Scor­pio News


July–September 1987 – Volume 1. Issue 3.

Page 56 of 67

The Dave Hunt Pages – PCs & MS-DOS


“In the depths of darkest Harrow there seem to be signs of movement. From the dark, damp quagmire, a creature, in perhaps it’s most primitive guise stirs, and may be seen to be emerging from the mists which for many months have clouded the clear insight of the vision of that same life form. The creature, if it is such, has its first small glimmerings of intellect, a smell vision of that which for such a long period has misted its perception of the trial it set itself, a trial set, it seems, so long ago.”

Now if that sounds like a cross between pure David Attenborough (try re-reading it with a David Attenborough tone of voice) and some of the more recent, wordy, science fantasy, then you’d be wrong; it’s pure me, only I can’t keep writing junk like that for long. Not that I think David Attenborough is junk, I have a high regard for the man, but some of the books I’ve got from the library recently in the guise of science fiction are so indirect and waffly that I despair of reading more than the first chapter. Either recent science fiction has changed or my tastes have changed; come on Asimov, let’s have the fifth part of the Foundation story.

IBM Attack

Anyway, I feel a bit like the first paragraph. About nine months ago my passing acquaintance with IBM type machines burgeoned (note I don’t say blossomed) into a full blown, in depth attack. That, viewed in the light of the letters column of the last issue, where many writers confessed to more then passing acquaintance (and in some cases actual ownership) of machines of the IBM ilk; coupled with the fact that I have nothing exciting or even passing clever to say about Z80 based machines at the moment; leads me sit down and write what will no doubt turn out to be a somewhat scathing, but hopefully informative chat about that recent phenomenon, IBMiss.

Slowly I’ve started to see the wood for the trees, the complete and utter ignorance brought on by total lack of information, coupled with the frustration in trying to discover that information, has slowly abated me things have gradually fallen into place. Not everything, whole great areas of ignorance remain, but slowly it’s getting itself together. We’ve been spoiled, you know, from the earliest days of Nascom and a tradition carried on by Gemini, information has been available if you knew where to look, and failing that the manufacturer could point you in the direction of a dealer who would be willing to spend the time to explain, usually without charging. Not so in this mysterious nether world of IBMism. Never have I encountered such a blank wall of unhelpfulness, assumed superiority, misleading and incorrect information; in short know-nothing salesmen.

Twaddle Departments

If you don’t believe me, for the almost certainly worst examples and the easiest to find, go to your nearest D*x*ns (preferably a big one) and hang around the computer department for half an hour. Just listen to the twaddle trotted out by your over eager computer salesman. At least D*x*ns has no pretensions, nor is it renowned for the quality of its sales staff. You might think you’d be better off consulting your specialist computer dealer.

These (presumably highly paid) people might know something about business software, and are ever so keen to sell you a system to solve a problem (with what degree of competence I am unable to judge), but when it comes to pure hardware technicalities, simple things (once you know the answers) like what does EGA stand for (Enhanced Graphics Adapter), or what is the line timebase frequency of an EGA card in EGA mode (21.45KHz), then you hit a total blank. They seem totally incapable of comprehending that someone might actually be interested in the machine for the machine’s sake; their total lack of knowledge, apart from a few technical sounding buzz phrases is almost unbelievable.

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