80-Bus News


Spring 1985, Volume 4, Issue 1

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Letters to the Editor Bulletin Board

I am the SYSOP of CBBS South-West. This is a bulletin board running the CBBS type of software that runs under CP/M 2.2. The system is Nascom based with a Nascom 2 and Nascom FDC with Gemini 64k RAM board and Gemini RTC. The Modems used are ex-BT and cater for 1200/75, 75/1200 and, of course, 300/300, and the selection of modem type is AUTO select. The System has been on-line for about 16 months and has received around 15,000 calls. The computer is on-line 24 hours a day and the number is 0392 53116. 1 am a member of AFPAS (Association of Free Public Access Systems). The word format is 8 bits, No Parity, 1 stop bit. I do get quite a few callers with Nascom and Gemini systems.

Yours truly, B Hitchcock, Alphington, Devon.

80-BUS Reader Survey

With reference to the 80-BUS reader survey (i.e. the Questionnaire) I have the following additional comments to make:–

Why are Gemini still in the computer business? Many rivals of 5 years ago have long since gone. I believe that it is at least partly due to offering things which others do not, like ‘hardware support’ and ‘software support’ to end users.

A user-expandable system is offered which meets the ever growing needs of owners. Multi-sourcing of some types of hardware for use on a common BUS is a feature which gives some feeling of security when parting with hard earned money. The fact that rival board suppliers suffer differences of opinion does not seem to matter too much so long as the end result works satisfactorily. It might be better if rival manufacturers settled their differences and concentrated their efforts on mutual survival of the 80-BUS.

We can all make rash decisions to buy imported ‘plastic boxes’ which will perform well in the

‘ immediate future, but what about product support

in 2 – 3 years time? Or being in possession of a comprehensive hardware and system manual from Day 1? The internal workings of many rival computer systems are a well kept secret to owners.

Markets seem to be divided at present, between the following:– 8-bit, 64K RAM, CP/M-80 or other, 16-bit, 256K RAM, CP/M-86 or other, machines.

When considering larger machines or hard disks, the price takes off and reaches a level which is beyond the sort of users buying our computer. It is very desirable when a system is being expanded by its owner.

Obsolescent board types could be offered at reduced prices or as kits for those who have the ability to assemble and test them but are short on the means of paying. At least boards sold in this way would stimulate a market for software, which Gemini also sell. The trade in secondhand boards should be encouraged to assist customers improving their systems by adding facilities or disposing of redundant boards. Where would the motor industry be without a used vehicle market?

For the 80-BUS News, I would like to see an article on mains borne interference suppression. A different ‘fridge in this household made my system unusable until modifications were done to mains input circuits. The magazine could support Microsoft BASIC in UK as nobody else seems to. To the user, features on aspects of programming in pure Microsoft BASIC, together with membership of CPMUGUK, gives a useful software base without a large financial outlay which would only be justified if the computer was being used in conjunction with a profitable business.

Keep up the good work. Yours truly, A A Bryan, Cambridge.

Turbo Pascal —1

Has anybody else bought TURBO PASCAL for a Gemini? I bought it a few months ago after reading glowing reports in various computer journals including the CPMUG magazine. I bought it from Grey Matter Ashburton, Devon, who can supply software in Gemini formats. I do not intend to review it as it has been done many times before. The software comes with a built-in screen editor and installation program. As I have come to expect, Gemini is not on the standard fist of terminals but facilities are provided to enter each control code separately so that the Gemini IVC can be used. Obviously, you have to read the IVC Manual to check the required codes.

On attempting to use the screen editor (which is like a mini WordStar), it did not work and the computer hung up. We have all seen this before. The problem is associated with polling the keyboard while sending control codes to the screen. This upsets the IVC. I found that if locations *4133 — 4135 are patched to *0 and location *413B changed from C8 (RET Z) to C9 (RET) then the editor works. This patch removes a call to the keyboard. The only difficulty that I have discovered so far is that the ‘FIND + REPLACE’ function will now only work in option ‘N’ mode and not in the

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