INMC 80 News


October–December 1981, Issue 5

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Another long awaited addition is the disk system. This consists of three components. First, the disk controller card which is a Nascom 8″ x 8″ bus card and uses the Western Digital WD1793. The card is a redesign of the original Nascom card, this time with the write precompensation circuitry implimented. Then there is the drive box, in a case matching the computer case, and designed with the drives side by side with an integral power supply to mount on top of the Nascom case. Lastly, there will be two operating systems, CP/M 2.2 for business or development applications and NAS-DOS (which if I’m not mistaken bares a remarkable resemblence to the B & L M DCS-DOS) for the home user wishing to maintain full compatibility with his existing software. The disk system is a double density system with a nominal capacity of about 350K per drive. The drives used (not named at the Nascom meeting) would appear to be TEAC TD50-C which are single sided 77 track drives and are mechanically incompatible with the existing Henelec/​Gemini 805 or the Gemini G809 /G815 disk systems, both of which have already gained wide acceptance with Nascom owners. It would be possible for users of the Nascom disk system to read one side of the disks from the competition but the necessary software to do this would be bordering on the horrific and I doubt that anyone will try. Another thing about the disk system is that the choice of drive and hence disk format limits the amount of ‘off the shelf’ software available to the CP/M user at the moment, as this particular format is at present little used. Nascom did say at the meeting that they will be offering a copying service to translate software from other systems to the Nascom format. I hope they have thought out the implications of that, when you consider the number of alternative disk formats already available, not to mention the infringement of copyright and license agreements signed by the original purchasers regarding the copying of the software by third parties. The disk controller card and case with one drive is about 470.00, with two drives 685.00, the CP/M software about 100.00 and NAS-DOS about 45.00.

Other items were announced for delivery late this year and early next. There is a Pascal promised (but no price and specification) and there is an extended Basic package intended as a ‘bolt on’ goodie to the existing Basic. This I understand will contain many of the features of the ‘BBC Basic’ for the forthcoming TV series. Mention was also made of domestic and business applications software, but no details. Most tantalising is the announcement of Nas-Sys 4 for some future date. No details, but it probably will contain driving routines for the colour card (see below). As this monitor will be inevitably larger than Nas-Sys 1 or 3, it prompts the question as to where they are going to put the rest of it to maintain compatibility, as the end of the existing Nas-Sysii are immediately followed by the video RAM and then the monitor workspace, neither of which can be touched to maintain compatibility. Perhaps it will be split, with jumps to the second half at, say, B000H. For Spring delivery there will be a high resolution colour video card, with facilities for some hairy graphics based on the Lucas Computer Aided Design package I mentioned last time. Price about 160.00 depending upon options. Cheap until you consider that a high resolution colour monitor will almost certainly be required to get the full benefit from the card, and they range from 300.00 to well over a 2,000.00. A colour TV could possibly (??) be used if you added a modulator to the AVC, but there is usually only one of those per household, and the wife watches that whilst you sit computing.

Here endeth the Nascom commercial.

Of almost equal importance was the announcement of the ‘Nascom Fayre’. There was discussion as whether to spell ‘Fair’ ‘Fayre’ or not, I don’t remember what was decided. Anyway, Nascom have decided to hold their own exhibition at the Bingley Hall, Birmingham, at the beginning of February. An ambitious project but looks most exciting. The idea is for the dealers to bring along all their various widgets to display, Nascom will be there in

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