80-Bus News


January–February 1983 · Volume 2 · Issue 1

Page 49 of 56

portion is in memory, but if you keep moving up and down the file the delays become painful. But if the text file is on a virtual disk, then WORDSTAR continues to be fast, even with vast files. Another example is the amazing VIZAPL which is a full implementation of APL for microcomputers. It is available for the Gemini IVC, which displays all the APL characters very beautifully. VIZAPL has the amazing ability to extend real memory using its own virtual memory technique to move little used data and procedures to disk. If the virtual workspace is put on to the virtual disk, then the speed improvement with large APL workspaces is very impressive. It is like having the memory addressing capability of a 16 bit microcomputer, but on an 8 bit Z80.

To summarise the advantages:–

  1. high performance exceeding that of any real disk, whether floppy or hard;
  2. no disk wear or noise in operation;
  3. ideal with CP/M if CCPZ used, and for SUBMIT operations if it is drive A;
  4. special benefits with some software such as WORDSTAR and VIZAPL.

And the disadvantages:–

  1. more expensive than real disks – but this is getting better;
  2. a power cut can be a disaster if you run for hours without backup;
  3. it can be boring moving files to and from the virtual disk.

So are virtual disks useless?   No.

E.V. Beeper – A Mini-Review

by Richard Beal

Recently I was using a conventional CP/M system (a Rair Black Box) and I found that it had a feature that I wanted (apart from a hard disk). To be accurate, the terminal had the feature, not the computer. It went BEEP. I hadn’t realised that various bits of CP/M software go BEEP to warn you of things, and of course it is very easy to put


into a BASIC program. All you need is a beeper. I found that one already existed, from E.V. COMPUTING LTD. I have a Gemini intelligent video card (IVC), and this already supports a beeper by putting out a signal when it receives a Control/G (07H). The beeper detects this signal and goes BEEP. I ordered the beeper by phone, using a credit card, and the beeper arrived all the way from Manchester the next morning. Ten minutes later, with the help of very clear instructions, it was working perfectly. I had a nasty fright when I turned the machine on, because it went BEEP at once. In fact it now always goes BEEP whenever it is turned on or off. The BEEP is really more like a choked warble, and the manual describes how to modify the beeper to make it warble differently.

The instructions explain how it can also be used if you do not have an IVC, using a signal from the Nascom keyboard port. This requires some extra software to be patched in, and this would need a bit of work by the user, but it is well documented in the instructions.

I recommend this product, which works perfectly, for those who want a simple beeper. It does not play music or sing, but it is very reasonably priced at £12.50 plus VAT.

Queries to:–
E.V. COMPUTING LTD., ___ _______ ____, BURNAGE, MANCHESTER ___ ___.
Tel. ___-___ ____

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