80-Bus News


July–August 1984 · Volume 3 · Issue 4

Page 36 of 43

Nascom CP/M And Enhanced Basic And Other Rubbish

by Dr. David Plews

I’ve just got the April issue of 80-BUS News (in November ! – honest I’m not complaining) and feel prompted to write after reading Robin Scadden’s letter echoing my disquiet with Lucas Logic and Roger Dowling’s article on Nascom Enhanced Basic for Nas-Dos.

It starts back in the New Year after reading the December issue of the Nascom Newsletter and the ‘advert’ about Lucas Logic’s CP/M Rev. 2.3. This included details of the 80 column screen available on the AVC and virtual disk on the MAP80 RAM card. I decided to take the plunge and ‘upgraded’ from Nas-Dos to CP/M and purchased Nascom Enhanced (XBASIC) for CP/M. So starts the epic.

I checked with Lucas Logic that all new CP/M purchases were of Rev. 2.3, and they agreed, so I ordered both through the Leeds Computer Centre. You can guess what happened. I got Rev 2.1. Leeds Computer Centre were very good and phoned Lucas Logic who said I would have to send my master disk back. This was done and returned with MDISK.COM, but no documentation despite a note with the disk requesting it. Of course the damn thing didn’t work. After a lot of costly phone calls by the Leeds Computer Centre, all to no avail, I wrote to Lucas Logic and eventually received the documentation. Totally useless. MDISK would still not work. So, I sent Lucas Logic a letter asking for help. No reply. Like Robin Scadden I can write scathing letters when necessary, so I sent another letter with a print out of the first 1K of garbage of my MDISK. I soon (yes SOON!) received a nice reply with a disk with a copy of a working MDISK and away I went. It really is very good. The ram card is treated just like a floppy disk from the users point of view and is VERY fast. You get 192K of file space with the fully populated card. One problem though. It doesn’t work with my XBASIC !!! My first letter has not been replied to. So it’s another unpleasant letter to Lucas Logic. I’ll let you know what happens. But it’s very bad form when you HAVE to get nasty to get anywhere with people like this. It makes me wonder if they’re NHS administrators who’ve moved to the Private Sector !

Anyway, now I’ve got that off my chest, what about the rest of Nascom CP/M ? Well it’s just like any other. AVCTXT.COM gives AVC users the 80 column screen which is really handy, if not essential for wordprocessing. However, it’s a bit slow when scrolling, but very readable because it IS a high resolution graphics card.

There are 47 special keyboard functions which are probably similar to the IVC/SVC plus the ability to use the numeric keys as function keys via the GRAPH key. These are of course user-definable and there’s a neat little example program to show you how to do it. However, Lucas Logic let themselves down again. The manual has a table of flags, parameters, etc in it, but when I asked how the cursor position is stored as the manual doesn’t make this clear, I get no reply. Can anybody else help ?

Like any CP/M you buy it’s got all the dross from Digital Research, but what surprised me most is it’s speed. Actually it’s lack of it. It’s so slow compared to Nas-Dos, but of course not as versatile (?). How to get the most out it for the least investment of money ? – see below.

Page 36 of 43