INMC 80 News


May–September 1981, Issue 4

Page 34 of 71

Information for masochists.

I also bought a WT100. That is a prototyping board, as if you knew not! On it, I have constructed a stereophonic sound system, which has two AY-3-8910 chips, output to my hi-fi and will soon have two digital to analogue converters, plus anything else in the sound synthesis line that I can get to work with the system. The circuit, while it is not copied from the Winchester one, is rather similar, except for the addressing. The output from the Winchester board is mixed into both channels of my board, thus appearing in the centre of the stereo “stage”. Anyone who is contemplating building a circuit at all “similar” to the WT910 (and you certainly mustn’t copy it, or you will be guilty of some sort of crime thingy) will want to know that the circuit in the documentation, while it is the truth, is not the whole truth. Far be it from me to tell you that pins 3 and 4 of IC5 must be connected to the 0 volt line. If I told you that, you would be able to build the board from the information its makers are willing to sell you, and that would never do.....

I have written one or two “music” generating programs, of a fairly trivial kind in BASIC; when I have written something I can feel proud of, it will be sent in for the program library. (See also the “Whatever happened to…” section for my libellous remarks about the latter.)

Not a book review, really.

I have recently read all of (and even understood quite a lot of) Douglas Hofstadter’s book, “Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid”. I would tell you more about it, were it not for the fact that Malcodm Peltu has already reviewed it in Personal Computer World, and he writes a pretty nifty review. (It is interesting, however, to note the element of recursion involved in that last sentence – a review of a review – since a major theme in the book is recursion.) If I say buy it, and you don’t like it, you will be upset, because it is expensive: I consider the money well spent, though. If you are interested in the great question of Life, the Universe and Everything, which is to say, “is it possible to write a program that is intelligent?” then I can assure you that this book has enabled me to think a great deal more clearly about such things. You will have realised that I dare not reveal the secrets the book holds. Besides, it is not as easy to summarise as Pzoust....

A book review, really.

Another recent purchase (notice the restatement of this major theme in the great computer hobby) is “The CP/M Handbook” by Rodney Zaks. I bought this because I hope one day to have enough money to buy a disk drive or two, and have read reviews that suggest CP/M is not too well explained by its manuals.

Rodney Zaks is even more well known than myself, on account of his far greater output; mind you, he started first, and I don’t think he uses Naspen, so it may be that I will eventually be able to catch up, or even overtake him, who can tell? (Good plug – Ed.) This is the first book of his I have read, and certainly makes using CP/M sound considerably less intimidating than it did previously. In fact, the man makes it all sound suspiciously easy. The people who make a lot of money out of computing are those who have convinced their employers that they are doing something very difficult. Could it be that the mystique surrounding disk operating systems is just a paper tiger? (This is not an advertisement for a printer.) Let us hope so.....

A voice crying in the wildezness.

Would someone who knows how to connect a Nascom to a Frieden Flexowriter please contact me. For those who have never seen this product of the Dutch(?) branch of Singer, it is a sort of teletype, which can also be used to hammer steel plate into much thinner steel plate. The noise of the thing when running is beyond the power of my descriptive talents to describe. It gets even louder if the punch is switched on, and I worry whether the foundations of the house will put up with it for long, if I do manage to interface the thing.

Page 34 of 71