Letters From Our Readers
Software Renters Aren't All Bad
Your article on software rental (March 1989) contained many truths but was too one-sided. As a long-time software renter, I hope that no one immediately assumes me to be a pirate as asserted. I have found rental to be an invaluable means to evaluate first-hand the considerable software on the market, so that I can intelligently choose those that I ultimately purchase.
While it may seem to some that the only obvious purpose for renting is to pirate software, there are numerous other reasons that can in fact serve the ST community. Users can be prevented from becoming soured on the ST as the result of getting stuck with inferior software. And rentals can serve to create new purchases by hooking those who didn't expect to be a permanent user of a particular product.
I have no doubt that there are scabs that abuse the system--those leeches will always find some way to steal. However, the vast majority of software renters are legitimate potential customers and the software companies are wrong to assume that renters represent lost sales. Surely, most of us who are seriously committed to the long term use of a chosen software realize that if we don't eventually buy the product we're losing support through updated versions, replacements, technical help, etc.
Ft. Worth, Texas
We maintain that software rental does more harm to the industry and the user community than good, but we do realize there are two sides to every issue. We appreciate your bringing the other side to light, but we fear that software rental agencies are used much more by pirates than by legitimate users.--START Editor.
One Dit Too Many
I have subscribed to your START from nearly the beginning, and I have been impressed with both the volume and quality of the information presented there. You do a great job in providing helpful information and programs to the ST community.
I am writing to you about the Dah-Ditter program that was on the February 1989 disk. I am currently trying to learn Morse code to earn my Novice Class amateur radio license. When Dah-Ditter appeared in your magazine I was ecstatic. Learning code from tapes is boring and gives you a false sense of security since after a while you memorize the code that is being sent. Dah-Ditter lets you learn code and to improve your copying speed all the way through the Amateur Extra Class license requirements. Most of the boredom is removed because you can send any message you like.
The problem is that when I run DahDitter on my 1040ST, I get an annoying little blip after every message is sounded out. The Farnsworth method requires you to learn code by the sound of the characters, not the dots and dashes that make them up. Consequently, the program is all but useless to me because the character sounds are all wrong. It acts as if the sound chip is not being properly turned off after each character. Without the source code I can do nothing. Do you have any suggestions? I want to make this otherwise excellent program useful.
John M. Larrabee
La Vista, Nebraska
Thank you for your praise of Dah-Ditter. We are aware of the "extra blip" bug; see the Alert Box in this issue for information on how to solve the problem.--START Editor
An Open Invitation
This is an open invitation for START readers to join GBUG, the international GFA BASIC Users Group, founded by RASCOM in July 1987. GBUG publishes a monthly newsletter also called GBUG which is loaded with GFA BASIC tips, tutorials, mini-program listings and much more.
START readers can join at the charter membership fee of $15 per year (make checks payable to RASCOM. Our address is listed below). This price covers a full years subscription of GBUG, a complete set of back issues and the associated mini-program listings on a supplied disk.
Our thanks to START magazine for making GFA BASIC readily available and for giving me the opportunity to spread the news about GBUG. Keep up the good work.
Robert Smith, President
22128 Newkirk Ave.
Carson, CA 90745
544 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
START Welcomes submissions. Please include both hard copy printouts of articles and program listings as well as disk files on ST compatible disks. Media will be returned if self-addressed, stamped mailer is supplied. START assumes no responsibility for unsolicited editorial materials.