Scor­pio News


January–March 1987 – Volume 1. Issue 1.

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Finally, because of the lack of any subsidy, the newsletter has to be totally self-supporting. The calculation size of Scorpio News is extremely low when considered against most other publications – this is obvious because of its extremely specialise subject matter. Production costs are basically fixed regardless of the circulation size, and are therefore high per subscriber if there are few subscribers, while printing costs are high for small quantities, but drop dramatically with volume. And this beings us full circle to why the subscription rates are as they are.

So please, do your bit to help increase the number of subscribers. Tell your friends and colleagues about us. DON’T give them a photocopy of the newsletter – we know that this happened with 80-BUS News at certain user group that meets in Windsor! – make them buy their own. This ie not only contravening copyright laws, and no doubt costing various employers unnecessary photocopying charges, but it is also putting the on-going production of newsletters such as this at risk. To put it quite simply end bluntly – if we can’t make ourselves a profit from doing this then there’s no point carrying on, Sorry about that, lecture over, but there ‘enthusiasts’ doing a so called ‘favour” for their friends do irritate us. Support us and we’ll ‘support you.


And so now onto a Little product news. There has been s fair amount of activity since the last 80 BUS News was published and so we will try end summarize some of that here


Newburn Electronics, based in Ireland, are becoming an increasing force in the 80-BUS marker. They specialize in I/O boards, and now have 5 different ones available (see their advert in this issue). They are also the main distributors for memory upgrade kits for various 80-BUS boards. And finally, they have taken over manufacture of the Microcode 14-slot backplane, as Microcode have decided to drop out of the 80-BUS market to concentrate on some of their other projects.


Most of Gemini’s efforts of late have been concentrated on their 68000 based product range. The Challenger comes with a 12MHz 68000 processor, 512K RAM, two serial and one parallel ports, 1.2MByte floppy (formatted), battery-backed RTC etc, Winchesters of approx 20, 30, 46 or 73 MByte (formatted) and optional 1/4″ tape streamer. Operating Systems are extra and are currently CP/M-68K, p-system, multi-user BOS (MBOS) and multi-user, multi-tasking Mirage. A neat touch is that multiple operating systems can be installed on a single Challenger Winchester, although only one may be run at a time. Expansion boards available are 4-port serial 1MByte and 2MByte RAM, and various graphics boards. Available shortly will be an IEEE488 board and an input/​output board with various D/A A/D and digital facilities.

On the 80 BUS front there should be a tape streamer available shortly, using Audio cassette size digital tapes. There is an Intel 80186 based board in the pipeline that should give ‘reasonable’ IBM compatibility, but availability is unknown. Similarly a 2MByte RAM DISK is also known to be on its way.

EV Computing

Ev are known to be responsible for the 80-BUS tape streamer software, with Gemini being responsible for the hardware. They have also announced a number of new products – see their advert in this issue.

Io Research

A new Pluto 1 is rumoured, similar to the old Pluto 1 but complete with palette. Most of Io’s efforts of late have been in IBM compatible Plutos, and they have some very impressive software for there, called ‘Designer’. Arctic Computers of Wetherby can demonstrate most of the Pluto range.

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