Scor­pio News


July–September 1988 – Volume 2. Issue 3.

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software updates and bug fixes, assemblers (I know where there’s one for the Z-280), editors, BIOS patches for all kinds of machines, even games – you name it, they’ve got it and it’s free. Without access to a node, the Z-System is only twice as good as CP/M. We need a local node coz it costs a pound a minute to call the States. (Tip: if you dial ‘83’ between the ‘0101’ and the area code, you get a wire connection without that irritating satellite gadget which suppresses the other guy’s carrier on V22. Not a lot of people know that.)

To get started with Z-System you need ZCPR3 and ZRDOS. You can use ZCPR3 (which is free) with CP/M but you don’t gain much. ZRDOS costs money, though not much with the Dollar at its present level, and also you won’t get far without the tools, books and manuals. Don’t be content with ZCPR1/2, ZCMD or BDOSZ; the latest versions are ZCPR ver 3.3 and ZRDOS+ ver 1.9 and can be obtained in a variety of disk formats (excluding Gemini) from Echelon Inc, PO box ______-___, South Lake Tahoe, California _____. If you telephone them on ____-___-___-____ a nice answering machine will take your name, address and credit card number and send you what you need, providing you know what that is. And there’s the catch. It’s not an easy matter installing the system for the first time, although the documentation is pretty comprehensive. The easy way, using what they call Zee-dot-com, doesn’t give you a real system. You have to do it yourself. Maybe if enough people are interested the editor of this esteemed publication will give us space to work through it together. Oh, and if you do phone Echelon, say “Zee” not “Zed” or they get confused.

Finally, Brethren

Gemini may not have their 64180 card up yet, but I do. I’m writing this on it. It has 1 meg memory, a disk controller, two RS232 and a parallel port and full 80-bus compatibility, with Z- System and a BIOS that supports the SVC as system console. With a 9-meg clock it runs getting on for six times faster than an (ahem!) appliance and a bit faster than my colleague’s ST. If I may delve into the controversy between ST and Amiga enthusiasts for a moment, though I don’t possess either, I feel that the Amiga is to the ST what Betamax was to VHS – i.e. very good, possibly better in some ways, and doomed. No doubt Dr. Dark will dispute this, but time will tell. I have a vision of the future that goes something like:

“I’ve got a fantastic bit of software! You’ll have to borrow it sometime when you’ve got a free evening.”
“Yeah, love to, but unfortunately I’ve got an ... Amiga.”
(Commiserations and drinks all round)

Mind you, these 68000 machines will never go the way of the Atom or the Nascom. They make great terminals!

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