Area code magic with AC Hunter. (computer program) (On Disk) (evaluation)
by George Campbell
This month's "On Disk" brings you a collection of programs ranging from a powerful programming language to three applications design to increase your productivity at home or in the office. It's one of our best disks ever.
This easy-to-learn BASIC programming language is the starting point for just about every programmer. If you use an IBM or compatible computer, a BASICA or GW-BASIC interpreter came with your copy of DOS. Unfortunately, programs written using these tools are slow and require line numbers. In addition, the programming editor included with BASICA and GW-BASIC leaves a lot to be desired.
Commercial BASIC compilers, like QuickBASIC or Power BASIC, are fast and have excellent full-screen editors. But they're expensive, and the programs they produce take up a lot of disk and memory space.
Enter ASIC. Written by North Carolina programmer David Visti, ASIC is a BASIC compiler that eliminates line numbers from your BASIC programs and produces tiny, lightning-fast, stand-alone programs. Like its commercial competitors, ASIC lets you create programs in a full-screen editor that you use just like a word processor. You can compile or run programs without ever leaving the editor.
ASIC includes more than 40 of the commands included in BASICA/GW-BASIC, leaving out just a few seldom-used commands. As ASIC's author says, "It's almost BASIC." Once you've created program using modern structured programming techniques, including labeled subroutines, ASIC compiles it into a COM file. If you make an error, ASIC automatically puts the cursor on the offending program line.
Best of all, your compiled programs are only a fraction of the size of Quick BASIC programs and run even faster. ASIC does have a couple of limitations: It can only calculate with whole numbers, and ASIC graphics programs use CGA resolutions. In most cases, however, these limitations won't be a problem.
ASIC needs an IBM or compatible computer with 512K of RAM, a hard disk or two floppy disk drives, and DOS 2.1 or higher. There's no registration fee for ASIC unless you use it commercially.
A special feature article by Tom Campbell in this issue of COMPUTE will introduce you to ASIC and walk you through some of ASIC's features. ASIC's excellent manual (which is included on the disk) will do the rest.
If you're still using a hand-held calculator, you can put it in a drawer. COMPUTECalc, written by COMPUTE's own Rick Leinecker, will make that pocket calculator obsolete.
COMPUTECalc is a five-function calculator for your PC. You can use it from the command line or as a memory-resident TSR program. Either way, it offers a host of features, including mouse support, a tapelike display, color screens you can alter, built-in memory functions, and more.
While you can use COMPUTECalc like any other DOS program, it works best when installed as a TSR. Anytime you need a calculator, just press Left Shift-Ctrl-F10. The, enter calculations on the number pad or with your mouse. You can move the calculator, review the tape, or even insert the result of your calculation into your word processor or other application with a single keystroke.
COMPUTECalc is polite, too. You can remove it from memory if you wish or change the hot key. When the program pops up, it sets NumLock on, but when you quit, the keyboard returns to its original settings.
COMPUTECalc uses very little memory and will run on any monitor. You'll need DOS version 2.1 or higher. No registration fee is required for COMPUTECalc.
Your version of DOS includes the utility DISKCOPY, which lets you make copies of floppy disks. It's an important tool, but it's limited by your computer's memory. To copy large-format disks, you have to swap disks frequently. Also DISKCOPY forces you to reinsert the original disk for each copy.
Joseph Albanese, a Virginia programmer, created PolyCopy to make copying disks easier. Unlike DISKCOPY, PolyCopy stores all the data from disks (even 1.44-megabyte ones) in memory and on your hard disk. You insert your original just once.
If you need more than one copy, PolyCopy prompts you to insert a new target disk. It's much faster than doing the same job with DISKCOPY. If a target disk is unformatted, PolyCopy automatically runs the DOS FORMAT command for you, simplifying the job even more.
The program requires 256K of free RAM, a hard disk, and DOS 3.1 or higher. PolyCopy is a shareware program with a $20 registration fee. When you register, you get the latest version, a printed manual, and two other file-management programs.
If you've ever called a long-distance number only to discover that you've called too early or late, you'll appreciate AC Hunter. Canadian programmer Tim Campbell (no relation) wrote a program to eliminate area code hassles.
Using AC Hunter, you can find an area code by typing in the name of a state, city or country from either the DOS command line or within the easy-to-use program. You can also do the reverse, typing in an area code to discover just what region it serves.
If you know the city someone lives in, AC Hunter can help you find the phone number by showing you the correct area code. Then you just dial 1-area code 555-1212 to get the information operator.
You need 256K of RAM and DOS 2.1 or higher to run this utility. AC Hunter is a shareware program with a $15 registration fee. Registered users can even earn money by sharing their copies with other users.
A Few Good Programs
If you write public domain or shareware, software, we'd like to consider your programs for a future COMPUTE's PC Disk. Utilities, application software, educational programs, and games are just some of the programs we use. Programs, complete with documentation, should be no larger than 120K in an archived format.
Your program can be written in any language, but it must be in EXE or COM format; we don't use uncompiled BASIC programs. Manuals should contain complete instructions for the program in ASCII test format.
If we use your submission, COMPUTE will pay you a fee for permission to publish it. Thousands of readers will have a chance to try out your program, and you'll be mentioned in the "On Disk" column. It's a great way to share your work with users and have some fun.
To submit a program, send an IBM-compatible disk containing the program with a letter describing the submission to George Campbell, On Disk Editor, 1472 Sixth Street, Los Osos, California 93402. Allow six to eight weeks for a response. If you want your disk returned, include a self-addressed, stamped disk mailer.