80-Bus News


November–December 1983 · Volume 2 · Issue 6

Page 60 of 67

GEMPEN, then his registration document will have been returned to Gemini, who as far as I know have not circularized the owners of GEMPEN. This is probably because they are more interested in supporting WORDSTAR than later versions of DISKPEN, see the WORDSTAR commercial on vol 2 iss 5 p 24 in the middle of the unsolicited appraisal of DISKPEN. [Ed. – Unsolicited?? Well, I believe you! But the reason that the comment (not commercial) was added was to make sure that anyone reading the article was aware that the ‘equal space justification’ that the article was printed in is a feature of WordStar, and that PEN output would be visually different. You wouldn’t like anyone to be mis-led, would you?] What the Editor omitted to say was they he has a conversion program that turns PEN text into WORDSTAR text, so that either is equally acceptable.


Mr Davies also asks about COMAL-80 and the disappearance of the tape based version. The simple answer is that although it existed, it didn’t work properly in tape based form. The trouble stems from the way in which it tries to save a file to tape and the simplfied workings of RP/M compared with CP/M. I don’t remember exactly what was wrong, but it was to do with COMAL checking to see if a file existed and RP/M faking an answer which implied it did, at this point COMAL tried to delete the file and found it couldn’t. That doesn’t look right, but it was something on those lines, resulting in COMAL getting in a knot. As far as I know no-one has attempted to cure the problem.

Disk Content

Mr. Piper of Sheffield writes complaining of the disk based content of the mag, understanding that we publish what we’re sent. He goes on to write that he’d like disks, but lack of pennies prohibits this, “Could someone provide bare pcbs, etc, to allow these facilities to be provided as pocket money allows.” The simple answer is yes, a few of the early Henelec/​Gemini GM805 single density controllers are still available in both ‘pcb plus circuits’ form, and in complete kit form at much reduced prices. Disk drives are still a problem, but drives are becoming cheaper and can be bought new for about £170 each by reading the small ads. Secondly, there are few second hand Gemini G809’s knocking around which have been taken as ‘trade in’s’ for the GM829 controller at about £70.00, likewise some dealers have second hand drives, traded in for the same reasons, at prices between £100 and £150 depending upon condition. So it’s worth phoneing around. The last pricey thing on the list is an operating system. This I’m afraid is going to hurt the pocket whatever you opt for. One dealer has a few old CP/M 1.4’s for the GM805 available, but CP/M 2.2 for most other permutations will cost about £120. Polydos is a viable alternative for the Nascom owner, and cheaper, but will cost about £103. The answer is that you won’t get much change out of £300 to put a disk system together, but I’ll bet that’s a lot cheaper than you thought. The above prices include VAT.

NASPEN Problem

Mr Piper also comes up with a permutation problem with NASPEN. He says he can’t do a Read or a Join with Nascom 1 running NAS-SYS 3. Now this is one I haven’t heard of. As far as I know, it works, which suggests the EPROMs are corrupt. Get them reprogrammed by Henry’s, but check which version, there was a NASPEN VN.1 and a NASPEN VN:1 (subtle difference), the VN:1 version was later. As I said, as far as I know, they should both work as neither Read nor Join was monitor dependant.

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