Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 53 / OCTOBER 1984 / PAGE 10

VIC Tape Directory

We bought my VIC-20 a couple of months ago. With it, we also purchased a Commodore Datassette. Our question is: Does the Datassette have a directory? If not, is there any way to obtain something similar to one?

Sharon and Veronica Miller

Computer recorders do not have a directory. A disk, however, must have a directory because it is a random access device—information can be read from anywhere on the surface of the disk. The directory stores information that the drive needs to know in order to get the right program from the right place.

The difference between disk and cassette can be compared to the difference between an audio record and an audio cassette. You can choose to play a specific song if you know on which groove it starts on the record, but on a cassette you would have to search through the tape for the song (tape counters help, but it still is not the same nor as speedy as a record).

On the VIC, however, you can obtain a screen listing of what is on the tape by typing a LOAD command followed by a nonsense name. Here is an example:

LOAD "& # $"

The computer will search through the tape looking for the nonexistent file and, in the process, print on the screen the names of everything it finds on the tape.