80-Bus News


July–October 1982 · Volume 1 · Issue 3

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Random Rumours (& Truths)

by S. Monger

Well, hello again, and what wonderful new products and rumours of new products are there for me to tell you about this time? And will you believe anything I say anyway?

It seems that new product lines never come in ones, always in quantity. Nascom have recently been publicising there ‘Nas-net’ network system, based on Nasom 3 slaves with a Nascom disk system running Nas-Dos as the master. But they are not alone in the networking world. IO Research have started talking about an intelligent add-on ‘IO-Net’ board, and Gemini have let (only a little) info. out on their ‘Multi-Net’ system based on cased MultiBoard slaves and a Galaxy with hard disk as the master. Nas-net is available, but I’m afraid I’ve no dates on the others. As I’ve mentioned hard disks I also ought to add that Gemini Winchester units (pre-production?) have been spotted (5.4 MByte formatted & £1500-ish), and also a ‘Winchester – TBA’ line has appeared on Nascom’s latest price list. Better start saving!

Whilst on about Nascom’s price list, I wonder if they are running a secret competition to see who can find the most mistakes? There are some lovely entries, like a ‘UART 6402’ at £5.75, but a ‘6402 UART’ at £6.50; an ‘MK3881 PIO’ at £7, but a ‘PIO MK3881’ at £4 (“It must be the way I tell ‘em.”); some ‘C/O cassettes’, and some ‘Bridge rectifiles’! Interesting to also note quite a few price rises including; Nascom 3 £549 (or £599 – 64K), FDC card £145, NAS-DOS £60, CP/M £125, and oddly the only recently available AVC at £185. Mind you there has also just been a special reduced price offer on Nascom’s disk drives, so I hope some of you got in there quick.

Having just mentioned things going up, a little story now of something going down. A company. Those of you who ‘go back a very long way’ in micros (that means about three years) will remember Kerr Borland, then marketing director of Nascom. It was the Kerr Borland/​John Marshall team that pushed the Nascom 1, then Nascom 2 so forcibly and successfully onto the ‘micro-ignorant’ market-place. Then, unfortunately, and to most people extremely surprisingly, Nascom went into receivership. Some months later (as most readers will know) JM started up Gemini Microcomputers and KB started Arfon Microelectronics. Arfon’s first products were a speech board (for 80-BUS systems and other machines) and a light pen (compatible with Gemini’s IVC), followed by a growing range of VIC20 peripherals. Now I hear, for reasons not really known, that Arfon has gone into receivership. I understand that the products will continue to be available from other companies, but as for Kerr, I have no idea of his current or future activities.

Several miscellaneous comments have floated through to me from the dealers. How about the story of the customer who enquired about the availability of a modem for his Nascom? It seems that this guy wanted his computer to be able to phone up TIM, the speaking clock, and then set up its Real Time Clock itself!​......​some dealers are agreeing with claims that ‘Pluto’ is ‘out-of-this-world’ as it would appear that for all their efforts to get hold of then, they might as well be​......​other dealers report Nascom 2s being ‘thrown away’ as users change to Gemini 811s & 813s – please throw them in my direction!!​......​one dealer wonders if Interface Components Ltd’s (initials ICL) recent name change to Amersham Computer Centre (initials ACC) gives a warning about the level of support to be given in future (think about this one)​.......​and finally there was the guy who was told that one dealer’s (No hints as to who, but their initials are HR) ‘forthcoming’ EPROM programmer was ‘simply years ahead’; his response was that if their past record was anything to go by then that is precisely when it would be available!

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