F6 BAL 
PMT F7 F9 CF 
NPV F9 F10 IRR 

Use CTRL with a key 
to compute a value. 

CTRL-Z to clear. 

R to recall <F1-F10> 



Statistics Modes 

mean Fl F2 r 
<r<n> F3 F4 <r<n-l) I 
m F5 F6 b | 
est x F7 F8 est y 
Z X+ F9 FlOi 



lemon es: 
<n = O - 9) 



Store Sn | 

Recal 1 Fin 



Use CTRL-F9 an 
F10 to delete 
entry. 

CTRL-Z to cl 



Siriar tCalcula tor (Financial version) 

Roto that the offset in lines 4 and 5 are caused by the 
screen dump routine not handling the CTRL*- & CTRL ■* 
characters that appear there. 



1436.66 / 
.675 * 

93.6777 = 

202157. 8&441777B T 



202157.864417778 !! 



_i 1 i_ 



Financi al 



Press H for Help 



H 



Bits 5 Bytes - October 1 986 15 



Dir 


C:\stiHf 










IBM Graphics Printe 


r Control : 


F1HELP 










F2FILE 


A: 


Form Feed 


H: 


Line Feed 


F3TW 
F4SET 


B: 


Emphasized— ON 


I: 


Emphasi zed-OFF 


F5C0DE 


C: 


Enhanced— ON 


J: 


Enhanced-OFF 




D: 


Double Width-ON 


K: 


Double Width-OFF 




E: 


Compressed -ON 


L: 


Compressed— OFF 






F: 


Super-script-ON 


M: 


Super scr ipt-OFF 




G: 


Subscript -ON 


N: 


Subscript-OFF 




Send what to printer? 


ESC to finish. 





SmartDos PRINT function - showing printer setup menu. 



Dir 



C:\stuff 



Typewn ter 



Mr. A.N. End-User 
123 Any Street 
NZ City 



Enter text. Press ESC to finish. 



F1HELP 
F2FILE 
F3TW 
F4SET 

F5CDDE 



SmartDos PRINT function - showing "Typewriter" function. 



SmartCalendar I also found useful, 
and I thought the display formats 
were better than others I have seen. 
On invocation a three-month calen- 
dar is shown: previous, current and 
next. As with other similar products 
the cursor keys move the calendar 
back and forth in time. A detailed 
month display with daily messages 
can keep track of recurring events 
and the calendar can be printed out. 

I was unable to test the SmartDial 



COMPUTER 
REPAIRS 

BY AN EXPERIENCED 
TECHNICIAN 

COMMODORE, SPECTRAVIDEO, MSX. 



HYTEC SERVICES LTD 



"AUTHORISED COMMODORE 
SERVICE CENTRE" 

L(09) 453-210, 



program as the modems I use do not 
have the AutoDial facility. Before 
using the program a setup utility is 
run to create a configuration parame- 
ter file. SmartDial can be used to dial 
a number for an ordinary voice call, 
and can also dial a number from 
SmartWord's address book. 

The SmartWord text editor/word 
processor is the most complex of the 
DeskTools and as with other like pro- 
ducts, uses the WordStar control key 
commands. It features margin set- 
tings, wordwrap, search and replace, 
and text block manipulation. The 
program also interfaces to SmartDial 
via an address/phone number file and 
to SmartClock via an appointment 
scheduler. 

Notepads or documents can be 
saved to disk using any legal DOS 
filename, and as the files are standard 
ASCII text files they may be imported 
into other word processors' docu- 
ments. Text can be cut and pasted 
between SmartWord and other appli- 
cations programs, and in fact I found 
the "screen grabbing" feature easier 
to use than in rival products. 

The final DeskTool, SmartAny, can 
be quite useful as it effectively allows 



you to call up one application pro- 
gram while working in a second. For 
example, you may be working in a 
database and wish to use your word 
processor without exiting the 
database. Pressing ALT/F10 will 
"pop-up" the word processor just as 
though it was another DeskTool. 

Text can be cut and 
pasted between 
SmartWord and other 
application programs 

Smartstuff joins a small group of 
similar DeskTool products, each of 
which has strengths and weaknes- 
ses. For anyone looking for a pop-up 
DeskTools suite for the office PC, then 
I recommend a serious look at 
Smartstuff, as I feel it is better suited 
for end-user requirements. From a 
software developer's point of view, 
however, it is not quite as useful as 
one or two of its rivals. Q 

(Review copy supplied by Computer 
Store. Milford, Auckland) 




CMOS STATIC RAM 

43256 32KX8 

6264LP 8KX8 

6116LP 2KX8 

6117LP 2KX8 

DYNAMIC RAM 

41256 256K X 1 

4164 54K X 1 

44164 16KX4 

16 bit MPU 

V20I/JPD70108) 



l^M. I /flECTRONICS NZ ITO 



CMOS EPROM 

27C256 32KX? 

27C64 8KXJ 

EPROM 

27512 64KX{ 

27256 32KXJ 

27128 16KX* 

2764 8K X i 

available ex slock 



7 Beasley Ave, Penrose, Auckland Private Bag. Newmarket 
Hiono 599004, FAX 593694. 

An Electron House Company. 

TCC 15004 



16 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



Analysing your 

spreadsheets 

-painlessly 



by Dennis V. Lally 

The two software products which 
have made the microcomputer 
the powerful and indispensable tool 
that it is today are the spreadsheet 
and the word processor. 

The word processor has allowed 
unparallelled power in expressing 
and manipulating the written word. 
Text can be hammered out in spon- 
taneous style with little heed for er- 
rors in typing or spelling because 
these things can always be tidied up 
later. Whole blocks of writing can be 
shunted about, cut up, inserted, de- 
leted, repeated and formatted with 
consummate ease. Useful utilities like 
spelling checkers highlight glaring 
errors and ensure that the final 
printed product is an impeccable 
exhibit of justification and propor- 
tional spacing. 

The spreadsheet can fairly lay 
claim to even nobler achievements. 
Whereas the word processor has sim- 
ply improved upon the typewriter, 
the spreadsheet has ushered in a new 
era in dealing with the quantitative 
environment (or in other words, just 
about everything around us!). 

Not so long ago we, and all our an- 
cestors, merely counted. Then new 
hand-held appliances appeared 
which allowed us to calculate. Now 
the microcomputer teamed with a 
spreadsheet allows us to crunch 
numbers, to sum vast fields of data 
and to build formulas which look to 
other formulas which rely on further 
formulas to look up tables of calcu- 
lated data and perform functions 
which we never did quite understand 
in high school algebra. 

We now use spreadsheets to test 
options, describe 'what if scenarios 
and ultimately to make decisions. In 
a very short time we have become 
dependent on the spreadsheet and 
reliant on its power to handle com- 
plex relationships of data. In fact, the 
spreadsheet has unleashed us into 
considering complex financial re- 
lationships which could never have 
been entertained in paper and pencil 
days. It can breed a tangled web of 
numerical undergrowth which some- 



how produces the results we expect 
and trust to be right. 

Or does it? 

Like the spelling checker in a word 
processor, a good spreadsheet pack- 
age will warn you of errors and pre- 
vent obvious mistakes. Unlike a word 



. . . complex financial re- 
lationships which could 
never have been enter- 
tain ed in paper and pen cil 
days 

processor, however, the product of a 
spreadsheet cannot be easily judged. 
No word processor can disguise a 
badly written memo full of grammat- 
ical errors and nonsense. On the other 
hand, a spreadsheet could look right 
and even test out as precise on 
known data, but imbedded in some 
obscure cell reference could be a fatal 
relationship that will create wrong re- 
sults. 

Truly sinister 

It is bad enough to have doubts 
about the integrity of a spreadsheet 
you design yourself, but things truly 
become sinister when the PC honcho 
in your department leaves and no one 



can understand the intricacies of the 
complex spreadsheets he created 
when someone else tries to adapt 
one. It is always a good policy to docu- 
ment spreadsheets and name every 
range and link every relationship, but 
it is also very time-consuming and a 
section of a large sheet could still 
evade description. 

These problems have engendered 
a whole new breed of software de- 
signed to test and document the 
spreadsheet. 

The newest and currently most 
popular package is the Cambridge 
Spreadsheet Analyst. Designed to 
audit spreadsheets created by 
Lotus's 123 and Symphony the Cam- 
bridge Spreadsheet Analyst will track 
down known errors, check for possi- 
ble problems, probe into how the 
spreadsheet works, and document 
the spreadsheet. Surprisingly, the 
Cambridge Spreadsheet Analyst is 
quite easy to use despite the formid- 
able task it undertakes. 

The Cambridge does not require 
123 or Symphony to be running in 
order to examine a worksheet. This 
is just as well since it needs nearly 
200K of RAM to run. To start the Cam- 
bridge Spreadsheet Analyst from 
hard disk or floppy you just type 
CSAN at the prompt and hit return. 
Then insert the disk which contains 
the spreadsheet you wish to analyse. 

The Analyst operates like both 
Lotus prognams by duplicating most 
functions and cursor key commands 
and using horizontal menus at the top 
of the screen with a summary of each 
command as it is highlighted by the 
cursor. Lotus users will feel at home 
straight away. Files are retrieved just 
as in the application programs and 
the Cambridge will accept any ver- 
sion of 123 or Symphony files. 

When the Cambridge Spreadsheet 
Analyst loads up a file it retains the 
files suffix such as .WRK or .WRI, and 
in an introductory table gives some 
very useful statistics such as the ver- 
sion of the Lotus application which 
created the spreadsheet, the remote 
cell (the furthest cell at the bottom 
right corner), the number of active 



"!:_£ scan- 



crsc 
file or 



PROBE 
f i le cii 



BE PORTS 
•ectory 



OPSYS MOr>LK-£S DEFAULT QUIT 



'r-:c.\y fUioiiB* 8. 



tdge Spreadsheet Analyst B 
VERSION 2.0 



Current Active File: ANALYSIS. USK 

Worksheet Type: SYMPHONY/1.0 

Protection: ENABLED 

Remote Cell: AJ95 ( 36 Columns by 95 Rows) 

Active Area: 3420 Cells 

Utilization: 6B2 Cells (19X) 



Last Function Completed: RETR.TSvE 
Current flctive Path: a:\ 
Current Printer: EPSON KX I FX 
Current Print File: PRINTCSA.CSA 



<f:> Help <Alt F:> Function Key Help <Shift Fl> Upgrade 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 17 



PC~88 ^^~ 

Personal Computer 



The choice of quality/value conscious PC 
buyers. Not an IBM copy but a well 
engineered compatible computer. 

Before you buy a PC ensure that you see 

the PC-88XT and discover why: 

* a major international company buys 50 
per month, 

" the computer is the number 1 selling 
compatible PC on its home market 
when it costs up to 40% more than the 

competition, 

* International sales exceed twice the 
total NZ PC market. 

* in NZ the PC-88XT is price competitive 
with the myriad of nameless clones. 

Standard system includes: 

- 640K ram, 

- 4.77/7.3MHZ operating speeds, 

- 360k dsdd drives, 

- parallel, serial, joystick ports, 

- clock/cajender, 

- mono or colourgraphics, 

- 8 expansion slots, 

- MS-DOS 3.2 Manual, 

- ability to run CP/M 80 

10/20MBHD drive options available. 



PC UPGRADES 

* L.A.N. LingoNet - 

High power, low price networking 
system. PC Network, Novelle software 
compatible. Supplied with D-Link 
software included. PC Network 
optional. «j>ma 

Price per station ^9wl/ 

* FAST CARD Speedpac 286 - 

The fast fast card using an 80286 chip 

at 7.2MHz. Increases PC processing 

speed by up to 6 times (faster than an 

AT). 

Price 



$1100 



20 MB HD - 

Complete with DTC controller. 



Price 



$1440 



ALL PRICES SUBJECT 
TO 10% G.S.T. 



computer systems 

Box 5354, Auckland, 
Ph 765-595 



cells in the sheet and the number and 
percentage of cells actually utilised 
in the sheet. 

Will not write 

Before choosing one of the com- 
mands at the top of the screen, it is 
worth taking comfort in the thought 
that in spite of the power of this prog- 
ram to probe every cell location and 
notwithstanding its ability to go into 
a mode which emulates 123 or Sym- 
phony, the Cambridge Spreadsheet 
Analyst will not write to your data. 
Your worksheet will be preserved in- 
tact, warts and all, for you to amend 
only within the actual Lotus applica- 
tion at a time of your choosing. 

The Analyst has six principal func- 
tions which are displayed on the ini- 
tial screen in a horizontal row like a 
Lotus menu. These commands are 
SCAN, CIRC, XREF, PROBE, RE- 
PORTS and MODULES. 

Unusual situations 

SCAN would be the most used com- 
mand and when invoked it searches 
cells and/or ranges for unusual situa- 
tions which may indicate errors. The 
user simply selects SCAN, hits the 
Enter key and sits back for about a 
minute while the Cambridge does its 
work. A very large and complicated 
spreadsheet will take about two mi- 
nutes. At the conclusion of SCAN a 
summary is presented in table form 
which has counted the number of oc- 



currences of suspect locations such 
as formulas with questionable refer- 
ences to lables, to null cells or to cells 
outside the worksheet. Cells with 
ERR or NA are also counted as are 
overlapping ranges. Even apparently 
innocent constructions such as for- 
mulas with reversed ranges (which 
Lotus allows) are noted since they 
may indicate an unexpected distor- 
tion caused by a deleted range refer- 
ence. 

SCAN appears to cover the most 
likely and least expected errors by 
identifying suspect relations. To get 
more detail on the possibly offending 
areas the user simply highlights the 
category and hits the Return key. If 
there were five instances cited of, 
say, invalid formulas, then the detail 
screen which is split into two win- 
dows would show the cell references 
of the five formulas in the top window 
and in the bottom window would be 
the formula of whichever cell in the 
top window was highlighted by the 
cursor. So to see each formula you 
just move the cursor keys. 

Sometimes just knowing that a cell 
has a fault is not enough. You might 
not recall what particular relevance 
that cell had to the sheet and don't 
want to wait until you next have Sym- 
phony or 123 up and running. No 
problem; just hit the F10 function key 
and you are put in sheet mode which 
is identical in appearance and 
navigating function to the original ap- 
plication which created the sheet. So 
you can flick from table to sheet with 
single key presses and while in sheet 



SCON SUflMBRY 



Page 1 of 



INSTANCES 



CONDITIONS 



FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
FDSMULOS 
FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
FORMULAS 
INVALID 



WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO LABELS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO STRING FORMULAS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO NUMBERS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO NUMERIC FORMULAS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO PROTECTED BLANK CELLS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO UNPROTECTED BLANK CELLS 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO NULL CELLS IN WORKSHEET 
WITH QUESTIONABLE REFERENCES TO CELLS OUTSIDE WORKSHEET 
WITH REVERSED RANGES 
: ORMULAS 



<F1> Help <A!t Fl) Function Key Help (Shift Fl> Upgrade 



SCON SUMMARY 



_ Page 2 of 2 



INSTANCES 

15 

15 

O 

O 

O 



160 

<.09 

1 



CONDITIONS 

ALL CELLS WITH A VALUE 0" ERK 

SOURCES OF ERR 

ALL CELLS WITH O VALUE OF NO 

SOURCES OF NA 

PROTECTED NUMERIC CELLS NOT REFERENCED IN ANY FORMULA 

UNPROTECTED NUMERIC CELLS NO'. REFERENCED IN ANY FORMULA 

PROTECTED BLANK CELLS NOT REFERENCED IN ANY FORMULA 

UNPROTECTED BLANK CELLS NOT REFERENCED IN ANY FORMULA 

UNPROTECTED FORMULAS IN PROTECTED WORKSHEET 



(Fl! Help (Alt F!) Function Key Help <Sh>ft !-l> Upgrade 



18 Bits * Byles - October 198E 



mode use all the Lotus movements 
such as Home, End, Page Up, Big 
Right and Left and so on. 

You really need the Cambridge 
Spreadsheet Analyst manual only to 
introduce you to the program for the 
first time and to explain the relevance 
of some suspect conditions the prog- 
ram identifies. If you are familiar with 
the basic Lotus methods you will also 
know how to operate the Spread- 
sheet Analyst. 

Other commands 

The CIRC command locates circular 
cell references by isolating any group 
of formulas dependent on each other 
in an endless loop, while the XREF 
command allows the user to specify 
a cell, range or Lotus function and 
identify where it is used throughout 
the sheet. The PROBE command al- 
lows the user to explore the network 
of cells that affect a chosen formula 
and effectively work upriver to dis- 
cover the source of an error. 

The REPORTS feature gives the 
ability to customise reports based on 
the above functions and direct them 
to screen, disk or printer. If you 
choose to print every possible report 
make sure you have plenty of paper! 
One report includes the option of 
mapping the contents of every cell on 
the sheet with the further option of 
spacing the cells, so their pages can 
be pasted in case you want to 
wallpaper the office with your crea- 
tions. Fortunately that option also in- 
cludes provision not to print empty 
cells and even to print only portions 
of the sheet. 

The MODULES option points to the 
future utility of the Cambridge 
Spreadsheet Analyst. The modules 
are specialised add-ons which can be 
purchased separately from the pro- 
gram and will allow for further de- 
velopments and features. This keeps 
the Analyst open-ended like the 
Lotus products it checks. As Sym- 
phony users can avail themselves of 
auto-attaching such features as DOS, 
spelling checker, text outliner or ter- 
minal emulation link, so users of the 
Cambridge Spreadsheet Analyst will 
be able to attach a macro checker and 
other add-ons. 

I have been acquainted with other 
spreadsheet checkers, but the Cam- 
bridge Spreadsheet Analyst is the 
easiest and yet most fully featured 
example I've had the pleasure of 
using. It will operate on any IBM com- 
patible with 192K of RAM and a hard 
drive or two floppy drives. You don't 
run the Lotus program with the Cam- 
bridge even though it has a sheet 
mode which looks like the real thing. 
The program features on-line context 
related help through pushing the Fl 
key. It can be operated by someone 
without knowledge of the spread- 



sheet programs which created the 
sheet under analysis. 

Who is the Cambridge Spreadsheet 
Analyst for? It's for anyone who 
wants the assurance that his or her 
decisions are based on sound work- 
sheets which can easily be 
documented and audited on hard 
copy. It's for the user or inheritor of 
a sheet created by someone else to 
see in the shortest possible time how 
that sheet works internally. In short, 
it is for any situation where spread- 
sheets are taken seriously. 

Documentation 

All serious spreadsheet creators 
should document their work. This is 
a tedious and thankless task when 
done only with the Lotus program 
that created the sheet, but is an easy 
and even exciting job when done 
with the aid of the Cambridge 
Spreadsheet Analyst. There is also 
that comforting reassurance that 
every nook and cranny has been 
looked into. 

What obvious faults does the Cam- 
bridge Analyst have? You could say 
it's almost too easy to use. I mean it 
might actually encourage people to 
check out all their spreadsheets and 
then go hunting round all their col- 
leagues for more spreadsheets to 
analyse! 

Seriously though, it would be nice 
to have a function key template as is 
provided with Symphony or 123, be- 
cause the on-screen display of the 
function key commands requires an 
|Alt][Fl) press - not the easiest thing 
to rememb er. You shouldn't need to 
have a manual close at hand just to 



remember the function key com- 
mands; everything else is so easy. 

I really can't find any other faults 
with the program. It might be of in- 
terest to know that it won't read a 
password protected sheet until the 
password is input. Bad luck if you 
thought this might unlock that 
spreadsheet with the forgotten 
password, but no worries to everyone 
else who can rest assured that their 
passwords still protect their files. 

The Cambridge Spreadsheet 
Analyst has a retail price of $395, 
making it more expensive than utility 
type programs such as Xtree or 
Sidekick, but still considerably 
cheaper than the application pro- 
grams which create spreadsheets or 
databases. If used methodically it will 
soon pay for itself by insuring the in- 
tegrity of your Lotus spreadsheets 
and it will also contribute to consider- 
able peace of mind if you can put a 
value on that. The Analyst is so easy 
to use and reasonably priced consid- 
ering its power and time-saving abil- 
ity that you should seriously consider 
your motives for not purchasing it 
when you consider how much you 
spent for the Lotus program that you 
swear by (or at). 

On 1 to 5 scale with 5 being the 
best, the Cambridge Spreadsheet 
Analyst would rate fives all the way 
for ease of learning, ease of use, 
speed and function. As for value for 
money, that's your judgment based 
on what you know best - your busi- 
ness. Q 

Software provided by PC Power 
Dennis Lally is the Information Officer in 
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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 19 




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20 Bits & Bytes - October 1966 



A real AT on your knee ! 



by Peter Taylor, 
ANZIM APRINZ 



I wondered just what sort of micro 
this Toshiba lap-top was when I 
was recently asked to look it over to 
provide a review and make comments 
as to the place of such machines 
today. 

I was most agreeably surprised to 
find a really fine offering from Japan. 
Careful market surveys have brought 
together some very nice features 
which make the unit stand head and 
shoulders over others in this range. 
The usual fare of portables with 
floppy disks and LCD displays is now 
a thing of the past with this vary 
neatly engineered arrangement. 
Here is literally a dream come true, 
with the capacity to achieve the 
necessary workload support for the 
serious user in the field. 

This is real portability- taking with 
it all the advantages of the AT sized 
machines. I understand there is to be 
a 20 Mb hard disk version in time too. 

The Toshiba T3100 came in the 
configuration of 640 Kb memory, 10 
Mb hard disk, with three support 
manuals which included a very well- 
prepared MS-DOS operator's refer- 
ence manual. Much of the material 
had been rewritten for this release. 
It all came in a quality hand or shoul- 
der carry case with separate sections 
for the computer and ancillary gear. 

At the centre of it all is the 80286 
chip, providing all the power and 
speed needed to make programs per- 
form as they should. It is a CMOS 
version of Intel's 16-bit 80286 (IAPX 
286) and is the first example available 
of this lower powered chip, and the 
Toshiba's high performance is 
achieved through the use of this par- 
ticular chip. Speed is software con- 
trolled and can be changed during 
program use, through the keyboard. 

Another favourable feature of the 
micro, the keyboard has a great feel, 
unlike the several clicky counter- 
parts. Because of size limitations it 
has been impossible to give the 
normal IBM layout, but the designing 
team has been abie to produce a very 
pleasing result. The layout is easy to 
use, falls naturally to the fingering, 
and the extra controlling keys are not 
hard or awkward to locate, most fal- 
ling naturally to the hand positions 
in use. 

Although no numeric pad is pro- 
vided, there is provision for a plug-on 
one as an optional extra if required. 
The cursor keys are in the bottom 




right corner, and pgup/pgdn/end and 
home keys in a vertical line at the 
right edge. Number and scroll/lock, 
together with prtsc and asterisk, are 
at the top right. The home keys are 
marked well. 

Drives 

The drives are married well into 
each side of the unit, the whole com- 
puter being the size of a small port- 
able typewriter. But that is where the 
similarity stopsl The 3.5 inch 10Mb 
hard disk runs very quietly inside the 
left side of the case. Automatically 
parking heads are a great feature and 
do mean that you are able to shut 
down quickly, as they park after five 
seconds of non-use. I found the set- 
ting up of files and directories 
straightfoward, and moving files 
around no problem. 

The 360/720 Kb disk slot on the 
right side is easy to access, though 
slightly out of sight, and it worked 
well. Formatting disks was straight- 
forward, although some of them had 
been used on very different machines 



previously. It too was near silent in 
operation, and I found the system 
allowed a diskcopy A; A: without 
trouble. 

Speed is the word when programs 
are loaded and run, and whereas you 
may have had time to sit back and 
prepare for the task on other units, 
now you will be almost immediately 
into the job on hand. A number of 
coiieagues who saw this machine in 
action where agreeably surprised 
with its turn of spoed. 

Across the centre of the machine, 
along the folding area, are a number 
of LED indicators providing status in- 
formation on both drives, the number, 
capslock and scroll lock keys. They 
are neatly arranged and not intrusive 
on the line of sight. One shows the 
operating speed of the processor, red 
for slow, and green for fast. 

On boot-up the T3100 is in fast 
speed, and simply using the ctrl/alt/ 
pgdn while working allows the user 
to siow the processor down, handy 
in some software areas, particularly 
when one needs to follow what is 
going on. Ctrl/alt/pgup resumes high 

Bits & Bytes - October 1986 21 



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speed mode again. Ctrl/alt/end will 
switch the video output to the RGB 
outlet and ctrl/alt/home brings it 
back to the display. An indicator 
marks which has been set. 

Software 

In testing the unit for this review, 

I was able to have on board three dif- 
ferent wordprocessors, two database 
management programs, and various 
other aids including Norton, together 
with numerous files for actions. 

Using the WP program was easy 
and it performed well. Multimat per- 
formed similarly, and then I used my 
normal WORD program where 1 was 
able to do all that I am used to doing, 
including using the two printers 
(daisy and dot-matrix) which just 
plugged into the ports on the rear of 
the case. 

The unit tested had a very nice 
Menu program, ensuring a smooth 
entry to the action on turn-on. By 
throwing up the available programs 
in groups, and allowing selection 
through simple letter entry, it is pos- 
sible to gain a quick startup routine 
for any micro. Exit to DOS is there 
too, for those wishing to come 
through things that way. My test unit 
helpfully had Sidekick on board. It 
was extremely quick and easy to use 
the directories and paths around the 
system. The system-required key al- 
lowed entry to configuring the screen 
when such special software was av- 
ailable to operate in that area. 

I noted that in some recent testings 
run by others this micro features very 
well indeed. It has things together in 
the right places and with the LSI 
(large scale integration circuitry) is 
able to handle electrical paths most 
efficiently. Technically this provides 
real advantages in this field where 
large scale integration is allowing the 
shortening of the electrical paths and 
increasing operating speeds. In this 
machine all of the normal operating 
boards are on one under the 
keyboard. Yes, everything! 

Other programs and tested in- 
cluded Open Access and Autocad. 
Several games packages including 
Decathalon and Jet worked very 
nicely too. The serial Mouse will work 
well, just plugged into the serial port 
and with the mouse support prog- 
rams already on board. 

Finish 

This is a nicely presented unit and 
is well finished, the model tested 
being a dark grey colour. It is neat in 
shape, with the lid (and display) fold- 
ing into the top front of the case and 
its central latch easily used when re- 
quired. A separate unit carry handle 
fits into the bottom of the back and 

{Continued on page 25) 



22 Bis & Bytes - October 1986 



MoS PRICES TUMBLE! 

The lowest in the Country 



WORD PROCESSING 



BANK SHEET WRITER 199-00 

EASY 220-00 

EASY WRITER II 495 00 

EASY-MICROPRO 290-00 

EXECUTIVE WRITER 165-00 

JUST WRITE 585-00 

MICROSOFT WORD 775-00 
MICROSOFT WORD/MOUSE 

BUNDLE 995-00 

MICROSOFTWORD LAN 2,59500 

MULTIMATE 3.31 795-00 

MULTIMATE 3.31 LAN 996-00 

MULTIMATE ADVANTAGE 1.075-00 
MULTIMATE ADVANTAGE LAN 1 .895-00 

MULTIMATE GRAPHLINK 195-00 

PERFECT WRITER 595-00 

PFS PROOF 225-00 

PFS WRITE 295-00 

WORDPERFECT 4 1 795-00 

WORDSTAR 2000 LAN 380-00 

WORDSTAR 2000 V 2.0 545-00 

WORDSTAR 2000+ LAN 450-00 

WORDSTAR 2000+ V 2 595-00 

WORDSTAR JX 180-00 

WORDSTAR LAN 280-00 

WORDSTAR PRO OPTIONS 250-00 

WORDSTAR PROFESSIONAL 695-00 

WORDSTAR V 3.3 380-00 



SPRING SUPER SPECIALS 



DATABASES 



LOTUS 123 
PARADOX 
DBASE III PLUS 
UP PLANNER 
WORDPERFECT 
XTREE 
WORDSTAR 2000* 



SPREADSHEETS 



695-00 
995-00 
995-00 
199-00 
795-00 
135-00 
595-00 



BOTTOMLINE 


495-00 


IFPS/ PERSONAL 


2.495-00 


JAVELIN 


995-00 


LOTUS 123. V 2 01 


695-00 


LOTUS REPORT WRITER 


330-00 


MULTIPLAN 


455-00 


NOTE-IT 


195-00 


OPEN ACCESS 


1.145-00 


PERFECT CALC 


395-00 


PFS PLAN 


295-00 


SPREADSHEET AUDITOR 


345-00 


SQZ' 


195-00 


SUPERCALC III 


765-00 


TWIN 


385-00 


VP PLANNER 


199-00 



DBASE II 885-00 

DBASE III PLUS 995-00 

DBASE III PLUS LAN PAK 1 .795-00 

EXECUTIVE FILER 135-00 

KNOWLEDGEMAN 985-00 
MULTIMATE ON FILE MANAGER 295-00 

PARADOX V 1 1 995-00 
PARADOX APPLICATION 

GENERATOR 50-00 

PARADOX RUNT IME VERSION 50-00 

PERFECT FILER 395-00 

PFS FILE 295-00 

POWERBASE 785-00 

O & A 545-00 

RBASE 5000 1 .495-00 

RBASE RUNTIME VERSION 685-00 

RBASE TUTORIAL 99-00 

REFLEX 220-00 

REFLEX LAN VERSION 425-00 



INTEGRATED PACKAGES 



ENABLE 
FRAMEWORK II 
OPEN ACCESS 
SYMPHONY V 1 1 



1 .745-00 
1,195-00 
1.145-00 
1.195-00 



UTILITIES 



PROJECT MANAGEMENT 



FASTBACK 

MACE 

PC DOS 3.i 

SIDEWAYS 

SIDEKICK (UNPROTECTED) 

SUPERKEY 

WINDOWS 

WINDOWS/MOUSE BUNDLE 

XTREE 



STATISTICS 



SPSS PC 
STATPAC 
STATGRAPHICS 



285-00 
249-00 
205-00 
145-00 
120-00 
170-00 
285-00 
645-00 
135-00 



2,995-00 
1,075-00 
2,085-00 




HARVARD TOTAL PROJECT 

MANAGER 
MICROSOFT PROJECT 
PERTMASTER 
TIMELINE V 2.0 
PROJECT SCHEDULER 

NETWORK 



895-00 

875-00 

2,440-00 

975-00 

1,195-00 



HARD DISKS 



1 MEG PLUS HARDCARD 1 .695-00 

20 MEG PLUS HARDCARD 2. 1 95-00 
20 MEG SEAGATE DISK AND 

CONTROLLER XT 1.595-00 
30 MEG SEAGATE DISK AND 

CONTROLLER XT 1,895-00 
40 MEG SEAGATE DISK AND 

CONTROLLER AT 2,195-00 
80 MEG SEAGATE DISK AND 

CONTROLLER AT 2.995-00 

AT CONTROLLERS 545-00 

Prices are 'ubject to change without, notice 



RING MoS FOR ANY OTHER PRICES: QST not \l\C\. 

IUqC Computer Systems & Supplies 

■*■ » ^V/ ^^ Authorised dealers lot: Imaqirteering. Loius, Microsoft, ANSA. Ashlon Tale 



DESKTOP PUBLISHING 



CLICKART PERSONAL PUBLISHER440-00 
DRAFIX 995-00 

FREELANCE 895-00 

PC PAINT 325-00 

PC PAINTBRUSH 375-00 

PRINTSHOP 155-00 



COMMUNICATIONS 



CROSSTALK 
MICROSOFT ACCESS 
MULTICOM 



LANGUAGES 



BASIC COMPILER 
C COMPILER 
COBOL COMPILER 
FORTRAN COMPILER 
PASCAL COMPILER 
TURBO LIGHTENING 
TURBO PASCAL V3 
TURBO PASCAL 8087 
TURBO PROLOGUE 
TURBO DATABASE TOOLBOX 



295-00 
575-00 
395-00 



995-00 
1.195-00 
1 ,495-00 
995-00 
795-00 
235-00 
160-00 
245-00 
220-00 
140-00 




MoS HOTLINES! 

(09) 760-086 
(04) 857-906 
(03) 68-606 

P.O. Box 46177, Heme Bay, Auckland. 



Bits & Bytes - October 1 986 23 



Hail the 
LipslO 
laser- 



New from C. Itoh: the LIPS-10 

Laser Image Printing System for 

office computers. It's a real sprinter. 

10 pages a minute instead of only 8. 

Faster warm-up -just 30 seconds 

instead of 120. Faster print - you 

can have your first page printed just 

40 seconds from switch-on. C. Itoh's 

LIPS-10 is a speedster that's built 

for marathons. Built to last 5 years 

at 500 sheets per day. That's a long 

way ahead of 150 sheets a day for 

less than 3 years. There's less 



servicing too. Instead of just 3,000 sheets, the LIPS-10 supplies kit lasts 15,000 
sheets. So overall you reduce maintenance and achieve much lower running 
costs. To allow unattended operation the LIPS-10 paper cassettes and 
ouput tray both hold 250 sheets. And face down collation 
saves sorting time. 

And it does it all quietly and in style. LIPS Flexible Fonts 
provide dynamic character scaling, rotation, italics, holding 
and justification. The LIPS Command Language provides 
business graphics, forms, logos, 
bar codes and easy merging with ^ [» 
text. Extra fonts are available in 
cartridges or by downloading. 

Fitted with both Centronics 
and RS-232-C ports, the 
LIPS-10 Laser printer is 
compatible with the IBM-PC 
range, compatibles and most 
minicomputers. It emulates 
the Diablo 630 daisywheel and 
Epson FX-80 matrix so you 
won't have to modify your 
word processing or software. 

If you're looking at what's — - 
best - and cheapest - in the 
long run, you'll award your gold to the 
C.Itoh LIPS-10 Laser Printer. The 
marathon sprinter. Contact us now for a 
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Ab NORMANRY ROAD. MT EDEN AlJCKIAND.3 PH (09) 600 68/ 

it sprints marathons! 





amat 



24 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



covers the ports when folded away. 
When not in use this handle doubles 
as a rest and tips the computer for- 
ward giving a much nicer keyboard 
angle. Leads are then easily attached 
to the approprate ports along this 
back lower portion of the unit. A re- 
movable area allows entry of the 2 
Mb working memory or modem 
boards which are available as extras. 

As it is so small and light in weight, 
it is easy to handle in the office or at 
other sites. Managing it in and out of 
the holdall supplied is also easy. 
While doing this review I have taken 
it to a number of situations and found 
it most comfortable to handle and 
manage. 

Being IBM compatible and loaded 
with your favourite software, this 
unit will prove to be a most useful 
and handy sized portable indeed. 
Being able to just shut down and pack 
it off with you so easily its best fea- 
ture. Then with the terminal/modem 
card inserted and cabled approp- 
riately, you are able to carry on some 
powerful computing, attached to 
your main system, through normal 
communications packages. 

Display 

One of the key features of the unit 
is the very clear display, a most sig- 
nificant part of the micro as the 
technology behind the screen allows 
its ease of use. Unfortunately, owing 
to the power requirements of this sc- 
reen (and the hard disk) the unit is 
not provided with battery power. 
There is, I understand, a very neat 
small-sized mains power unit incor- 
porated into the rear of this unit 
which deserves mention here. 

Providing this clear display is a dis- 
tinct advantage, and Toshiba en- 



gineers have certainly reached a very 
worthy result in this unit. Gas-plasma 
is a different type of display and I 
found it was not hard on my eyes as 
I had first thought it could be. I have 
observed the fuzz on some other gas- 
plasma displays but this one is beaut- 
ifully clear and without any "bleed". 
I found no inconvenience at all, in all 
my use of it for hours on end. 

The display moves through a wide 
range of angles and the letters are 
displayed n double pixels, making all 
characters very much more easily 
seen, in both day and night use. Re- 
verse video is also available but the 
characters are not so easily visible in 
this mode. 

Although the 640k appears to be 
maximum, there is a further 2Mb 
available on a special plug-in arrange- 
ment. This clearly should take the 
3100 into the real computing range, 
as it would allow various types of vir- 
tual memory use to make the unit 
even more able to do those things 
needed today. 

I understand the whole PCB takes 
up the area of less than one plug in 
an IBM card! It sits under the 
keyboard to allow the other units and 
boards to plug from it towards the 
rear of the unit. 

Overall 

This is a very nice machine indeed, 
and I'm sure it will find its way into 
many executive uses. For sheer con- 
venience alone it will attract many 
•who want to be able to have that 
capacity and power with them. Prog- 
rams are easily available, and on-site 
convenience will score with it too. I'm 
sure many will appreciate the ease of 
handling this machine, with the mar- 



SPECIFICATIONS 




Name 


Toshiba T2100 Toshiba T3100 


Manufacturer 


Toshiba Corporation, Japan 


Processor 


8086-2 (7. 16/4 .77 MHz) 80286 (8/4 MHz) 


RAM 


256 Kb exp to 640 Kb 640 Kb exp to 2.6 Mb 


Disk 


one or two 360/720 Kb one 360/720 Kb floppy 




internal floppy drives one 1 Mb hard drive 




(all 3.5-inch) 


Display 


gas plasma, 640x400 pixels, 80x25 characters 




viewing area 192x144 mm 


Keyboard 


81 keys, full travel 


Peripherals 


External video ports (RGB and composite) 




Serial port 




Parallel/external 5-in. FDD port 




Calendar clock/system configuration memory 




Expansion slot Expansion slot 




RGB colour port 


Options 


384 Kb memory exp. card 2 Mb memory exp. card 




300/1200 baud internal modem card 




External 5.25-in. floppy disk drive 




I/O expansion card (internal) 


Power supply 


1 1 5/230 v switchable 


Dimensions 


311 x 80 x 360 mm (W x H x D) 


Weight 


5.9 kg 6.8 kg 


Price (NZ) 


$6,350 $10,990 




ket finding that these machines are 
now available, if the traffic into the 
Auckland agency is anything to go 
by! Recent testing and some program 
checks here show this unit to have a 
high level of compatibility witli the 
IBM software. 

The Toshiba lap-top range runs 
from the battery-powered T1100, 
with 256k memory, one 3.5-inch dis- 
kette drive, liquid crystal display, 
parallel and RGB port at $3500.00; 
through to the T3100 described in 
this review at $10,990.00. The T2100 
intermediate model at $6,350.00 has 
256k memory with two 3.5-inch dis- 
kette drives, high-resolution gas- 
plasma display, dual co-processor, se- 
rial port, parallel port, external video 
port, calendar clock, expansion slot, 
and 2.11, and 3.2 MS-DOS. A 384Kb 
memory add-on card is available. 

The T3100 also has a RGB colour 
poit and can be supplied with a 2Mb 
memory card. Further options include 
the 10-key external numeric keypad, 
a 5. 25-inch external drive, a 1 .2Mb ex- 
ternal drive, and a 5-slot expansion 
chassis. 

This Toshiba has to be the fastest 
and most powerful lap-top I have ever 
seen. It can be looked on as an excel- 
lent buy and will take its place in the 
executive case. Being so powerful it 
will not be long before there are some 
great offerings to go with it too. In 
the area of cost comparison the T3 1 00 
must rank far and away above many 
other offerings, particularly when at- 
tached to your system during the day 
and at home for those other tasks at 
night. 

Try one soon! 



o 



(Review machine supplied by Southmark 
Computers Ltd. Auckland.) 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 25 



Icons on your Commodore 64 



by Joe Colquitt 

GEOS, Graphic Environment 
Operating System, is a package 
designed by Berkeley Softworks and 
promoted in association with Com- 
modore to run on the Commodore 64, 
128, or C64C. The set I received con- 
sisted of a GEOS Disk, Work Disk, and 
manual. Future sets will be part of 
the Disk Drive Package. 

The entire program is icon-based, 
using pictures to represent proce- 
dures, as seen on the Macintosh, 
Amiga and Atari ST. Control is by 
joystick, and minimal typing is re- 
quired by the user, which simplifies 
moving about the various modules. 
At first I though this would appeal 
more to the casual or inexperienced 
computer user, but after using GEOS 
for a while. I found it was nice not to 
have to search for keys , except during 
disk or file naming. 

The initial GEOS screen (Desktop) 
is an icon menu on a note-pad, with 
a selection of pull-down menus a- 



cross the top of the screen, and a 
printer and waste-basket in the lower 
right corner. The pages of the note- 
pad can be flipped over to reveal files 
on the disk. From this screen you can 
access files or modules, or make back- 
ups of the GEOS modules to create 
work disks. The main GEOS disk is 
used only for booting the system and 
creating work disks. 

As the main GEOS disk has all the 
modules on it and is full, unwanted 
modules are scratched from the work 
disk by selecting their icons and put- 
ting them in the waste-basket, leav- 
ing room for user files. Separate work 
disks can be created for the two main 
utilities geoPaint and geoWrite. or an 
accessory such as Note-pad. Lesser 
modules include Calculator, Clock, 
Preference Manager, and Desk Top. 
All input/output is via 'disk Turbo', 
which claims — and appears — to 
speed data transfer around five 
times. 



This is an excellent bit-map utility, 
allowing an entire 640 pixel wide by 
800 pixel long document to be 
printed. Ten-inch printers will print 
only 480 pixels wide, so that must be 
borne in mind. I can't think of another 
utility that will print that wide. Other 
programs only print a 320x200 
screen, and turn the picture around 
to fill the paper. The selection of 
printer drivers includes Commodore, 
Commodore compatible, Epson, 
C.Itoh and others detailed in the man- 
ual. I used the module on a C.Itoh 
7500 (8510 option) and a Star NX10C 
with good results on both, but a very 
big disappointment to me was that I 
couldn't get a peep out of my Riteman 
C+ . If anyone has managed it, I'd love 
to hear how. Believe me, I tried a lot. 
of combinations. 

geoPaint is icon-driven, with a col- 
lection of sub-menus across the top 
of the screen, and has many out- 
standing features. It's high-res colour 



I 
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26 Bits & Bytes - Octobei 1986 



J 



bit-mapping, so what you see is what 
you print. The actual drawing area is 
a window that can be moved around 
over the entire picture, the position 
of the window being shown at the 
bottom of the screen. A 'preview' 
shows the entire page in miniature, 
which is handy when planning a lay- 
out. 

Drawing tools are a pencil/eraser, 
a paintbrush with different tile pat- 
terns, an airbrush, magnified editing, 
several fonts/points of text, filled or 
open circles and boxes, lines, pattern 
fills, cut/paste/copy. measuring 
faculties, mirror, invert, clear, and 
undo. Text can be added from geo- 
Write, as can geoPaint pictures be 
used in geoWrite. 

geoWrite 

Like geoPaint, geoWrite is chock- 
full of options. The majority of the 
screen is the writing area, with pull- 
down menus and a ruler across the 
top of the page. Left/right scrolling is 
automatic when screen boundaries 
are crossed, the screen window view- 
ing just over half of the document 
width. Margins are set by pulling the 
margin indicators along the ruler, and 
a similar procedure is used for setting 
up to eight tab stops. Page breaks 
are allowed. 



geos: 






S£S~ s .»• i^. : : :: Mi Pfif \mm 



if a a 



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ma 




::--;7"-i !>r:w ] 

€-■;:• 4 i j yCJ .i 

iS.6'0 S '3E0S BOOT QE'i'S SiEP.I-lfiL 






:i:i:'.t::r 



DESK TOP 





i/:r ; .#.! 

1 : . Gf I'Priiill 


jIPj 










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•— :,-| 




: " ■ ' 


cant 





There are six fonts in a variety of 
points and outlines, such as italic, 
bold, and open. Combinations can be 
used on the same page, which allows 
for a header or footer in large 
Dwinelie (ye olde English) and the 
text body in a small University type- 
face. I could find no mention of right- 
justification, but this should not pre- 
sent much of a problem as spacing 
can be edited. The full width of the 
document is 480 pixels. Although not 



a full-blown word-processor, geoWri 
-te is a versatile utility that can easily 
produce some fancy documents. 

Accessories 



GEOS has several other modules 
that can be used in conjunction with 
the main program. Alarm Clock is a 
settable clock that keeps time while 
you are using GEOS, and will sound 



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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 27 




Purchase once only 
and resell as often as you like. 



SOURCE CODE Included with purchase. 

(Source allows GST option inclusion) 

Complete integrated accounting package. Including: 

• Stock/inventory control • Creditors 

• Debtors • General Ledger 

Designed and Written to exacting standards 
Flexibility has been on important consideration in syslems 
design, allowing the users to establish their own systems 
requirements, and individualise outgoing paperwork 
presentations (invoices, etc ) 

AM Modules are integroted or each module can be used 
individuoily Each or all modules can olso be integrated with 
your own vertical market software 

Source Code will be included to allow you to redesign any 
facet of the programs to suit your particular needs 

Comes complete with attractive, high quality and fully 
detailed, easy to use, instruction manual which can also be 
copied or subsequently purchased from DATA MANAGEMENT at 
a moderate cost The user manual is designed for over printing 
with your own company name etc 



Software (including source) soon to be released: 

• Spread sheet • Cashbook • Payroll 

• Job/Time Costing • word Processing 




TO ORDER: 




All programs have been designed for ease of use ond the 

source hos been sectionalised for quick and easy design 

changes. 

Demonstration kits are availoble with user manuals fo; triol on 

IBM or Compatibles. 

Minimum hardware requirements 

256 K memory, 2 disk drives, 80 col printer (compressed 

mode) or 132 column printer. 



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Enclosed cheque lor S (Incl $iopostoge)orpleosederjitmy American Express, : Diners Club. Visa. Mastercord . orBonkcard 

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Please forward: 

Demonstration pack with user manual tor 

D Debtors ($100) 

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Compiled programs with source code and user manuals (or 

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28 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



an alarm at a specified time if re- 
quired. Calculator is a four-function 
calculator which, like other acces- 
sories, can be called at any time. 
Note-pad can store 127 250-character 
pages of notes, either as permanent 
files on disk or as temporary notes 
available in other modules. 

Text Manager and Photo Manager 
are two similar modules. Text Man- 
ager stores snippets of text that can 
be compiled into a larger document., 
or pasted into geoPaint. Photo Man- 
ager is used in the same way with 
graphic images, and the two together 
are not unlike Newsroom. 

Preference Manager is where you 
get to have your say in the GEOS 
operating system. It allows you to set 
the border, back/foreground, pointer 
shape, speed and acceleration, time 
and date. The changes can be saved 
to various work disks or left tempor- 
ary, lost when the power is turned off. 

QuantumLink is a wide-ranging 
modem utility on side two of GEOS. 
Unfortunately, all the references are 
to American services, and Commo- 
dore is seeking information on its use 
in this country. 

Although sizeable, the GEOS man- 
ual is not unmanageable, and is help- 
fully cross-referenced. Most of the 
time you would be using a GEOS 
module and need only refer to that 
part of the manual. It is necessary to 
read the first section in order to get 
an overview of GEOS as a whole, but 
geoPaint and geoWrite have their 
own screen menus, and only occa- 
sional reference for special opera- 
tions is needed. 



For and against 

The manual is good, the modules 
are excellent, the accessories are a 
thoughtful bonus, the pointer is well 
controlled, and the icons/menus 
make life very easy. The screen layout 
is well presented, and the turbo disk 
feature keeps things running 
smoothly. It's also possible to make 
use of the GEOS speed to load and 
run your own BASIC programs; when 
finished, insert GEOS master disk, 
tap Restore, and watch GEOS reboot 
automatically. 

Occasionally GEOS wouldn't boot 
first time (on several drives), but I 
think that's probably a side-effect of 
the disk's non-standard format, and 
is not a major worry. 

The failure to drive the Riteman, 
however, is a serious drawback. I'm 
not saying that parochially, but be- 
cause the Riteman is a popular 
printer. To be fair, the GEOS review 
copy is version 1.2, and I understand 
that future versions will fix the prob- 
lem, but it still puzzles me that none 
of the Commodore, Epson or C. Itoh 
drivers works on it. 




ftlmo!' n hundierf ( 
much ot <ht LflihVi fu: 
only torn make up mo 
oxygen In wmbmotior 
the principle molecule! 



t B»T 
Colli oinin 
Coiy 
Dwindle 
Pomn \ 
ijmvetii'y 



i <*e pieieni in the (Atn' 
(net '>*tl ol ntmospneie :i 

living mnue, Ihete n,e crobf 

ihei elemeni: 




Changing Fonts 

Overall, GEOS is a worthwhile ac- 
quisition. After my disillusionment 
with the printer, I would recomend 
an instore demonstration before buy- 
ing. The ultimate output from GEOS 
is a printout, so it's in the user's best 
interest to do so. 

On the way from Berkeley are 
mouse, trackball and drawing-pad 
input routines, as well as the other 
printer drivers, which in the USA are 
available free by modem over Quan- 
tumLink. Other major support mod- 
ules are also planned on later ver- 
sions. At the moment GEOS seems 
to retail for around $160, with pros- 
pects of being a bit cheaper later on, 
and Commodore will include GEOS 
with sales of disk drives in the future. 

Review copy of GEOS supplied by Com- 
modore Computer (NZ) Ltd. 



Erasing 



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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 29 



On micros and 
mainframes 



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By Paul Bieleski 

I suppose that any of us old timers 
who have been in the computer 
game for a long time can be a bit of 
a bore going back to the old days of 
computing. However, we can see that 
the more things change the more 
things are the same. 

The advent of the micro computer 
has meant a start from the beginning 
again in developing computer 
software. It was described as a great 
leap backwards. Many experienced 
people who have stayed with the 
mainframes look down their noses at 
the micro and dismiss them as toys. 
They have a lot to learn. 

I have a note in a diary that I made 
a breakthrough on October 21, 1963. 
I coded and got running a program 
on the one day. This was an invoicing 
program for a large NZ company, to 
run on their new system, a 4k IBM 
1440 system with one disk drive con- 
taining two million characters on a 
five kg disk pack. It had a cycle time 
that enabled it to process a character 
in about 12 microseconds. 

Recently I had occasion to work ior 
the same firm again. It now uses a 



large IBM mainframe with terminal 
links to branch offices and the de- 
velopment centre. The application 
being developed was a re-write of the 
current invoicing system and was 
using all the latest software, on-line 
systems, database systems, develop- 
ment aids and documentation sys- 
tems. 

The wheel had turned and I was 
back where I had been before — large 
systems I had left behind in 1977, and 
a client and application I had worked 
on in 1 96 3 . However, in the meantime 
I had got some experience with mic- 
rocomputers and purchased one in 
1981. I experienced some of the sys- 
tem development I had already had 
before and went through much famil- 
iar ground. 

While the mainframes have de- 
veloped enormous computing capac- 
ity and the software has developed, 
my impression remains that the de- 
velopment micros have made, espe- 
cially in the area of software, means 
that the micro is a more productive 
area for getting things done. 

In many respects micro hardware 
can stand comparison with the main- 
framers. On this job I went back to 
using IBM 3270 terminals. What 
monsters they are compared to cur- 
rent micro terminals! The 3270, while 
having a good quality screen display, 
is monstrously large and difficult to 
adjust to ergonomic positions. The 
keyboard is also heavy and awkward 
to position, and not as well laid out 
or having the good feel of a good 
micro keyboard. 

My work involved the use of an 
editor called ROSCOE, part of a whole 
array of software components used 
by the teams of people working on 
the development. What a come-down 
this seemed. 

My micro editor (Magic Wand) is a 
bit old but is better in every respect. 




30 Bits & Bytes - OctoDer 1986 



Instead of a reference card I had to 
use a reference booklet. There are a 
lot more commands and functions to 
grapple with because of the complex- 
ity of the mainframe environment, yet 
the commands in common use were 
not as easy to use. There was no tuto- 
rial such as is becoming familiar in 
the micro area. Roscoe is more tuned 
to work with single lines rather than 
the paragraph I had become used to. 
The window on to the data was only 
1 8 lines instead of 2 3 , and these were 
shortened by a sequence number 
that was of little use to me. 

Low work speed 

However, the most annoying de- 
fect compared with the micro was the 
speed with which one could work. Be- 
cause of the design of the IBM 3270, 
whole screen frames were passed 
back and forward from the main- 
frame. The mainframe may be very 
much faster thana micro, but the re- 
sult was slow, and what was worse, 
it was irregular. Very few responses 
were within the two-second limit for 
continuous work, and a high propor- 
tion were well over the 15-second 
maximum for avoiding memory lapse. 

If this is the state of the 
art on mainframes, then 
they have a lot to learn 

from micros 

When working on documentation 
the lack of word wrap meant much 
more work was required to input text. 
With my micro I can type flat out with- 
out the machine holding me up. I did 
not have to worry about carriage re- 
turns. I used them to mark the end 
of a paragraph. If I could type 40,000 
characters without pause, my micro 
would keep up no matter how fast I 
typed, but not ROSCOE, Many times 
I was led by my thoughts and went 
over the short line ROSCOE allowed 
me, and the system effectively hung 
up. If this is the state of the art on 
mainframes, then they have a lot to 
learn from micro software. 

To scroll over multiple pages. I am 
used to hitting the one key several 
times to get to the page I want as 
quickly as I like. With ROSCOE I 
needed multiple key actions for each 
page, and I had to wait the many sec- 
onds for a response back from the 
main frame before going on. If I re- 
peated the key sequence too soon the 
system hung up. 

One aspect of this mainframe envi- 
ronment that shocked me was the ac- 
ceptance of text in capital letters. 
Large systems by their complexity re- 
quire much more thorough and exten- 
sive documentation than a small sys- 



tem, and yet only capital letters were 
used. The use of capital letters is an 
obstacle to communication. People 
take longer to read capitals and mis- 
reading is more common. There are 
very sound reasons for children to 
start learning to read in solely lower 
case. Why is the mainframe area so 
backward in this aspect when they 
ought to be ahead of the "cheaper" 
micros? 

The documentation formatting 
program did not have the capability 
of a micro word processing package 
such as Magic Wand or Wordstar, 
either. 

The slow response of the main 
frame and the poor editing facilities 
made me wish I was working on a 
micro and relaying data to the main- 
frame as little as possible. 



While not working in the database 
area, I was left with bad impressions 
there also. The operating system, the 
on-line system, and the database sys- 
tem seem to have been built up over 
time in layer after layer of software 
with the result that one requires an 
enormous investment in education 
and practice in a multitude of unlike 
systems. The work is highly par- 
titioned with each area having its 
own special system to make it easy, 
and yet on the whole it seems so dif- 
ficult and complex that it takes a lot 
of work to make a small change. 

All these systems mean more 
people are required just for managing 
them. The development of integrated 
packages for micros seems to me to 
be ahead of the mainframe area, if 
what I saw was typical. Q 



Cost Effective 



439 



DEBTORS 
LEDGER 
System 



DEBTORS 

• Btougni Forward Balance 

withLineandGST 

Analysis 

700 customers and 3000 

transactions an nard disK 

Batch entry Full aged Uiai 

oalance reports with or 

wilhoul transactions 

Pnnts monthly statements 

Monthly and annual analysis 

reports ana mailing labe's 



439 

INCLUDES OS I 



CREDITORS 

LEDGER 

. System 



CASH BOOK 

• 200 payment analysis 

codes 

1 00 deposit analyses codes 

1000 transactions per 

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INCLUDES G.ST 



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annual records tor lax 

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HIRE PURCHASE 

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company ooort-fceepmg 

Records contract details 

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20 vendors and 300 

contracts per disk individual 

or coiiociivo <epoMs 



CREDITORS 

• Brought Forward Balance 

with Line and G S T 

Analysis 

500 customers ano 3000 

transactions on single 360k 

disk 

Batch entry Full agea ma* 

balance reports with or 

without transactions 

Prints remittance advices 

Monthly and annual analysis 

reports and mailing labels 



549 

INCLUDES GSl 



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System 



INCLUDES G.S.I. 



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SCHEDULE 

System 



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• Comprehensive method of 
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depreciation Support;. 

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Prints reports tor any pcnutl 

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Schedules 



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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 31 



Desk-top tape 

drive provides 
link micro to 

Iil9.1lill a.±il© by Allan Manson 






Microcomputer to Mainframe 
Links is a subject that is becom- 
ing increasingly important. More 
people are using PCs for their day-to- 
day business and are faced with the 
problems of transferring data be- 
tween their PC and the company 
mainframe. The 9800 tape drive by 
Thorn EMI might just be the micro 
mainframe link you have been looking 
for. 

Data transfer between PCs and 
mainframes has many advantages. 
You can use the mainframe to in- 
crease the power of your PC. For 
example you may want to enter fig- 
ures generated by Lotus 123 into a 
company model resident on the main- 
frame. Or perhaps your PC printer is 
not up to printing enough copies of a 
very large report you have been work- 
ing on, and it would be more con- 
venient to print it on a laser printer 
connected to the company main- 
frame. 

Connecting your PC to a mainframe 



is fraught with problems, not the 
least of which is the physical connec- 
tion. If the mainframe uses synchron- 
ous communications you add the 
problem of incompatible protocols, 
and achieving a working solution 
usually requires the intervention of 
skilled people. At the mainframe site 
system programmers must configure 
access for your PC and communica- 
tion engineers are needed to make 
the physical link work. Extra equip- 
ment such as protocol converters, 
synchronous cards and modems may 
also be required. 

Speed is a factor if you are generat- 
ing large files - to transfer a one 
megabyte file over a synchronous 
data link using 9600 bits per second 
and allowing for the overhead of a 
protocol would take about 15 min- 
utes, assuming you had the link to 
yourself, and there were no communi- 
cation errors! The same file on an 
async 1200 bit per second dial up 
modem would take over two and a 





half hours. With Lotus capable of ad- 
dressing up to four megabytes, 
generating files of this size is not un- 
realistic. 

The impact of your data on the 
mainframe communication should be 
calculated and taken into account for 
future expansion of the computingfa- 
culty. Properly managed, your main- 
frame link will allow a PC to access 
the mainframe interactively, transfer 
data files and remain flexible for your 
future needs. 

Analysing your exact needs for a 
link, you may find that interactive 
communication is simply not neces- 
sary, as file transfer will achieve ev- 
erything ycu require. Magnetic tape 
has many advantages and the ability 
to read and write half-inch magnetic 
tape may be the answer. Tape is the 
most common backup media used on 
large computers, it is reliable, andthe 
technology is well proven and 
trusted. Transferring files to and from 
magnetic tape is very fast and fits 
easily in the normal day-to-day ac- 
tivities of computer operators. Com- 
munication specialists would not be 
needed. 

I would see this drive and controller 
as a very useful addition to a PC LAN 
system. It could be used not only for 
file transfer, but also for its ability to 
backup a hard disk quickly, (in high 
density mode less than three mi- 
nutes) as a bonus. The unit is too ex- 
pensive to justify its use solely as a 
backup device. 

Installing the 9800 system onto a 
PC or AT is very simple and can be 
undertaken by anyone familiar with 
IBM PCs. although I am sure Thorn 
EMI would be happy to provide any 
assistance if required. The controller 
card occupies one full-length slot in 
the PC and has a cable which con- 
nects to the tape drive. After instal- 
ling the card, the user needs to trans- 
fer the files, from the floppy supplied 



32 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



A 



onto the hard disk of the PC. 

Of the files, one is the operating 
program for the card, while the other 
is the main user program. No special 
procedures are needed for unpacking 
or installing the tape drive — just re- 
move it from its container, check the 
mains connection and voltage, power 
it up and the diagnostics built into 
the drive will tell you if everything is 
OK! 

Poeple familiar with tape drives on 
large computer systems will as- 
sociate them with the problems of 
tricky threading procedures or with 
masses of vacuum and noisy air 
pumps. Not so with the 9800. Low 
pressure air is used for tape threading 
but the unit is not at all noisy. I found 
operating the tape unit as simple as 
a floppy disk drive. 

To load the tape, the user takes the 
reel out of its case, makes sure the 
tape end is free, and places it in the 
vertical slot in the front of the unit. 
Close the drive door, press Load and 
the tape drive automatically threads 
and finds the start of tape marks. 
Press the Online button and the drive 
is ready for use. Operator controls 
provided on the drive are Load, On- 
line, Rewind, Reset, High density and 
Diagnostics. A four-character al- 
phanumeric display and four LEDs 
provide drive status information. 

Thorn EMI manufactures and mar- 



kets a range of magnetic tape drives 
from a rack mount 100 inch per sec- 
ond model down to the 9800 desk-top 
model, and also has controllers and 
serial buffer cards to match the 
drives. Most suitable for use with a 
PC is the desk-top 9800 tape streamer 
and a TCI 500 tape controller, with 
its bundled software. 

I expected a mainframe compatible 
tape drive to dwarf an IBM PC, but 
Thorn EMI claims its tape drive is the 
world's smallest standard half-inch 
drive, and it certainly is not at all ob- 
trusive placed in the PC environment. 

I would see this drive and 
controller as a very useful 
addition to a PC LAN 
system 

In normal operation only Load and 
Online would be used, the drive then 
being under control of the host. Once 
the tape drive is on line, the Tape 
Manager software resident on the PC 
allows the operator to backup PC 
disks onto tape and restore them, 
save and restore selected files. Other 
very useful tape utilities are also pro- 
vided to display the contents of a file 
and the structure of the tape. All func- 
tions of tape managers are accessed 
via an easy to use menu. 




Most computer users possess little 
knowledge of the electronic and 
mechanical working of the machine 
they operate. It is not necessary to 
have such knowledge unless you in- 
tend to repair these devices yourself. 
However, access to good diagnostic 
programs and procedures is a must 
to locate exactly which unit is faulty 
in order to call the appropriate service 
engineers. 

There appear to be no diagnostics 
for the controller card, but there is 
probably no need. The tape drive has 
55 built-in diagnostic programs, use- 
ful not only to the service engineer 
but which also allow the user to val- 
idate the operation of the drive. 
Power-on diagnostics which include 
connector tests and memory tests 
also provide an indication as to the 
health of the drive. Maintenance of 
the drive unit would need to be car- 



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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 33 



ried out by a trained engineer be- 
cause of the tolerances and adjust- 
ment required. Service would involve 
module replacement so a failure 
would involve little down time. 

A manual is supplied with both the 
tape drive, and the controller card. 
The tape drive manual is of good qual- 
ity, giving details of the operation and 
diagnostics available. There is also an 
important section on periodic clean- 
ing and some good block diagrams of 
the unit. 

The manual supplied with the con- 
troller is of much poorer quality and 
is aimed mainly at providing the user 
with information on the Tape Man- 
ager software. Its description of the 
various tape manager functions gives 
interesting general information as 
well as the necessary details. Instal- 
lation of the controller card is in- 
cluded in this manual. 

Applications for the tape drive are 
not limited to PCs. Supplied with an 
industry standard interface, Thorn 
EMI tape drives could be connected 
to many types of larger computer, as 
a cost-effective alternative to the 
original manufacturer's equipment. A 
spare PCB slot is provided inside the 
drive case to accommodate optional 
buffer cards, which allow theunit to 
be controlled via RS232 or current 
loop serial interfaces or bidirectional 



Centronics or IEEE 488 parallel inter- 
faces. 

Thorn EMI's tape drives appear to 
be well designed and constructed. 
With their range of controllers, the 



drives will fit into many applications 
so there should be a good market for 
their product. Q 

Allan Manson is a product specialist 
with Datacom Equipment 



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34 Bits & Bytes - OcloBsr 1986 







One of the most popular seminars was given by Bob Radley (inset) 
on microcomputers and the share market. 



FOURTH CHRISTCHURCH 
COMPUTER SHOW 



Ashton-Tate stand. 

I CBA 





The three levels of CBA software support and distributors are see 
in (from left) Kerry McFetridge, Businessworld Computers; 
Vicky McCuilough, CBA; and Neil Currie, Mainland Data Processii 



Microbee's stand attracted a wide range of customer interest. 




Cable-Pnce 



AM AUTOCAD 



Stands with chairs were appreciated by footsore viewers. 



Campbell Bolting from the Whitcoulls stand across the aisle 
is shown how Autocad works by George Drayton. 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 




he Danes have always had a se 






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Every Verbatim disk 
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38 Bits & Bytes - October 1 986 



CAD/CAM 



Keeping up with the Joneses 



by John King 

After a slow start amid a multi- 
tude of predictions about its ulti- 
mate usefulness, computer-aided de- 
sign (CAD) appears to have taken off. 
according to industry sources One 
major reason is of course the availa- 
bility of powerful CAD systems on 
PCs, the ever-lowering price of which 
has brought this new engineering 
tool within the reach of more than 
just the large manufacturing com- 
panies and government agencies. 

At the same time, the mystique of 
CAD has perhaps led to an inflated 
expectation of its capabilities. "The 
only reason anyone is buying CAD is 
to keep up with the Joneses," says 
Cable-Price Engineering's Tim 
McMahon. 

"A CAD system does not design 
anything, any more than a word pro- 
cessor can create writing. It is merely 
a tool. It will, however, make drawing 
and design more productive if it's im- 
plemented correctly. " 

He makes the distinction between 
systems run on micros, where CAD 
strictly means computer-aided 
draughting, and the proper compu- 
ter-aided design able to be done on 
mainframes. Micros are limited at the 
moment, especially in their 3-D 
capabilities and truly integrated 
databases, but provide a good entry 
level with the prospect of future com- 
patibility with mainframes. 

"An army of industry tyre- 
kickers " 

CAD systems are most often re- 
garded as useful in the fields of en- 
gineering and architecture, doing 
away with the drudgery of repetitive 
drawing, especially where one small 
change to a detail can mean a com- 
plete redraughting. The ability to 
bring in a symbol from an attached 
library, or change the position of 
another detail, and then have CAD 
redraw the entire picture is very at- 
tractive to businesses with an eye on 
productivity. 

At the same time, CAD has to be 
approached cautiously. Architect 
Keith J-euschke, who could see some 
years ago that the movement was in- 
evitable, bought the first Veroacad 
system in Auckland, version 3.1, just 
a couple of months after its launch in 
the USA. 




All drawing can be done 

with a mouse or joystick. 

"It was a complete and utter mys- 
tery," he admits now. "There was no- 
body to talk to about it. I could see it 
was too early when I bought it, and 
on the first system I couldn't even 
produce a drawing, so it lay idle for 
some months." 

While CAD might be thought to be 
ideal for the architect's needs, the 



computer has a basic incompatibility 
with his thought processes. An en- 
gineer might think about a project as 
a series of details, but an architect 
starts by thinking in generalisations, 
with a basic sketch of a building on 
a site plan. The computer wants to 
work the other way, starting with de- 
tails which it can then join together 
with a high degree of accuracy. 

"It's inherently inflexible," says 
Leuschke, "requiring specific and ac- 
curate information. I might want to 
move things a little bit, but the com- 




inwni 

Bits & Bytes - October 1986 39 



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puter wants to know exactly how 
much a little bit is. 'Nearly' or 'almost' 
is not a part of it." 

JASMaD, the firm of architects and 
planners, has been using Autocad 
since September 1985, currently 
using two workstations to produce 
full working drawings, site and floor 
plans, but not perspectives. The CAD 
draughtsmen were taken on as new 
trainees and had learned the basics 
in a few days, but regard becoming 
skilled and fully productive as an on- 
going process. Other draughtsmen 
will make the changeover to CAD as 
more workstations are added to its 
Autocad network, but there will al- 



ways be a need for manual drawing, 
in JASMaD' s opinion. 

"Some will be faster, especially in 
the one-off situation," says CAD 
supervisor Mike Langridge. "But the 
more symmetrical and repetitive the 
drawing, the better suited it is to 
CAD. For changes, CAD is much fas- 
ter, of course. We don't actually do 
much design on it - the architects do 
that on paper and hand it to the 
draughtsmen. " 

Each firm of architects uses a diffe- 
rent CAD package. Keith Leuschke of 
Peddle Thorp & Aitken originally 
chose Versacad because of its origi- 
nal promise of backup and support, 



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as well as the fact that it. was a more 
simple system, easier to learn and 
use. Autocad is more easily adapted 
to the individual user's needs, with a 
large number of third parties writing 
specialised software, symbol libraries 
and other enhancements. "The 
whole idea of the symbol library is 
that you never draw anything twice , " 
Mike Landridge points out, 

Second industrial 
revolution 

And where is CAD going from 
here? John Clancy, president of 
McDonneii Douglas Manufacturing 
and Engineering Systems, says that 
computer-aided design and manufac- 
turing are tools that are being used 
to fashion a second industrial revolu- 
tion. However, whereas CAD/CAM 
systems are still the exception in in- 
dustry, he echoes another's opinion 
that "in five years' time there won't 
be a company worth its salt that 
doesn't have CAD". 

Ironically, perhaps, in the light of 
CAD/CIM (computer-integrated 

manufacturing) being the direction of 
the future, the whole idea of compu- 
ter-driven manufacture started with 
programmable machining tools. And 
a recent development in that field is 
the CAMM-3, a computer-aided mod- 
elling machine which can take a CAD- 
generated drawing on a PC system 
and make a 3-D model. 

"Draughtsmen are adapting, and 
my prediction is that toolmakers will 
have to do the same," says Benriie 
Gunn of Concorde Communications. 
"CAD draughting is in only two di- 
mensions, and the 3-D package for 
Autocad, for example, gives only an 
illusion., which is true enough on a 
screen. " 

The CAMM can take those ideas 
and transform them into an actual 
model. Any need for detail changes 
can easily be seen and making those 
changes is little more complicated 
than altering a CAD drawing. It has 
even been used tc produce dies in 
tool steel for a fraction of the time 
and cost normally involved, to the ex- 
tent that the cost of the equipment 
could be recovered by the end of the 
second job. 

Yes, CAD/CAM is changing. Tho 
market has altered dramatically over 
the past couple of years ("There's 
been an army of industry tyre-kic- 
kers," according to one commen- 
tator), with real costs falling in line 
wit the increasing use of technology. 

New Zealand is said to be among 
the top nations of the world in its re- 
liance on computers, and while the 
CAD scene has been slow in compari- 
son with its counterpart across the 
Tasman, there are signs that it will 
catch up. Q 



42 Bits & Byios- October 1986 



CAD/CAM 



Amiga learns to draw 



Reviewed by 
Colin Marshall 

It is one thing having a computer 
that is state of the art and the rave 
of numerous reviews. It is another 
thing altogether obtaining software 
that actually does amazing things 
with the computer. To move out of 
the range of ordinary CAD {Computer 
Aided Design) and paint utilities one 
would expect Amiga software to be 
in a class of its own. Why? Simply 
that the Amiga began life on the de- 
signers' boards as a multitasking 
graphics machine that was to be not 
only fast but also able to make use of 
massive on-board RAM and fast-ac- 
cess hard disk systems. 

These are some of the features that 
are exploited by Aegis Draw. 

This is a CAD package for the 
Amiga, an advanced utility for creat- 
ing accurate scaled drawings, flow- 
charts and diagrams. Companies in 
New Zealand are already buying 
Amigas simply to ran this software. 

Aegis Draw can be set up on a hard 
disk and can make use of as much 
memory as you give it to extend the 
number of drawings held in memory 
as opposed to being held on disk. The 
CAD package makes extensive use of 
fast memory to carry out a range of 
calculation and drawing tasks. The 
speed has to be seen to be believed. 

The Amiga as supplied by Commo- 
dore NZ comes with 51 2K RAM as 
standard. This allows for two win- 
dows to be open at one time. Re- 
member these are windows on a mul- 
titasking machine, which means that 
if you are having the computer print 
a large area, or amount of detail, you 
can switch to another window and 
work on something else at the same 
time. A nice touch. 

The Amiga screen acts as a win- 
dow to the drawing you are working 
on. Any feature on the drawing can 
be examined in infinite detail by 
zooming in on a specific point. In 
theory you could draw a picture of a 
city, zoom in on one building, then on 
one floor, one desk, to one letter, then 
on to a dot on an 'i'. We will stop 
there, as you've no doubt got the 
idea. A database is kept with detailed 
elements of the drawing. 

Intelligent 

Aegis Draw is an intelligent prog- 
ram. It knows what is on your draw- 
ing. It knows a circle has been drawn, 



recognises a square or any other es- 
sential shape. This is different from 
a paint program that only stores a re- 
cord of the coloured pixels on a 
screen. Aegis Draw stores records of 
images, which means that if, at a later 
date, you want to return to the details 
of a given plan and modify some de- 
tail or zoom in on a feature, the shape 
you originally used is there for you to 
work with. 

Using the program is easier than I 
would have thought imaginable for a 
CAD package with so many features. 
Firstly Aegis Draw can be loaded 
from the Workbench (Amiga's icon 
driver). The program can be driven 
using the drop-down menus, so much 
in fashion at the moment, and a 
mouse. All drawing can be done with 
a mouse or joystick, and Aegis Draw 
also supports a large range of digitis- 
ing tablets, genlock (for connecting 
into a video recorder) and plotters 
(even multipen plotters!). 

It knows a circle has been 
drawn, recognises a 

square 01 any other essen- 
tial shap e. 

The documentation with the pac- 
kage is a well-presented book written 
by someone who can write, a drama- 
tic improvement on most packages. 
The Aegis Draw book takes the most 
illiterate computer user through the 
stages of using the program — even 
to using the most advanced features. 

It is impossible to comment on all 
the features of this CAD package so 
I will just remark on some of the main 
points under the Menu headings that 
are used in the program. The list here 
is by no means the complete list. 

The Project menu allows the user 
to save and delete drawings. 

The Edit menu has many features. 
All the old standards are there - cut 
and paste, copy and the like. The 
modify option allows the user to col- 
our, rotate, distort and pattern ob- 
jects as well as weighting lines. The 
group function places groups of 
selected items together as a part. For 
example, plumbing, electrical and 
floorplan details couid go together as 
a part called 'Room'. 

The Tools menu features some fas- 
cinating options that I can only list - 
line, rectangle, polygon, freehand, 
arc, circle, text, dimension, part, drag 
it, rotater, clone, eraser, explode, 



sizer, back and so on. These are all 
drawing tools which can be used to 
create and modify your work. 

The Display mode allows the user 
to modify the screen display to suit 
the detail and design techniques he 
or she is familiar with. The display 
options include full display, zoom (in 
and out), grid, rulers, crosshairs, col- 
our, and layers (up to 250 per draw- 
ing). 

The Options window allows the 
setting of line weightings, fill pat- 
terns, grid sizing, scaling and round- 
ing (rounds off those tradition jagged 
computer edges). 

The Preferences menu is worth a 
slightly closer look. This includes fea- 
tures that one would only expect on 
a hoirendously expensive system. 

Layers — each drawing can have up 
to two hundred and fifty layers. 
These are not the parts but actual 
layers that can be overlaid on each 
other or taken individually. Instead of 
creating a room as a part as we did 
above, a house could be made up of 
layers - structural, electrical, plumb- 
ing etc. Each layer could be modified, 
examined, and printed individually or 
in conjunction with any number of the 
other layers. 

Filled - turns on the automatic fil- 
ling routine. 

Numeric Display — cursor coordi- 
nates, which are really helpful when 
you have zoomed right in on a large 
drawing. 

Grid Snap — this 1 found a great help 
in increasing productivity speed. 
When this option is turned on, a line 
that you have drawn is automatically 
taken to the closest grid coordinate 
(within a distance range that you 
specify). This saves having to peer at 
the screen to make sure pixels join 
correctly. 

Data Snap - as for Grid Snap except 
that it attaches to the closest object 
you have drawn. 

Rounding and Smoothing — two op- 
tions that will both round off objects 
and smooth those traditional compu- 
ter graphics. 

In conclusion then, Aegis Draw is 
a CAD package that one would ex- 
pect to find on a much, much more 
expensive system. This is one pack- 
age that would make the Amiga a de- 
dicated unit for many companies, ar- 
chitects and professional people. The 
range of features is extensive, com- 
prehensive and at the current price 
of NZ $300$400 is cheap. The 
graphics capabilities of the Amiga in 
conjunction with the Aegis Draw 
puts to shame the CAD packages of- 
fered on most other computers. This 
comes highly recommended. 

Bits 8 By\es - October 1986 43 



PRINTERS 



by Tony Butler 



IN NEW ZEALAND - 1986 



During the late 1970s and. early 
1980s when the expression 
"Paperless Office" became a 
buzzword for the office computer in- 
dustry, paper manufacturers 
worldwide started to tremble. Both 
in New Zealand and internationally, 
a number of paper manufacturers 
comissioned studies into the impact 
of computers on paper usage. The 
answers they got now seem obvious. 
The advent of the personal computer 
and the " screen on every desk" multi- 
user computer would cause a mas- 
sive expansion in paper usage. 

Printed material is the most com- 
mon output of computer processing, 
so the choice of printer is important. 

Computer users have become very 
used to (some would say spoiled by) 
the reliability of solid state elec- 
tronics. They forget that a printer is 
a mechanical animal and is subject to 
wear in the same way as an ordinary 
motor car. The reputation of the man- 
ufacturer, and the service and spare 
parts support of the local agent, must 
be considered before a selection is 
made. We suggest you use this sur- 
vey to come up with a short list of 



printers in your price/performance 
range, and then check on service and 
support before making your final de- 
cision. 

This survey does not represent 
every printer sold in New Zealand, 
but covers those importers who re- 
plied to our questionnaire within the 
requested publication time frame. 

Our classification of printers into 
four differnet groups is necessarily ar- 
bitrary. Over the last year the quality 
of print available from some dot mat- 
rix printes has improved immensely 
and the speed of fully-formed charac- 
ter printers has increased. The au- 
tomatic rules of dot matrix for data 
processing and daisywheel for 
wordprocessing no longer apply. 
Similawrly the popularity of net- 
worked PCs and multiuser super mic- 
ros has increased the sales of high 
speed page (laser) printers and line 
(band) printers, which may be used 
by many people in the same office or 
school. 

The specifications given for each 
printer require clarification: 

PRINT SPEED 

The print speed given is the fastest 



that the printer is capable of. Where 
we have been supplied with the infor- 
mation we give three figures, charac- 
ters per second (cps), lines per minute 
(lpm) and pages per minute (ppm). 
Based on an 80-column, 60-line A4 
page and assuming the printer can 
move onto a new line instantane- 
ously, conversions between these fi- 
gures are possible. To go from lpm 
to cps multiply by 1.333, or to go from 
ppm to cps multiply by 80. Unfortu- 
nately printers do not go from one 
line to the next instantaneously. As 
Basil Orr. C.Itoh distributor, says, "a 
Corvette and a Ferrari may go down 
the straight at the same speed, but 
watch the Ferrari go ahead on the 
turns." 



PAPER WIDTH 

The two common paper widths are 
25cm (10 inch) and 38cm (15 inch). 
These two sizes correspond approxi- 
mately to A4 and 'normal' computer 
line flow paper respectively. 

FONT SIZES 

Many printers have user selectable 
font (print) sizes. WE have specified 



SEIKO I & E NEW 
THERMAL PRINTERS 



Compact, Reliable and 
Economical for 
Wider Range of 
Applications 




The new models DPU 10 and OPU 20 
are equipped with a Centronics-compatible 
interface to integrate directly into a variety ol data 
output sources. The thermal printing system 
ensures quiet operation, clear printout and high 
reliability with minimum service life ot 500.000 lines. 



VS# 



VSI ELECTRONICS (N.Z.) LTD 

AUCKLAND: T>lepphone 599-150 

WELLINGTON: Tele-phone 8-Itf <I22 
CHR1STCI1URCH: Telephone 60-938 



* 



Texas 
Instruments 



MEMORY 
UPGRADES 



TMS4164 - 15NL 
TMS4256 - 12NL 
TMS4256 - 15NL 
HM6264LP - 15 
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PHONE US FIRST 

FOR QUALITY 
MEMORY PRODUCTS 



V5# 



VSI ELECTRONICS(NZ)LTD 



AUCKLAND: Telepphone 599-150 
WELLINGTON: Telephone S48-922 
CHRIST-CHURCH: Telephone 60-928 



44 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 






these sizes by characters per inch 
(cpi). On a typical 25cm (.10 inch) 
printer lOcpi gives 80 characters per 
iine (cpi), 15cpi gives 120 cpl, and 17 
cpi gives 1 36 cpl. On a typical 38cm 
(15 inch) printer 10 cpi gives 132 cpl, 
15cpi gives 200 cpl, and 17 cpi gives 
225 cpl. 

With the advent of desk-top pub- 
lishing a number of printer suppliers 
are quoting printers point size rather 
than cpi. An exact conversion bet- 
ween point and cpi is not possible 
because point size relates to the size 
of the characters and not necessarily 
the gap between them. A simple and 
very approximate rule is to divide the 
cpi into 130 to give the point size. 

PAPER FEED 

These specifications are self 
explanatory, but if wordprocessing is 
a priority look for multiple bin paper 
handling under 'Options'. It is very 
useful to be able to select letterhead 
or follow-on paper or envelopes with- 
out having to reload the printer. 

BUFFER SIZE 

A buffer is a short term, first in first 
out memory store in the printer. This 
is necessary because your computer 
may send information to the printer 
faster than the printer can print. 
Without a buffer the printer would 
either crash or lose characters. Of 
course if the computer was set to a 
very slow speed a buffer may not be 
required but this means the computer 
cannot be used while printing is tak- 
ing place. The exception to this oc- 
curs when your computer has a 
printer buffer (or spooler) built into 
it. It is then not always necessary to 
have a buffer in the printer as well. 
Ask your dealer about this one. A 2K 
buffer holds approximately one A4 



page. The computer can therefore get 
up to one page ahead of the printer. 

NEAR LETTER QUALITY (NLQ) 

This is a very personal subject that 
we apologise for in advance, however 
we believe some attempt must be 
made to grade the printers. Near Let- 
ter Quality (NLQ) means exactly what 
it says : you can see the dots but only 
just. Letter Quality means that to the 
untrained naked eye the printing 
could have come from a typewriter. 

NUMBER OF PINS IN PRINT HEAD 

The print head of a dot-matrix 
printer is made up of a number of 
small pins that each prints a dot on 
the paper. The dots are used to form 
the characters that may be printed. 
The more dots that are printed to 
form one character, the higher the 
quality of print. The situation is con- 
fused, however, by double -pass prin- 
ters that move the paper by a fraction 
of a millimetre and then reprint over 
the same line. In this way a 9-pin 
printer can produce 18 dot charac- 
ters, but at a much slower speeid. 
When buying a printer check that all 
the software in your computer can 
run the number of pins in the printer. 

RIBBON TYPE/LIFE 

In general a carbon ribbon will give 
a higher quality print thana fabric rib- 
bon, but the life of a carbon ribbon 
may be less than 10% of the life of a 
fabric ribbon. Very few dot-matrix 
printers have the option of using a 
carbon ribbon. Most dot-matrix prin- 
ters rely on the ink fabric ribbon to 
lubricate the printing pins; the dry 
carbon ribbons a re unable to do this . 

GRAPHIC MODES 

A printer is said to be operating in 
graphic mode when each pin is being 
individually controlled by the compu- 



ter. This means that the print graphs, 
pictures and other non-standard 
characters. The software to achieve 
this varies for different computers 
and printers. Check with your dealer 
if this is important to your use of the 
printer. 



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Courses are being run all the time on different 
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own computer. 

If you are already working with computers, 
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COMPUTER CONSUMABLES AND ACCESSORIES 

Computer Printer Ribbons * Lineflow 

* Electronic Typewriter Ribbons * Erg onomic Workstations 

* Full range of Floppy Disks * Printer Trolleys 

* Data Cartridges * Acoustic Hoods 

* Head Cleaning Kits * Filing Systems 

* Novacare Cleaning Products * Screen Filters 

* Printwheels * Facsimile Rolls 

CARIBONUM SALES NEW ZEALAND LIMITED 

Auckland - Wellington - Christchurch - Dunedin 

TEL. 593-317 TEL. 738-078 TEL. 60-301 TEL. 778-999 



Bits & Byles - October 1985 45 



This is the Fujitsu DX 2100 9 pin 

printer which runs at 44 characters 
per second, produces draft and near 
letter quality print can be sheet or 
continuous fed, will print in colour 
and. is renowned for its reliability 
and quiet operation. t 





This is the Fujitsu M3043 band 
printer which runs at 1200 lines per 
minute and produces the best quality 
print (even through 6 part forms). 
The M3043 provides the speed and 
unattended reliability to produce 
large quantities of printed material 
economically. 



The M3043 is the biggest printer in 
the Fujitsu range — the DX2100 the 
smallest. Between the two are a 

whole stable of printers to match 
your requirements. Dot matrix 9 and 
24 pin, Daisywheel, band printers, 
sheet fed, continuous fed, colour 
options. Fujitsu can provide them all. 



Phone Ian Young of Thorn EMI and talk Fujitsu printers. 
You'll be pleased with the choice, the reliability 
and the service. 



FUJITSU 




THORN EMI TECHNOLOGY N.Z. LTD 

190 Great South Road, Remuera. 

P.O. Box 74-018, Market Road, Auckland. 

Telephone (09) 545-144 



46 Bils & Byles - October 1986 



PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



SEIKO 1 & E 


DPU-1 0/1 3/1 6/20 


IP" 


&•&*-'- 


EL-* 


• '■■-■ ■ P" 


Dot matrix therma 




Pins in print head: 


7 


NLQ feature: 


No 


Print speed: 


20cps 


Max chars/line: 


13chr/l6char/20 




char models 


Paper width: 


38mm 


Paperfeed: 


friction only 


Buffer size: 


1 line 


Ribbon type: 


no ribbon uses 




thermal paper 


Interface: 


Centronics parallel 


Features: 


4-6 vdc operating 




voltage, standby 




current lOma. Psnei 




mounting compact 




design 86x37x 1 . 09.2 




mm. Quiet reliable 




thermal printing 




mechanism 


Retail price: 


$290 plus GST 


Agents: 


VSI Electronics 




(NZ) Ltd 



DSE 130 



am 



Dot matrix impact 

Pins in print head: 

NLQ feature: 

Print speed in 

NLQ mode. 

Print speed: 

Max chars/line: 

Paper width: 

Paperfeed: 

Butter size: 

Ribbon type: 

Graphics modes: 



Interface: 

Features' 



Retail price: 

Agent; 



9 
yes 

30CPS 
130cps 

1 32 columns/line 
4-10inch 

friction & tractor feed 
2K 

Multistrike 
Vertical 8 bits, hori- 
zontal 480,960.1 920 
dots/line 

Centronics parallel 
8 bits 

Normal, compre- 
ssed, emphasised, 
double strike, 
IBM compatible 
$595 

Dick Smith Elec- 
tronics -all stores 
and mail order 



SEIKO I & E 
DPU-40 




T)ot matrix thermal 

Pins in print head: 

NLQ feature: 

Print speed: 

Max chars/line: 

Paper width: 

Paperfeed: 

Buffer size: 

Ribbon type - . 

Graphics modes: 
Interface: 

Features: 



Retail price: 
Agents: 



7 
No 

24cps 
40 

80mm 
friction only 
1 line 

no ribbon uses 
ihermal paper 
No graphics mode 
parallel Centronics 
type connector 
with A/C adaptor 
230 vac-9vdc quiet 
thermal printing pro- 
cess. 

S341 plus GST 
VSI Electronics 
(NZ) Ltd 



SEIKO I & E 
DPU-20/20/24 




Dot matrix thermal 

Pins in print head: 

NLQ feature: 

Printspeed: 

Max chars/line: 

Paper width: 
Paperfeed: 
Buffer size: 

Ribbon type: 

interface: 
Features: 



Retail price: 
Agent: 



7 

No 

16-1 9 cps 
20 char and 24 char 
models 
58mm 
friction only 
1 line 

no ribbon, uses 
thermal paper 
Centronics compat- 
ible parallel interface 
operates from 5vdc. 
Panel mounting 
110x120.5x68.2mm. 
Upright and upside 
down printing options 
$400 plus GST 
VSI Electronics 
(NZ) Ltd 



FUJITSU DPMG9 


*L 






^fttm. i. " I 


^S. 


■fTf) 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head 


9 


NLQ feature 


Yes 


Printspeed ir 




NLQ mode 


25(l0cpi) 


Print speed 


I80<10cpi) 


Max chars/line 


80(10cpi) 




137(17cpi) 


Paper width 


3.5"-10.5" 


Paperfeed 


Iriction and tractor 


Buffer size 


2K 


Ribbon type 


carbon, multistrike 


Graphics modes 


bit image graphics 


interface 


Centronics 


Fea lures 


compact reliable; 




versatile forms hand- 




ling for flexible 




printing; IBM graph- 




ics printer compatible 


Options 


serial interface, one 




year warranty 


Retail price 


$NZ 700 Price does 




not include tax 


Agent 


Thorn EMI Tech- 




nology NZ. Ltd 



SEIKOSHA SP1000 


f^St 


/ 


/^ — ^~ 


^-^-'-i-i. ,jf-. 


frjj^ 




Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQteature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


20-25 cps 


Printspeed: 


100 cps 


Max chars/line: 


170 


Paper width: 


1 1 inch 


Paperfeed: 


rear 


Buffer size: 


2k 


Ribbon type: 


Nylon multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


Commodore IBM 




Epson Apple 


Interface: 


serial & parallel 


Features: 


variety of print char- 




acters set; automatic 




single sheet input 
binfeeder 


Options: 


Retail price: 


$780.00 


Agent: 


Mitsui Computer 




Systems PO Box 




9447 Wn 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 47 



PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



Citizen 120-D 








[1 


^t 


Dot matrix 


Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQ feature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


24cps 


Print speed: 


120cps 


Max chars/line: 


160 


Paper width: 


3-10 inch 


Paper feed: 


Single sheets & fan- 




fold (friction, tractor 




feed) 


Ribbon type- 


Multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


Bit image 60,72,80, 




90, 1 20,1 44 & 240 




dots per inch 


Interface: 


Centronics 8 bii 


Features: 


Dual configurations; 




Epson-FXandlBM 




graphics printer. 


Options: 


I ncludes single sheet 




Feeder and tractor 




feed mechanism 


Retail price: 


$795.00 


Agent: 


Dick Smith Elec- 




tronics -All stores 




ana mailorder 







FACIT 4509 


\ 




L \^ 


J^k 


^L ^L 




^^ m. 




^^K^H ■-..Si^ 




Dot matrix 


K 


Pins in print head: 


9 


NLOfeature: 


optional 


Print speed: 


J20cpsat10cpi/ 




60lpm 


Max chars/line: 


132at17cpi 


Paper width: 


4-10inch 


Paper feed: 


tractor 


Buffer size: 


248 byte (2K opt) 


Ribbon type: 


Cloth cassette 


Graphics modes: 


Pin graphics 


Interface: 


Centronics parallel 


Features: 


IBM/Epson compal- 




ible. Epson RX80 




character set. 


Options: 


NLQ kit, friction kit, 




2k buffer 


Retail price: 


$861 plus GST 


Agent: 


Northrop Instru- 




ments & Systems 




Ltd 



CITIZEN 120D 


Dot matrix 


^J 


Pinsin prim head: 


9 


NLOfeature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


25cps 


Print speed: 


120cps 


Max chars/line: 


136 in compressed 




mode 


Paper width: 


3.5-10 inch 


Paper feed: 


push feed tractor, 




revolving platen 


Buffer size: 


4K 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike 


Grahicsmodes: 


Multiple graphics 




resolution, IBM or 




Epson compatible. 




Switch sei'ectable. 


Interface: 


Centronics- style 




8 -bit parallel 


Features: 


BAV reverse image 




print; paper out 




sensor. 




Bidirectional in text 




mode: hexadecimal' 




byte format in text 




printing 


Options: 


RS232C serial 




interface 


Retail price: 


S890 



OKI MICROLINE ML182 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQ feature: 


9x9dualpass 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


30cps 


Print speed: 


120cps 


Max chars/line: 


137 


Point sizes: 


5,6,8.5,10,12,17.1 


Paperwidth: 


10 inch 


Paper feed: 


rearof bottom 


Buffer size: 


2K standard 


Ribbon type: 


fabric -cartridge 


Graphics modes: 


either block or APA 




graphics in single. 




double or quad den- 




sity. 


Interface: 


Serial RS232 or 




RS422 with a Current 




loop option. 


Options: 


Serial RS232 or 




RS422 S C/L. 


Retail price: 


$89S 


Agents: 


AWA(NZ)Ltd 



OKI MICROLINE ML192 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLOfeature: 


17x17DualPass 


Print speed In 




NLQ mode: 


33cps 


Print speed: 


fOOcps 


Max chars/line: 


137 


Point sizes: 


5,6,8.5,10,12,17.2 


Paperwidth: 


10 inch 


Paper feed: 


bottom or rear 


Buffer size: 


8K standard 




I6K optional 


Ribbon type: 


fabric cartridge 


Graphics modes: 


either block or A PA 




single, double or 




quad density 




graphics 


Interface: 


standard as 




PARALLEL 


Features: 


10 inch pin feed on 




platen for max 1 




Inch tear off (in voic- 




ing etc). On-line Menu 




Select mode allows 




command control 




from front panel. 


Options: 


Serial RS232 and RS 




422 interfaces along 




with current loop 




options. 


Retail price: 


$999 


Agent: 


AWA(NZ)Ltd 



EPSON LX86 




Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLOfeature: 


Roman 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


25 ops 


Print speed: 


1 20 cps 


Max chars/line: 


80 


Paperwidth: 


10 inches 


Paper feed: 


friction/tractor 


Buffer size: 


1K 


Ribbon type: 


carbon 


Grahics modes: 


Epson and IBM 




graphics 


interface: 


standard Centronics 


Features: 


front panel font 




selection I DM com- 




patible 


Options: 


cut sheet feeder 


Retail price: 


$1052(pre-GST) 


Agents: 


Microprocessor 




Developments Ltd 



IB Bits S Bytes - October 1986 



PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



HEWLETT PACKARD 


2225A BCD 




Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


11 


NLQ feature. 


Yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


75cps 


Print speed: 


150cps 


Max chars/line: 


142 


Point sizes: 


10,12,16 


Paper width: 


8.5 inch 


Paper feed: 


sprocket & grit wheel 


Buffer size: 


1K 


Ribbon type: 


ink 


Graphics modes: 


IBM graphics, HP 




graphics 


Interface: 


RS232 serial, HPIB, 




HPIL, Centronics 


Features: 


50dB quiet cornpaci 




print head replaced 




when cartridge 




replaced 


Retail price: 


$1109 


Agent: 


Hewlett Packard 




(NZ)Ltd 



FUJITSU DX21000 
DX2200 




V 



Dot matrix 

Pins in print head: 

NLQ feature: 

Print speed in 

NLQ mode: 

Print speed: 

Max chars/line: 

Paper width: 

Paper feed: 
Buffer size: 

Ribbon type: 

Graphics modes: 

Interface: 

Features: 



Options: 
Retail price: 



Agents: 



9 
Yes 

44cps 
220 cps 

0X2100=80 (10cpi) 
DX2200=136(10cpi) 
DX21 00=4" to 10.5" 
DX2200=4"to16.5" 
friction or tractor 
2K 

carbon, multistr'iKe, 
colour 

Variabledensity. Bit 
image graphics 
Centronics or RS232 
increased operation 
modes selectable 
from operator panel; 
field upgradable 
colour option, Auto- 
matic cut sheet feeder 
DX2100-SNZ1300 
DX2200=$NZ1525. 
Prices do not include 
lax 

Thorn EMI tech- 
nology N.Z Ltd 



, TECOVP1814 








■Hi i 


-»Ti 




Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQ feature: 


Yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


36 cps 


Print speed: 


180 cps 


Max chars/line: 


136 


Point sizes: 


pica: elite: con- 




densedtdouble width 




pica: dble width 




condensed 


Paper width: 


10" 


Paper feed: 


frictions tractor 


Buffer size: 


7 Kb 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


IBM S Epson control 




codes 


Interlace: 


parallel optional 




serial 


Oplions: 


Serial interface 


Retail price: 


$1195 


Agent: 


Orchid Trading 



OKI MICROLINE ML183 




Dot matrix 

Pins in print head: 

NLQ feature: 

Print speed in 

NLQ mode: 

Print speed: 

Max chars/line: 

Pomisizes 

Paperwidth 

Paper feed: 

Buffer size: 

Ribbon type: 

Graphics modes: 



Interface: 
Features: 



Options: 



Retail price: 

Agent: 



9x9 two pass 

30 cps 

120 cps 
233 

5,6.8.5,10,12,17.1 
15 inch 

bottom or rear 
2K standard 
fabric cartridge type 
block or APA gra- 
phics in single, dou- 
ble or quad density, 
standard as 
parallel 

tractor feed included; 
OKI Version emu- 
lates ML83A; IBM 
Version (Epson) 

emulates IBM Gra- 
phics printers; 
Serial RS232 or RS 
422 and Current 
loop option 
$1275 
AWA(NZ)Ltd 



CANON PW1080A 




Dot matrix 

Pins in print head: 

NLQteature: 

Print speed in 

NLQ mode: 

Print speed: 

Wax chars/line: 

Paperwidth: 

Paper feed: 



Buffer size: 

Ribbon type 
Graphics modes: 

Interface 

Options 

Retail price: 
Agenl: 



9 wires vertically 
yes 

30 cps 
160 cps 
136 

2G4mmf,10inch) 
built in tractor feed, 
roll holder or cut 
sheet 

3K input buffer 
(selectable) 2K byte 
print buffer 
multistrike 
from 60 dots/inch to 
240 dots/inch 
parallel (serial 
optional) 

additional NLQ font 
rams available 
$13l3plusGST 
Canon Data Pro- 
ducts 



CITIZEN MSP-10 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NlQ feature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQmode: 


32 cps 


Print speed: 


160 cps 


Max chars/line: 


1 36 in compressed 




mode 


Paperwidth: 


4-10 inch 


Paper feed: 


push feed tractor, 




revolving platen 


Buffer size: 


1K 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike 


Grahics modes: 


Multiple graphics 




resolution, IBM or 




Epson compatible. 




Switch seleclable. 


Interface: 


Centronics -style 




8 - bit parallel 


Features: 


BAV reverse image 




print; built-in push 




feed tractor; paper 




oul sensor, character 




sets switch selecl- 




able; full duty cycle; 




prints graphs/dia- 




grams; short tear-off 




mechanism ; bi direc- 




lionalin text mode; 




hexadecimal byte for- 




mat in lext printing 


Options: 


8k buffer; RS232C 




serial interlace 


Retail price: 


$1331 



Bits & Bytes - Ociober 1986 49 




...ATATOUCH 



KX-P1592 
KX-P1595 



Introducing the Panasonic range of top 
quality printers. 

These high performance Dot Matrix 
Printers with bi-directional printing and logic 
seeking capabilities, offer multiple mode 
printing ... at a touch. 

These versatile printers provide Draft, Near 
Letter Quality (NLQ), and proportional printing 
modes, as well as offering graphics capabilities 
for charts, graphs etc all ... at a touch. 

The Full Character Pitch Feature (10, 12, 15, 17 
cpi and Proportional spacing is both Draft and 
NLQ mode) allows any printout styles 
, . . at a touch 

All this and complete IBM compatability too! 



KX-P1592 (136 COL) 


180 cps in Draft mode, 
38 cps in NLQ mode. 


KX-P1595 (136 COL) 


240 cps in Draft mode, 
51 cps in NLQ mode. 


KX-P1092 (80 COL) 


180 cps in Draft mode, 
28 cps in NLQ mode. 


KX-P1091 (80 COL) 


120 cps in Draft mode, 
24 cps in NLQ mode. 


KX-P1080 (80 COL) 


tOO cps in Draft mode, 
20 cps in NLQ mode. 


KX-P3151 (132 COL) 22 cps printing speed 
| Daisywheel printer 




Panasonic 

Leaders in Printer Technology 



DEALER making sense of 

PRODUCTS business! 

THE MICROCOMPUTER ELECTRONIC COMPANY LIMITED 

P.O. Box 9224, Newmarket, Auckland. Phone (09) 504 774, Telex NZ 60721 




Contact your nearest computer 
printer dealer now or phone MEC 
Dealer Products for the name and 
location of your nearest dealer. 



wonal Bovwss Machines Co'o 



50 Bits & Bytes - October 1985 






PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



NEC P6 


, ■ i,i * wkU L 

/ 1 


~~~ mm,_^ 


Dot matrix - optional colour 


Pins in print head: 


24 


NLQ feature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


76 cps (average) 


Print speed: 


216cps 


Max chars/line: 


80 


Paper width: 


254mm (10 inch) 


Buffer size: 


8.0k standard 


RibbofHype: 


endless loop, black 

fabric 

360x360 dots per in 


Graphics modes: 


Interface: 


parallel Centronics or 




serial RS232 


Features: 


i9residentfonts- 




standard ; low acous- 




tic noise- 56 dBA: 




quiet mode reduces 




noise to 53 dBA; 


Options: 


Unidirectional tractor 




bidirectional tractor, 




cut sheet feeder 


Retail price' 


$1431 ex tax 


Agent: 


NEC Information 




Systems 



FACIT4513 








■2% 


H i 


-j ■ 






Dot matrix 
Pins imprint head: 9 
NLQ feature: yes 
Print speed : 1 60 cps/84 Ipm at 
1 cpi 
Max chars/line: 132 at 17 cpi 
Paper width: 4-1 1 inch 
Paper feed: RemovaCle tractor 

and friction teed 
Buffersize: 2K 
Ribbon type: Cloth cassette 
Graphics modes: Bit-image up to 240 
dpi 
Interface : RS232 serial and 

Centronics parallel 
Features: IBM/Epson compat- 
ible. 
Options: Sheet feeder, current 
loop 
Retail price: $2000 plus GST 
Agent: Northrop Instru- 
ments & Systems 
Ltd 



SEIKOSHA 


MP5300/1300 Al 

— 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQfeature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


50 cps 


Print speed: 


300 cps 


Max chars/fine: 


165 tori 300 Al 




224 for 5300 Al 


Paper width: 


1VV1300AI 




15.575300AI 


Paper feed: 


front and rear 


Buffersize: 


10k 


Ribbon type: 


Nylon multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


FX IBM Bit 


Interface: 


serial RS232 




Centronics parallel 


Features: 


quiet 59 DCB 


Options; 


cut sheet feeder 




colourkitfoM300AI 


Retail price: 


1300AI$1490 




530OAI$2000 


Agent: 


Mitsui Computer 




Systems 



NEC 


-ELF 




fiF 4 




:, 


Spinwriter 


~ — ■ — —_ 


Print speed: 


'9 cps 


Max chars/line: 


110characters 


Paper width: 


11 inch (280 mm) 


Buffersize: 


3.0 K 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike, fabric 




cartridges 


Interface: 


parallel & serial 




standard 


Features: 


up to 128 characters 




on thimble: MT8F- 




2500 hours; forward 




& reverse line feeds; 




1-3 part forms; Word- 




processing functions 


Options: 


cut sheet feeder, 




bidirection tractor 


Retail price: 


$11 55 ex tax 


Agents: 


NEC Information 




Systems, 



CANON F-60 




Serial thermal transfer printing 

Pins in print head: 26 thermal elements 
vertically 
yes 



NLQfeature 

Print speed in 

NLGmode: 

Print speed: 

Max chars/lino; 

Paper width: 

Paper feed: 

Buffersize: 

Ribbon type: 

Graphics modes: 
Interface: 

Features: 



Options: 



Retail price: 

Agent: 



40 cps, 20 cps in LQ 
80 cps in draft 

188 

297mm (12") 
cut sheet 
2K 

carbon thermal tran- 
ter (4 colours avail ) 
180x1 80 dots/inch 
parallel (serial 
option) 

silent letter quality 
on plain paper using 
thermal transfer car- 
bon ribbon including 
graphics, 
tractor feed, cut 
sheet feeder, serial 
1/F card, font cart- 
ridges 

$1632 plus GST 
Canon Data Products 



FACIT4510 




Dot matrix 
Pins in print head: 
NLQfeature: 
Print speed: 

Max chars/line: 
Paper width: 
Paper feed: 

Buffersize: 

Ribbon type: 
Graphics modes: 

Interface: 

Features: 



Options: 

Retail price: 
Agent: 



9 
optional 

120cps/55lpmat 
lOcpi 

I32at17cpi 
4-1 1 inch 
detachable tractor 
and friction feed 
2K 

Cloth-type casefte 
block and pin 
graphics 
RS232 serial and 
Centronics parallel 
multifont capability, 
self tost, solid and 
robust 

current loop, NLQ 
mode 

$1662 plus GST 
Northrop Instru- 
ments & Systems 



Bits & Bytes - October 1986 61 



PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



CANON B J 80 




Silent nonimpacl bubble-jeFprinting 
Pins in print head : 24 dot 
NLQfeature: yes 
Print speed in 
NLQ mode: 110cps 
Print speed : 220 cps draft 
Max chars/line: 132 

Paper width : 203. 2m m (8 " ) 
Paperfeed: built in tractorfeed, 
roll holder, or cut 
shee! 
Buffer size: 2K input buffer 
Ribbon type: ink cartridge 
Graphics modes: 480 bit to 1920 bil 
image mode 
Interface: 8 bit parallel, (PC - 
interface com- 
patible) 
Features: inkcartridge 6 mill/on 
chars, 
Retail price: $1664 plus GST 



CITIZEN MSP-15 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQ feature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


40 cps 


Print speed: 


160 cps 


Max chars/line: 


231 in compressed 




mode 


Paper width: 


4-16inchfanfold: 




4-l5inpre-cut 


Paperfeed: 


push feed tractor, 




revolving platen 


Buffer size: 


1K 


Ribbon type: 


Multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


Multiple graphics re- 




solution, IBM or 




Epson compatible. 




Switch selectable 


Interface: 


Centronics -style 




8- bit parallel 


Features: 


B/W reverse image 




print; built-in push- 




feed tractor: paper 




out sensor; character 




sets switch select- 




able; full duty cycle; 




prints graphs/dia- 




grams ; short tear-off 




mechanism; bidirect- 




ional in text mode; 




hexadecimal byte 




format in text printing 


Options: 


8k buffer; RS232 




serial interface 


Retail price 


$1811 



FACIT D2000 




iw «tt\««»«m 


Daisy wheel 




Print speed: 


30 cps 3a text at 12 




cpi 


Max chars/line: 


1 1 6 at 1 cpi 


Paper width: 


up to 1 5 inch 


Paperfeed: 


friction, sheet & 




tractor feed optional 


Buffer size: 


2K 


Ribbon type: 


fabric, multistrike 




8 single strike 


Interface: 


Centronics parallel 




or RS-232 serial 


Features: 


IBM PC character 




set, Diablo 630 




command set. 


Options: 


Sheet feeder, tractor 




feeder 


Retail price: 


$1672 plus GST 


Agent: 


Northrop instru- 




ments .& Systems 




Ltd. PH |09| 545-065 



C.ITOH 8510S 


•^^^. 

__* 


r 

^ / 


Dot matrix impact 




Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQfeature 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


30cps 


Print speed: 


!80cps/1 061pm 


Max chars/line; 


80 at 10 cpi, 




1 36 at 17cpi 


Paper width: 


4.5-lOinch 


Paperfeed: 


Push tractor, friction 


Buffer size: 


2K 


Ribbon type: 


Inked fabric cartridge 


Graphics modes: 


C.itoh graphics upto 




144(V)x 160(H) dpi 




or Epson/IBM 




graphics 
Centronics parallel or 


Interface: 




RS-232-C 


Features: 


Well proven, very 




reliable printer. 


Options: 


auto sheet feeder 


Retail price: 


parallel $1750.00 




RS-232-C$1850.00 


Agent: 


Control Micro- 




computers, PO Box 




68-474, Auckland. 




PH (09) 600-687 



CITIZEN MSP-20 


Dot matrix 


ZJ 


Pins in print head: 


9 


NLQfeature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


50 cps 


Printspeed 


200 cps 


Max chars/line: 


1 36 in compressed 




mode 


Paperwidth: 


4-10 inch 


Paperfeed: 


push feed tractor, 




revolving platen 


Buffer size: 


8K 


Ribbon type: 


Multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


Multiple graphics re- 




solution, IBM or 




Epson compatible, 




Switch selectable 


Interface: 


Centronics -style 




8- bit parallel 


Features: 


B/W reverse image 




print; 


Options: 


RS232C serial 




interface 


Retail price: 


$1811 



NECP7 




> 


MKESK 








Dot matrix - optional colour 


Pins in print head: 


24 


NLQfeature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQ mode: 


76 cps 


Printspeed: 


216cps 


Max chars/line: 


132 


Paperwidth: 


406 mm (16 inches) 


Buffer size: 


8.0 K standard 


Ribbon type: 


endless loop, black 




fabric 


Graphics modes: 


360x360 dots per in 


Interface: 


parallel interface or 




serial RS232 


Features: 


1 9 resident fonts - 




standard: low acous- 




tic noise; 




optional coiour 


Options: 


unidirectional tractor, 




bidirectional tractor. 




cut sheet feeder 


Retail price: 


$1863 ex tax 


Agents: 


NEC Information 




Systems 



52 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



PRINTERS 



$2000 and under 



DIABLO D25 


Printwheel 




Print speed: 


25cps 


Maxchars/line: 


132 


Paper width: 


15inches 


Paper feed: 


back 


Buffer size: 


521 bytes 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike 


Grahics modes: 


IBM 


Interface: 


API all purpose 




interface 


Features: 


quiet59 deb; long 




term reliability; 70 




typesty le on 96 ch ar 




plastic P/W 


Options: 


cut sheet feeder 


Retail price: 


$1891 .00 


Agents: 


Mitsui Computer 




Systerrvs 


L 





OKIMICROLINE ML193 


Dot matrix 


^^■^HBViaK* .^ , 


Pinam print head: 


9 


NLQ feature: 


17x17dualpass 


Print speed in 




NLQmode: 


33cps 


Print speed: 


I60cps 


Max chars/line: 


233 


Point sizes: 


5,6,8.5,10,12,17.1 


Paper width: 


15 inch 


Paper feed: 


rear or bottom 


Buffer size: 


8K standard 16K 




optional 


Ribbon type: 


fabric cartridge 


Graphics modes: 


either block or APA 




utilising single, 




double or quad den- 




sity 


Interface: 


Standard as 




parallel 


Features: 


optional cut 

Sheet feeder in either 






10 or 15 inch size 




(A4thruB4); 


Options: 


Serial RS232 and 




RS422 interfaces 




along with current 




loop option 


Retail price: 


$1899 


Agents: 


AWA(NZ)Ltd 



CANON PW1156A 


/%*' 


!- \ 




,'' ..rl 




^^Fy 


Dot Matrix 




Pins in print head: 


9 wires vertically 


NLQ feature: 


yes 


Print speed in 




NLQmode: 


30cps 


Print speed: 


160cps 


Maxchars/line: 


265 


Paper width: 


431 mm (17") 


Paper feed: 


built in tractor feed, 




roll holder, or cut 




sheet 


Butter size: 


3K input buffer 




(selectable) 2K 




print buffer 


Ribbon type: 


multistrike 


Graphics modes: 


from 60 dots/inch to 




240 dots/inch 


Interface: 


parallel (serial 




optional) 


Features: 


12 month warranty 


Options: 


additional NLQ font 




rams available 


Retail price: 


$1 300 plus GST 


Agents: 


Canon Data Pro- 




ducts, 



CANON PJ1O80A 






Silent, non impact 


seven colour ink jet 


Print speed: 


37cps 


Max chars/line: 


80 


Paper width: 


216mm (8 Vz inch) 


Paper feed: 


cut sheet or roll 


Ribbon type: 


dual ink cartridges, 




black and three 




primary colours 


Graphics modes: 


9 dots x 640 dots/line 


Interface: 


8 bit parallel (PC 




compatible) 


Features: 


silent, seven colour 




print Can produce 




OHP transparencies 




1 2 month warranty 


Retail price: 


$1900 plus GST 


Agent : 


Canon Datapro- 




ducts 



HEWLETT PACKARD 


2227A 


k - "'-■-^tSi 


Dot matrix 




Pins in print head: 


12 vertical 


NLQfeature: 


Yes 


Print speed in 




NLQmode: 


48cps 


Print speed: 


160cpsin10cpi 




192cpsin12cpi 


Maxchars/line: 


158, 12 pitch -132, 




10 pitch -281. com- 




pressed 


Point sizes: 


5,6,10,12,21.3 


Paper width: 


4 through to 15 inch 




(10.2cm-38,1cm) 


Paper feed: 


tractor& manual 


Buff er size: 


2K bytes 


Ribbon type: 


inkset 


Graphics modes: 


IBM&HPgraphics 


Interface: 


both Centronics and 




RS232 serial 


Features: 


50dB quiet compact 




print head replaced 




when cartridge 




replaced 


Retail price: 


$1998 


Agents: 


Hewlett Packard 




(NZ)Ltd 



Printer Round-up 
continues 
next month 



Bus & Bytes - Ocwbsr 1985 53 



FOR 
TOUCH-CONTROL 



PRINTING, 



...THIS IS 
THE STAR!! 




STAR 
NX-10 



With the NEW NX-10 printer from Star 
Micronics a simple touch of a sensor pad 
will select the typeface and print pitch, 
choose between draft or near letter quality 
printing and even set margins. 

And then you have the other features — 
auto paper feed, push tractor feed for 
using fanfold paper, outstanding print 
quality and 12 month warranty. 



A builr-in 5K print buffer gives the 
NX-10 a memory so it lets the computer 
get on with the computing. You get on 
with the job. 

The star NX-10 is particularly hard to 
beat when you look at the price versus the 
competition. 

So phone today for the location of your 
nearest Star dealer. 



Distributed by. 

Genisis Systems Ltd.. 
47 Station Rd, Otahuhu. 
Ph. 276-7349. 276-6361 
P.O. Box 6255, Auckland. 

*IBM is a registered trademark, 

54 Bi.'s & Byies - October 19B6 




RURAL COMPUTING PART 2 

Does a farm computer pay? 



by Peter Nuthall 

Kellogg Farm Management Unit, Lincoln College 



In good time every primary producer 
will be using a computer as an aid 
to managing a property. The extent 
of the use will depend on the pro- 
ducer's objectives, skills and indebt- 
edness level. Increasingly, economic 
pressures will force farmers to seek 
every means at their disposal to im- 
prove efficiency, and one of these will 
be the provision of decision informa- 
tion through computers. Good and 
timely information is clearly the key 
to successful management. 

The change will be dramatic and 
far-reaching. Consider the effect the 
internal combustion engine had on 
productivity in primary production. 
At long last, the office side of manage- 
ment has a machine to assist the pro- 
cess of production, and while the 
impact will not be as visually obvious 
as the tractor, it will be just as 
significant. 

Back to the present. Only a fraction 
of New Zealand managers use a com- 
puter and only some of these use it 
effectively. It took decades for trac- 
tors to be accepted and widely used. 
A similar uptake rate will occur with 
computers, although the time span 
will not be as great. It requires a 
reasonable level of training and ex- 
pertise to effectively use a computer, 
and many old hands will not have the 
incentive or desire to pick up the new 
skills. 

This does not mean the country 
should ignore the development of 
training programmes wherever pos- 
sible. Indeed a co-ordinated and well- 
researched country- wide programme 
should be given high priority to re- 
duce the uptake rate to the minimum 
possible. 

But does a farm computer pay? 
Some of the pioneers involved with 
the introduction of cars might have 
asked the same question. Despite any 
answer that might have been calcu- 
lated, cars were introduced anyway 
due to the significant effect they had 
on our way of life. Computers can be 
placed in a similar category. While 
currently computers do not pay on 
many farm situations (owing to the 
costs, the lack of opportunities to 
make use of the results, lack of train- 
ing...), the nature of the machine and 
its associated software means it will 
eventually be economic on nearly all 
properties. Research and develop- 
ment will ensure this. 



What does a computer cost? 

Current figures suggest the annual 
cost of owning a business computer 
varies between about $1200 and 
$4200. The variation depends on 
whether income tax is paid and 
whether time is a scarce resource. 
These costs assume a five-year re- 
placement period for the computer 
and an interest rate of 15 per cent. 

The figures 

Direct costs on, for example, a com- 
puter and printer worth $3,600 
amount to just over $1 ,000 for interest 
and payback; $300 for interest on 
software; $350 for disks, electricity, 
ribbons and paper; $450 for repairs 
and software maintenance, and $100 
for insurance. Labour costs are pay- 
able if additional help is employed to 
free up the manager, and amount to 
something like $536 for initial compu- 
ter search and learning time (200 
hours at $9 per hour, amortised over 
five years); and annual operating 
time of about $1,300, assuming four 
hours worked per week. 

Only a fraction of New 
Zealand managers use a 

computer 

If the computer and printer capital 
cost drops by $1000 annual cost drops 
by $298, whereas if the capital cost 
increases by $1000 the annual cost 
increases by $298. Also carefully note 
that many of the costs are tax deduc- 
tible. If the capital cost is borrowed, 
all but the loan repayments can be 
deducted. 

Who can cover these costs? Produc- 
ers with spare time have an advan- 
tage as the labour costs are not relev- 
ant. Clearly, larger properties with 
management opportunities should be 
those looking to a computer, particu- 
larly where there is a keen desire to 
improve efficiency and a willingness 
to put the time in. Producers who do 
not currently keep hand-worked re- 
cords and cash flows are unlikely 
quickly to succeed. In general, these 
producers are best advised to start 
with pencil and paper methods and 
learn new management skills before 
embarking on the computer option. 




Studies on the economics of com- 
puters have yet to be carried out. The 
short time they have been used pre- 
cludes the collection of factual data. 
Surveys indicate, however, that ap- 
proximately 70 per cent of producers 
using computers maintain that their 
computing costs are more than co- 
vered. One producer, when review- 
ing his use of a financial package, 
writes: 

"Has it been worthwhile? For us it 
certainly has. 

1. Its greatest value is that it has en- 
abled us to keep an up-to-date 
budget, which we revise every 
month, and which we use to re- 
flect our projected income and fu- 
ture development expenditure, as 
well as our normal operating ex- 
penses. 

2. It has enabled us to talk to our 
bank manager with confidence. 
We have known exactly what we 
want, what help we need from the 
bank, for how long, and what we 
believe we can repay. With a de- 
tailed budget in front of him, we 
have never had a request for a 
loan, or for a change in the repay- 
ment terms, turned down. 

Bns & Byles - Oclober 1986 55 




COMPUTERS 
for HOME 
and BUSINESS! 



A great way to stay in touch with World money markets and 
share prices. If you're already info computing you will 
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3. And it has certainly been cost ef- 
fective. Last year we paid our ac- 
countant $200.00 for the work he 
did. If we had not had the system 
we would have paid in accounting 
fees $600.00 for preparing the an- 
nual accounts, together with a fee 
of at Isast $50.00 a month for a 
record of each month's expendi- 
ture, and as much again for updat- 
ing the forward budget. And we 
certainly would not have had the 
results two days after every 
month's end. 

4. But above all, knowing where we 
stand, where we plan to go. and 
what action we may need to take 
to achieve our financial goals, has 
a value that cannot be measured 
in just dollars and cents. The finan- 
cial package has given us the abil- 
ity to forecast, measure, and revise 
our project as needed. For us the 
possession of a personal computer 
with a really good software pac- 
kage has given us a Peace of Mind 
that far outweighs its original 
purchase price." 

If a rule of thumb is required, pro- 
ducers with a gross income of 
$100,000 plus should look carefully at 
computers, as a five per cent in- 
crease, which should be achievable, 
gives $6000. 

Careful attention 

Instant success, however, is sel- 
dom achievable. Comments from 
primary producers using computers 
make it abundantly clear that the in- 
itial step of purchasing a computer is 
only the beginning. Potential, and 
new, users should take heed that an 
appreciable time input is necessary 
to obtain benefit from a computer and 
its all-important driving software. 
Surveys of users indicate as much as 
six or seven hours per week are spent 
at the keyboard, and for this time to 
have a payoff, careful attention must 
be given to how it is spent. 

Users frequently comment on how 
they underestimated the time taken 
to learn the skills necessary to use 
this new technology. There is no 
reason why a rational human being 
should assume that changing the 
whole approach to management 
shouid be painless and timeless, but 
so often this occurs. This optimistic 
trait does, however, have its benefits 
in that many projects would never be 
started if hindsight was the decision 
maker. 

For efficient use, a regular time 
period must be set aside for compu- 
ter-associated management work. In- 
itially this involves learning to use the 
computer and software packages, 
but once these skills are acquired and 
the packayos configured to suit the 



56 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



particular property, a regular time 
slot is necessary for entering data and 
obtaining management reports. 

It seldom works if these tasks are 
left until a rainy day. To be effective, 
decisions must be made on time. This 
means data bases must be kept up- 
to-date, thus allowing contemporary 
reports to be produced when they are 
needed. Without these, the benefits 
of timely decision making can't be 
reaped. 

Making a regular time slot available 
frequently means it is necessary to 
re-organise other tasks. This may 
mean employing extra assistance. 
This could come from a member of 
the farm household. Alternatively, 
bringing a spouse into some form of 
partnership may provide the extra 
time as well as a very valuable in- 
volvement and interest of the part- 
ner. Whatever arrangement is most 
appropriate, the cost of extra time 
should be included in the initial as- 
sessment of whether a move into 
computer-assisted management is 
economic. 

Even with a re-organisation some 
producers will find it difficult to gain 
benefit from a computer, as not 
everyone has an aptitude for sitting 
at a screen and keyboard. In these 
cases thought should be given to the 
use of professionals, particularly 
when GST is introduced in New Zea- 



land. These might be farm sec- 
retaries, accountants or consultants. 
If you believe a move into computer 
technology is appropriate the next 
question is - what type 9 There are 
clearly exceptions to every rule but 
the current costs of IBM style com- 
puters and, most importiantly, the 
very wide range of good software av- 
ailable for these machines means 
they are hard to go past. For most 
farm and horticultural situations a 



" . . has a value that cannot 
be measured in just dollars 
and cents" 



256Kb, dual 360Kb drive machine 
with a printer capable of 132 columns 
will serve most situations 
adequately. Greater memory and a 
hard disk improve the efficiency of 
computing greatly, but in most cases 
are difficult to justify on a cost basis. 

Then comes the software ques- 
tion. Currently, reasonable software 
to achieve most requirements is avail- 
able. The software has certainly not 
reached anywhere near what is pos- 
sible, nor is it as integrated as it might 
be, but for the enthusiastic manager 
it will certainly produce good man- 
agement information. 



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One of the problems with software 
is the cost of development and the 
size of the market. Think of some of 
the internationally available spread- 
sheets — systems that have large de- 
velopment teams with the world as 
their oyster. Not so specialist New 
Zealand agricultural software. This 
means the software will not be as 
sophisticated as otherwise it might 
have been. It also means in the longer 
run that the number of groups sup- 
porting good software will not be 
large. When selecting both hardware 
and software it is crucial to be as- 
sured of easily accessible support. 
This does not have to be physically 
close by. though this is clearly an ad- 
vantage, but it should be at the end 
of a phone as a minimum. If there are 
other users of the same hardware 
and, most importantly, software 
nearby this is also an advantage. 
Primary producers tend to help one 
another. 

In the end, primary producers will 
all have computers that are con- 
nected to larger machines for distri- 
buted processing. The systems will 
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sult will be increased efficiency in the 
management of the nation's scarce 
primary producing resources. r~) 




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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 57 



The software writers 



by Neil Rennie 

Not enough time available to 
spend learning and doing the 
necessary data entry is by far the 
biggest barrier to widespread use of 
computers by farmers. This rapidly 
becomes apparent from the brief sur- 
vey of farmers quoted here, and con- 
firms my own experience gained from 
writing about farmers and their work 
for the last 13 years. 

Rory Sherlock, Ngaruawahia, hill 
country farmer: "To keep those 
things (his detailed records) going 
requires a time input which most 
farmers would not be prepared to do. 
You'd be lucky if 10 to 15 per cent 
were prepared to use it this way. 
Once GST comes in, more farmers will 
be interested in computers for the 
financial side — budgets and cash 
books. " 

John and Megan Glasson, Helens- 
ville, dairy farmers: "We bought the 
Commodore cold, hoping to have time 
to use it, but with young children it's 
very difficult. There are lots of areas 
where the computer could help — but 
the problem is finding the time to sit 
down and work at it. " 

Alan Moore, Helensville dairy 
farmer agrees: "It's a time-consum- 
ing thing. " 

One of the best ways of overcoming 
this problem of lack of time is of 
course to make use of the talents of 
farm wives. Farming has always been 
a partnership, but the increasing 
number of husband/wife business 
partnerships in farming now recog- 
nises this formally. Running the bus- 
iness and records side of the farm is 



one of the best contributions the farm 
wife/partner can make. 

John Glasson: "Megan uses it — I 
just play games on it. " All this simply 
reflects the fact that farming well is 
a complex and demanding task with 
a mix of physical and mental skills 
few other jobs demand. Not surpris- 
ingly, farmers who have spent a long 
day on the physical side of the job 
find it hard later to sit down and work 
on the mental side, keeping records 
and accounts. And it doesn't really 
matter whether these are kept man- 
ually or on a computer, the problem 
still exists. 

The computer has an enormous 
amount to offer in farm management 
because of its ability to handle large 
amounts of data. At the same time, 
it's an extremely complex tool and 
can take years to learn to drive prop- 
erly. Just as importantly, gaining the 
full benefit of its data recovery and 
comparison abilities requires at least 
months and often years of records, all 
of which have to be inputted first. 

Farmers who have bought compu- 
ters and stuck at it untii they have 
gained confidence in using the 
machine, and have loaded sufficient 
data into it to enable them to manipu- 
late figures and make useful compari- 
sons, have found the computers the 
exceptionally useful management 
tool they promise to be. 

Roy Sherlock: "I use it to keep cat- 
tle records, and also financial record- 
ing and feed budgeting. I've 
developed my own feed allocation 
and stock management program. I 
wouldn't like to revert to a manual 
system." 

Alan Moore: "I started with doing 



my own accounts program. Then I 
built in word processing, spread- 
sheet, graphics, database and file 
handling. I use it for cow records, and 
also the football club and Scouts." 

Confidence 

From these comments and my own 
experience of farmers using compu- 
ters, one of the secrets of making 
a system work is: don't be too 
ambitious at first. Start in a limited 
area of the farm operation - say ac- 
counts or livestock records (just one 
breed initially) and master that before 
trying anything else. Competence in 
one area gives you the confidence to 
move to another. 

One alternative which overcomes 
some of the problems of farmers not 
having enough time to use a compu- 
ter themselves is for them to use 
bureau services. Ray Hollis, of Hollis 
and Scholefield, Warkworth, farm 
consultants and valuers: "We pro- 
vide a client service. Farmers fill in 
forms to provide the data. We do 
monthly accounts, which allows us 
to indicate trends in the pattern of 
the farm's business. From the farm 
management point of view this is 
more useful than taxation informa- 
tion which you get from straight ac- 
countancy information. 

"We would expect the farm's ac- 
countant to have less work because 
of the good financial documentation 
the service provides." 

Lack of suitable software has obvi- 
ously been the other major barrier to 
computer use on farms. 

This isn't surprising. It's true of all 
software programs intended for 




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58 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 




specific applications that the best 
people to write them are not compu- 
ter programmers but people whose 

primary experience is in doing the job 
the software is intended for. 

Practising farmers 

Put simply, that means the best 
people to write farming software are 
practising farmers or farm manage- 
ment consultants. Naturally this 
takes time, but the software is being 
developed. 

An example is Philip York, a Cleve- 
don dairy farmer who is developing 
a pasture management program in 
conjunction with his partners Nico 
Sieling, another farmer, and program- 
mer Brian Fordray. He uses Meridian 
for accounts on his Commodore 64 
("It gives a set of accounts better 
than my accountant can give me — 
it's rather annoying when he gives 
me the same thing and charges me 
for it. ")■ and is emphasising simplicity 
and ease of use for the thousand or 
so Commodores known to be out 
there on farms. 

Their program is aimed initially at 
dairying, but will be available for 
sheep, beef, and other pastoral far- 
mers. "We're on the verge of a revolu- 
tion, but it's a hardware problem. I 
want to put the machine in the 
cowshed, to read eartags, monitor 
temperatures and other factors, but 
it's a very high unit cost." 

Philip York is determined that the 
package will be thoroughly debug- 
ged before being sold. "Until the 
thing's right it's pointless doing any- 
thing. We're concerned that notlung 
goes out until it's finished. Too many 
programs are sold before they're 
properly up and running. " 

Another good example of program 
writing from within the agricultural 
sector is Primesoft Farm Plan (NZ) 
Ltd. This started off as two separate 
farm software writing businesses — 
in Timaru and Christchurch — which 
later joined together and moved to 
Auckland, the centre of the country's 



computer industry, but the key point 
is that all the people involved were 
farm management consultants before 
they took up computer programming. 
Tony Lissaman of Farm Plan: "the 
computer is a vehicle for handling a 
large volume of material for detailed 
analysis. A farmer requires much 
more detailed information to run his 
business than the accountanc re- 
quires. We have worked on this 
strategy from the beginning. 

Competence in one area 
gives you the confidence 
to move to another. 

"It must be recognised that the 
average farmer has had no formal 
business training — so one of the 

things he or she faces is learning the 
discipline of picking up records in a 
practical way which makes the effort 
worthwhile. " 

A criticism of farmers and their ex- 
pectations of software and hardware 
is that too often they expect Formula 
I racer performance from Mini-Minor 
money. If a farm computer is to 
adequately handle all the complex 
tasks involved in running a farm it 
will require reasonable processing 
power and data storage capacity. 
And that involves investing a certain 
amount of capital. 

Tony Lessaman: "In good times 
farmers never put money into things 
that make money. They'll buy a 
$35,000 car when a $20..000 one will 
do, and they could put the difference 
into a $7000 computer and make 
enough money to earn a $35,000 car 
later. " 

In today's depressed farming cli- 
mate, farmers will naturally ask: 
"Can I afford a computer?" 

I tend to feel that with the obvious 
emphasis now on efficiency in both 
the physical and business manage- 
ment sides of farming, the real ques- 
tion increasingly will be: "Can any- 
one afford not to?" Q 



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Type of Computer 



Bits a Bytes - October 19B6 59 



APPLE 



Controlling the reset key 



by Paul Left 



This month we will look at using 
the Apple II' s Reset interrupt to force 
the machine to run your own pro- 
gram. The example program we will 
use is a short utility for printing out 
a copy of the high-resolution screen 
on a dot-matrix printer. The routine 
will work for you if you have an 
Epson-compatible printer (for exam- 
ple, a Panasonic or Super-5) and an 
interface card which will send an 
image of the high-res screen to the 
printer when the appropriate charac- 
ter is received. 

The routine (which turns on the 
printer card, sends it a Control-Q, and 
turns the card off again) will work 
with most parallel cards, and is easily 
modified to send a different command 
to the printer card if necessary. If you 
have an Apple II and a dot matrix 
printer, you will be able to produce 
hardcopy of high resolution graphics 
displayed by your favourite pro- 
grams. You wiil also learn how to take 
control of the Control-Reset interrupt, 
either to run a machine-language 
program of your choice or to protect 
your own programs from this type of 
interrupt. 

Disabling Control-Reset is one way 
in which nearly all commercially-sold 
programs are protected from copying, 
as otherwise it is simple to interrupt 
a program while running and SAVE 
(or BSAVE) it to disk. Most software 
sets up the Apple to reboot the disk 
in drive 1, while some force a return 
to the beginning of the program with- 
out accessing the disk. A few prog- 
rams make life a lttle more difficult 
by checking the disk to make sure it 
is the correct one, and then reloading 
part of the program. 

All these schemes are not there to 
stop you getting a printed copy of the 
high-resolution screen, of course; 
they are to stop the program being 
copied. To achieve our much more in- 
nocent aim, we need to carry out 
these steps: 

• interrupt the program while the 
correct screen is displayed; and 

• send the image to the printer. 
Let's look at the second step first, 

as this is the more straightforward. 
Listing One shows a short machine- 
language routine which displays the 
high resolution scioen (as the in- 
terupt process often causes the text 
screen to be displayed), waits for a 
keypress (pressing ESC forces a re- 
turn to BASIC), and sends the screen 
to the printer. This allows you to 
change your mind if you don't like 



what you see, as it can be difficult 
interrupting the software at just the 
right moment. Notice that the routine 
starts at address $300 (the '$' shows 
the number is hexadecimal) or 768 in 
decimal. There is a short segment of 
free memory starting at this address 
which is available for your own 
routines. 

If you are not familiar with entering 
machine-language programs, you 
may prefer to use Listing Two, which 
is a BASIC program using the POKE 
command to enter the code for you 
and then deleting itself (with a NEW) 
from memory to leave the dump 
routine intact 

Lines 10 to 100 are merely RE- 
MARKS, which can safely be omitted. 
Lines 110 to 130 print explanatory 
messages on the screen, while lines 
170 to 190 POKE the code into RAM. 
The code (in decimal notation) is 
stored in the DATA statements in 
lines 220 to 270. 

Once the program is run, the 
routine is ready to be used. The nor- 
mal procedure is to use the CALL 
command, followed by the start ad- 
dress of the routine. In this case, the 
routine can be accessed by typing 
CALL 768 (remember, 768 decimal 
equals $300). You don't need to type 
any other commands to print out 
hardcopy of the high-res screen, as 
the routine does it all for you. If your 
printer interface uses a different con- 
trol-character to start the dump, you 
will need to substitute the correct 
value for the 145' in the DATA state- 
ment in line 240. Calculate the new 
value by adding 128 to the ASCII code 
of the character to be sent. 

Another way of calling a machine- 
code routine is by using the amper- 
sand vector. The Apple has another 
short segment of addresses set aside 
for the user (although the Applesoft 
manual states that it "is intended for 
the computer's internal use only. .") 
which starts at $3F5 (1013 in deci- 
mal). When thfi Apple receives the 
'&' character (called an ampersand). 
it passes control to this address. 
There is just enough room here to 
store machine coda commands which 
pass control again to our routine at 
$300 The tiny routine at S3F5 is cal- 
led a vector because it points to 
another address in memory. 

Look again at Listing Two, line 150. 
The four statements in this line, 
roughly translated, say "go to $300". 
Normally, the routine at $300 would 
return back to the vector when 



finished and the value 96 (address 
1013) would return to wherever you 
were when the '&' character was is- 
sued. However, in this case the 
routine does not return to the vector 
when finished, but returns directly to 
the BASIC/DOS interpreters. 

It does not matter what routine is 
used or where it is stored — the vector 
at $3F5 can be used to access it in 
response to the '&'. That means you 
can store your own short machine- 
language programs at $300, where 
they will not interfere with a BASIC 
program in memory. 

It also means you can store a 
machine-language program 

elsewhere in memory and access it 
with '&' as long as the correct values 
are stored in addresses 1013 to 1016. 
You need to take the last two charac- 
ters of the start address (in hexadec- 
imal), convert to decimal, and POKE 
into 1014. The first two characters 
converted to decimal are POKEd into 
1015. With a 32 in 1013 and a 96 in 
1015, your vector should be set up to 
point to your program. 

There are three more POKEs which 
are not included in Listing Two, but 
which you might like to add; 
155 POKE 1010,245 
•.POKE 1011,03 
:POKE 1012,166 

This addition to the BASIC program 
sets up another vector which points 
in turn at the vector at $3F5. These 
three addresses tell the Apple what 
to do when a Control-Reset interrupt 
is received. The first two bytes store 
the address to which control is to be 
passed: in this case, our vector at 
$3F5. However, this will only happen 
if the third byte has a particular value. 
The value at 1011 is exclusive-ORed 
with the value $A5 and compared 
with the value at 1012. If there is no 
match, the Apple assumes that it has 
just been turned on, clears the 
screen, displays the 'APPLE II' mes- 
sage, and boots the disk. 

AS DOS sets these bytes to its own 
values, the next time a Control-Reset 
is encountered a match is found and 
the Apple passes control to the ad- 
dress stored in 1010 and 1011. Our 
new line 155, then, sets up the Reset 
vector to point to $3F5 and hence to 
our printer routine at $300. 

We now have a utility program 
which will print a hardcopy of the 
high-res screen and which can be ac- 
cessed in any of three ways : 

• by typing CALL 768 from BASIC; 

• by typing & from BASIC; or 



60 Bits & Bytes - October 19B6 



APPLE 



• by pressing Control-Reset at any- 
time during the running of a pro- 
gram. 

Try loading the routine using the 
program in Listing Two (including 
line 155) and then running a program 
which draws on the high-res screen. 
As long as the program has not al- 
tered the routine or the vectors, you 
will be able to interrupt the program 
and get hardcopy quickly and easily. 

Now try booting a commercial disk. 
Once the program has loaded, press 
Control-Reset. You will probably find 
that the protected software has al- 
tered the Reset vector to cause the 
Apple to reboot the disk, which will 
alter the image on screen and over- 
write our screen-dump routine. You 
will need to swap disks to avoid this, 
and a convenient arrangement is to 
set up a disk which will RUN our 
BASIC program when booted. To do 
this, start with a normal DOS and 
LOAD the program in Listing Two. 
Change line 200 to read: 

200 GET G$: & 

Now place a blank disk in the drive 
and type INIT PRINTER. This will 
cause the program to be placed on 
the new disk as the HELLO or startup 
program. Now reboot the protected 
software. This time, when the prog- 
ram has loaded, remove the disk and 
insert your PRINTER disk. When the 
image on the screen is what you 
want, press Control-Reset. This will 
cause the Apple to boot your 
PRINTER disk and load and run the 
dump routine at $300. 

When you have finished reading 
the BASIC program's messages, 
press any key. The high-res screen 
will be restored to view, and will be 
sent to the printer when you press a 
key other than ESC. Your PRINTER 
dislt, by the way, can be used for stor- 
ing other files in the usual way. 

You should now have the know- 
ledge to set up the Reset vector and 
the ampersand vector at $3F5 to suit 
your own purposes, and you should 
also have a simple but useful high-res 
screen dump utility. By POKEing the 



correct values into the ampersand 
vector you can cause the BASIC in- 
terpreter to pass control to a 
machine-language program. The 
Reset vector allows a Control- Reset 
to do the same or to cause a disk -boot, 
depending on the values found in the 
vector. Control of this vector is an es- 
sential first step in protecting prog- 
rams from being listed or copied and 
provides the programmer with great- 
er flexibility and power over the 
Apple II. 



Listing one 



0300- 
0303- 
0306- 
0309- 
030C- 
030E- 
0310- 
03 1 2- 
0313- 
C3I6- 
0319- 
031 B- 
03 I E- 
0321- 
0323- 
0326- 
0328- 
03ZA.- 
032C- 



032E- 

Listing two 



2U 50 
2C 57 
2C 10 
AD 00 
10 FB 
C9 3B 
FO OF 
EA 

2C 10 
20 34 
AS 91 
8D 00 
20 ED 
A9 00 
(3D 10 
A3 BD 
B5 36, 
A3 9E 
95 37 
2C 51 



CO 

CO 
CO 
CO 



CO 

03 



CO 



CO 



PIT 
BIT 
BIT 
LDA 
BPL 
CMP 
BEG 
NOF 
BIT 
JSR 
LDA 
STA 
JSP 
LDA 
STA 
LDA 
STA 
LDA 
STA 
BIT 



*C050 

*C057 

SCO 10 

•C0O0 

*Q309 

B*9B 

S0321 

*C01O 

*0334 

#»91 

*COO0 

SFDED 

#400 

SCO10 

#4BD 

*3& 

#S9E 

*37 

$0051 



30 
40 
SO 
60 

70 

eo 

30 
ion 
1 to 



13' 
03: 



REM ************************ 
REM I' SET UP HIRES DUMP * 
REM ^ AT »30O <76B> MJD » 
REM * VECTOR AT *3FS (1013)* 
REM ******* ************* t**ft 
REM 

REM »# ********************** 
REM * PAUL LEFT 31 /OS/86 * 
PEM ******* *»*********.****** 
REM 



TEXT 
: HOME 
: PPINT 
D. " 
POINT 
: PRIulT 
PN 
PRINT 
SI- 
j4_ 

36- 



"HIRES SCPEEN DUMP INSTALLE 



"ACCESS BV TYPING '&' 



03C 

oa: 

03' 



3A- 

?c— 



4c do o: 

A9 00 
36 
CI 
37 



85 
A9 
05 
60 



JMP 
LDA 
STA 
LDA 
STA 
RTS 



*O3D0 

#*0O 

*36 

**C1 

$37 



: PRINT "PPESS 'ESC TO CANCEL WHEN 
HI -RES SCREEN IS DISPLAYED." 
HO REM POKE VECTOR 
150 POKE 1013,32 
POKE 1014,00 
POKE 1013,03 
POKE 1016,96 
160 REM POCE DUMP ROUTINE 
170 TOR ADDRESS = 768 TO 028 
1B0 READ CODE 

: POKE ADDRESS, CODE 
1-30 NEXT ADDRESS 
200 NEW 
?ICI REM CODE 
220 DATA 44,90, 112.-14,87, 192, 44, 16, 1 

•52, 173,0 
230 DATA 192, 16,251,201 , 155,240, 15,2 

34,44, 16 
240 DATA 192,32,52,3,169,145,141,0 

, 192,32,237 
250 DATA 253, 169,0, 14 1, 1&, 192, 169, IS 

9, 133,54 
260 DATA '.69, 15B, 133,55,44,81, 192, 

76,20B,3, 169,0 
270 DATA 133,54,169,193,133,55,96 



-D 



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Bits 8 Byles - October 1066 61 



SPECTRUM 



Spectrum machine code 



by Gary Parker 

Lately a few people have asked me 
to teach more about machine code, 
so this month's column contains a 
simple machine code routine with a 
detailed explanation of how it works. 
I won't attempt to teach an entire 
course on machine code from scratch, 
as that is a little beyond the scope of 
this column and might bore some 
readers. If you want to learn to prog- 
ram in machine code, I suggest that 
you buy a book on the subject. There 
are some good, reasonably-priced 
Spectrum machine code books 
around. 

Machine code needs to be stored 
in an area of memory where the Spec- 
trum's interpreter can't get at it and 
try to interpret it as a Basic program. 
There are quite a few possible areas, 
but for this routine I have chosen the 
printer buffer since it is easy to use. 
The oniy limitations are that you can't 
store machine code programs of more 
than 256 bytes there (which is quite 
a reasonable length for a machine 
code program), and you can't use a 
ZX printer, or your machine code will 
be lost. 

To begin with, you need a Basic 
program which will load your 
machine code into the printer buffer. 
Listing 1 is a simple example. It will 
accept whatever numbers you enter 
and POKE them into memory. When 
you have entered all the machine 
code of your machine code routine, 
simply enter STOP (on the A key) the 
next time it asks for input . 

Listing 2 contains a routine which 
will scroll all the attributes - the col- 
ours and so forth — of the screen one 
character space right. This means 
that you can make colours appear to 
move behind stationary characters. 
I've included the routine here be- 
cause it uses simple machine code 
and so is a good routine to explain 
first. 

To enter the routine, first type in 
Listing 1 . RUN it, and entei the num- 
bers in the right-hand group of List- 
ing 2. Enter each number one at a 
time, separated by ENTER. When you 
have entered the 23 numbers, finish 
with STOP. Then to use the routine, 
call it with LET x-USR 23296. The 
variable x can be any variable you're 
not using. 

So how does it work? The left-hand 
side of Listing 2 contains the assem- 
bly language of the machine code on 
the right-hand side. 

First of all, register a is given the 
value 0. A register is equivalent to a 



variable in Basic, so making register 
a equal zero is the same as 'Let a=0' 
in Basic. Then register c is given the 
value 22, the register pair hi is given 
the value 23295, and register b is 
given the value 31. 

Register a holds the attribute to be 
put into the left-hand column of the 
screen which becomes blank when 
the attributes are scrolled right one 
character. Zero stands for a black 
square, and you can make other col- 
ours appear there by changing this 
value. There are 22 lines on the 
screen, and register c is used to count 
these. Register b counts the number 
of columns across the screen. The re- 
gister pair hi holds the address of the 
last byte in the attribute file, which 
is the area in memory which holds 
the details of the screen picture. It 
contains one byte for every character 
square on the screen. 

Next we enter the loop which actu- 
ally shifts the screen colours. The 
value of hi is decreased by one, and 
the register e is loaded with the 
number which is in the memory loca- 
tion pointed to by hi. This may sound 
quite tricky, but it works just like a 
PEEK in Basic. Register e is given the 
attribute of the second-to-last square 
in the attribute file. 

Then hi is increased by one. The 
first time through the loop, it will be 
made to point to the last attribute 
square. That square is then given the 
attribute held by the register e — that 
is, the attribute that was in the 
square to the left oi it on the screen. 
Then hi is decreased by one again. 

Register b is decreased by one at 
this point. It counts the number of 
squares across the screen which have 
been shifted, and when it reaches 
zero, one complete line of 32 squares 
will have been moved across a 
square. Actually, only 31 squares are 
shifted, since the final one on the 
right-hand side is simply replaced 
with the square to the left of it. 

Next, a 'jmz" command is reached. 
This tells the computer to jump 8 
bytes backwards if the register b is 
not zero. This command functions like 
a GO TO in Basic. If register b is not 
zero, the computer will go back to the 
first 'dec hi' command, and start 
there. This forms the loop which 
shifts one line of the display. 

Once register b reaches 2ero, the 
computer will go past the jump com- 
mand. It will load the attribute held 
by register a into the address 
specified by hi - that is, it will put a 
black square into the left-most square 
Of the line which has just been shifted 
a square right. 



Register hi is then decreased by 
one . Since the screen picture is stored 
in the attribute file as one long line, 
decreasing hi by one means that it 
now points to the first square on the 
line above the one which has just 
been shifted. 

Next, register c is decreased by 
one. Remember that register c counts 
the number of lines that have been 
shifted. If c is not zero, the 'jmz' com- 
mand will jump 15 bytes backwards. 
This is to the 'id b, 31' command. 
Here, the computer will begin shift- 
ing another line. If c is zero, it means 
that all 22 lines of the screen have 
been shifted. In this case the compu- 
ter will pass the jump command and 
reach the 'ret' command, which tells 
it to return to Basic. 

In summary, the routine works 
backwards through the attribute file, 
taking each square in turn and shift- 
ing it into the next one along. It con- 
tains two loops. The inner one shifts 
a line of 32 squares at a time, and the 
outer one puts a black square into the 
left-most position of each line, and 
counts the number of lines which 
have been shifted. 

Isn't it incredible to realise that the 
computer does all these complex 
tasks in a tiny fraction of a second? 



LISTING 1: Machine code 

loader program 

10 LET a=2329S 
20 INPUT m 
30 POKE a,ni 
43 LET a=a+l 
50 GO TO 20 

LISTING 2: Right-scroll 

(attributes only; 

Id a, 62 

Id c, 22 14 22 

Id hi, 23295 33 25b" 90 

Id b, 31 6 31 

dec hi 43 

Id e, (hi) 94 

inc hi 35 

Id (hi), e 115 

dec hi 43 

dec b 5 

jrnz. -8 32 -8 

Id (hi), a 119 
dec (hi) 43 

dec c 13 

jrnz, -15 32 -25 

ret 201 



62 Bits & Bytes - October 1986 



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Bits & Bytes - October '.986 63 



COMMODORE 



Driving a bit further 



by Joe Colquitt 

The series continues with some 
more useful subroutines, all of them 
for manipulating the status of a cho- 
sen file on a disk. The September ar- 
ticle showed how a whole disk can 
be (im)protected, and following on 
from that, these subroutines are in a 
similar vein. They are: find a file; 
scratch a file; ucscratch; scratch-pro- 
tect; un-scratch-protect. 

By consulting the memory maps in 
the 1541 User Manual together with 
the explanations of the routines, a fair 
idea should be obtained of how and 
where entries are stored in the direc- 
tory, and what happens to them 
under various conditions. It looks dif- 
ficult at first glance, but the sequence 
is logical. Find it, read it, change it, 
write it. 

The directory track is divided into 
19 sectors. SectorO holds the disk 
name, ID, free block map (BAM), and 
disk format type. The other 28 sectors 
hold filename entries, up to 8 per sec- 



tor; 8*18 = 144 filenames per disk. 
The first two bytes (0&1) of T18 SI 
hold the address of the next directory 
sector. In turn, that sector holds the 
address of the next sector, and so on. 
(Or 00 FF if it's the last directory block 
used, or it's the last block of data for 
a program or file. See Line350 below.) 
This method is used throughout 
the disk for finding the next block of 
a program, file etc. The first entry in 
the directory starts at T18 SI byte 2, 
and subsequent entries at 32 byte in- 
tervals, ie at bytes 34, 66, 98, etc. A 
single entry is shown in Table 1. Bear- 
ing this in mind, an explanation of 
Part 1 should complete the picture. 

Lines5-30: get the filename and 
read data for other subroutines. The 
filename must be entered in full. 

Line35: initialise drive and open a 
buffer 

Linesl40-150: read T38 SI into buf- 
fer 

Linesl 70-205: get the first two 
bytes from T18 SO, set T and S to the 
next block 

Lines 180-340: get names from 
block and compare to name sought. 



Q + A 



by Geoff McCaughan 



Subject: Modem Connection 
System: Atari 800 XL 

[Q] I have an English program and cable 
which I use to connect my VMD 312 
Modem to the Atari 800 XL. It works on 
Prestel and 300 Baud, but the terminal 
is unable to download from Com- 
puServe. To use any other .terminal 
software with the Atari I need the 850 
interface which costs $500 in N.Z. 
Would it be worthwhile upgrading my XL 
or would it be better to wait for the ST 
which has a serial pod. 

[A] It strikes me that $500 is too expen- 
sive just for a serial interface, but are 
you sure there are no other ways around 
the problem? If one person can solve 
the problem in software, so can another. 

Surely if serial interfaces are that ex- 
pensive every programmer on the block 
will be producing software solutions. It 
may be worthwhile contacting the firm 
who produced the terminal you are using 
- they may already have an upgrade 
that will do what you want. 

Buying an ST would certainly give you 
communications ability, but would not 
go any closer to getting your XL online 
than buying (say) an Amiga. The other 
possibility is third party manufacturers. 
In virtually every case, if a major man- 

64 Bits & Bylos - October 1986 



ufacturer prices a product too high there 
will be a bunch of third party manufactur- 
ers just waiting to sneak in under the 
fence. 

I'm sorry but I cannot help you more 
than that. 

I suggest you contact local or national 
Atari user groups, have a close look at 
local and overseas advertisements to 
see if anything cheaper can be done, 
and l would ask any of our readers who 
can help to get in touch. 

Subject: Computer Audio 

[Q] How should I connect my 
computer to my stereo? The com- 
puter only has one one audio out- 
let. 

[A] The audio signal from your compu- 
ter should be compatible with the au- 
xiliary input on your sterio, but unless 
you've got an Amiga your computer will 
most likely only produce output on a 
single audio line. 

If you are handy with a soldering iron 
you can make up a connecting cable 
yourself by simply sending the single 
audio line to bolh inputs on the stereo. 
If you are not up to this, your local elec- 
tronics shop should be able to do the 

(Continued 70/ 



Variable I does a count of 8, and J 16. 
the max length of a filename. DEL- 
eted names are also got. 

Line295: check first char of entry 

against sought name to save time. 

Line350: if the first byte of the sec- 
tor is 00, then make this the last block 
read. 

L:ne360-370: print messages 



Part 2 has two functions. First it 
finds the type of file the program is. 
GOSUB950 does this by examining 
the byte three bytes before the start 
of the filename, and returns with the 
file type in variable F. Later routines 
derive TY and PR from it. 

Table 2 shows the contents of that 
byte depending on the file type. A 
protected file is denoted by a < after 
it in the directory. An unclosed file, 
caused by various means, is denoted 
by an *. A menu follows, allowing the 
user to alter the byte. The sub- 
routines that perform the various 
functions are similar in operation, so 
I'll explain just one, UNSCRATCH. 

Line675: set the Block Pointer to 
the byte 

Line680: write the new value of the 
byte into the buffer 

Line685: reset the Block Pointer to 
the start of the block 

Line690 : write the block back to the 
disk 

Note: using UNSCRATCH makes 
the file accessible for loading. It does 
not update BAM. Load the file and 
resave it to update BAM. Using the 
SCRATCH function does not update 
BAM, and blocks reserved for the 
SCRATCH program are still unavaila- 
ble for future saves. A Vabdate com- 
mand should free up reserved blocks. 

The only thing different about the 
subroutines is the byte value written 
to the disk. If wished, the two 
routines from the first article could 
be added to the menu and overall 
program. 

Notes on typing the program in: 

I've arranged the program listing 
to be in 40 columns, so ignore spaces 
under line numbers (eg line25) 

Iclr] is SHIFT/HOME 

[down] is CRSR down 

[delete] is done by opening up the 
quotes and pressing DELETE to pro- 
duce a reverse T. A delete will not 
show in a screen listing. The deletes 
are not essential but they do make 
the screen a bit tidier. 

If you would like a copy of these 
listings and other disk utilities, send 
a disk and stamped return envelope 
to me at 6 Martin Ave, Mt Albert 

Auckland. 






COMMODORE 





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ALL ABOUT CP/M 



Microcal's CP/M tutorial 
for the Commodore 128, 
reviewed by Andrew 
Mitchell. 

New to CP/M? then this is pro- 
bably for you. 

A set of three disks and tutorial 
manual will take you through the CP/ 
M system from the very basics, to 
checking and changing file attri- 
butes. The tutorial manual says it will 
provide "a high level view" but will 
not "of necessity cover every aspect " . 
Considering the scope of the subject, 
that's a fair comment in my opinion. 

The tutorial programme starts by 
explaining how it itself works, and 
you are given opportunities to try out 
the various options that appear at the 



bottom of each screen page. These 
options differ according to what you 
are doing, and where you are in the 
programme. They include: 

• Continue: carry on to the next 
screen page; 

• Recap: go back and revise some- 
thing you've already covered ; and 

• Help: get further information on 
the topic under study. 

You are asked to register when you 
enter the programme, and for a first 
time user, a registration number is 
issued. You must always sign on with 
the same name and number if you 
want to return to the place you left 
during aprevious session. If you don't 
the programme will just presume you 
are a first time user. 

As mentioned, you can return to 
the place you had reached in the tuto- 
rial, or you can choose to take any of 
the various modules within the 



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Bits & Bytes - October 1986 85 



COMMODORE 



coarse, in random order. This can be 
handy if you want to learn about a 
particular part of the system in order 
to get a job done. You can still return 
to your previous place at a later date 
even if you use this option. 

The modules within the course are : 
A: using the tutorial system; 
B: the operating system; 
C: files and directories: 
D: simple file operations; 
E: file copying operations; 
F; check file and disk status; 
G: system functions; 
H: additional facilities; and 
I: hints and tips. 



These headings are from tutorial 
syllabus and give a good indication 
of the topics covered. I found that 
each of the topics was covered very 
well in the tutorial, and the extra 
'help' pages gave an even greater 
depth with detailed examples. Just a 
suggestion here : take plenty of notes, 
as the tutorial booklet is only a guide 
to the system, not a textbook of what 
the programme contains. 

And just one word of warning: if 
you thought your 1 541 was slow, your 
worst nightmares are confirmed in 
CP/M mode. It's not this particular 
programme, but all CP/M files load 
VERY slowly on a 1541. If you get 



serious about this mode you'll want 
to invest in a 1571, not only for its 
speed but also for its ability to read 
other than Commodore formatted 
discs. I've tried one and it's magic. 

Overall, I think this set of three 
disks and booklet is certainly value 
for the CP/M beginner. You can learn 
all about the system at your own 
pace, and always have it there to re- 
fresh your memory and remind you 
of the mote sophisticated commands 
available. 

Review copy made available by Com- 
modore Computer (NZ) Ltd. 



AMSTRAD 



Cirkits and Ski Jumps 



by Craig Beaumont 

The Cirkit modem I mentioned last 
month has proved to be a very in- 
teresting peripheral. It has two main 
components: the interface which 
plugs into the expansion port; and 
the acoustic coupler which links to 
the handset of the old style phones. 



The interface is described as a min- 
imal parts serial interface to allow the 
Cirkit modem to communicate with 
Amstrad CPC computers. It is a little 
black box smaller than a cassette 
case, and unlike most Amstrad 
peripherals it lies flat rather than ver- 
tically against the back of the compu- 
ter. It contains an 8251 UART sup- 
ported by four ICs. From its top 




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A Branch Franchise may be available in your area 

Please Contact Phone 444-8063 or write 

Box 23-1 96 Takapuna. Auckland 



sprouts a one-metre cord with a five- 
pin DIN plug on the other end which 
connects to the acoustic coupler. An 
edge connector out the back is for 
other RS232 devices. 

The acoustic coupler is two plastic 
boxes joined by a rubber linkage. 
Each box has a rubber and foam cup 
for coupling with the ear and mouth 
pieces of the phone handset. It is 
powered by four AA size batteries 
that are supposed to last 50 operating 
hours. There is a jack to connect an 
earphone to, so calls can be moni- 
tored — very useful if you call the 
wrong number and are wondering 
what all the rubbish on your screen is. 

This may all sound like some sort 
of cheap jury rig - which is basically 
true. What makes it all practical is the 
robust and well documented 
software written by Honeywell that 
is part of the package. The Prestel 
software works well, edthough I 
haven't seen it operating in colour 
yet. It lacks a down-ioading option, 
but this maybe included in future up- 
grades. Also included is terminal 
software that you can customise to 
suit the requirements of whoever/ 
whatever you want to communicate 
with — by changing the number of bits 
per character, the stop bits, parity 
checking, and that sort of thing, 

Just a few niggles, though, that you 
may find -warrant purchasing a more 
standard package, of the type that 
connects directly to the phono 
through a BT jackpoint. The cord be- 
tween the modem and interface is 
quite short, but luckily my computer 
is only a couple ot metres from a 
phone. Also the acoustic coupler does 
not allow use of 300/300 baud rate 
(commonly used by bulletin 
boards), as it has only 1200/1200 and 
1200/75 baud rates. 

I've had no problems with external 
noise interfering with modem opera- 
tion — even with a radio going nearby. 
On the whole I'm happy with this 
cheap (if nasty) step into the world 
of computer communications. 



66 Bits S Bytes - October 1986 



AMSTRAD 



CP/M is starting to be useful fox 
more than just managing disk space 
and running commercial software like 
Turbo Pascal. After a good deal of 
work, members of the Amstrad User 
Group (Wellington) have managed to 
transfer public domain CP/M 
software from the local Osborne User 
Group's library on to 3-inch disks. The 
first release of this software into our 
own library included many disk 
utilities, such as COBOL, Forth and 
what appears to be a very good ver- 
sion of Colossal Caves. This is only a 
sample of the large amount of quality 
public domain CP/M. 

Winter Olympics 

The Computer Experience supplied 
a review copy of Winter Gaines by 
Bpyx, a simulation ol seven events 
from the next Winter Olympics to be 
held in Calgary, Canada. The events 
are Figure, Free and Speed Skating; 
Hot Dog Aerials; Ski Jumping; the 
Biathlon; and the Bobsled. 

The disk version is spread over 
both sides of a disk, and includes an 
opening ceremony not found on the 
tape veision. At the last User Group 
meeting we had a sound demonstra- 
tion where output from the stereo 
jack was put through an amplifier. 
The fanfare in the opening ceremony 
was very effective at that volume. 



The two main playing modes aie 
practice and competition. Practice al- 
lows you to try to improve your per- 
formance in one event. Competition 
mode lets you and up to three other 
players battle for the various medals, 
and perhaps set new world records. 
which are saved as in Sorcery +, 

I didn't find any of the skating 
events particularly interesting, al- 
though it's very funny when you 
make the skater fall over. The idea is 
to perform a variety of movements 
with maximum grace. In Free Skating 
you try to choreograph your jumps 
and spins to music, which requires 
much practice. 

Hot Dog Aerials is a demonstration 
sport where you perform combina- 
tions of flips and stunts before you 
land, earning points for style and dif- 
ficulty. The Ski Jump is a matter of 
maintaining the correct body position 
during flight. By keeping your skis 
and legs straight, and leaning for- 
ward over your skis at the right angle, 
you maximise distance and style 
points. 

The Eiathlon is my favourite event 
- partly because of the scenery pas- 
sed through while doing it. It involves 
cross-country skiing between four 
sets of rifle shooting targets. There 
are three types of terrain — level, up- 
hill and downhill — each requiring dif- 



ferent skiing techniques. The aim is 
to complete the course in the lowest 
time while missing as few targets as 
possible. The catch is that the faster 
you go, the faster your heart beats, 
which increases the difficulty of hit- 
ting the targets. 

Bobsledding is a test of reactions 
and course memory as you seek to 
minimise your time down the icy 
track. A game like Winter Games 
where people can compete against 
each other and have a lot of fun makes 
computing a much more sociable pas- 
time. 

The prices on the whole Amstrad 
range went up in early in July. This 
is a raie event in the microcomputer 
market, and is understood to be the 
result of the movement of the yen, 
but it could discourage potential 
Amstrad buyers, a situation to the de- 
triment of present owners 



If its news 

call John King, 
Ph: 796-775 



AFTER 37 EXPLODING FISTS, 

The excitement can diminish, but if 
you've bought it you're stuck with it! 

THE PRETTY PICTURES on 

an indication of the quality of a game. The 



a package are not always 
answer to these problems is. 



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Bits & Sytso - October 1986 67 



BBC 



Bit-mapped graphics menus 



by Pip Forer 

This month something for Masters 
users and something for all BBC pro- 
grammers. Firstly, a quick review of 
the reference manuals for the Master 
128, then an update on the bar menu 
routine published a year or so ago. 

One of the criticisms of the Master 
series has been the need to buy addi- 
tional documentation in order to be 
able to make the most of the machine. 
Three technical manuals (plus View 
and Viewsheet guides) are to be 
made available for users. To date the 
first two have been published, but are 
not yet widely available. For those 
who have not seen them, here is the 
background. 

Both are roughly the same size 
(about, that of the original BBC users 
guide), with chapters designated A-U 
through the two volumes. Both are 
thorough and only occasionally cryp- 
tic, and cover the arcane as well as 
things which should have been avail- 
able in a more widely available and 
cheaper form (such as how to use 
new OS and graphics calls). 

Volume 1 is the more directly tech- 
nical. It deals with all aspects of the 
MOS, memory usage, hardware and 
the various filing systems (also the 
VDU driver, which may directly con- 
cern the BASIC user). Volume 2 is 
more about the higher levels of the 
system: four chapters on BASIC, 
three on assembler and then the mis- 
sing information on how the editor 
and terminal functions work. The 
editor section is comprehensive, and 
while not friendly to the novice, the 
editor is certainly quite powerful and 
flexible. The terminal section is not 
well •written if you want to use it 
rather than understand it. 

All that may help decide whether 
one volume is more useful to you than 
another. In brief, if you liked the Ad- 
vanced Users' Guide you'l) be quite 
at home with this. 

A while ago this column gave a list- 
ing for a bar menu procedure for use 
with the teletext mode 7. (A list of 
options is displayed as a vertical list 
on one part of the screen. One choice 
is selected by moving a highlighting 
bar across the options with the arrow- 
keys and striking RETURN when the 
choice is selected.) This procedure 
has been useful to several readers but 
is handicapped where one wants to 
use a graphics mode (or develop pull- 
down menus, which on the Master is 
not too difficult). However, bar menus 
can still be easily produced in other 
modes, but other strategies to the 
teletext one must be used. 

68 Sits & Bytes - Octobur 1986 



In mode 7 one uses the 
'background colour' character (157) 
to create a highlight on a given line. 
Three options that produce an equi- 
valent effect to this come to mind. 
Two use PLOT statements and one 
uses CLG, all of which must be syn- 
chronised to the graphics position on 
the screen of the text list of options. 
The general problem has two steps: 

• Derive the graphics location for 
the bar. Using the notation of the tele- 
text program (with TP% lines of text 
unused at the top of the screen and 
ttext% being the line position of the 
highlighted choice within the list), 
the position of any option is at screen 
line ttext%+TP%. Since graphics 
coordinates number up the screen 
and text lines number down it, this 
converts into the Y position 1024-32* 
(ttext%+TP%) for the top of the text 
line. The bottom of the line is 32 
points lower down. Depending on the 
position and length of the text, we 
can set Xmin and Xmax as the hori- 
zontal locations of the start and end 
of our selection bar. 

• Induce (or remove) a choice bar. 
We want to inverse the line of text. 
The first thought that might occur is 
to use CODE 86, a triangle fill using 
complementary colours. Two triangle 
fills would make the rectangular bar. 
Using the complementary option 
would flip black to white (or red to 
yellow or whatever) and the next flip 
would restore order again. PROCflip 
with lines 10999 on does this. You 
could try it. It is fast but has one 
marked fault. In two corners and on 
one or two of the pixels along the bor- 
ders of the triangles some points fail 
to flip... or rather they flip twice due 
to overlap of the triangles. 

10999 DEFPROCflip:Xmax=550: 
Xmin=150 

11005 pos% = 1024-32* (ttext%+TP%) 
:posl%=pos%-32 

11006 MOVEXmax,posl% 
11010 MOVE Xmax.pos% 
11020 PLOT 86,Xmm,posl% 
11030 PLOT 86,Xmax,pos% 
11040 ENDPROC 

The next possibility is to draw a 
series of horizontal lines from Xmax 
to Xmin using the complementary 
(EOR) plot, This can guarantee a flaw- 
less choice bar. It is rather slow but 
has a certain unhurried and pleasing 
dignity that can be used to effect. To 
action this, path lines 11006-11030 
are removed and replaced by: 
11006 FORI = posl% TOpos% STEP4 
11020 MOVE Xmin,I:PLOT 6,Xmax,I 
11020 NEXT I 

The STEP 4 in line 11006 is to save 
time, since not every co-ordinate 
value on the Y axis actually turns on 



a physical screen pixel. 

The fast and perfect solution is to 
use CLG and a graphics window. The 
strategy is that Xmax,Xmin,pos% 
and posl% together define the de- 
sired area of the bar. GCOL 3.131 sets 
the background colour to logical 
white with an Exclusive OR (com- 
plementary) effect. 

When we issue a CLG having es- 
tablished that window, the result is 
that only that window is cleared and 
the 'clearing" in fact does an EOR of 
any existing image with logical 
white. The value of white in all modes 
is represented by all bits being Is, so 
an Exclusive OR with white simply 
flips any text or graphics in the win- 
dow. This makes a fast and neat bar, 
and also has great use for highlight- 
ing, and then withdrawing, any area 
of the screen. 

To use this approach simply use 
these lines between 1 106 and 1 1030: 
11006 GCOL 3,131 
11010 VDU24,Xrcin;posl%;Xmax; 

pos%; 
11020 CLG 

You can set up PROCflip to use 
either of the two clean methods. The 
procedure echoes the function of the 
teletext background statements in 
the original listing and therefore 
PROCflip can be inserted neatly to re- 
place the original lines which used 
the 'background colour' character. 
We are then left with a procedure 
suitable for any graphics mode. 

The bar menu is an integral part of 
the widely acclaimed concept of 'pull- 
down' menus. These menus allow 
various choice menus to be 'pulled 
down' on to a screen for choice and 
then replaced, leaving the screen un- 
changed after use. We have only 
looked at the bar menu aspect of this. 
We may get an insight into the tricks 
needed to allow the 'pull down' com- 
ponent in another column. 



E^CDJ 

Proi 



AA_, I 



COMPUTERS 
FOB PEOPLE 



n 



AUTOCAD CAD/CAM 
SALES AND SUPPORT 

35 Taranaki St, Wellington 

Phone (04) 859-675 
407 Queen Sf, Auckland 

Phone (09) 393-408 



MACHINE LANGUAGE 



SEQuential data 



by Joe Colquitt 

After PROGram files, SEQuential 
files are probably the most often used 
form of data storage. Games use se- 
quential storage for saving/loading 
game positions etc, while word pro- 
cessors use SEQ for text files, and 
others, such as PAINTPIC or 
BGRAPH. use them for bit-mapped 
screens. SEQ files are reasonably sim- 
ple to use from BASIC, but need to 
be treated differently in ML (you 
aren't still hoping for an easy topic 
are you?). 

Variables are accessible in ML by 
the pointer at $47/$48, but at the ex- 
pense of a lot of fiddly programming 
and only a minor speed advantage. 
The BASIC/ML interface is awkward 
and not really worth the pursuit. 

ML SEQuential transfer is much. 
more realistic with blocks of memory. 
This applies to text and memory 
dumps, where substantial time-sav- 
ings can be achieved. 

Programs la/b show the methods 
for in/out using SEQ. 1 found them to 
run at about 96 per cent of PRG save/ 
load speed. From now on, I'll include 
the hex values for readers who may 
want to construct BASIC loaders from 
the routines, and the arbitrary $C000 
start address. As mentioned before, 
the most efficient transfer of data oc- 
curs in block movements, so it's 
necessary to store data in RAM as a 
block. 

Unlike BASIC programming, 
separators need not be included for 
text phrases, but the user program 
must be able to recognise its own 
separators (eg Carriage Returns). Dr 
Evan Lewis in his August article com- 
mented on the differences between 
commercial packages, and the trans- 
fer of data between them. 

Programs la/b are specifically for 
saving/toading the block of memory 
$5C00-$7FFF, an area used by .several 
bit-map utilities. $5C00-5FFF is the 
screen colour area, and $6000-$7FFF 
is the bit-map area. Note that the 
SFFD2 could be replaced with $F iCA. 
and $FFCF with $F157, eliminating 
27000 instruction cycles by avoiding 
the jump table. 

BGRAPH and PAINTPIC save pic- 
tures in SEQ format (with slight dif- 
ferences in the first few bytes), and 
others such as DOODLE and 
PRINTSHOP save PRG files. The con- 
version, between SEQ/PRG means 
that pictures can be exchanged bet- 
ween utilities, for example using 
BGRAPH Image files (SEQ) in DOO- 
DLE (PRG) Hv.1 resavmg them (SEQ). 



One advantage of this is that 
BGRAPH has a centred print, 
whereas DOODLE prints starting at 
the left margin. 

To find recognition codes in a file, 
you could use Program 2. It's slow, 
but allows you to see the sequence 
of bytes in a SEQ file. Allowances can 
be made for header codes when man- 
ipulating the file. For example, 
BGRAPH has a sequence like 32 49/ 
32 13 32 49 32 13 at the beginning 
of Image files that must be catered 
for if a PRG file is converted to an 
Image file. PAINTPIC starts files with 
a 'P' or 'B' and so on. 

Word-processors (EasySchpt, 

SpeedScript) save text stored in mem- 
ory as a large block, treated exactly 
the same way as a picture block. The 
bytes are POKED/PEEKED in/out of 
memory and it is then left to the main 
program to decipher the special 
cades and formats. Easy- 
Script, for example, uses no header 
code, CHR$(13) for line returns, and 
prefixes reverse characters with 128. 

A BASIC program that is saved as 
a SEQ file is stripped of line pointers 
and line-terminal zeros. The zeros are 
replaced with CHR$(13). If you 
haven't done it before, a BASIC prog- 
ram is converted to a SEQ disk file by: 

OPEN8.8,8,"0:name,S 1 W":CMD8: 
LIST 

PRINT#8:CLOSE8 

The resultant file can be loaded into 
a word-processor. 

An outstanding feature of SEQ riles 
is that each and every byte transfer- 
red is able to be trapped and worked 
on. Program 3 is one I've concocted 
to crunch bit-map saves, and un- 
crunch them on loading. 'Crunch' is 
a bit of a misnomer, as the file saved 
may actually be larger than 8K 

The routine works through the pic- 
ture, counting consecutive bytes 
with the same value. It then saves 
three bytes to the file - Value, Count 
(lo), Count (hi) - and moves on to the 
next value, so if the top line was 
empty, instead of saving 40 * 8 Os, only 
the three bytes 0,64,1 would be 
saved, reducing disk use by 317 
bytes. When the file is loaded, the 
value of the first byte is written into 
the number of bytes specified by the 
next two. 

In the best possible case, a bit-map 
screen full of the same value, a total 
file length of three bytes is oaved. For 
the worst case, a bit-map screen with 
no consecutive bytes having the 
same value (what a mess!), a file 
length of 24K is saved. 

Using the crunch routine is a bit 
swings and roundabouts. Some pic- 
tures will crunch very well, with a 



drastic reduction in disk space used 
and transfer time, while others will 
use more disk space. Whatever the 
case, loadmg via SEQ means that 
bytes can be relocated very easily. 
'Crunch' should be out of the way at 
SC000, but you will be able to move 
it or change 'save' areas with a 
monitor. If you are calling it from 
BASIC, you can add your own lines 
for getting the filenames and instal- 
ling them at $CG00. Change the 8s in 
lines 205/235 to Is for tape. 

If you would like a copy of the 
monitor 'Supermon' with instruc- 
tions, send me a disk, or a tape with 
a sample save, to 6 Martin Ave, Mt 
Albert, Auckland. 



rtii«r»» |.»:OFEN2,B,2,"PIC,S,W" 

Data 

CE00 50 1*; 43 2C S7- 20 57 00 -ptc,s,u 

C0PKI O0 P,0 WO I2W3 00 C0 03 GO 



cam 


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Caz.k <?l FS STOCJFB) .Yspot »t aw*v 



;open 1 me in 
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Program 2i'/ie* bytes 

10 DPEN2,B,1'. "n^me^S.R" 

20 6E"T*2,A*s J>'A*=" "THEr<A*=CHR* <0) 

30 FRINTIfftSC(Al) J CHRJ<34>ft* 

40 IFST=0THENI=I»1 : GOTQ20 

50 CLOSES 

(Continued 62J 



Bits & Bytes - October 1 986 59 



CLASSIFIED 



New Keyboard, Serial output (uses 80C48) 
Full size 57 + 10 function kevs made by 
Maxi Switch $80. For details write Riach 
PO box 28 120 Wellington. 

AppieWorks for lie, He, sealed in box, 
never used. 195. L. Uitenbroek, ph (09) 

415-91Q5, P.O. Box 142, Albany 

Music 500 - Synthesiser for BBC model B 
- $300 o.n.o. Ph 56467 Napier. 
KAYPRO PORTABLE - 10 Meg storage. 
plenty of software. A bargain at $2,800. 
Tel Wgtn (04) 851-554 or 785-550 

NEC SPINWRITER - L.Q. 55 C.P.S. tractor 
and sheet feeders $2,800. Tel Wgtn (04) 
851-554 or 785-550. 

DIGIT ALISING SERVICE. BBC owners 

send SAE for details of Diqital Picture Ser 
vice from T.V./V1DEO. FULL COLOUR! 24 
Margaret Ave, Havelock North, Hawkes 
Bay. 

APPLE II AND IBM PC SOFTWARE FOR 
sale. Write for large list: Software 125 
Sparks Rd, Christchurch 2. 

SPECTRA VIDEO 328. datasette. joystick, 
12 tapes, books, manuals. $380.60 Te 
Hono St. Tauranga. (075) 440-237. 

NEW SPECTRA VIDEO SOFTWARE for the 
SV 318 SV. 328. Good quality! Write away 
with S.A.E. fox a catalogue to "NBS 
Software". 313 Brougham St, Christ- 
church, 2 Ph 56-664. 

MSX COMPUTERS - Full range of 
software, hardware and books available 
post free. Send for free newsletter and 
price list. Microcraft, Box 163, Cromwell. 
(6 Giliing PI.) 



TOP QUALITY IMPORTED DISKET 

$2.45 (GST. included) 

Send cheque or money order to: 

DISK SERVICES 

P.O. Box. 21?76. Christchurch 



•ES 



Index to 
Advertisers 



Q + A 



Action Computers 


31 


Ajays Services 


61 


Ashby Computers 


10 


Ashton Tate 




Aspect Systems 


59 


Caribonum 


45 


Carlsberg 


36,37 


Checkpoint Computers 


18 


Compute: Broking 


31 


Computers for People 


29,68 


Computer Games Rentals 


59 


Computerstore 


7 


Concord Communications 


57 


Control Microcomputers 


24 


Data Management 


28 


Dataplus 


22 


Genisis 


54 


Hitec Micro 


B/C 


Hytec Services 


16 



Innovative Computers 32 

International Software Imports 6 



Lingo Computers 



18 



Ft Cjqran* ji cru.Tch/uncrunch 

10 REM CRUNCH BIT MAP SCREEN AT 81^3 
28 REM LCAD--SVS4<?:t8, SBUE-SVS49^6B 
30 REM FILENAME * ,S,R OR , S,W AT *C00B 
4B REK FILE LENGTH IN 4-J177 AND 49:6'? 

100 »»49152:>-aRl'=0TO20S5REnDML* 

105 IFl.EFT-r.'MLr . I > = "X"THENI = !-1 : GOTOU5 

110 A=VALIML*I : P0|;EB-*1 ,A: CK..CC-A : GOTO 1 25 

115 r>V«. <RlGHTf (ML-4.S) ) 

120 IFC"' Ct rt-IFWFR INT "ERROR" ,MI_t,fl: END 

125 NEXT:FND 

700 DAT AO, 0,0, 0,a, 0,0, 0,0,0.0,0,0,0.0, S 

, X000B 
205 l>ATAI4,9,r, 1&8, 16? ,0,32, 1B6, 2SS, 1&9, 

(0, 162.0, 160, 19T. 32, 189, X01896 
210 DA1ft255,"'-', 192.2S5, 1 «.?, 2, T-2, 198,255 

, 169, ia. 1.7-3, 24B, i69,32, 13-.X04167 
7 IS DATA249, I ^17,0, 167 , 2 . 32 ,87 , 241 . 157 

,750,0,202, 16,747 , 165,250,X063Q3 
2JB nATfll 45 , 248 . 270, 740 , 165 , 2«S,?0B ,8, 

27-tt,T:49, 165,249,701 ,64, \ 6, 19, X09C176 
■••Z DAfai9!j,7f,l ,165,251 ,288,232, 165,252 

,240.715, 198,752, 165,252,48,20*?, XI 2777 
'.70 DQTA76,62, (97, 169,2,32, 1V5, 255,52, 

204.75-5,96, 169,2, 168, I67.X1444Q 
133 DOTftS, 37, 186,255, 169, 10, '^2,0, 160, 

I •?■■' , 32 , 1 89 , ?S5 , 72 , 1 92 , 25S , X 1 6577 
740 DAI A162, 2, 72, 20 1,255, 169 ,0,133,248, 

1 69, 32, 13 3, 74"', 160,0, 169, X 1869 1 
245 DATAl , 177,251 , 169 ,0, 137,757, 177,24a 

,17.7, 750, 2M0, 208, B, 270, 249, X2 1333 
750 PiAT A 165, 749, 201 .64, 16, 3i , 177,24B,S6 

, 279 , 750 , 208 , 1 , 7 30 . 25 1 , 1 65 , X2SBB3 
755 DATfli'S! ,20B. 27-7, 230,252,208,228, 162 

.2, 1S9.','50,B.'S;,202,241 ,2B2,X26772 
760 DATA 1 6. 747. 76, 1 43 , 192 , 1 69 ,7 , 32, 1 95 , 

255. 77 , 204 . 755 , 96 , X284B4' 



Machineware 




40,41 


Malam 




13 


MEC 




50 


Microbee 




56,11 


Micro Software Hire Club 


66 


ML Systems 




33 


MOS 




23,6 


Murray's Computer 


Village 


65 



Napier Computers 

NZ Computer Games Club 



14 



Pacesetter Electronics 
Pacific Computers 
PC Power 
Porterfield Computers 


16 

20 

29 

IFC, 63 


Remarkable 


4,12 


S D Mandeno 

Skellerup 

Solstat 

Southmark 


12 
71 
27 

58 


Thames Computers 
Thorn EMI 
Tisco 


30 

F/C, 46 

3 


Verbatim 

VSI 


38 

44 



job for you - make sure you ta/k to the 
person who will do the job, and tell him 
exactly what you want. 

An interesting alternative is to use a 
stereo synthesiser. This is a small box 
of electronics that splits the signal into 

two, sending a slightly different signal 
to each channel. This introduces some 
spatial spread lo the sound, which is a 
lot more pleasing than the point source 
effect of a mono signal. 

Unfortunately these great little de- 
vices are not too common, but for those 
with some electronics ability I believe a 
good cheap kitset is available from Dick 
Smith stores. 

A stereo synthesiser is also useful for 
other mono signals you may wish to 
patch to your stereo, such as from a 
mono VCR for instance. 



Subject: SHELL 
System: IBM PC 

[Q] What is SHELL used for? All I ever 
get is a "File not found" error. 

[A] SHELL is used to access DOS from 
within a Basic program. 

100 SHELL 

Will dump you straight into DOS; the 
user must type EXIT to continue the 
Basic program. More useful is: 

100 SHELL A$ 

Where A$ is any legal DOS command 
such as "B:" to switch to disk B, or "DIR 
A:" to display a directory of disk A. 

There are two catches, you must have 
a copy of COMMAND. COM on the disk 
in drive A when SHELL is executed, and 
you cannot use SHELL to boot Basic. 

The "File not found" error is a sure 
sign that COMMAND.COM is not pre- 
sent. 

One other problem with SHELL is the 
way it handles the screen; in most cases 
it is best to clear the screen before and 
after using SHELL. 

SHELL is available from IBM disk 
Basic version 2.0 and higher, although 
it was onlv documented from version 
3.0. 

The uses of SHELL are only limited 
by your imagination. 

You can use it lo execute single com- 
mands, batch files, or even run anolhei 
program, although there will naturally be 
less memory for this sort of thing. 

When the SHELL task is finished your 
original Basic program carries on undis- 
turbed. 



If its news 

call John King, 
Ph: 796-775 



70 Bits & Bytes - October !986 



SEE WHAT A 
DIFFERENCE 
TAXAN MAKES 



WHEN THE SAME IS NOT THE SAME 



SETTING NEW STANDARDS 




• "Locus 123' never looked better. 

• Compare text and graphics for colour and clarity. 
Typical image of integrated software 
courtesy "Enable". 

• Taxan Super Vision IV with 'Taxan KIF-3800' 
Super high resolution graphics card. 

T\X/\IV 

CLEARLY THE DIFFERENCE 

Available at all participating retail outlets. 




"PC Paint- 
Images so crisp you can 
draw your own conclusion. 
'Paintbrush 400' — 
FREE with every 
•'Sigma Color 400'. 



• Cad-Cam . . . more colours 
and definition to expand the 
use of Cad-Cam. 
Compatible with "Aufocad". 
"Versacad' — "Cadplan" 
and others. 



Taxan Super Vision IV with 
'Sigma Color 400'.* 



Increase productivity, reduce 
transcription errors and eyestrain 
. . . Taxan monitors conform to 
A.I.I.A. standard. 
Tilt or Tilt + Swivel Base optional. 



"Above mentioned trade 
names are trademarks of 
the various owners. 



Distribution in Australia exclusively by: 




4 screens to enjoy the best mono , 
definition in the colour of your choice. 



'Taxan KIF-3800' and 'Sigma Color 400' are compatible with all IBM* 

PC Software. All images are actual photographic reproductions 

using a typical PC colour monitor for comparison. 



fflegciVi/ion 

MEGAVISION HOUSE 

255-259 Pacific Highway North Sydney NSW 2060 

Telephone: (02) 957 5797. 



PTY 
LTD 



Authorised New Zealand Distributors 
Trade enquiries welcome 




SKELLERUP SYSTEMS LTD 



I SKelle.'uC injusif.t 



P.O. Box 19648 Chrisrchurch Telephone 810-460 
P.O. Box 7135 Auckland Telephone 594-687 



Japanese technology and quality 

at its best. 




Made in Japan by 

EI-EN Enterprise Company. 



Available from: HITEC MICRO LTD. 91 Customs Street East, Auckland, Ph 399-183 
and selected dealers throughout New Zealand.