80-Bus News

  

November-December 1983, Volume 2, Issue 6











Page 51 of 67











51

IBMs and IBM ‘look alikes’ are being fitted with Z80 soft cards to enable the new ‘all laughing dancing’ 16 bit machines to run good old fashioned 8 bit software.

The same thing is happening with the computer industry magazines. Did you know that a recent advertising bureau audit showed over 160 computer magazines available to both the trade and the consumer. These same magazines are now scrambling all over each other for a shrinking advertising market and making ‘four pages for the price of two’ and similar type offers just to keep going.

Oh no, the computer market is in for one hell of a shake up, and I don’t really need a crystal ball to predict the outcome, the pointers that I could see have been there since last March, and the mightier of the gloom pundits have probably seen this coming for far longer than I.

So what does this mean to the typical readership is this mag. Well the readership here is very mixed, still a large number of home users, a fair amount of lab and development types, and a lesser number of business users. Now we (I include myself) have never considered our machines as ‘Mickey Mouse’ machines, although my first Nascom 1 was definitely ‘Mickey Mouse’ compared with a Sinclair Spectrum (shudder). Most have graduated to more powerful systems which, whilst not all ‘Bells and Whistles’ as some of the offerings around, are used for the serious business of software development, hardware development, self education, or for running our businesses. Certainly not for entertainment, except of the most masochistic sort.

Fortunately, the few dealers who cater for our needs are not the ‘cowboy’ type. Nor, for that matter, are computers these companies only source of income. Some are general components suppliers, some are ‘heavy’ software suppliers. Either way, these companies seem well equipped to survive the forthcoming storm. Likewise, the machines which we use neither fall into the home computer category, nor the outright business machine end. The manufacturers supplying our needs look likely to survive because of the very diversity of the facilities offered by the machines we use. The sales profiles may change, more going to development and lab type people, less perhaps to the home user and, maybe, the business user, but companies we deal with will survive.

So amongst all this gloom, despondency, and more and more expensive and glossy advertising. Certain things are likely to remain, streamlined a little perhaps, a little more pricey perhaps, but I reckon our machines will remain around and supported this time next year. They’d better, ‘I feel it in my bones, and my bones are never wrong’, as Izzy Cohen said to the ships’ captain, but then if you’ve never heard that story you’ll never know how Izzy made his money.

Modems

I was intrigued by Dr. Dark’s reason for buying a Sinclair Spectrum, to use it as modem for Micronet on the grounds that Marvin was too much of a heap of bits to gain the approval of British Telecom. Now this BI approval thing is something of an interesting problem, not that I claim to be an authority on the subject, but some of the bits I’ve read are nonsense and some of the things I’ve read make very sound sense.


This is an OCR’d version of the scanned page and likely contains recognition errors.











Page 51 of 67