COMPUTE! ISSUE 95 / APRIL 1988 / PAGE 18
Our Back Pages
A Decade Of Reader's Feedback
Take a quick look at the volume number on the cover of this magazine, and you'll notice that COMPUTE! is now in its tenth year. The computer industry has undergone radical changes in the past decade, and a retrospective of COMPUTE!'s pages reflect many of those changes. We decided to scan back issues and see what topics and questions were on readers' minds. Here's a sampling of "Reader's Feedback" from our back pages.
On Merging Our Two Magazines
What happened to Nuts and Volts?
Include OSI in COMPUTE!. My C2-4PMF has more in common with the Apple or PET than with a SYM....
First of all, Nuts and Volts moved to compute II when we established that single-board computer magazine. Secondly, I admit that compute II wasn't necessarily the place for OSI machines.
Our ability to go monthly has in part been defined by the merger of our two magazines. We announced in the August/September issue of compute II that we were merging the two magazines effective with the November/December issue of COMPUTE!. In that issue, you'll find the return of the Single-Board Gazette (covering the 6502 based KIM, SYM, and AIM systems), and the addition of an OSI Gazette. You OSI owners will in part determine the stability of the OSI Gazette by your submissions, so get writing!
Issue 7 of COMPUTE! (November/December) will be one united issue again, and in January you'll receive the first monthly issue of COMPUTE!
UPDATE: The OSI (Ohio Scientific), AIM, KIM, and SYM computers are long gone. Single-board computers were literally computers on a board. For example, the SYM was a computer on a circuit board that featured a hexadecimal keyboard and an LED alphanumeric display. As the price of home computers went down, the SBCs disappeared. Compute II covered the SBCs while COMPUTE! covered home computers. In the early days, COMPUTE! was divided into "Gazettes," each of which covered a different computer.
I saw a cryptic comment—I think in COMPUTE! #10:"PET Exec Hello" by Gordon Campbell. Second paragraph: POKE 59458,62 (this may damage your machine). Can I damage a PET with POKES?? It scared me. We just got a (used) PET—Original ROMs. I heard you have published a PET book based on old issues of COMPUTE!. How can I get this?
You can damage the computer with this POKE. Luckily, it is the only POKE which is known to be risky, as far as we know. You can POKE freely anywhere else. For a more complete explanation of this peculiarity, see the warning in COMPUTE! #14, page 63. To answer your second question: Yes, COMPUTE! is publishing two such collections, one for PET and one for ATARI. These books contain much from the early, out-of-print COMPUTE! issues (as well as some previously unpublished pieces). For ordering information, see the ads elsewhere in this issue.
UPDATE: Don't let the POKE scare you. Other than the early PETs, no computer can be damaged as a result of anything you enter on the keyboard. The books mentioned were The First Book of PET and The First Book of ATARI.
I own a VIC-20. I would like to know if Commodore has decided to stop making VIC-20s. If so, why? If they have, will you be able to buy Commodore software and hardware for it?
We've received many inquiries about this. Commodore asserts that they do not now plan to stop production on either the VIC or the 64. Commodore and third-party software and hardware for both computers should also continue to be available for some time.
As a point of interest, there are now two million VICs out there.
UPDATE: We later found out that just as we were answering this question, Commodore stopped manufacturing VICs. Today, 64s are still going strong. At last count, over seven million have been sold.
In your April issue, you published two interesting Atari programs, "Scriptor" and "Video 80." Here are a few questions. How many pages can you store in a 48K Atari 400 when using Scriptor with 8K BASIC? What is the memory required for Video 80? Can Scriptor and Video 80 be merged, and, if so, what changes would have to be made?
On another subject, how would I "hook up" an Epson MX-80 series printer to my 48K Atari 400 with or without the Atari 850 interface?
Scriptor adapts itself to either 24K, 32K, or 48K and will display the number of lines free when you first run it. Each line is 38 characters. Since a printed page (double-spaced) takes about thirty 75-column lines, just divide the "lines free" by 15 for a rough estimate.
Video 80 requires about 2K for the driver routine and another 8K for the high-resolution GRAPHICS 8 screen. Due to this, there is not enough memory left over in a 40K or a 48K to let you store the programs and text.
You can attach almost any Centronics parallel or RS-232C serial printer to the Atari via the Atari 850 Interface Device. The new Atari 1025 80-column printer does not require the 850, however.
Update: SpeedScript historians take note, Scriptor was Charles Brannon's first published ancestor of SpeedScript, versions of which eventually appeared for the 64, VIC, Apple, and Atari computers.
I am considering purchasing a VIC or a 64, and I plan to use the family TV with the computer. Do the images from a computer damage a TV by leaving imprints on the screen?
Timothy J. Prusinski
The problem you are describing is known as image burn-in. It usually affects a video unit on which the same message is displayed continuously in the same place on the screen. This practice causes uneven wear in the screen's phosphor coating, which eventually results in the message being visible on the screen even when the unit is turned off. Using your TV with a computer will not cause image burn-in unless you leave your computer on and continually display the same pattern on the TV for a very long time—several days, at least.
I have a question. Sometimes, after I type in a long program and run it a few times, my keyboard locks up (after you press RETURN, you can't do anything else). Is there any way I can unlock it—besides powering down? Oh, I have an Atari 800.
This "lock-up" is caused by a bug in the BASIC cartridge. It can occur when editing or deleting long program lines. There is no way to "uncrash," other than turning the power off and back on. It's best to save programs often and to avoid using very long program lines.
UPDATE: In attempting to fix this bug, Atari accidently made it worse. Version A of BASIC (in the 400, 800, and 1200XL) had the original bug. Version B (in the 600XL and 800XL) had a related bug that could crash the computer when you entered a line (not just when you edited or deleted one.) Version C (in the 65XE, 130XE, and XE Game System) corrected the bugs.
What is the difference between the Commodore 1701 and 1702 monitors?
There is no appreciable difference between these monitors. The 1701 model changed to 1702 when Commodore began using a different picture tube supplier in late 1983. Cosmetically, it's nearly impossible to tell the two apart. They're virtually identical in appearance, and the electrical connections appear to be the same in both models. We have a number of both models here at COMPUTE!, and we've noticed that the resolution appears slightly sharper on the 1702s, but this is only because they're newer than the 1701s. (The color on a monitor gradually fades after prolonged use.)
Commodore also makes the 141 Color Monitor, essentially a 1702 with a charcoal-gray color designed to match the Plus/4 and Commodore 16. It's compatible with the VIC-20 and 64. Commodore's newest monitor entries are the 1901 Monochrome Monitor and the 1902 RGBI/Composite Monitor. Each was announced at the Winter CES in support of the Commodore 128.
UPDATE: Commodore recently changed the name of another monitor. The Amiga 1080 evolved into the Commodore 1084 so that it could be sold with the Commodore 128 and Commodore PCs, as well as with the Amigas.