June 1989 MCU Magazine

GENERAL INFORMATION

MCUC

This magazine is published monthly for distribution to members of the Memphis Commodore Users Club. It is in no way connected with the Commodore Business Machine Ltd. or Commodore Inc. and Commodore products (CBM, PET, C64, C128, VIC20, Amiga) are registered trademarks of Commodore Inc. The MCUC is a non-profit organization whose purpose is the free exchange of information and knowledge about the use of Commodore computer systems. Memberships are open to anyone: ownership of a computer is not required. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Dues are broken down into three categories. Membership dues may be paid quarterly (3 months) at $6 or annually at $20.00. An associate membership is offered for those living outside a 45 mile radius of Memphis at $10 per year. All memberships are family memberships and dues are not refundable.

Contribution to the MCUC magazine may be in any wordprocessor, preferably saved as a sequential file. You may submit articles on disk, or hardcopy, or upload to the MCUC BBS. Other User Groups are welcome to reprint material from this magazine; we ask only that you give credit to the author and source.

The editor reserves the right to reject material submitted relating to illegal services, products or unethical practices. All material submitted becomes the property of MCUC. The 5th of each month is the DEADLINE FOR ARTICLES.

MEETINGS

General Membership Meeting - First Tuesday of each month. 7:00 PM in Fulton Auditorium, State Technical Institute.

Beginner's Class - First Saturday after the first Tuesday. 1:00 PM at the Main Library, Peabody and McLean.

Board of Director's Meeting - Second Thursday after the General Meeting. 7:30 PM State Tech, in the cafeteria.

128, CP/M, MS-DOS SIG - Now meeting with the Memphis FOG group. 4th Tuesday of each month at the Whitestation Library. Copy Session at 6 PM, Meeting starts as 7:00 PM.

OFFICERS

President Bob Nunn
759-0461
Vice President Ron Montgomery
767-0737
Secretary Dick Coffman
829-3705
Treasurer Gary Thurman
853-6949
Librarian Jim West
366-5544
Education Bob Earnheart
377-6416
Newsletter Cheryl Nunn
795-0461
BBS 276-6868
Sysop John Blackmer
Co-Sysop Andrew George
367-1266

ADVERTISING RATES

All rates monthly.

Full Page $20.00 1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50 1/8 Page $3.00
Business Card $3.00

Classified to Members Free
All ads must be in by the 15th.
CIRCULATION: 300 copies

Secretary's Notes

Official Board Meeting 5/11/89

The meeting was called to order by Bob Nunn at 7:35 PM. Officers present were Bob Nunn, President, Ron Montgomery, Vice President, Gary Thurman, Treasurer, Bob Earnheart, Education Coordinator, Cheryn Nunn, Newsletter Editor, Richard Coffman, Secretary and John Blackmer, Sysop. Visitors present were Wayne Moore and Paul Sullivan.

Plans for the copy session May 13th were finalized. Sealed bids for the old BBS equipment will be accepted until 6/30/89. The new BBS equipment has been ordered.

Demos for the June meeting will be about hardware and upkeep, and demonstration of a program for checking disk drive operation.

The club is on target with the approved budget for 1989. Motion was made by Cheryn Nunn to purchase a 1200 baud modem for club use, seconded by Ron Montgomery. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,
Richard Coffman, Secretary

SIG NOTES

The 128, CP/M, MS-DOS SIG will not be meeting for the rest of the summer. The SIG will resume meeting with the August date.

Bob Earnheart

Treasurer's Report

TREASURER'S REPORT 5-10-89

OPENING BALANCE 4-13-89 $2384.96
   
DEPOSITS:
LIBRARY DISKS $509.00
CLUB DUES 307.00
-------
$816.00
   
EXPENSES:
BBS TELEPHONE (APRIL) 23.73
LIBRARY SUPPLIES & 3.5 DISK 157.96
WRITE STUFF ORDER 425.50
--------
$607.19
CLOSING BALANCE 5-10-89 $2593.77

GARY THURMAN TREASURER

Copy Session Report

If you missed the copy session May 13th, you really missed a good one! A comment heard was "I've been to a couple of copy sessions before and this was the best ever!" We must have made a thousand copies (?). Thanks to Jim West, Ron Montgomery, Andrew George and John Blackmer for their efforts on the copying side. Bob Earnheart and his crew probably cleaned and checked 30 drives. Thanks to Wayne Moore and Malcolm Cole for helping Bob. Also, thanks go to John Anderson and Nanette Hickman (with some help from daughter Janette and James McKinney) for bringing their systems so that programs could be viewed and questions answered while people were waiting for their copies. A special surprise was Mario Bruhweiler who brought his Amiga in. We even had a new member join at the session. Now that's REALLY great!! Looking forward to the next one!!

Bob Nunn

What is Hardware?

by Cheryn Nunn

The focus this month for the newsletter is on hardware. Before trying to define hardware, however, let's define software. Software is a set of instructions (also called a program) that tells your computer just what you want it to do. Hardware then, is the equipment upon which software acts, or the physical components of a computer system. This equipment can include your computer, and peripherals such as a disk drive, monitor, tape player, modem, printer, hard disk, and REU (RAM Expansion Unit).

Let's look at your computer first. The C-64 and C-128 are equipped with a built-in Operating System (other types of computers do not have this "built-in" feature. The Operating System is a program that conrols everything your computer does. It provides a common language between the software and all the hardware. This built-in feature means you don't have to install or load the operating system on; it is already there. All you have to do is load the program you want to work with.

The next most common piece of equipment you might have would be a disk drive. Commodore and Commodore compatible disk drives come with built-in DOS, or Disk Operating System. This is a program used to transfer information to and from a floppy diskette and provides a standard in the way that information is transferred. The disk drive "reads" the program you load so that the computer can use it. It will also "write" information to a diskette so that you can save any work you have done with the program. A tape player is the slowest method of information storage, using a casette tape. A hard drive is the fastest method, using a hard drive instead of a floppy. Both read and write information like a disk drive.

Next on your list would probably be a printer. This device allows you to output the contents of the computer's memory to a sheet of paper, called a hard copy. Printers for the Commodore come in two types, Commodore compatible and non-Commodore printers. A Commodore compatible printer will hook directly to your computer and can "talk" to the computer without a translator. A non-Commodore printer requires an interface to be able to talk to the computer. This interface translates the information coming from the computer into a language the printer can understand.

A modem is a device that allows your computer to communicate with other computers via phone lines. This plugs into the user port, which is a serial port, on your computer. (A serial port sends data one bit after the other over a single wire, as opposed to parallel, which sends one byte (8 bits) at a time over multiple wires.) Again, there are two types of modems; Commodore ready and non-Commodore ready. A Commodore ready will plug directly into the user port without an interface. A non-Commodore ready requires an RS-232 interface to connect to the user port. (RS-232 is a recommended standard for electronic and mechanical specifications of serial transmission ports.) What all this means, on both the printer and the modem, is that if you buy a non-Commodore ready device, you will be able to use it on other computers, something to consider if you own more than one type computer or think you will be buying another type in the future.

I've tried to keep this fairly simple but I hope even some of you old-time users learned something. Look elsewhere in this issue for information on the sequence of hooking equipment up, a more detailed look at the computer itself, and reviews of various peripherals.

A Glossary of Terms

Reprinted from the Hacher Bug, May 1989

As a service to those new to computing, here are some definitions(?) to some of our common "buzz words".

BIT
a word used to describe computers, as in "My computer cost quite a BIT".
BOOT
What your friends give you because you spend too much time bragging about your computer skills.
BUG
1. What your eyes do after you stare at the tiny green (or amber) computer screen for more than 15 minutes. 2. What computer magazine companies do to you after they get your name on their mailing list. 3. What some computer magazines put in the programs listed in their magazines just so they can tell how many pepole actually try and type them in by the number of complaints they get because the program doesn't work.
CHIPS
The fattening, non-nutritional food computer users eat to avoid having to leave their keyboards for meals.
COPY
What you have to do during school tests because you spend too much time at the computer and not enough time studying.
CURSOR
What you turn into when you can't get your computer to perform, as in "You $!%"#!%#! computer!"
DISK
What goes out in your back after bending over a computer keyboard for seven hours at a clip.
DUMP
The place all your former hobbies wind up soon after you install your computer.
ERROR
What you made the first time you walked into a computer showroom to "just look".
EXPANSION UNIT
The new room you have to build on to your home to house your computer and all its peripherals.
FILE
What your secretary can now do to her nails six and a half hours a day, now that the computer does her day's work in 30 minutes.
FLOPPY
The condition of a constant computer user's stomach due to lack of exercise and a steady diet of junk food (see CHIP).
HARDWARE
Tools, such as lawnmowers, rakes and other heavy equipment you haven't laid a finger on since getting your computer.
IBM
The kind of missile your family members and friends would like to drop on your computer so you'll pay attention to them again.
MENU
What you'll never see again after buying a computer because you'll be too poor to eat in a restaurant.
MONITOR
Often thought to be a word associated with computers, this word actually refers to those obnoxious kids who always want to see your hall pass at school.

A Real Glossary

compiled by Cheryn Nunn

Here is a serious glossary. These terms will help you communicate with others when conversing about computers.

BIT
The smallest unit in a computer.
BOOT
1. To load a program. 2. A small program that loads the "main file" or main program.
BUG
An error in a program, causing it to malfunction.
CHIPS
The electronic components of the computer that make it operate and store information.
COPY
To make a duplicate of a program.
CURSOR
The flashing square that marks the current location on the screen.
DISK
A media of information storage. Can be a "floppy" 5 1/4" or 3 1/2", or a hard disk.
DUMP
To take a selected group of information from memory and output to screen, disk or printer.
ERROR
Usually, a procedure the computer doesn't recognize.
EXPANSION UNIT
Additional RAM (Random Access Memory) storage.
FILE
A program or collection of data stored on diskette or cassette.
FLOPPY
A diskette, used to store information on.
HARDWARE
The physical components of a computer system.
IBM
A brand of MS-DOS based computers.
MENU
A list of things to select from. Usually refers to a screen that allows you choices within a program.
MONITOR
Video screen.

DIP What?

You've just bought a new printer, hooked it up to your computer, turned it on, and are trying it out. You decide you want to try the condensed mode. You look in your manual and it says something about DIP switches. You say "DIP what?" DIP switches (short for Dual In-line Package) allow you to change the settings at which your printer functions. They may allow you to go to condensed printing, bold printing, automatic linefeeds, different page lengths, etc. depending on your printer and its capabilities.

DIP switches can also be found on disk drives. For instance, the 1581's DIP switches allow you to change the device number from 8 to 9, 10 or 11. Now you know what DIP switches are. So the next time you hear the term, you won't say "DIP what?"

[Photo: Andrew George and Ralph Phillips take a break at the fair.]

CD2400 Modem

This is a Hayes compatible modem that is capable of 2400 baud (bits per second). Although it requires an interface, this is a fairly worthwhile investement. 2400 baud however is very unstable on the '64' and requires a really good machine language terminal program. As of this article I have not found one that will not echo back trash to the screen. Since it is fairly well known that the slower the rate the more accurate the transfer, this modem also accommodates 300 BPS as well as 1200 BPS. It comes complete with a Hayes command set with a few extra commands. This modem is good buy because when you are ready to change computers, this will direct connect to pc's and other machines.

There are plenty of Hayes compatibles on the market. There are some that are notoriously unreliable. This is not the case as I had and used this one for almost a year with no hitches except for the 2400 BPS. I have no way of knowing with a '128' although I am told that they are capable of higher baud rates. This modem is available from:

COMPUTER DIRECT
22292 N. PEPPER RD.
BARRINGTON, IL. 60010

[ED Note: I don't know the author but Thanks for the information!]

Notice - Board Meeting Change

The June Board meeting will be held June 11 at 2 PM at the home of Bob and Cheryn Nunn. Any members wishing to attend are welcome.

Excel 2001

Although this 1571 compatible is no longer in production, it is worth mentioning. It is the only '71 compatible that I know of that was ever marketed, although I may have missed out on some that came before. This drive will run most all software that I have closed the door on. The only exceptions I have found are Infocom' s "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and "Accolade's Test drive".

This drive is two or three seconds faster than a 1571 in '71 mode and the same for '41 mode. I personally use it with a 64C and it has performed flawlessely. The Excel has a separate power supply, i.e. it is not under the hood of the drive, which makes for considerably cooler operation. In fact the hottest it gets is when it sits next to my 1541!!!

There are drawbacks however. There are claims that it is quieter than a Commodore drive. I could argue with that or maybe mine needs to be lubricated! Really it is a little quieter but not as quiet as the manufacturer would have you believe. The ROM upgrade on this is Jiffy Dos (as of January '89). Apparently there were bugs in the version I use now although I have not found any yet. I have not come across any that I can document as ROM bugs only bad disks.

This drive is no longer available. It seems these people did not pay Commodore for the rights to produce a compatible. The Excel is made by the same people who brought you the Excelarator and the Excelarator plus. The $149.00 1571 compatible was marketed under several different names and is not a bad investment although you would have to pick one up used. It should be second drive however as you never know what other incompatibilities may come down the road.

Andrew George

Ports - What, & Where

by Cheryn Nunn

In this article, we'll look at all the ports on the C-64 and C-128, review each type and what plugs into each and then look at the sequence in which to hook your equipment up. Refer to the illustrations to see where each port is located for the two machines as we discuss them.

The ports on the side of both the C-64 and C-128 are fairly self-explanatory. There is a power port, where your power supply plugs in. Then there are the two Game Ports, also called Controller Ports. These ports accept a joystick or game controller paddle. They will also accept a light pen in Port 1.

The Cartridge Slot, also called an Expansion Port, accepts program or game cartridges, as well as special interfaces. This is a parallel port (remember, a byte over multiple wires?). This port also takes the REU (RAM Expansion Unit).

The User Port, at the left side on the back, is a serial port (one bit after another over a single wire). This slot is most commonly used for a modem but will accept various interfaces.

The Cassette Port or Cassette Interface is a serial port where the datassette recorder can be attached. This port can also be used as a power source for an interface, such as for a printer.

The Serial Port, a round port, is used to connect a serial printer or disk drive directly to the computer.

The Audio/Video Connector, or Composite Video Connector, feeds direct audio and composite video signals to the monitor for the 64; and for the C-128, the signals for 64 mode and 40-column 128 mode. The RGBI Connector on the C-128 feeds the signal for 80-column output. It supplies direct audio and an RGBI (Red/Green/Blue/Intensity) signal. The TV Connector or RF Connector supplies both picture and sound to your television set. A television can display only a 40 column picture. The Channel Selector allows you to select which channel your picture will displayed on (L=channel 3, H=channel 4).

Now that we've reviewed each of the ports, some tips on hooking everything together. You can daisy chain up to five disk drives or printers to the C-64 or C-128 at one time. You simply connect a cable from one serial port on one drive or printer to the serial port on another drive or printer. A disk drive must be the item of equipment that is directly connected to the C-64's serial port.

Never hook anything into the "system" if any power is on. Always turn all the components off before making connections.

A power strip is invaluable if you have several pieces of equipment. You can leave disk drives, printers and monitors on and turn them off using the power strip. You should always turn the computer itself off before turning the power strip off and turn the power strip on then your computer when powering up. A general rule of thumb is: your computer is the last thing on and the first thing off.

When connecting things together, look at the port configuration and the plug configuration to see if they match. If they don't, it must not go there, huh?

I hope all this information is not overwhelming. If you are a relatively new computer user and have trouble with your equipment, it is likely you will hear some of the terminology used here if you take your computer or peripheral in for service. Understanding a little about what is being said may help in communication your problem to the service people.

[Photo: Kevin Dunn enjoys a Coke break at the MACC computer fair.]

June Disks of the Month

Super Library Selections for June

Many thanks to the librarians who sent us so many disks in our exchange programs. Special thanks this month to CWEST, SCUG, GSUG, CCUGI!! Thanks much guys for most of the programs in this months selections. I hope you are as happy with your stuff as we are with ours.

JUNE UTILITIES

ARC-SDA v5.1 - the latest of conversion utilities that will take any ARCed file and make it a self dissolving program. Doc file on disk use sprint iva to read.

BOOTMAKER - Just load "*",8 and it'll run the program you desire for the 64.

DIRECT FILER - simple database type program.

MENU CREATOR V3.2 - GREAT!!!! This program builds a menu for any disk! Now has toggle device #'s and toggle speed loads!!

PROGRAM MERGE - I was looking for one of these the other day. Easy to use will combine two files and renumber. With instructioins.

START END FINDER - finds the beginning and the end of your program.

SPRINT IVA - SUPER!!! seq file reader/printer! EZ to use!

TEMPLATE MAKER - Make keyboard overlays with your most used commands for each program. Docs on disk use sprint iva to read.

VIDCON - converts to petascii file to ascii.

SCREEN 80 - allows you to have true 80 col. on the 64! Works with Multi Term v6.0

TYPEWRITER - EZ to use, dumps text to printer with each return.

LOTTERY - figure odds on your local lotteries. Docs on disk.

RECIPE - simple recipe database. EZ to use.

MAILSTAR 2000 - simple mail list type program, menu driven.

IDENTY3.BIN - allows you to change disk and id. ALSO ALLOWS YOU TO COLOR DIRECTORIES!!!!

DISK LISTS V1.0 - cataloger, auto detects drive type, works with 1541, 1571, 1581, SFD-1001 and more. Written by our own Kevin Dunn, menu driven, EZ to use.

ALIGNMENT TEST and ALIGN CHECK V2 - disk alignment checking programs.

JUNE DEMO MAKERS - 3 super programs that make fancy little intros using music, special fonts, and hi-res graphics. Some material is included on the disk. This is definitely not a disk for a new user and is oriented toward the experienced. VERY EXCITING!!!

JUNE GAMES

Well we've done it again. Another super group of games!!

IRIDIS ALPHA - SUPER ARCADE QUALITY!!! working demo program. I can't remember what you kill but you'll be glad you did. Super graphics, great music, great play action!!!

HARDHAT CLIMBER - climb your way to the top for mega points.

3D TIC TAC TOE - a bit more challenging than the original.

NORTH SEA COPTER - land on the oil platform in a storm at midnight or you die.

SPACE DODGER - Great SOUND!! Good play. Crash frequently.

SEARCHLIGHT - all that stands between the German invasion and you is your searchlight and your anti-aircraft gun. You have to find em to shoot em.

TARCT CARDS - GREAT GAME!!!! get a reading soon. Very entertaining, well done.

STARSCANNER - Pretty good "blastem into dust" space game.

MCUC GEOS #1

Long awaited first selection of super GEOS utilities. Instructions and docreader on disk which boots from basic. The rest boot from GEOS except where noted.

CHANGE INPUT - allows device switch while in GEOpaint, for example.

CHANGE PRINTER - change print driver from an application.

GEOS RETURN - auto return to GEOS from a BASIC program.

AUTO PREFERENCE - set preferences without going to the Preference Manager.

CONVERT V1.4 - An improved seq/GEOS conversion program. GEOS program.

GREY GRID, COLOR GRID, CROSS GRID, METRIC GRID, GRID CARDS, OKIMATE 20 printer driver, OKICOLOR - GEOpaint Help Files.

C.ITOH-8510 R - printer driver

QUICK DATESET - set the date with a few keystrokes, without going to the clock.

JUNE 128 SELECTION

This month is featuring terms. All new from the OKC users group thanks to Roy Johnson. More quality stuff coming!! This disk autoboots with disk whiz 1.1.

PACETERM80 V3 - Quality 80 col term for the 128, nice features.

NEZTERM V9.0 - Probably the best of this asst. Good features.

CPM TERM - this one will write itself to a CPM formatted disk which then allows you to boot up in CPM and downlaod files to CPM formatted disks. A must for all CPM fans.

QTERM 80 V2 - Simple yet efficient term. Very colorful. Use home key to lock in changes in windows.

ENVOYTERM - another nice term.

SUPERTERM128.c1 - simple yet efficient term. Allows baud rates up to 2400.

[Photo: Jim West, Dick Coffman, and Beth George talk with Sheila Richardsom at the fair.]

Earnheart Computer Repair

5345 Flowering Peach Rear
901-366-0303

Summer Jiffy Dos Special!
June & July Only!
64/1541 Juffy Dos
only $59.95
Installation FREE!!
This offer will not be
Repeated!!

Authorized Star Printer
Repair Center
Check with us first for
the lowest price in town on
NX1000
Multi-Font Printer!!

Hours irregular - call ahead
Closed June 17-24 for Inventory

President's Ponderings

Together we have made some things happen. There are now 158 members in the club!! I think this is great and I'm sure you share my enthusiasm. Growth of course is a good thing if it is not too rapid. An organization needs to be able to expand its services to meet the needs of the imcoming menbers. I think we are managing well and haven't incurred any major problems except one. As we continue to get larger it will continue to become more difficult for us to meet the needs of all individuals. We have some SIGS (Special Interest Groups) that hopefully fulfill some of those needs and the beginner's class should help meet the needs of the incoming novice, along with our new member's packet.

The main problem though is that many times a large group becomes less personal. I think you'll agree that we have some of the nicest people around when it comes to our group. Still I have heard that we sometimes fail to make our guests feel welcome. We have spent much time and effort to get people to come and visit with us and consider joining our group. This is where you can do your part for the club by taking a moment to say hello and visit a minute with our guests. Each meeting we take a few minutes to identify and pass out one of our newsletters so they are not hard to find.

The club is for people to learn about using their computer, this is our main purpose and function. I'm sure though that the opportunity to visit with friends and sharing things with people who have a common interest is a large part of the reason you belong to our club. Let's all do our part to help our guests feel this way also and that they are part of our group.

Bob Nunn

VP Comments

Personal computers are still in their infancy. It seems like only yesterday when personal computers became affordable for the average household. Those computers were the marvels of their time. By today's standards they are considered to be very limited and slow, although many are still in use. Today's computers which seem so powerful and full of potential will also seem limited and slow compared to the machines of tomorrow. I really get excited to think of the things the computers of the future will be capable of doing.

Computers now affect nearly all aspects of our lives. That is because there are more computers around than we realize. Digital watches, calculators, even the timers on our microwave ovens have a microprocessor that accepts input from a user and performs their assigned tasks. The scanner at the grocry store identifies your purchases and totals your order. The scoreboard at the ballgame dazzles us with colorful graphics. The compact disc player for your stereo is a combination computer and disk drive of sorts.

Many of us are seeing computer devices perform specialized tasks at our jobs. Nearly every profession around is finding a job that some type of computer can do. I recently attended the drag races and guess what? That's right, computers again. They use a computer to monitor several aspects of the car's performance during a race. Then the results are printed out for comparison to results from other races. This data can be used to make the fine adjustments that make the difference between winning and losing. What interesting new use for computers have you seen lately?

I have a variety of uses for my computers and I welcome each new use I discover but, the most important use I have found is just learning about computers. As computers and computer devices become more and more influentiial in our lives, it will be all the more important for us to know how to use them and how they work. So next time you work with an application or play a game, take a few extra minutes to learn something new. Tomorrow you'll be glad you did.

Ron Montgomery

Transporting your Equipment

It probably should go without saying .....BUT the original packaging that your equipment came in is the BEST way to tote your stuff around !!! Hardware manufacturers spend great amounts of money designing that stuff.

Of course, over the years, that tends to wear out, get busted or used to stash Aunt Tillies' antique lamp. So what to use to lug sensitive electronic gear becomes an exercise in Yankee (OOPS! SOUTHERN) ingenuity!

One of Memphis' foremost sysops has solved this problem for his 128 quite nicely...He found a salesman's sample case that is compartmentalized (where did I find such a big word?) and fits the 128 keyboard, power supply, a 1571 disk drive and all other such encoutraments very nicely. That was, unfortunately for us, a stroke of luck for him.

I have solved my own problem of this sort with a normal everyday suitcase! The pockets, intended for small clothing items work very well for the various wires, notchers and other smaller items. My 128, 1581 drive, box of 3.5" disks and assorted other goodies fit just snugly enough to not get jostled around as I hurry from classes and copy sessions to home and out again. It's my intention to cut me a thick piece of foam rubber the size of the suitcase to cushion the stuff inside even more.

The main idea for ANY packing of gear is to ensure potection from the bumps and jolts of transportion. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT where it comes to the disk drive, regardless of model!!! The read/write head of the drive is incredibly sensitive to marks and scratches caused by the actions of movement. Therefore NEVER NEVER NEVER move your drive, even across the room, without putting the "vibration dampner" (the small piece of white cardboard that came with your drive) into the disk slot and CLOSE THE DOOR. I cannot stress this point enough! If you don't heed this warning, sooner or later your drive will need a new head! It's better to use your's now then replace it's later. Incidentally, the most recent proce I've heard for replacement of drive heads is $100+! With that I'm sure you could find better uses.

Your monitor as well should be packed in it's original carton and foam. If it's not still around and you must transport your monitor, be sure to place it on a seat of your car with the screen facing the back of the seat. This protects the screen from breakage in case of a quick stop or rubbing from other things on the same seat. I don't really know why but I seem to feel safer with it on my back seat, probably cause my car's rear seat has a deeper incline. Whatever!

Till next month!

HAPPY COMPUTING!!!

==JOHN==

Hardware Tips - The Classics

by Bob Nunn

Some of these are repeats but they are all classics.

TRAVELING DISK DRIVE - when you move your disk drive any further than across the desk you need to always put in the cardboard protector to keep the head from slamming around. I've seen supposedly knowledgable people not even bother to put an old disk in (better than nothing) when moving their drives cross country. I think some repairmen encourage people not to use them. Good for the alignment business you know.

DEVICE LIST - This is the official list of device numbers used on your Commodore.

0 keyboard
1 cassette drive
2 user port (modem or RS232 port)
3 screen
4 printer
5 printer, alternate
6 plotter
7 photon torpedoes (secret)
8 disk drive
9 to 18 additional dives

OVERHEATING CLUES - smoke curling up out of your computer or disk drive is a definite hint. Bizzare characters appearing on your screen after you have had the computer on for a while. If you stick the computer power supply in the freezer and it takes longer the next time, order a new one. If your computer locks up and then works ok after you allow it to cool off a few minutes, heat is likely the culprit. Drives get flakey when loading. They work ok for a while and when they get good and warm they start the "file not found" routine which goes away after cooling off a bit.

COOLING TIPS - Put your power supply on an overturned aluminum pan. If you are up 24 hrs (BBS'S) then put a fan blowing across them also. Place a fan blowing across the computer and the dirve. This also can help cool off the operator in the process. Some people put fans blowing into their drives. I myself do this and have had a 24 hour BBS up for over 3 years. It does get them dirty but works good. I have never had a drive failure. Buy taller rubber feet for your computer, drives and modem. I used to get them at Radio Shack but the discounters usually carry them in their hardware departments near the casters etc. for a bit less. I've also seen people put wooden dowels or penciles in the screw holes on the bottom of their drives and elevate them. Just cut them equal lengths and put them in.

ANOTHER COOLING TIP - try taking one of the Norelco Clean Air Machines and sit it directly on top of your drive. This may look silly but it works good. You can also turn it on its side and sit it blowing onto your power supply. I use these on more power supplies and since it filters it also keeps down on the lint on my socks.

BIG SOUND/LITTLE COMPUTER - if you are a sid fan you will find a serious improvement by hooking your computer to an inexpensive boom box. Just take the little RCA output plug that comes off the serial monitor output plug (labeled audio) and plug this into the boom box input. You may have to purchase an extension and or adaptor and you can use a Y connector if you have stereo inputs.

VIDEO TITLE SCREENS - many of you have seen the little demo VCR tapes that Cheryn and I have put together. All you do is run the video and audio output that normally goes to your monitor to the VCR inputs. Using a good graphic drawing program you can dub in your own title screen for your home movies or record yourself setting the new world record playing Platoon.

FUZZY TV FIXUP - if you are forced to use a regular tv for a monitor you may want to try some of these tricks. Instead of the little switch gizmo try one of the direct adapters like the cable company uses. Wrap the entire arrangement with foil being careful not to ground any connections and run a small wire from the foil to a ground. Put your TV on a cookie sheet that has been grounded. Put your TV on a cookie sheet that has been grounded. If none of this works then try lining a baseball hat with foil and running a ground wire from it: you may be receiving the RF directly to your brain. Well maybe you shouldn't really worry about the last one.

ULTIMATE DATASETTE MODIFICATION - it seems in England and Europe they still use the datasette. They must have more patience than I do. Here is my suggestion. Turn off your computer and peripherals. Carefully unhook all cords to and from your datasette. Pick up the unit and carry it to the kitchen where you should find a suitable sized garbage container where you can place it. Now drive to the nearest Commodore dealer and pick up a disk drive. This should solve all those datasette problems. It worked for me!

1541 MAINTENANCE - WHERE AND WHEN by Bob Earnheart.

General Care Care Every 4 Months -- clean the read/write head, dust off the disk drive, lubricate the guide rails, oil the track.

Care Every 12 Months -- Check for heat buildup in the drive, check noise level in transformer, check with strobe disk.

Care Every 18 Months -- Align read/write head, check track 1 adjustment.

HUNG DRIVE - If you have ever had a drive hang up and refuse to work even after resetting, than just insert the original carboard protector into the drive. It seems as a drive get older and dirtier the drive head hangs up toward the end of the rail. This will loosen the head. You should have the drive cleaned very soon though.

Disk of the Month Order Form

Please clip and mail to return address on back. Check May's newsletters for pricing and postage. We just ran out of room.

Fair Disks

( ) Games Disk
( ) Music/Graphics
( ) PS Graphics #3
( ) PS Graphics #4
( ) PS Graphics #5

May Disks

( ) 128 Disk
( ) Utilities Disk
( ) Music/Graphics
( ) Terms Disk

Fair Report

The MACC Fair went over great! The MCUC room had a lot of interest from those attending the fair. MACC estimates approximately 900-1000 people attended the fair. Thanks to all the people who brought their systems and demonstrated just what their Commodore can do!!

Why Run a BBS?

by John Blackmer

I was recently asked by a member of our bbs a rather interesting question.....

"What are the advantages of running a bbs?"

I tried to answer it quickly and realized that there is no quick answer to it. After stewing on it for a while, I think I've come up with several interesting observations.

Running a BBS provides

  1. Entertainment - it's the cheapest and fastest way I know of to increases your software library. This is the obvious one!
  2. A vehicle for sharing information, some of which may be specific to your particular users. I.E. Ham Radio bbs's - Sports oriented boards etc.
  3. A tool for the improvement of your typing. Articles, files and chatting requires you to type! INSTANT PRACTICE!
  4. Lessons in logic. Preparing the various files required for the bbs involves at least a minimum of knowledge, research, and organizational skills.
  5. Improvement in grammar and other English language skills. Again needed to complete the files required by the system. A bbs IS a system of communications.
  6. An excercise in creative writing. If your board has a library segment, you will most certainly want to create entertaining and informative files for your users.
  7. A basic sense of responsibility. BBS's need a lot of attention. Unwanted messages in the subs need to be deleted, User's logs need to be weeded out occasionally, Applications must be validated etc...
  8. Increased knowledge of the hardware and peripherials are gained each time something fouls up.
  9. Interaction with users, helps the sysop to develop better management skills with regard to the others. Tact and diplomacy are 2 of the most needed attributes learned on a board.
  10. Increased knowledge of the entire computer system used, therefore, increased productivity from your investment.
  11. Social interaction through meetings and computer group functions.
  12. Last, but certainly not least! IT'S GOOD CLEAN WHOLESOME FUN!

I hope this helps to put some ambivilant parents at ease when their son (or daughter) asks for a phone line to put up a bbs.

==JOHN==

P.S. Once a computer system, complete with modem, is purchased, the cost of running a board is minimal. In my 4 or so years of running bbs's, off and on, I don't remember any electric or phone bills increasing as a result of them. Naturally, Long Distance calls out on the bbs line WILL raise the bill considerably!

Call your MCUC BBS
276-6868

The Power Supply 1541

Bon Earnhart

The switch on the back of the drive controls the 120V needed to drive the power supply of the 1541. A one amp fuse is used to protect the primary side of the transformer (T1). T1 is a step down transformer that provides 16VAC and 9VAC for input to CR1 and CR3 rectifiers. CR1 and CR3 are what is known as full wave rectifiers. This means converting AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current). C1 and C19 provide filtering for the DC (This means providing a smoother DC). As C1 and C19 provide filtering for CR1, C4 and C16 provide the filtering for CR3. VR1 and VR2 are regulators to always provide the needed +12V and the +5V for a constant output.

Nintendo vs. Commodore The War is On!

Edited by Cheryn Nunn

Operator Headgap, a local bulletin board run by Bob Nunn here in Memphis, has had a voting booth up to test the waters in the Nintendo vs. Commodore controversy. Following is the voting booth plus representative comments and arguments. This "discussion" has gone on over a month and included over 40 messages before the topic changed.

            Voting Booth

 I am curious as to how you feel about
Nintendo's, as they are demanding a
large spot in the market that really
had only been filled by computers.

  1.  Nintendo's are great.
       5 votes  9.8%
  2.  Nintendo's are ok.
       4 votes  7.8%
  3.  Nintendo's stink.
      11 votes  21.5%
  4.  I'll keep my Commodore.
      31 votes  60.7%
  5.  I don't care either way.
       0 votes  0.0%

  From: ATLANTIS (#6)
  Date: THURS., 4/6  9:24 pm
  Subj: Games and the 64
  ...there are all kinds of statistics
on the sales of Nintendo Games vs.
computer games and only a fraction,
small at that, is taken by Nintendo...

from: computer klutz (#12)
  date: wed., 4/12  5:52 pm
  I haven't spent a great deal of time
on my husband's 64, but I know that if
I'm going to spend a small fortune on
something it better do more than just
play games.  Maybe the games on a 64
are not as good but you've got to
think about all the other capabilities
it gives you.
                computer klutz

   From: ATLANTIS (#6)
  Date: THURS., 4/13  9:08 pm
  Subj: Commodore 64
  I have to say that most are
complaining about the 64 not being a
decent game Machine and if I could
just show this to the software
companies then things for the 64 would
sprout like weeds to make it into a
real computer... but if you look at
the games like stealth and loderunner,
you can see the the 64 has decent
graphics when it is demanded of it...
Mario

  From: BELIAL (#99)
  Date: SAT., 4/15 12:58 am
    The 64 has just as good graphics
as the Nintendo and better capabilities
.. if you had someone with the desire
to create halfway decent games for it,
it would blow the Nintendo out of the
water.  There is no comparison.
Commodore is a computer, not a toy.

  From: MADDOG C= (#24)
  Date: SUN., 4/16  3:39 pm
  Subj: graphics
  Well i'm probably beating a dead
horse here, We could argue about this
all year but until you see the full
cababilities of C= graphics you'd
never be convinced.  Granted it is not
quite what the ST is capable of but
for an 8 bit machine it is still the
number one Graphics computer And that
INCLUDES NINTENDO! ...MDC=

   From: BELIAL (#99)
  Date FRI., 4/21  5:13 pm
    ...the 64 has the same resolution
(yes, Nintendo has 320*320 JUST LIKE
COMMODORE SO YOU CAN'T SAY THE
NINTENDO IS BETTER) Although the 64 is
faster and has better capabilities
(such as sprites, etc)... Let's
compare Bard's Tale or Pool of
Radiance... like to see the Nintendo
do those!

  From: DISK HANDLER (#11)
  Date: FRI., 4/21  6:46 pm
  Subj: speed and reso
  ...so nintendo has more colors
but look what the C=64 has in place of
those colors: Programability, Sprites,
The most advanced sound chip to
date(unless compared to a
16bit),Telecom...+ MORE!!!! I'd like
to see ya call a BBS w/ a NINTENDO and
post a message!!! AS FOR SPEED:yall
were saying earlier about ya can do
the things computers like the AMIGA
can do just you didn't have the speed?
WRONG! Now you can have 4Mhz operation
(instead of 1) ,Jiffy dos(the fastest
disk chip YET!), and you have a very
comparable computer!!! The only thing
is the memory and the lack of people
to program the graphics and games like
they could (and used to)! What has
happened is they are putting all their
efforts into the nintendo and leaving
us (computer users)out in the cold in
hopes of selling more nintendos and
making more money!!!! (yeah right...in
a few years it will be WROSE then when
the AT 2600 faded out!!!DISASTER
CITY!!!) 'NOUGH SAID!     DH

  From: SKULLY BROT (#54)
  Date: FRI., 4/21  7:37 pm
  Subj: nintendo
 ...but what about animation....There
is none.... A nintendo is made for
arcade style games not Bards tale type
adventure games...The nintendo wasn't
design for tele.. word process. etc..
If it was It would be a computer...
for arcade style games.. (as far as
animation... ) the nintendo is far better.

  From: --- Bob ---
  Date: MON., 4/24  10:59 pm
  What about SEGA SYSTEMS?? I know
that they have more and brighter
colors and the games seem to play even
better. Is it that they aren't the
'IN' one to have. Isn't that really
what most of this is about. My car is
better than your car, my dad can beat
up your data NYAH NYAH?

   From: JAKE SPEED (#40)
  Date: MON., 4/24 11:45 pm
  Subj: more on Nintendo
   Did you know that Nintendo set up
their machine so that any game used in
it requires a special chip that only
the Nintendo Manufacturers know how to
make? That means that any software for
the Nintendo HAS to COME from
Nintendo. You won't see Electronic
Arts in there unless Nintendo gives
them plans for the chip! Pretty
selfish! Can you imagine where the
c=64 would be if ALL the software HAD
to come from Commodore? JAKE SPEED

  From: Disk Handler (#11)
  Date: TUES., 4/25 11:58 pm
  ... I've read a survey where it came
out 3 to 1 that the commodore and
other computers are more fun and
reliable than a nintendo or a sega
system.....DH

  From: SPARKY (#95)
  Date: WED., 4/26  9:24 pm
  Subj: Ninten.....
  If nintendo isn't careful about after
market support in game programs,
history may repeat itself. Anyone
remember the TI /4. A great computer
but texas inst. wouldn'T allow any
after market companies to support.
Look what happened to them. *<SPARKY>*

  from: andrew george (#120)
  date: sun., 4/30  1:23 am
  subj: it's money that matt
  ...nintendo is protecting it's
venture. the difference between
commodore and nintendo is that
nintendo writes games (remember all
those coin op machines?) where as
commodore was never really concerned
about software. watch when  commodore
stops making 64's then you'll see a
gradual decrease in software support.

Keeping Cool!

by John Blackmer

Heat, Heat and more heat! That sums up the summers in Memphis. For us Commodore users that translates to Trouble, Trouble and more Trouble. Commodore drives, 'cept the 1581 and 1541 II, are notorious for excessive heat buildup due to the internal power supply. Many things have been tried to reduce this buildup but, alas, to no avail. Here's a few of the useable hints that I have tried:

Elevate the drive at least one inch off the surface of the desk or what ever it's on. This provides better air circulation, thus better cooling.

A fan placed over the vent holes in the back of the drive, blowing upwards!, is a good idea too but it does get rather noisey. Blowing the air upwards helps to keep the insides of the drive cleaner.

If your computer room is very VERY clean, removal of the top cover will help dissapate quite a bit of the heat. Be SURE to place the drive so nothing can fall into it! Don't try this unless your warrenty is expired.

The best way, of course-if you can afford it- is to keep your air conditioner running continously set at a real cool temperature.

Your Commodore 64 power supply needs to keep it's cool as well! Placing it on top of an inverted cookie sheet or other sheet metal device will help to displace some of it's heat. A small fan aimed directly at the little black monster will also help to increase the life of it.

As for yourself, If you're having trouble keeping your cool....

Go Jump in the lake!

Sysop's Scuttlebutt

by John Blackmer

Well Folks Here it is!! Summer ALREADY!! Where has 1989 gone!

Back here at the ol' homestead, I'm beginning to feel the effects of the onslaught of the summer bbs's ! YEAH! I'm getting downright lonely! It seems nobody takes advantage of the MCUC bbs any more. Even the chatter's have moved on to greener pastures.

I don't get NO respect!

Over the next couple of weeks I am planning a few changes to the board. ANY member that would like to SUBOP a NEW and DIFFERENT Sub on MCUC BBS, drop me a line in feedback and tell me what you would like to have for your sub and why. As well as WHY you would be the best person to run that sub. Of the nine subs on the board, 4 will be replaced. I plan on keeping the FORUM, FOR SALE, MCUC MAGAZINE, and Level 7 for the club officers. Should you decide to run a sub your access will be increased accordingly. Your SUB may be on any legal subject, in good taste. A few suggestions might be:

Games, A "how to" sub
Music, The sounds of your 64/128
Header Hopper gossip column about MCUC members or Commodore Users

I'm sure many of you have better ideas and The club would like you to take advantage of the great medium we have available for you to make them known.

HERE'S TO A BETTER MCUC!

Editor's Desk

An article from the Memphis PC Users Group Newsletter was passed on to me by Susie Earnheart. It is too lengthy to republish in its entirety but I would like to summarize and quote some of it. The title of the article is Why Join ANY Computer Club? written by Les Owen, a past member of MCUC.

The main jist of the article is why you should join a user group. He states some interesting information about just where your dollars go when you buy a computer system. For example, if you pay $1,795 (includes tax) for a system, Sales tax and the IRS take $290, the machine cost the dealer $1000, overhead and expenses cost another $369. That leaves the dealer approximately $136 in his pocket. How much support after the sale can you expect for that $136? How much support would you give someone if you had already spent 2 or 3 hours just making the sale? [Ed. Note: How many salesman have you met that are experts with the software, either?] This is where user groups come in and fill a very large need for computer users. At an average cost of $25 a year for membership, you get all kinds of FREE help!! "My recommendation to any computer owner...find the local computer club that supports your particular operating system and JOIN today! If you are already a member, do your friends a favor and invite them to accompany you to the next meeting!"

I second that! The officers and others who donate their time to help you are doing it because they enjoy helping others. What do we get out of it? We learn by teaching others. Plus, why does anyone volunteer for anything? It makes us feel good.

Although MCUC is not very business software oriented (granted, C-64's and C-128's are not in large abundance in the business world), other user groups are more business software oriented (the PC Users Group, the Apple group supporting Macintosh). In any work environment, you will have a few "power" users and then you will have a lot of people who need a lot of help. The power users teach when they can, but remember, they have a job to do too. If you're one of those people who need help, consider joining a user group at work. It's possible the membership fees would be tax deductible as a a business expense. (Please check with your tax advisor.)

Just remember, the things you learn about on your Commodore can, to a certain extent, be applied to other types of computers. Most importantly, as you gain confidence in using your Commodore, that confidence will carry over to using your computer at work. That makes you a more productive and vaulable worker, which any company would love. So, join your local user group today!! You can't help but win!!

Index

Officer's Reports 3, 14, 22, 23
What is Hardware? 4
Glossaries 5, 6
Hardward Reviews 7
Ports - What, & Where 8
Disks of the Month 10
Hardware Tips 15, 16, 22
Why Run a BBS? 18
1541 Power Supply 19
Nintendo vs Commodore 20