Scor­pio News


May 1989 – Volume 3. Final Issue.

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I know where everything is, and how to program it, and when it last broke down I fixed it myself. Not that it breaks down often, touch wood. I just touched the case, it’s wooden. I hacked up some blockboard to make it. It isn’t very pretty, but if I ever need something to stand on, it will do nicely. I am not the only person who believes in the 19 inch rack frame as a basis for civilisation, either, as you will see in a later paragraph.

Good though this system is, I am willing to sell it, either all at once or selected subsystems, because I want more bits for my Amiga. A while ago, I sent a list of the bits to every Nascom or Gemini user I had ever corresponded with. Nobody wrote back, so I assume the machine isn’t going to sell. Mind you, I had a phone call from a man in France the last time I mentioned selling the Pluto board, but I suggested such a low price that he must have thought it was a trick, and he didn’t buy it. Anyone who is interested in buying some or all of this device should contact me. The modem and Prestel software in particular, are real bargains, as is the Pluto board. Let’s face it, you can’t even get a mini palette board from Io Research any more. I have got the last one there was.

Talking of parallel processing, I spotted an interesting comment in the magazine “Parallelogram” the other day. The editor was musing on how increasingly large amounts of computer power are used these days just to operate the windows and icons that everyone except Dave Hunt likes so much. “They are thinking only of how fo sell the next generation of central processing units to users who don’t actually need anything more powerful than the Z80 sitting in that old Nascom machine gathering dust on the shelf.” This is a valid comment, but where can I get shelves that strong? Seriously, I have been asked why I want more power on many occasions, and all I need to say is “Have you ever waited 37 hours for a ray trace to finish?”.

T have just been reading Issue 1 of the Gemini Transputer catalogue, and it makes great fantasy material, if you haven’t yet won on the Pools. On the back is “The Gemini Story” with a picture of John Marshall holding two bare computer boards. There is a brief history of the firm, which says nothing about how you used to have to explain to Kerr Borland that a Nascom 1 wouldn’t work at three quarter speed if two of the 2102s were not supplied. Neither does it mention the time I rang them up to say my Nascom 1 had finally arrived, only to be promised that it really was on the desk, and would honestly be posted that afternoon.

They are a different firm now. The boards John Marshall is holding in the picture are a Nascom 1 (you can’t see, but I bet it says “imput” on it, making it the rare issue 1 all the collectors want) and a Gemini GM8202 “workstation” card. The GM8202 holds a T800 Transputer that is available in 17 to 35 MHz clock speeds, and from 1 to 64 Megabytes of 80 nanosecond RAM, plus a pipeline of up to eight more T800s. It is a slightly larger board than the Nascom, but not much. Of course it is bus based, and you can plug it into a nineteen inch rack frame with more boards of the same

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