IBM images; Trivia, Flight Simulator, and renaming a subdirectory. (evaluation) Susan Glinert-Cole.
Zooooommmmmmmm ... It's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, bigger than a breadbox, it's ... it's ... the PC/AT. This machine is an acknowledged advancement in personal computer technology and as such, is a departure from the normal IBM conservative style.
Computer enthusiasts who enjoy watching a machine leave figurative skid marks when put into gear will derive considerable pleasure from the AT. Its housing has a bigger footprint (tire marks?) than the original PC, but the sacrifice of space is worth it. The prices are phenomenally competitive--another unusual move on IBM's part, as their tendency has been to ticket their products on the high side. Their 20Mb fixed disk, for example, retails for $1595. Aside from speed, the 80286 embodies more exotic and powerful features: a multi-megabyte address space, "virtual" memory, and an extended instruction set. The latter two features provide an atmosphere conducive to multi-user systems design.
The PC/AT is accompanied by another helping of DOS: DOS 3.XX. The version currently available, 3.0, is bigger (32K) and contains several enhancements such as the ability to execute a program at the end of a path name, and fixed disk format protection. DOS 3.1, available in early 1985, will support multi-user situations.
IBM also announced a clutch of other products this month, which I will try to cover in some depth in future columns. The major introductions include the IBM PC Network, a flexible, moderately-priced broadband product which will support voice, video, and data information exchange; two advanced graphics systems (displays, boards, and supporting software); a line of integrated products for the office (accounting and word processing); Topview, a windowing/integrating environment; and a line of inexpensive software for the home user called Personally Developed Software. Trivia
I may be one of the few mortals left around who has no television set and has never played Trivial Pursuit. I have strong reasons for the former, but none in particular for the latter; the parties I frequent revolve mostly around less intellectual occupations, like collecting calories. Now, however, those who are addicted to answering obscure questions can do so without having to spend money for Trivial Pursuit, as long as they have already sprung for an IBM PC (or AT or jr).
The game is called Trivia, and I will spare you the suspense as to how it is played. Up to six people can participate in round robin fashion and choose from one of the three topics which appear in the cleverly done slot machine windows. The graphics for this game are excellent, and you can turn off the irritating little tunes that accompany the action. There are six categories: sports, general, show biz, true trivia, science, and history/geography. The questions range from fairly simple to extremely difficult, and you can add up to 100 questions to each category. A small bit of help is available: you can ask the computer to fill in one letter, but this reduces the point value of the question by half.
Trivia is copy protected, but you can make one backup copy. I can understand the rage for the party game: one gets an amazing sense of accomplishment from having fished, out of dim cerebral recesses, the answers to such questions as:
* Who sponsored Uncle Miltie's first television show?
* What is another name for the malar bone?
* What is the largest state east of the Mississippi?
This game, by the way, is a member of IBM's Personally Developed Software Series, which is comprised of more than 40 products, all of which are excellent buys. They all share an identical, well-designed command interface and on-disk documentation. I have been grazing among the offerings and will report on several of them next month.
Products: Travia (computer program)
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.0 (computer program)