Copyright © 1982 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
The original draft was written on my dad's mechanical typewriter, accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations — such as they were. Every image you see was scanned in from the original, although some pages suffered water damage over the years. All non-image text was transcribed in exactly the format it originally appeared. The lack of an = key on the original mechanical typewriter means all = signs were originally written in by hand. All spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, etc. are as in the original.
3. 80-REMarks - Non-existing mail about our second issue 6. MOVIE REVIEW - See if you can guess this one. 10. CHROMATES - Twenty-three new formulas for Chromium Dioxide 12. TRSTOS 87.4 - Tape users get equal time! 15. SLODOUN - A new utility for disk users who want to get the easy-to-handle 500 baud capability of tape systems. 20. SOWING MACHINE - The greatest simulator since Mars Rover Adventure. 22. DATELINE: ASTEROID ALPHA - News from the chrome-and-plastic mines. 26. NEWS FROM POKER TABLE SOFTWARE, INC. -- by David Bush again. 28. RADIO FLAK TAPE BASIC - GET, OPEN, CLOSE, PUT, KILL, and GO NORTH commands. 31. A FAREWELL TO HARMS - Yes, friends, we do have a last page! COMING NEXT MONTH: those nasty little "five days" --- this space reserved for MEM SIZE ---
2 BIG HIVE SOFTWARE by Bill Hoagie In response to the current influx of cutesy in the market today, Bill Hoagie and Jeff Con-you have decided to FIGHT BACK with --- "GARY COLEMAN ATTACK" Thrill to the sound of the dying spreader of cute-pollu- tion as he cries, "What you talkin' about, dad?!" Watch the low-res brains fly out of his head as you erase that trans- fixed smile from his face! But watch out! If you get too good, li'l Gary will yell for his dad, and then you're in big trouble! (No, his dad does not look like a flagship!!) Comes with VOICE sound effects such as, "How can you resist a smile like this?", along with responses such as, "Like this!! POW!" It's joystick compatible, but only if you know how to go in and change the PEEK locations so they will read off of the joystick. The tape version even saves the high score for later use! (Whatever the later use might be...) So get "GARY COLEMAN ATTACK!" It's one program that puts "cute" in its place! PRICE: $15.95 for one copy, or $4.95 for five copies (we'd just love to get them off of our hands! Big Hive Software PO Box: about a foot cube Van Doren, CA 4A00H (213)-555-HINT (look at the first 3 digits and dial them...)
3 80-REMarks Dear 80-femto: On your first two issues, you had this beautiful cover depicting the words, "80-Femtocomputing." Now, you have this boring, block-lettered cover saying, "80-Femto." I'd like to know what happened. --- Concerned Dear Concerned: We here at 80-Femto have a tradition. It's called, "Go for whatever is cheapest." So what if our cover looks weird and boring? It helps keep it separate from our first two issues! Dear 80-Finkto: You dirty rat! That's the second time you've sent me an issue without a last page! So far, I've missed the secret to immortality and how to telekinese objects by thought! If you do that once more, you're gonna receive that famous "letter- bomb" you talked about in your first two issues! --- Peeved Dear Peeve Brain: Don't worry. This issue is 100% guaranteed to have a last page. If your copy doesn't have one, just go to the place you bought it from, show the clerk the bad copy, and listen to him say, "We sell all magazines as is!" By the way, I'm glad you aren't sending any of those clair- voyant letters like our friend Concerned did!
4 80-REMarks Dear 80-Femto: I really enjoyed running your "dice simulator" program. I've always needed a program that would generate a random number from one to six, and now I have one! Unfortunately, it had a few bugs in it, and I have corrected them. Viz: 10 RANDOM:PRINTRND(6);:INPUTX:GOTO10 The above one-liner will do the job faster and more eff- iciently than the program you had. Thanks again! --- Corrector The writer of the above letter was put in a mental insti- tution just six short hours after we received the letter. We don't know how or why he got there. And if you'll believe that, you'll also believe that Malcom X was a lifetime member of the Ku Klux Klan! Deaw 80-Femtow: What's 2 and 2? --- Me Dear Fellow Five-Year-Old: 2 and 2 is 2. Try typing in, "PRINT 2 AND 2," and see if you don't get that! █
5 TROFF In response to the movie, "TRON," TRaSh-80 users have at last made the movie: Thrill to the continuing advertures of Flynn as he tries to break ten thousand points at light-cycles! "Definitely the worst movie I've ever seen!" --- People's Star Enquirer "It really turned me off!" --- Jeff Boeing, Tracer "Really not all that bad, considering TRaSh-80 graphics." --- 80-Femtocomputing "What's 2 and 2?" --- Me
6 MOVIE REVIEW I'll give you one guess as to which movie we're reviewing. Wrong! We're reviewing "TROFF," the freshest and most inno- vative computer movie ever made since "You and your Eniac." In this movie, Flynn, our TRON hero, decides to try his luck at the new TRON video game being marketed by Midway. Finding the game very similar to the experience he had in the computer, he tries to bring Tron himself out of the com- puter and into the real world by means of the same laser the M.C.P. used on him. However, Tron is not very used to the real world, although Flynn did give him some idea of what the world outside would be like. The first thing Tron does is enter himself in a frisbee tournament. He fails miserably, since he thought the objective was to throw the frisbee at the judges, and not by them. He did, however, manage to blow a few of them up. The next thing he does is learn how to program a TRaSh-80 by using the Level 1 manual. However, Tron can't read any English; the only language he was ever taught was binary. So, Flynn returns once more to the matter-creating laser and brings Bit into the real world to help him read. However, on the way back to Radio Flak, Bit wanders off and Flynn loses him in a polyhedra dice store. Realizing that he must get Bit returned to the computer, or destroyed, before someone buys him and uses him in a role-playing game, Flynn returns to the laser one last time to bring the Tank out of the computer. In the process of doing this, though, he ends up bringing in a Space Paranoid along with the tank. The Paranoid leaves the building and begins wreaking havok on the city, and Flynn knows that he must stop him with the
7 Movie Review tank before he goes out to get rid of Bit. Meanwhile, Tron is getting tired of waiting for Flynn to arrive with Bit, so he begins to look around the Radio Flak store. While looking at a six-inch high likeness of himself, he bumps into Alan, his user. The two warmly embrace each other, having never seen one another before, and they go off to Silicon Valley and live happily ever after. Flynn, however, is still having problems. He found Bit - or rather, Bit found him - and now they're in the tank together trying to locate the fast-moving Space Paranoid. Finally, after playing twenty questions with Bit, Flynn discovers exactly the whereabouts of the Paranoid: inside a K-Mart. This then evolves into a wild chase scene, with the Paranoid and the tank crashing through the isles and sending various shoppers flying through windows. Finally, the chase leads out of the store and through the city, eventually ending up in - place of places - the Encom building with the matter-creating laser. Tripping a secret access code, the Paranoid sends the tank and its contents back into the computer via the laser. The movie ends with Flynn, Bit, and the tank all being De-Resed utterly by the new M.C.P. that Flynn himself developed to replace the old one, while the Paranoid is still roaming free and Tron and Alan are still living happily ever after. Probably the worst thing about this movie was the fact that all of the pictures of Bit, the Space Paranoid, and the Tank were done on a TRaSh-80. The movie itself is really not all that bad, considering TRaSh-80 graphics. Other than that, the theatre's popcorn was awful. █
8 AANT EATER SOFTWARE KLINGON ATTACK: Level II plus 16 K minus Model I plus English language The Klingon empire has taken over the federation, thanks to your lack of skill at Another Star-Trak Game. Armed only with a hand phaser set on "annoy," you must subdue the entire Klingon main fleet. You find a transporter, beam aboard one of their battle cruisers, and then it's battle time! Quickly, you knock out your first klingon soldier by a surprise attack from the rear, and steal his phaser, which has a few more settings than your own. And just think, you only have about 55,678 Klingons to go! PRICE: $ 55,678 (or your old hand phaser) DRAGON SEARCH: only for tape because of this issue It's time for another D & D swords & sorcery type adven- ture that doesn't have any real sorcery and where all the swords that you find are either foils or are so rusted over that the slightest touch causes them to crumble. Armed only with your wits, and that certainly isn't much, you must destroy the nasty dragon Sū-ba-rū. Will you be able to kill him before sunset, or will you have to wait another day to see if you can kill him before sunset again? PRICE: twenty gold pieces (g.p.) ASTRO BLASTER: Level I & up 4 K tape Model I & up machine language Forget it. You don't really want this program.
9 CHROMATES Here we go: CrO2 Cr2O7 uh...uh...let's see...I promised 23 new formulas...uh...uh...that's two, right?...uh...how about...naw, already done that....uh...oh, forget it! CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 CrO2 There! That's twenty-one, plus two at the top, makes twenty-three! Whew! Now for what I really wanted to say: Get new "Horizontal Line" for your TRaSh-80! Why spend costly time copying this gem of a program from your Level 1 manual? It comes with loading instructions and directions on how to move the line around, along with how to lengthen it and shorten it. All-BASIC, instead of that icky machine language that runs much too fast anyway. Uses the TRaSh-80's brilliant, resonant low-res black-and-white graphics so the line really stands out! With sound, but only if you listen to the output port after typing in CSAVE. ┌──────────────────────┐ │ │ │ │ Actual-size picture │ │ │ │ of a chromate molecule │ │ │ │ │ ◄───────────┘ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ └──────────────────────┘
10 INSTANTANEOUS SOFTWARE HARDWARE MANAGER: Extended BASIC 65 K (tape of course) Color Computer Mind Language Tired of all that stupid Color Computer hardware coming out for your TRaSh-80 Color? Like stringy floppies (barf me out!) and 64 K RAM expansions (gag me with a (fill in) !) and - horror of horrors - disk drives (fer certain!)!!!!!!! Well, then you need the new Color Computer version of the late, great, Hardware Manager! This program tells you exactly were to find that little needed hardware, and also tells you where to tell the salesperson to put it. It also comes with a little modification that lets you run TRSTOS 87.4 (or even TRSDOS 87.4) so that you don't need any hardware! And if that isn't enough, the program draws out to the screen, in large, friendly letters, "DON'T PANIC DUMP!" With sound! PRICE: Er...well...uh...it really is a nice program! NOT ANOTHER HARDWARE MODIFICATION: The usual This is what Instantaneous Software is famous for! We have nothing but hardware modifications, and programs des- igned to run on them. And now, we're giving you the same bull feathers again! But this time, we've added a twist, because you have no idea exactly what this particular hard- ware modification is! Could be a disk drive (yecch), could be a memory expansion, could be a line printer, could even be a sledge hammer to take care of that nasty keyboard bounce. Remember our motto: Take a chance with us, if you can rig your RND command in your favor! PRICE: Also unknown! (Surprise!) This advertizement continued next page...same time...same...
11 Instantaneous Software ELEVATOR PENETRATOR STIMULATOR SIMULATOR Made by John M. Ator so that he could popularize his own name. This game program, playable only if you have 64 K, of course, puts you in an elevator with a joystick con- trol, viewscreen, weapons system, and jammed door. You must PENETRATE an enemy installation, STIMULATE their incre- dibly sexy member-of-the-opposite-sex high leader, and then SIMULATE reproduction so that you can break off the royal strain, which by this time has developed hemophilia all over the place. Then, of course, you have to open the elevator door, which is where your strength, agility, and hand-eye coordination really come in, because you only have two min- utes to open it before the muzak drives you certifiably insane. With sound effects (like "The Sound of Muzak"). PRICE: Yeah big... Instantaneous Software (not the same as "William's") 1313 13th street Los Angeles, Denmark 000-1 1-(555)-678-9101112 (give or take a digit)
12 TRSTOS 87.4 "If you can't say something nice, then say something nasty." The above line was written by an ancient Latvian philos- opher in the year 456 B.C.E. (We could tell - it was marked as such). Notice something about the way it's structured? I don't know about you, but since this is a computer maga- zine, it looks like an IF-THEN statement in BASIC to me. You see? Even in the ancient days of philosophical Latvia, they used computer languages. So there. Nyaah! By now many of you out there are probably asking, "Why is this nitwit talking about an ancient Latvian twerp when this article is about TRSTOS 87.4?" Well, I'll tell ya: because! Anywho, it seems that the TRaSh-80 company has come thr- ough once again with this absolute finale ultimate operating system permutation. Even though this is their very first (and hopefully last) Tape Operating System (TOS for the thick heads out there), they persisted in calling it "Version 87.4" in honor of the dictatorial DOS counterpart they created. The system itself lives up to the expectations of all who have tried TRSDOS 87.4 and used it to take over alien worlds. All the familiar commands are here (GET, PUT, OPEN,CLOSE, KILL, GO NORTH, etc.), and the system impliments them in exactly the same way that TRSDOS 87.4 does. The only limi- tation seems to be the operating speed. It takes well over a full minute to load the TOS in from tape, even at Sorta High baud (1217½ bits/sec). If you want to use tape BASIC (see the article coming up), that takes another one minute,
13 TRSTOS 87.4 thirty-three-and-a-third seconds of loading time. And then the fun part: memory restrictions! Like most versions of DOS (or TOS), TRSTOS 87.4 takes up a little over 8 K of RAM. When implimenting tape BASIC on top of this, the free memory (especially in non-expanded systems) is severely limited. I loaded both into my 16 K system, and found that it left me with two free bytes with which to do whatever I pleased. Still, it's nice to have a computer who talks like a HAL 9000, knows your every thought, and sometimes demolishes entire star systems of its own volition. One nice advantage of a TOS over a DOS is that a TOS can never accidentally crash your tapes, especially when the tape drive is turned off. However, as you have probably guessed, TRSTOS 87.4 over- looks deactivated systems as simply having minor obstructions, turns them on, and proceeds uninhibited to charge boldly through at your whim and crash the tape anyway. One word of warning: do not use a tape recorder that can record in the fast-forward mode! TRSTOS 87.4 is fast, slow, efficient, stupid, intelligent, useless, and powerful. It has more adjectives going for it than a common noun. Just remember to keep it well fed and remain its friend. User-mean files oft times leave home and/ or lease bombers to use on your property. █
14 ROOSKY SOFTWARE REVOLT! Level IV.V 57K or so (tape or safety pin) Model II.V Russian Language Tired of succumbing to the whims of capitalistic society, but think the communist nations have all got the wrong idea? Then Revolt! is for you! You probably read about this game in the previous issue of 80-Femtocomputing, and got a bad impression of it. That's because you didn't read the 375 pages of documentation (which look suspiciously like Marx's "The Communist Manifesto!")! You start out with x number of soldiers, y number of weapons, and z number of supplies. Don't know what these variables mean? Then read the documentation! It comes with a joystick option as well as the normal sentence-entry interpreter found in most adventures. Don't listen to those pansies in the White House! REVOLT! PRICE: 19.95 containers of Russian vodka (or yogurt) Roosky Software (not the same as "Williams") 1917 Castro lane San Dune, El Salvador phone: 1-(213)-555-4A00H Ask about our special rates for members of the communist party!
15 SLODOUN Since this issue is all pro-tape and anti-disk, the disk user out there by now are probably feeling pretty guilty about hogging all that baud to themselves. I mean, some of us just can't afford sixty thousand baud! And then you come down on us for being so slow! Hunh! Why, you oughta be boiled in crankcase oil, you dirty, no-good...ahem! Now, on with our story.... If you disk users are feeling exceptionally guilty right now (which you should, you little bastard swords!), you're probably thinking to yourselves, "Gee whiz, how can I slow down my disk drive so that it goes at the same baud rate as tape?" Well, disk users, you came to the right article! Slodoun is actually quite a simple little program. Oper- ated from superzap or superduperzap or crapzap, the user simply inserts kilometer-long delay loops between the data input steps. The only problem with this seems to be that the disk is still operating at full speed, and therefore about 99¼% of the data is missed. But then again, who needs old data anyway? Just convert the disks to about sixtieth-den- sity, and you'll be able to keep up with the new-and-improved five hundred bit/sec baud rate. Either that, or get Aant Eater's new "Slodoun" for hardware! Aant Eater hard-and-soft ware is becoming so confident that Slodoun will catch on (either in software or hardware form) that they've begun to produce 1/60 density disk pro- grams. Their greatest hit so far is "Super Duper Hero," of which they've sold a monstrous two copies (and what with the big thing on pirating in this country, who knows how many people now own this program?). Below is an exerp from a
16 Slodoun typical game (nice way to seigue, eh?): NONAME: We must stop Captain Communist before he releases his goon platoon on the world! SUPERGUY: I'll stop him with my freeze breath! NONAME: You don't have any freeze breath. SUPERGUY: Why doesn't anybody tell me these things! ANNOUNCER: Sometimes, even your best friends won't tell you... CAPTAIN COMMUNIST: Shut up, capitalist swine! CAPT. COM'S ZAPGUN: Zap! ANNOUNCER: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!!!!! ANNOUNCER'S BODY: Sizzle! SUPERGUY: Oh oh, he's just killed the announcer! NONAME: Good riddance! SPEEDY GONZALES: But señores, he iss getting away! NONAME: Well, don't just stand there like a lump of unstable molecules! Go get him! SPEEDY: Okay, I do that! Ándale, ándale, hija, hija!! SUPERGUY: I'll stop him with my super speed! NONAME: You don't have any super speed. SUPERGUY: Oh. Gee whiz, what do I have? NONAME: A chest a few kilometers wide and a set of perfect titanium teeth! SUPERGUY: Okay, then, I'll stop him with my super teeth! SPEEDY: No need, señor. I jave got heem. CAPT. COM: You fools! You can't possibly hope to stop me! My plan to destroy the world is perfect, and I won't deal with incompetents such as you! SPEEDY: But señor, in three seconds I jave run after you, caught you, tied you up, secured your goon platoon, and
17 Slodoun brought you back! CAPT. COM: But even as we speak, my arch friend Lex Badguy is on the other side of the Earth destroying it! NONAME: How? CAPT. COM: Don't ask me! He's the genius! I trust him; if he says he's gonna destroy the world, he'll do it. SUPERGUY: We've got to stop him! SPEEDY: Okay, I weel take you to heem! (The screen turns white and black, and the user is given a feeling of incredible speed) SPEEDY: Well, here we are! SUPERGUY: Wow, that was fast! NONAME: Too fast. Superguy, you just stepped in something. SUPERGUY: Great Scott! It's craptonite! The radiation is... affecting...my body! Can't...talk without...using strings of...three periods...between my statements! (Instantly, Speedy creates a super-duper whirlwind which sucks the deadly craptonite up and out of the atmosphere) SUPERGUY: Thanks, Speedy G.! I needed that. NONAME: Look! Up in the sky! LEX BADGUY: No, no, you super fools! Look over here! SUPERGUY: Great Scott! It's Lex Badguy! LEX: Congrats, noodles, on reading the subtitles! SUPERGUY: Well, Lex, it looks like it's about time we had that big fight we've always been talking about! (The tone generator immediately begins outputting Batman music as the words "Biff!" "Oof!" and "Wham!" randomly appear on the screen. In a few short seconds, it's all
18 Slodoun over, and a low-resolution Superguy is lying unconscious.) LEX: It just goes to show you that a wide chest and perfect teeth are no match for a good right hook. NONAME: Oh yeah? Then try this! (Noname instantly leaps across the six meters of distance between herself and Lex Badguy. Startled, Lex fails to move out of the way before Noname's vicious, deadly hands dig into his flesh and literally tear him to pieces. Small low-res fragments fly out and hit the CRT with a digsgusting noise.) SUPERGUY: What happened? NONAME: I've proven once again that injustice and evil are no match for...the super duper heroes! SPEEDY GONZALES: Oh oh! Here comes the tweest ending! We are being attacked by a flying floppy disk! NONAME: Oh, no! Not again! It's TRSDOS 87.4! SUPERGUY: Don't worry - I'll stop it with my freeze breath! █
19 BAD LODE SOFTWARE Let's hear it out there for: SOFTWARE "The tape user's friend" (mainly because I don't own disk!) Just look at our lengthy line of medium-quality softare: 1. All-Terrain Vehicle (a multi-arcade game) 2. Another Star-Trek Game (once again...) 3.
Eighteennineteen! separate adventures (twenty-one if you count the Trash Island trilogy three times) 4. Anti-Aircraft Turret Strike (Let's hear it out there for 4K BASIC programs!) 5. Goon Cresta (Just kidding - we don't have it) 6. Empire Wars (Bleaccccch!!!) Write to us - or better yet, don't! We hate junk mail!
20 SOWING MACHINE Well, what did you siriously expect? A blue-white star? I mean, I'm only doing another one of those monogamous product reviews like you see in here all the time! Gee whiz! After all, nobody's forcing you to turn to this page and read this article. So why are you reading it, you schmoe? Get outta here! Go read a commercial or something! Anywho, Pinecone Software, the makers of Mars Rover Adven- ture, Basic on Basic, and Snail Attack in Slow Motion, have really outdone themselves this time with regard to "accurate slowness." As the titles suggests, "Sowing Machine" has to do with planting your crops. The game is all text, but shows cute little pictures of farm equipment in the top seven lines of the screen (which will not scroll away on a model III if you do a little poking around before you run this program). At the start of the game, you choose which seeds to buy with your allotment of twenty-seven dollars and fifty-six Italian granookles. Then, after waiting a full thirty minutes to make the arrangements and get the seeds back to your farm, you can start plowing. Then the real fun comes in: the full slowness of this program is at last shown when you wait six months until the harvest. Not wanting to run through the entire game, I decided to look at the code,which was written in Basic-on-Basic. Usually, the game ends in disaster when the sudden summer frost sets in and kills everything you have (the frost is about the temperature of liquid nitrogen). If you are extremely lucky, though, your crop will survive and you'll make about four-and- a-half dollars selling it. Now that's what I like: a real challenge! █
21 TRaSh-80 HARDWEAR THE VULCAN CANNON HARD DISK DRIVE Tired of those old micro- and nano-computers of yester decade that boasted mere "Megabytes" of storage on a Winches- ter drive? Are the few hundred nanobytes of storage you get on a laser disc getting a bit cramped with those "Real" programs of yours that really know how to use up core? Well then, this little beauty is for you! The vulcan cannon is to the Winchester what the Winchester was to the musket. A single vulcan cannon hard disk can store 300 Terabytes per side, which means a total of 1½ quadrillion bytes of storage. And these are the big, macho, industry standard 100 bit bytes, not those wimpy 16 or 32 bit models you saw in antique shops. This is perfect for TRaSh-80 model VII and model VIII computers that can nearly handle 100 bit _ bytes and programs that take more than 10M of them. Don't let the competition fool you! Vulcan Cannon Hard Drives are the one to buy for the serious programmer-who-wants-to-store- everything-he-knows-in-one-system! POWER GRID PLUS The hardware modification known as "Power Grid," the cute little device that lets you draw power from Con Ed without them knowing it, was a resounding success! And now we offer the improved version of this award-winning pseudolegal device: Power Grid Plus! With all the features of Power Grid, the Plus version also has brownout, the boosting modification which lets you drain whole cities for running those really "Big" programs, as well as your subatomic accelerator. Designed by 01567312, this is a virtual basic necessity.
22 DATELINE: ASTEROID ALPHA Ever since their discovery in Julaugust 1983, the C-30 tape mines on asteroid Alpha have caused a complete reversal of the computer revolution. Despite the 5¼" disk mines sup- plying Earth with over half its floppy disk production, the tape mines are so much richer that tapes can now be sold for fractions of a cent each and the manufacturer still makes a profit! Here's what some of the people working there have to say about the Hardware Revolution and Asteroid Alpha: "Well, this place sure 'n heck is big. About twice as big as Asteroid Beta. I go out here every morning at 4:30 pm and strat diggin' up a storm. We get some real purty lookin' tapes out o' these mines, dontcha think?" "Hey, you got anything to eat? I'm starved. I haven't eaten a byte (har har har) since breakfast time and all the vending machines are shut down. Could you signal a nearby supply ship or something? I'm starved." "You'd think they'd have the decency to give us some arti- ficial gravity, wouldn't you? But no-O-o! They just send us out in 1982 space suits (which are horribly out of fashion) armed with a few clamps and magnetic shoes. What the heck are our magnetic shoes supposed to hold on to anyway? This is a chrome-and-hydrocarbon asteroid, not an iron one! Say, you wouldn't happen to have anything to eat on you, would you?" As you can see, the employees were very concerned about their overwhelming production of C-30 cassette tapes. 'Way back in the dark ages of 1983, a software company named Avenger Irrational (Snott Adama, Inc.) for some then-
23 Dateline: Asteroid Alpha too-mysterious-to-do-anything-but-think-that-the-company-had- gone-certifyably-insane reason laid down a property claim to asteroid Beta. Later that year as you know (unless you are a blithering moron) the mine produced its first floppy disk of 5¼" size. The mines on asteroid Beta turned out to be so much richer in 5¼" (and 8") disks than those on asteroid Alpha that Avenger Irrational has been able to completely undersell everyone else in terms of disk-stored programs. Since this is the tapes issue of 80 femto, though, we were seriously considering burning down AI's stockpile of cheapo disks and destroying the asteroid they got them from. But don't tell them, OK? Many astronomers have spectulated as to the origin of the pre-made tapes and disks of the asteroid belt. Some of the more prominent theories follow: "I think the asteroid belt is a giant parking lot for extraterrestrials. What we're doing by mining the minor planets is actually opening up their space ships and taking the stuff from their computers. If you remember, one of the tapes had some strange message recorded on it which I could have sworn sounded like a bit or two. If we don't stop mining the asteroids the aliens are going to find out and come to Earth and disintegrate us with their Eludium PU-36 explosive space modulators!" "It's so obvious, you secular dummies! We designed tapes and disks the way we did because they were at the root of God's plan for the universe! When we mine other planets, which are of course far more heavenly and uncorrupted than Earth, we're naturally going to find tapes and disks because
24 Dateline: Asteroid Alpha God placed them there at the time of the divine creation for mankind to find when He chose the time of our worthiness. My full account can be read in the Heavenly Journal, if you can read Latin. The above theorist was recently machine-gunned down by a mob of Catholics who claimed he was a heretic. "Well, there's no reason why it couldn't have happened! Back when the solar system was just a condensing cloud of interstellar gas, there were just enough variations in the dens- ity and gravity in just the right places that they formed whole takes and disks in the asteroid belt. I've run a com- puter simulation of this account (on a TRaSh-80, of course!) and I've figured the odds against it. The chances of this occurring are not zero! And since this could have occurred, there's no reason to suppose it didn't. QED." "Actually, Avenger Irrational had a tremendous overstock of tapes, and a smaller overstock of disks. If word had ever gotten out about this, they would've been laughed right out of the software industry. So, they proposed a new plan: buy asteroid Beta, and when you fly out there to 'scout out the property,' drop some tapes and a few disks on asteroid Alpha. That way, you can claim that your overstock came from an extraterrestrial mine on asteroid Beta and not from The Tape Company here on Terra Firma. Have you ever actually seen them working on asteroid Beta? No! The security is so thick you can't get near the place. And have we ever tried looking for tapes on disks on asteroid Gamma? or Delta? or Theeta? No! This scandal is a great big plot put out by that pinko AI! Commy scum!" █
25 THE PROGRAM STOAR Er...uh...Well, we only market programs that are featured on the front cover of 80 femto during the current month. This month, though (the last month, I hear), we are in the midst of an "annual" tapes issue which has no featured programs on the front cover. So...no programs. Sorry. However, if you'd be interested in some of the hard stuff (you know, hardware), we can get you som real great under- ground connections. They'll prove they're underground types by riding the subway to your pickup location! How'd you like a memory expansion kit to 32 or 48 K? Sure, the Nationalist World Government outlawed 'em, but who's gonna know? Or maybe you'd like a second-hand vulcan cannon drive for half the list price. Get in touch. We're in the Yellow Pages under "Seamy Out- fits." Or write to this address: The Program Stoar 5746 Sunset Bl. Los Angeles, CA 90028 No tricks! I'm watching you!
26 NEWS FROM POKER TABLE SOFTWARE, INC. by David Bush Yes, PTI's really done it this time! No more hard wiring, no more AlbatrossDOS, no more FISHNet, no more TMS-8F, and no more Snott Nolan Adama (formerly Scott Nolan Adama until he change his name to avoid getting flak from "The Mob"). This time, they've really outdone their Sri-Kandan selves with the mose innovative thing ever created by sentient beings anywhere in the universe. It's SO new and innovative that they won't tell me what it is! I've had some ideas, though. It might be a Snobol program that figures out everything the worker has to know to succeed without even trying, called "SnoJob." Or it might be Albatr- ossDOS 1.2, the version that even TRSDOS 87.4 must claim a weak second-place to. Or, even worse, it might be the sequel to TROFF, TRINBETWEEN, where Tron and Allen try to discover the bit status that lies between off and on (½), which would double the storage capacity of every digital computer ever designed. But personally, I think it's just POST MAN, another one of those programs from the "Oh, man!" software package that says "Ha, you got ripped off!" and locks up the keyboard. Whatever it is, though, I'm sure the "Crunch, Scrunch, and Concentrate" people will compress it into a couple of bytes and sell it for twice the PTI price and make three times the money. Then things'll be back to normal around here again. █
27 AVENGER IRRATIONAL starring Snott Adama (formerly Scott Adama until he changed his name to get away from The Mob) ADVENTURE 21: Planetary Nebula Adventure Your spacecraft cannot go into hyperspace (ever seen one that could?!). Deep within the heart of the Bubble Nebula, an urgent cry for help is given. Can you survive the years of total boredom as you plummet head-long through the glowing sphere of gas and dust? Can you begin to comprehent the low density of the "cloud" whose molecules and atoms are so widely dispersed that you can count them as they pass by? Will you dare to brave the alien environment which is closer to a vacuum than any Terrestrial pumps can achieve? We chal- lenge you to try! PRICE: Please, no references to asteroid Beta despite the program's subject matter! 25¢ tape, 35¢ disk, as usual (I never thought the software wars would really go this far!). Avenger Irrational In the Alley behind Rocky's Pizza, 5746 Sunset Bl. Los Angeles, RA 90028 (ask for "Snott") No tricks! I'm watching you!
28 RADIO FLAK TAPE BASIC The TRaSh-80 company, more commonly misnomered Radio Flak, has never been known for its strong software support of its products. The best Model I/III/IV program they've come out with is Invadesion Force, which is bugged, and they expect us to debug our software using T-Bug, the Debugger of the '60s. Son when they announced they were entering the Tape BASIC market, I was a bit skeptical. And boy, was I right! Radio Flak Tape BASIC, more com- monly acronymized as RaFTaB, is hardly more than Level II.V BASIC with a few useless disk commands thrown in. OPENing a file is perfectly OK when you're working with a disk (or a virtual ROM disk), but OPENing a tape file just doesn't make sense. When OPEN "I" is used, the screen blanks out and the program freezes up until the "Play" button on the tape recorder is pressed (after five seconds of this not happening, Tape BASIC will flash the message, "Hey, stupid, push play on the tape recorder!" for a few milliseconds in line 0 of the screen). Similarly, OPEN "O" requires you to push Play & Record. Now while the tape file is opened, the tape drive is chugging merrily along, the REM concrol continuously trans- mitting a signal, whether you're doing tape I/O or not. This means (especially at interpreter speeds) that outputs will leave blank spots on the tape and inputs will miss vital information if the program's blank spots don't coincide with the tape's. CLOSE, fortunately, returns everything to normal and waits until you push "Stop" on the tape recorder -- excuse me, low-speed linear data transfer drive unit.
29 Radio Flak Tape BASIC GET and LOAD will search all over the tape for the file you want, from beginning to end. PUT and SAVE are even worse. They have you play (not record) the tape to the com- puter from beginning to end, until they find a blank spot big enough for their data to be stored in. If no such blank spot exists, a "Tape full error reading drive 1 (or 2)" results. If these is such a blank spot, it has you play back the tape from the beginning until it finds where the blank spot starts, then it tells you to push Play & Record and finally transfers the data. This function is usually foolproof if you realize one thing: Radio Flak assumes you've been buying only Radio Flak products for your computer; this means certified-leaderless- type tapes. If PUT or SAVE hit the leader they are likely to assume it's a blank spot and get you to dump the data there. Not the best setup for someone whe reads 80 femto, which I believe is outlawed from Radio Flak magazine stands. KILL searches through the tape until it finds the file, then asks you to rewind the tape just a smidge, then goes over the title of the program (but not the program itself) with a 00H steamroller and plands a 5DH flag which I am told is a "Freebie" signal to SAVE and PUT but which I have yet to see be proven. GO NORTH does just that -- it magnet- izes the entire tape (and tape drive read-head) until it's completely North-polarized. These items are thereafter completely useless for data storage, but make great combin- ation degaussers/compasses. Tape BASIC is not for us macho tape users. TRSTOS is ok, but give me a Level II.V BASIC any day. █
30 MICRO-CON Wordquasar: Model II, XII, XVIa, XVIb, or MM Machine lingo, requires some DOS or other The famous word processor that would rather use meaning- less on-screen control characters than the special effects of the computer it's customized for! Who needs real under- lined or highlighted characters for underlined or boldfaced line-printer effects when you can use carat-S or carat-B on almost any generic system so much more easily? This piece of software might be overpriced, especially the (yecch) tape version, but hey! We're MicroCon! PRICE: $899.00, and that's the truth! (tape is 6½¢ less) Numberquasar: Model I, II, III, IIII, IIIII, IIIIII, or IIIIIII Requires some version of Pilot Number processors are the new wave of the '80s! Believe me! WE say so! So before the number processor police break down your door and take you in for not hav ing the genuine MicroCon Numberquasar word processor, rush right out and buy one of these beauties! We aren't yet sure what it does, but I'm sure you'll figure out something.... PRICE: only $699.00 this time (less 6½¢ if tape) MicroCon 5746 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 1-(213)-555-CONU that's 1-(213)-555-CONU order now!
31 A FAREWELL TO HARMS Just a good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm, Been in trouble with the law since the day they was born, Makin' their way, trappin' their kill, Someday the mountain might get 'em, but the law never will.... 'Cause they're the Dukes of M*A*S*H, They run moonshine or hash, And you can take or leave them as you please! (sung to the tune of "Suicide is Painless") Well, that's just about it. When a computer magazine has three or four articles relating to movies, super-heroes, and TV shows, you get the idea that the author's just about run out of material. These little signals let me, your friendly neighborhood Roger M. Wilcox, know that it was about time to pack it in. I love long goodbys, but I don't think you do, so I'll just spare you the details and leave you with this one parting thought: If mankind had never existed, would we still have cassette data tapes and think Australia was the biggest island?