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
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
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.
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 BT 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.