Submitted by Dan Dooré on Monday, May 21, 2018 - 19:10.
|Review Of '93 (Not!)
|Details Of Sam Spec Network Club
|Games Master Arcade Game
|Sam Version Of Spectrum Classic
|Address/Phone No. Database
|Stefan Drissen Edwin Blink Robert van der Veeke
|Plays Amiga Music Modules - Version 1 (7.8KHz and SAA1099 sound chip only)
|Screens From Sampaint
|Andy Monk Roy Oldroyd
|Music Done On E-Tracker
|Directory Utility (Needs Mdos)
|One Man and His Frog
|Slightly 'Eccentric' Games Master Game
|Draws Pie Charts
|Create Your Very Own Universe!
BM Editorial Happy New Year everyone, and have a great 1994. We've got a review of 1993 later on, just to add a little bit of nostalgia, and a HUGE music section. And that's about it as far as special features goes, I'm afraid! There is all the usual bumph though, so don't worry. As most of you'll already be aware, Hogmany in Scotland is a big event. For the off-licences, at any rate. And supermarkets. You would not believe how many loaves of bread we got through at Wm Low. Hundreds. They made me get up at 5:45 in the morning on Hogmany. Can you believe that? I was just about dead by midnight! Luckily I survived, of course, and in fact managed to keep going until 6:00 am on 1st Jan, so I got through the magic 24 hours, which is a first for me. It may not be to some people, but to me it meant a lot. Yes. It was kind of depressing, to be honest. If only I could have made it until daylight, THEN I would have felt bad. BM Editorial Saturday didn't happen though. I got up for five hours then went back to bed, and an instant later - boom! It was Sunday! And I was still feeling less-than-healthy. Here's a tip for our younger readers - when, in future, you become inebriated (drunk) to the point of virtual unconsciousness, do NOT go down to the fridge for some more lager. Even if it is free (thanks, by the way Colin. Nice lager. Cheers). In fact, kids, don't even start drinking. It really isn't worth it. It causes all sorts of nasty things to happen. At this point, I shall emphasize that nothing humiliating or at all embarrassing happened to me over New Year. Nothing whatsoever. Just make sure that you're aware of that fact. And don't listen to Colin if he ever claims otherwise, because he's lying. He's making it up. He is. My resolution for the year is this: not to be stranded up in the city centre for 2 hours without any taxi phone numbers. It isn't fun, and it is cold. Very cold. And boring. And COLD! BM Editorial Another piece of advice is don't take out too much money because it's very likely that you are in fact going to spend it all. The worst part is that you won't even know what you spent it on. I'll bet taxis probably use up fair chunks (Aha! That's where it all went!). Apart from all these things, it was a good night. A good laugh. I could give details, but I don't think Colin'd like me devoting an entire issue to such frivolous things. I believe there are some nice new software items coming up in the not too distant future (Gah! What a cliche!) but I'll leave them for Colin to announce. Lemmings has been delayed until June, due to last minute recolouring of the creatures' eyes. Only joking. Ha ha ha. I'll leave this editorial now. Let's face it, it wasn't going much further anyway. Again, have a great 1994. - BRIAN CM CM? Who's that? Greetings for the new year! Yes, I'll take the brief mention I'm permitted to wish you all a very happy new year. Here's hoping that we see even more great products like SAMPaint, Driver and Lemmings! If you ordered one of the packs which included the mouse and haven't received it by now, fear not! As we've always said, we can't guarantee the delivery of hardware due to the vast number of people that are involved in supplying all the bits and delivering the hardware. However, you should receive something during January. At the time of writing, Lemmings hasn't been shipped out but provided Psygnosis like the version we're showing them, in a few days it should be out, probably by the time you read this. Phone to check. I'd like to thank the people who provided suggestions and beta- tested SAMPaint. Unfortunately, the only people's names I wrote down were Andy Jones, Bill Laurie and Carol Brooksbank. CM Typical Scot eh? In true Colin Macdonald tradition, I was too lazy / busy / forgetful / nasty / mean to send out any Christmas cards this year. I mean, what a silly time of year to expect me to send out cards - when it's the busiest month in the computer business!! Anyway, by way of small apology and thanks, I'd like to credit the people that sent me one by mentioning them here : Chris Dodd Norma Wrangham Tim Wilkins PDC Copyprint Alan Laws Stefan Drissen Phil Glover SDL Terry Filby Bob, Jenny, Rose and Anne-Marie from FORMAT DisCopy Labs Craig Turberfield Stuart Burton & family Nigel Kettlewell The ZAT Crew Polly Shepherd Calvin Allett Derek & Maureen Morgan Upon meeting Brian in a pub late on Christmas Eve, I was told that Ian Slavin had sent me one via him, but I've never received it....! CM Wonderful sales Revelation and FRED can announced almost record sales of Driver and SAMPaint respectively. Both utilities caught the eye of many a SAM owner and it looks like they're both destined to become very popular indeed throughout '94 and beyond. Revelation have just put the finishing touches to "Legend Of Eshan" - a MASSIVE Role Playing Game (RPG) which is due out in early February. Programmed by John "SAMDice" Eyre it features over thirty two thousand (yes - 32,000!) locations - each with a MODE 4 screen! We hope to have screenshots for next month as well as more details on it. Expected price is £14.95 with discounts to FRED and FORMAT subscribers. NB : This game is not available through FRED at this time. Also planned for release in early '94 are "Onslaught" - a Gauntlet style shoot-em-up; "Ore Warz II" - a strategy game; and "WaterWorks 2" - follow-up to the superb original. Revelation also have a few extra surprises planned with a licence and a much awaited utility.....stay tuned! CM TTFN Well, I'm afraid that's my scribblings drawing to a close - I'm being bullied by Brian to get something finished and the fact that we gave the Dundee pubs and Scottish whiskey distilleries one of the best Christmas sales of their life has lead to a four-day hangover - which isn't bad considering it was a fourteen day drinking session..... Just before Christmas, FRED had it's staff night out - Brian accidentally met me in a night club. Then the FRED office threw a party on New Years Eve - half of Monifieth turned up and I THINK I remember Brian stumbling around for a while. There's actually quite a funny story about Brian that day, but perhaps he wouldn't appreciate me telling it... When most of the revellers disappeared late on January 2nd, the rest of us had a major clean-up operation. And then yes, you guessed it, we celebrated having cleaned up the house! Did I ever tell you I was best-friends with Betty Ford? Enjoy the rest of issue - and don't phone too early in the mornings!! BM Brian's Review of 1993 Hmm, not bad. 7 out of 10. BM The Question Is How Fast It's a Superchunk song, okay? And I used it for no other reason that it's a good track. Ah, I'd forgotten about the Christmas FRED night out until that little reminder. It was a pretty decent night out in fact, and I'm sure something similar will happen next year as well (and most of the weeks in between if '93 was anything to go by!). And Colin was lying - absolutely nothing untoward took place involving my good self at approx. 5:30 am on January 1st. Nothing. No funny stories or anything like that. RIGHT!? Apologies to Ian Slavin for not passing on Colin's Christmas card on time. Ahem, oops! Thanks for mine by the way, Ian. That of course did arrive on time, possibly because it wasn't left up to some halfwit to pass it on. Unlike Colin's one, which will get there eventually, I promise. How about I keep it for another 11 months and save you the hassle for next Christmas? How Colin got the house clean again, I'll never know........ BM Disc Contents Without wasting any more time analysing the New Year festivities, I'll begin taking you through the disc. SCREENS this month is a completely Pauli Lindgren dominated affair. He even provided his own impressive screen viewing program. Thanks for that slideshow viewer, but I think it's maybe a little too extravagant; most people don't really need musical accompaniment to their screen-viewing, and FRED is very rarely in a position where we've got squillions of free tracks and memory in an issue. To be honest, it wasn't easy fitting it on this issue but I felt you deserved some recognition for it is a fine viewer. METEOR MANIA is, apart from the main menu, the first of this month's Matt Round sessions (the other being OMAHF which I'll get to later). It's a game, done on Gamesmaster, and like Matt's other games it really is incredible! It would be a piece of cake to convince people it was done in assembly rather than on a game creation package. Full instructions upon loading. BM Disc Contents JETPAC is the second of our games this month and was written by David Lewis. Based on the old Speccy classic (or should I say "blatantly copied"), this is another fine example of what can be done on Gamesmaster. For those too young to remember this old favourite (God, that really makes me feel old), you must collect the parts of the ship which fall from the sky (who needs realism?) and then fly over to the far right hand side to drop them in place. Then collect the little fuel pods which also fall and fill up the rocket. Once the ship's been filled simply fly down and touch it and whooosh! - you're away! To the next level, anyway... This may sound easy, and indeed it would be were it not for the hordes of nasty aliens which in true alien fashion kill you instantly. Why doesn't somebody write a game in which you and the alien debate for a while, maybe begin negotiations to see if instant termination is all it's cracked up to be? The player could maybe be equipped with an alien-repellant space suit (although that might conceivably ruin the game. Hmmm). BM Disc Contents SMARTPHONE is a shareware thing by William McGugan (MORK). It isn't an AI chip for your telephone to render it "smart", enabling you to hold meaningful conversations with it and play it at chess, but a sort of address book thing. I suppose you could pretend it's an AI chip, though. It could be quite amusing, in fact. Tell a younger cousin that your mate Bill (who you are on the phone to, of course) is in fact the man in the telephone, and he can't get out. Then laugh evilly as said younger cousin gets a good belting for dismantling the telephone trying to get the wee man out. Har har har. You could always just use this utility as God (or in this case Mork) intended, by entering the names and addresses of friends and businesses and FRED and stuff into the program and then allowing your SAM to phone them up! Hours of fun! Oh - I forgot to mention - if you ain't got a mouse, you're not going to get very far with this. So buy one! NOW!!! (And order Lemmings and SAMPaint with it for added value) BM Disc Contents MOD PLAYER is a major breakthrough for SAM owners. It allows you to play Amiga music modules (SOUNDTRACKER, MED, PROTRACKER etc.) on the Coupe! Stefan Drissen and Edwin Blink are responsible for this, mainly Stefan I believe, with a screen by Robert Van Der Weeke. Just load the program and then enter the name of the module we've provided for you - it's called BACARD.MOD and compared to the 2/3K we're used to for E-Tunes this takes 35K! And it's tiny compared to some modules you find for the Amiga. We're going to try to get some more modules for later FREDs, but until then feel free to convert your own. Here's how: 1)- Find an Amiga 2)- Find a music module. There are plenty going about in PD circles, so it shouldn't be too hard. 3)- Find a PC disc-reading utility for the Amiga, AND for the SAM. KE-Disc on FRED 36 will do nicely for the SAM, as will PC Suite. BM Disc Contents 4)- Proceed to copy the MOD file onto the MS-DOS disc. Make sure that the MOD file is NOT compressed. Many have been cut down to size with utilities like PowerPacker in order to fit them onto discs, but these compressed ones won't work with SAM. Files called blahblah.MOD.PP, PP.MOD.blahblah etc are very probably compressed. 5)- Load up your PC disc reader on SAM, and transfer the code file DIRECTLY to a SAM disc. You should now be able to load the module into Stefan's amazing program! The samples aren't quite as clear as they sound on the Amiga due to the fact that some resolution has to be lost so that that SAM can handle things. This doesn't mar the quality too much though - tracks still sound excellent! As I've said, we're going to try and fit further modules on later FREDs, but they do use an enormous amount of disc space. BM Disc Contents Those of you who splashed out on E-Tracker might be left feeling that you've just kissed another wad of notes goodbye for nothing. Don't worry though. Just because we're now able to listen to tracks created on the Amiga, it doesn't mean we're going to be able to use them in games and demos and things. The SAM can play these Amiga tunes, but that's pretty much pushing it to the limits. There is no package planned to use sampled sounds either, which is in itself a bad thing, but good news if you've bought E-Tracker. I'm afraid we're all just going to have to listen to these tunes as a sort of "standalone" activity - no accompanying games which people write to pad out the discs of music which are published at present (Dyzonium, Waterworks etc). SAMPAINT gives a further preview of the incredible new art package just in case you're not yet convinced of its brilliance... BM Disc Contents E-TUNES are by Andy Monk and Roy Oldroyd this month, and yep, I'm afraid it's still that same ol' E-Tune playing routine. I keep promising myself that I'll get round to doing a new screen of some sort, but you know how it is when you're a born procrastinator (and no, that is NOT a rude word), and an idle one at that. SMARTFILE is the second shareware program by William McGugan this month, and I shall solidly resist the temptation to waffle about converting crap files into smart ones, much as I avoided it for the SMARTPHONE program. This is a directory utility and needs MasterDOS to work properly. It has a comprehensive WIMP environment, and can be used with the keyboard or ideally the mouse. It's much easier to use with the mouse, by the way, so I'd advise you to get one (much as I did for the SMARTPHONE description. Am I starting to get repetitive here?). Instructions are provided, so I won't bother with details here. (Lazy as ever). BM Disc Contents OMAHF is an acronym. "For what?" I expect you're wondering, eyes burning with fervent curiosity, hunched by the screen anxious not to miss a thing. Could it be the solution to a long-forgotten game of hunt the thimble - "On My Aunt Helen's Fireplace"? Could it even be the cry of a frustrated customer in a local fast food place - "Order My And Harry's Fries"? Or is it short for "One Man And His Frog", a popular rural activity much like Sheepdog Trials except involving amphibian beings? Well, I'll put you out of your misery, dear reader, before you phone Colin and tell him I'm going through one of those phases again - it is in fact the one with the frog. Yes, honest. It is! Blame MATT ROUND for this, if you're of the anti-surreal brigade, for his is the warped mind responsible for this. BM Disc Contents OMAHF is another Gamesmaster game, you see, and the object of the game is the rounding up of numerous sheep into a pen in the fastest possible time. You, by the way, play the frog (ribbit!). Yes. Been taking the medication eh Matt? Lovely, lovely. The surrealist himself has written an explanatory piece of his own, available upon selecting option K from the main menu, which you may like to read. Haunted House is an adventure game by Jonathan Rust, just to show that we don't bear a grudge against all you adventurers out there in reader- land. Created with the creation utility on FRED 40, this places you, the reader, (well, it's not going to place your Great Uncle Bert with the wonky bowels somewhere, is it?) in a placed swarming with ghosties - the proverbial Haunted House. Woooaaah! Sorry. Just my ghost impression. Did it frighten you? Sorry. Boo! BM Disc Contents It's back! Hurrah! Bits N Bobs makes it's return! It may be without its smart front end and containing only a couple of programs, but by Jove (who IS Jove? And who originally sat next to him?) it's here and here with a vengeance. The first program draws pie-charts for you, should you be so polite as to load it up and converse with it. If for example you run a SAM magazine, and Matt Round contributes 9 programs and Stefan Drissen only 8 (a bad month for each, I think) you'd enter the data as 9 and 8. The program will then do you a pie- chart representing the proportion of the magazine done by each. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an automatic Clear Chart option, so you need to re-load or re-run the program to do a new chart. Bummer, huh? Never mind. It's still a mightily impressive progette and mucho thankos to Luke Falla for it. Andrew Collier, who actually received a credit in #40 for not doing anything at all (sorry Andrew - I bet you were REALLY mad at that!) provided the second program. BM Disc Contents It's a universe simulator, and I've a good mind not to credit Andrew in the credits part just to even the score. I suppose I'll let him off though, as it was only a first offence. The fact that it wasn't in any way his fault is also a factor here, but enough of that - onto the program itself. Universe simulates the happenings when two heavenly bodies (Kim Basinger perhaps?) come together (ah - 'tis Kim and myself. Goodie!) in space (ooh, kinky!). You specify the masses of the two bodies, their initial velocities and their angles of motion. Their vectors, I suppose. Or am I just showing my complete lack of understanding of physics here? Oh right. I'll shut up then. You also specify a universal gravitational constant which strictly speaking is not accurate, and I think we need 100 lines from young Andrew before we accept his next subscription. "I shall not allow inaccuracies to disgrace the sectors of FRED" 100 times, okay Collier? Thank you. BM Liquid Metal That's what the bloke in Terminator 2 was made of wasn't it? An amazing film that. If you missed it, I'd suggest you go and get it on video (its vid-AY-o! - bloke from Stoneybridge, Absolutely-land) right now. Seriously though, mercury (the element) is not to be taken lightly. Under no circumstances should you allow physics teachers to throw small bottles of the stuff at you. And if you do, at least have the sense not to use your teeth to try and catch the thing. It HURTS! Remember Van de Graaf generators? They were cool! We'd all be there, holding hands, standing on little polystyrene plates with our hair doing bizarre things. The teacher would say, "You'll be fine as long as nobody lets go" and what happens? Yes, of course, somebody lets go. And we all died instantly, and nobody lived happily ever after. This page of garbage, by the way, signifies the end of the magazine. Apart from the credits of course (will Andrew Collier get his mention? Oh, the suspense!). BM Credits Editor: Brian McConnell. Just for a change, like. Thanks to: Matt Round Graham Burtenshaw Pauli Lindgren Roy Oldroyd William McGugan Andy Monk David Lewis Andrew Collier Stefan Drissen Luke Falla Jonathan Rust Cheques payable to: Phone: (0382) - 535963 FRED Publishing [redacted] ===>> MUSIC ===>> ==>> SECTION ==>> =>> THIS WAY! =>> BM Music Section Too often recently I've been leaving the Music Section, clearly the most important part of the whole disc, until the very last minute. This has resulted in some loss of quantity of stuff I review, but this month there shall be no such outrageous behaviour. This month the Music Section is being done almost before anything else and so shall be most triumphant! Before I review anything can I just say a heartfelt thankyou to anybody who bought that Mr Blobby single. You really can't begin to comprehend the joy this brought to me as the DJ announced that Take That were at number two in the Chrimbo chart. This was truly a delightful moment, and I like to think it wrecked my sister's entire Christmas. So once again, thank you. Speaking of Take That, I have to admit it would be good to be at one of their concerts. Call me sick, but being the one male in an audience of thousands of 16 year olds is not completely without its merits. Just be sure to plug up the ol' ears and 'twould be well smart! BM Music Section On second thoughts, nah. NOTHING is worth that. Think of it. Having it discovered that you went to a TT concert, having it plastered over the front pages of The Sun as soon as you reach an important position in life. "I was a Take That fan - owner of everything in Britain, Brian McConnell's secret can now be revealed." No thanks. But less of the drivel and onto the reviews. Ministry - Psalm 69 Now this is what I call an album. Beginning with highly intense noise and ending with the same (with some in the middle for good measure), this is not something you're going to hear on Radio 1. Not very often, anyway. I did hear "Jesus Built My Hotrod" on Annie Whats-her-face's request show; that doesn't count though. This isn't the longest album on Earth, but with 9 tracks and 45 minutes of music it's hardly the shortest either. BM Ministry - Psalm 69 The thing I like about this is that it's excellent for both home listening - listen while you write FRED, do your homework or whatever - and for dancing. They play tracks at the local indie place and it's excellent. There's not actually a bad track on this whole CD - just some very intense, excellent music. It make take a bit of getting used to, but boy is it worth it. 9 out of 10. Pearl Jam - VS Pearl Jam have long been associated with Nirvana. Quotes like "No matter how hard they try, they're still not Nirvana," are not unusual. I can't say that I've ever noticed anything more than a very slight similarity between the two bands, and in my opinion PJ are considerably better than Nirvana. The members of the band come across as slightly less deranged than Kurt and his mates, that's for sure. BM Pearl Jam - VS This, the follow-up to Ten, is very similar to that earlier album. The band haven't tried anything radically new, but have instead concentrated on strengthening their existing style; and it's worked. There's nothing to match the huge adrenalin-rush of Alive, but Rearviewmirror comes close. That's probably the one track that you like the first time you hear it. For me, when I first heard Ten I really couldn't see what the fuss was about. Then, I borrowed it off a friend and after a few listens it all came together. That's what VS is about. The first listen or two it meant nothing, but after leaving the CD on repeat for a couple of hours everything fell into place, and this is possibly even better than Ten. It's more consistent, for one thing. Ten had a few tracks that weren't too great - not crap, but by no means excellent either. VS has no tracks that you skip just to get to that really good one that comes next. BM Pearl Jam - VS It's been said that this album features more of the band than Ten, which many felt was built too much around Vedder's vocals and left the rest of the band providing accompaniment. While I wouldn't say that Ten was quite so vocal-based, there is definitely more from the rest of the band in this. Yep, another highly recommended album from FRED - 9 out of 10. Best tracks are Rearviewmirror, Rats, Indifference and Go. And Animal. And the rest, basically! Boo Radleys - Giant Steps I've already seen this get Album of the Year Awards in magazines; that was what caused me to buy it for myself. It's not likely, therefore, that you're going to see it get a shockingly poor mark here. Quite simply, it's not a poor album. I would give it Album of the Year were it better than everything else in '93, but it isn't quite that good, so I'm not going to. BM Boo Radleys - Giant Steps Very strange is what this CD is, and no mistake. Over an hour long with 17 tracks, it takes a good while to get through it - over an hour, incredibly enough. The strange thing about it though is that there's no consistency to the tracks. One might be a good, honest, no frills Indy thing, followed by what sounds like the Beatles on strange drugs. Luckily, despite the weirdness of pretty much most of the album, it works. It's still an excellent album, but you have to be fairly open-minded going into it. Expect a normal guitar-music CD and you will be left dribbling at the sheer nonsense value of some of it! Not the best of '93, but still good. 8 out of 10. BM The Orb - Live '93 Ah, the Orb. The Orb. Need I say more? The words "ambient" and "Orb" are pretty much interchangable these days, and this album doesn't exactly hurt that situation. Taken from various concerts, generally Tokyo, Copenhagen and THAT festival (Glastonbury), this features tracks from both their albums Adventures... and UFOrb, plus a couple which were released as singles but haven't appeared in album form. Curiously, some of their best tracks have not been included, Close Encounters and Into The Fourth Dimension to name but two, but what we've got is good enough. I suppose I can forgive them. As I've said, this is a live album containing live versions of existing songs. That might make some people think twice about spending money on such a CD (or 2 in this case, as it's a double package). As most of the tracks are warped and twisted nearly (but not quite) beyond recognition, however, that line of reasoning is not particularly valid. BM The Orb - Live '93 Apart from being the Kings of Ambience, The Orb are also known for some interesting samples. There are a few corkers here which I won't spoil for you - just listen out for the Morphein Machine and turn green with envy at The Marijuana Bomb. Those two are weird! 142 minutes of "music" means that this is surely the longest album of '93, and it's one of the best too. Quality AND quantity (reminds me of FRED, somehow). The fact that it isn't really anything new, despite the very extensive remixing which has taken place, means that I'm only going to give this 8 out of 10. -+- And that sums up this month's really quite gargantuan Music Section. Eight pages? Nae bad. Other albums I've accummulated over the Chrimbo spell include the Lemonheads and Superchunk and a Therapy thing which I'll probably end up reviewing next issue. For the moment though, adieu! - BRIAN
Letters & Reviews
BM A Brief Word... "Tea." That's a brief word. So's "a." In fact they don't come much more brief than that. Sorry. Slipping back into reality for a moment, can I ask some more people to write us letters?! We're kind of running short, you see. If you can't think of anything of major global urgence to discuss, just waffle on. I do it all the time and nobody seems to mind. If they do they're clearly too polite to mention it, and for that I'm grateful. Tell us about what happened at Uncle Eric's Christmas meal and why your mother isn't speaking to him any more. I'm sure FRED readers would be intrigued. I would! If you could just scribble a few words next time you place an order, or even better, type them up (don't worry, we return discs), we'd be very happy. It would make our day, believe me. And it would give other readers a few precious moments of entertainment as well. Plus you'd become famous. Smart eh? You could become the next Robert Pain (who's back this issue, as it happens). Letter from A Laws Hope you had a quiet and enjoyable festive season; now though it is time to forget your hangover and return to work. Enclosed with this letter is a small order for no fewer than 26 back issue of FRED: issues 1 to 26 inclusive. I would also like to thank everybody or the one responsible for their/his effort in returning FRED 40 before Christmas. Whilst attempting to use NOTEPRINT [FRED #38 - a well smart word pro - BRIAN] by Calvin Allett, I discovered a problem with printing a screen dump. My solution is to run the program with MasterBASIC and change the command DUMP in line 9484 to DUMP 4. Anyone who uses the above solution will be able to print exactly the screen as shown. I'll stop now, in case you're still suffering! BM Reply to A Laws Hungover? No no, not us. The person you need to thank for getting your FRED 40 to you on time is none other than your very own postman, for if he had fallen over into the path of an oncoming Indian elephant, as is quite a common occurrence in the Newcastle area, you quite simply wouldn't have received your precious FRED at all! Now isn't that a scary thought? Thanks for the Noteprint pointer. Even as I write, I've got somebody travelling down to young Calvin's place of residence to give him a sound bit of disciplining. We'll teach him to send in half-finished programs to FRED. Ha! He'll be sorry! Is capital punishment perhaps too strong for such an offense? No, I think not... - BRIAN Letter from Robert Pain Dear Brian, Firstly, as usual, I just have to congratulate you (and all the contributors, of course) for the rather excellent issues of FRED that have immerged recently (namely 36-38). Issue 36: NotePad (used to write this) was brilliant, the demos were class and Mosaic was pretty cool (except I've beaten it on ALL levels so beat that! (I said beat that, not beat me up, HEEEELLLLPPPP)). Issue 37: All in all, pretty good. Issue 38: What with the lovely Game Over tune, the hilarious AXE Trek and that classic Bomb! game, the best for a long time I think. Time to air my views on some of the things raised recently in the letters section. I too find it incredibly frustrating/ time-comsuming trying to create E-Tracker sounds. Rarely can I create a sound exactly to my liking, more often than not I settle for some odd thing that I created at a different time. In actual fact a decompiler is an AMAZING idea, one that I personally would fully support, as I'm sure others would. Letter from Robert Pain On to the subject of Speccy material. I can clearly understand that some people don't like the Speccy stuff. I myself owned a 128k +2 for a few years, but that doesn't mean I hate the conversions. OK, so things like Podpersons aren't too hot; after all, it is old ('89?) and the music and graphics weren't amazing, but Axel F was alright and Game Over was very likeable. Shock! (ish 30) was neat, but unfortunately quite large. I think that things like LSD or NMI 3 etc. should be converted, even if they are published over a series of issues. Finally, are there any SAM PD sources around? Last time I enquired there weren't, but I'm always hopeful! Yours sincerely, Robert Pain BM Reply to Robert Pain Glad to have you back Robert! We all missed him didn't we, Other Readers (Yes! - chorus of other readers). The past few issues have been pretty excellent, (who needs modesty?!) but that's solely because of the contributors. Without their tireless work I'm afraid FRED would simply cease to exist. All those who've contributed to an issue please stand up and take a bow so we can see who you all are ................ ....................... thank you. An E-Tracker module decompressor would be good, wouldn't it? I'll need to investigate the possibility of compressing the big 78k things with a conventional compressor and the allowing the users to decompress those at home. I'll see how that goes. As far as I know, though, there's no custom-written program to do this waiting around the corner. It's in ESI's court now, I reckon. BM Reply to Robert Pain As for Speccy stuff: so, the debate continues. I think it's clear that like so many aspects of FRED, computing, and life in general, some people like things, others don't. Simple. I like the Speccy things, and I'm the editor, so they shall remain! (I love power, don't you?) I haven't heard anything from PD libraries since my last plea for info, so I'm going to assume that no, there aren't any. I don't think there's the software-writing platform to support any, to be honest. We're lucky to get the software we get at FRED; I can't see there being thousands of other programmers writing programs and just leaving them in the disc box to rot, so I assume that there aren't many people writing things. - BRIAN Thing from SAM Spec Network Club [redacted] Dear Sir, Please find enclosed a news release from the SAM Spec Network Club which we feel would be of interest to your subscribers. The nature of the new service means that we wish to bring the SSNC [sorry - I refuse to type that name in full ever again - BRIAN] to the attention of as many SAM and Spectrum owners as possible. Any assistance in achieving this would be gratefully accepted. Hence, could you please send details of your advertising rates and printing deadlines to the above address? - M Rookyard SSNC News Release A new service has been set up for SAM and Spectrum owners. Many enthusiasts feel isolated in that they do not know anyone else who is also a SAM or Spectrum owner. This is especially true with the SAM. Alternatively, some people would like to set up and run a local users' group but are unable to find enough people in their area. The SSNC is intended to put users in contact with other users with similar interests in their local area. The service is available for owners of Spectrums (all models), SAMs and QLs. A small administrative fee of around £2 will be charged to cover the costs of postage, advertising, printing, etc. Anyone who would like further details on how the SSNC works should send an SAE to the address above. Membership of the club will entitle SAM owners to use the new picture digitising service to be provided soon by Rooksoft as a stop-gap service until the new MiDGET system is completed. BM Reply to That SSNC Thing Not a bad idea that. User groups are an excellent way to keep up with the times, exchange ideas, make new friends, etc. They're also good places to get through loads of beer n tabs (for the older members, anyway). Good luck with the club, M. Are there still a lot of Speccy owners still going? It seems hard to believe somehow. Sorry - I expect I'm being offensive to some people with that. We don't charge for adverts, we just chuck them in if we can be bothered. We don't have a printing date either; believe it or not, FRED is in fact a disc magazine. Hmmm - is this perchance a Standard Letter I have before me? We generally send the disc off to be duplicated during the first week of each month if that's any help. - BRIAN Letter from Pauli Lindgren Hello C & B, I agree with those who say that the white text on black is boring. It is also difficult to read on a TV with no scart (RGB) interface. I usually change it to black on white (paper 122 is quite nice), which is much more readable. The problem is that this has to be done every time I start reading the magazine or letters. It is irritating, especially since the keyboard scanning does not work correctly in the colour menu. Perhaps you could alter the Fred text viewer so that the colour settings are stored into some safe memory area, such as DOS page, so that they remain in effect as long as the SAM is not reset. I have included an example of how to do that on my disc. However, it would be better if you could change the whole look of the magazine. I would like to see multiple colours and text sizes, perhaps even graphics (as on the SAM demo disk). Letter from Pauli Lindgren I don't like the current magazine, where all the text is just a single long block. You should have some kind of front page with short description of each item and a menu to choose any item directly. You wrote on Fred 35, that there is no point expanding the SAM. I strongly disagree with that. SAM, like any other computer, MUST be expanded, or it will die. Maybe not many people will buy SAM to make music, but they do not buy Amigas either. They are buying PC's with good 16-BIT sound-cards and MIDI interfaces. Making music is one area where SAM has great potential. There are some good music programs at low cost, such as E-Tracker. SAM also has a built-in MIDI port, and the MIDI sequencer program is as good as any similar program on PC or MAC. In fact, the MIDI interface is one possible way to expand SAM sound capabilities without buying any SAM-specific hardware. I wonder why games programmers don't use the MIDI interface in their programs as optional sound device? Letter from Pauli Lindgren Controlling the MIDI is quite easy and it consumes very little CPU time. You say that adding flags for plurals on Spell Master would increase the size of dictionary too much. I dont think so. You see, there are already many plural words in the dictionary, and those can then be left out. The dictionary could even become smaller than it is now! And what do you mean "it is too late to make changes on Spell Master"? Has the programmer died, or what? It is common practice in the software market, that new versions are released from time to time. Is there anybody who knows about E-Tracker? I wonder if it is possible to make an E-Tracker player that runs with interrupts enabled. Now, since the interrupts are disabled and the E-Player takes quite a lot of CPU time, it blocks the line interrupts at the top part of the screen. If one line interrupt is missed, all the rest will be missed too. Letter from Pauli Lindgren Therefore, line palette switching can't be used at the top part of the screen (at least the top 15 lines or so). Sometimes the E-Player takes so much CPU time that it blocks line interrupts even in the middle of the screen causing screen to flash. I found this problem when making my screen viewer program. On my screens on this disk, there are at least 18 lines at the top without line palette switching, and still you can see a screen flash now and then when running the slide show. I have also found a problem with the Lord Insanity screen compressor. It is supposed to be able to decompress screens at a hidden page. However, sometimes the decompression routine causes the page to be changed so that the decompressed screen is displayed immediately. When the screen is displayed before the palette is set, it does not look nice. Also, when I load multiple screens (as in the slide show of my screen viewer program), I must change the display back to menu screen after each screen is decompressed. Letter from Pauli Lindgren This seems to depend on the screen compressed; the effect always occurs with the same screens. (This time it happens only with screen SKYWISE.Z) If I compress the same screen again, the situation does not change. Since my last letter in Fred 35, I have been able to test the Kaleidoscope (Thanks for Pentti Nykanen for lending me one.) So, here is a short review: KALEIDOSCOPE The Kaleidoscope was supposed to be a device that increases the number of colours available on SAM from 128 to 32000. You might think that it makes it possible to select 16 colours from a palette of 32000. Well, it does not. Kaleidoscope has just one 8-bit register to select the colours. There are 3 bits for red and green and 2 bits for blue. Letter from Pauli Lindgren Writing a non-zero value to these bits decreases the intensity of each colour component by selected value. However, this affects all the colours on screen. Or more precisely, all the colours that have lower bit of red, green or blue set. (Kaleidoscope only affects the lower bit of each colour.) You can have 4 possible levels for lower bit of blue, 8 levels for lower bits of red and green. Together with existing colours, this gives 10 * 18 * 18 * 2 = 6480 different colours (not 32000). Some of the colours (the brighter ones) are so close to each other that they are indistinguishable to human eye. Others, especially darker colours could perhaps be useful. Probably Kaleidoscope could be used in some applications where the new dark colours are needed, but I think such situations are rare, since colours can not be used independently of each other. And what about the Hardware Development Kit, then? Well, it is nothing like what I expected. Letter from Pauli Lindgren There is no prototyping area that could be freely used to build hardware. You can only build the Kaleidoscope and a simple parallel I/O for controlling LEDs, and that is all. HDK could probably be used for teaching the basic ideas of computer hardware, but not for hardware development. That is a pity; a real Hardware Development Kit would have been so useful. Pauli Lindgren Helsinki, Finland BM Reply to Pauli Lindgren Jeez. Where to begin with all that! Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think about the magazine; it's the only way we can measure the good and bad points of it. The current viewer is becoming dated, there's certainly no doubt about that. The problem is that we need somebody to write a viewer. The new viewer also needs to be small enough so as not to use up half the disc. The routine at the moment takes up virtually no space on the disc, which is of course ideal. A menu system for reading text is what I myself prefer. That's what we used on Enceladus back in the old days, and I think it was preferable to use. Again, that's something we're going to have to seriously think about sorting out. Expanding the SAM. Here we are again. It would be nice to have hard drives,accelerators, decent sound cards, graphics cards etc, but they simply aren't going to happen. The SAM is, unfortunately, a very dated machine. BM Reply to Pauli Lindgren In a world where the A1200, a 32-BIT machine, is looked on (wrongly) by many as a toy, an 8-BIT really does not have a hope in Hell. It is a very friendly machine, we who use it all think it wonderful, but it is never going to be used professionally in the music or graphics industries. The Amiga is used in these areas; there are numerous products available for it which no home user in his right mind would splash out on. Your reluctance to view the Amiga as a "professional" machine is just a mild case of what would happen to the SAM even with professional grade expansions (which are not going to happen anyway, in my opinion). Nobody in "the industry" would take it at all seriously unless they knew a lot more about the SAM than the man in the street. The SAM does not have a glimmer of a future trying to compete with PCs, Amigas, Macs and all the other "proper" machines in the world. BM Reply to Pauli Lindgren I think that ESI are probably the only people who can help you regarding E-Tracker matters. I can't, that's for sure! Same applies to the other technical aspects of your letter - I'm pretty clueless when it comes to that sort of thing. Yes, with hindsight I can see it was not a wise statement to make about plurals doubling the size of the Spellmaster dictionaries. Using various flags and things probably is the best way to go about it. Is it really worth re-writing the program for such a trivial aspect though? I suppose I'll receive thousands of letters from the pedants telling me that only one variable in line xxxx needs changed, but never mind. I'll risk that. The point is that Spellmaster is not going to be upgraded. Apart from that dictionary quibble it's fine. Isn't it? Thanks for reviewing those hardware items. It sounds to me like they're both a complete waste of time. I mean, what software's emerged for the Kaleidoscope? The thing's not even available any more as far as I know! - BRIAN BM Last Page After that I'm knackered, and I'm going to bed. But first, another small plea - can somebody review Lemmings, SAMPaint and Driver for us? Thank you, and good night.
SmartPhone is an address/telephone utility. Being fully mouse controlled, SmartPhone is very user friendly. Once all your addresses have been entered you can search them instantly, and dial their number at the click of a mouse. SmartPhone can be used to store your friends addresses, business contacts, restaurants etc. Addresses can be printed out onto labels or envelopes. Useful for the small business or home user alike. Getting Started On the SmartPhone disk is a file of useful addresses. Load this file by going to the Display window (bottom right) and selecting [ File ]. A menu will then appear displaying all the file options. Select "Load add.", after a short delay another menu will appear displaying all the SmartPhone files on the disk. Click on "Useful.p". The first address will be displayed. Notice two arrows on the right of the window. These are used to step through each address. Click on the down arrow to select the following address, and click on the up arrow to select the previous address. The number of records and the current record is displayed in the Info window (top right). Using menus SmartPhone uses several menus. To select an option from a menu, click on it with the mouse. If you have made a mistake and don't want to select any option, simply click else-where on the screen. Adding an address To add another address, click on [ Add ]. The Display window will clear and a type cursor will appear oposite Name. Type in the name (Surname first then forename eg. "Bloggs Fred") and press . Do the same for each field. For the phone number put the area code in brackets followed by the rest of the number. The Notes field is used for any other relevant details. Changing an Address To alter an address once it had been entered, select that address then click on the relevant field name eg. Address, Town, Postcode etc. The field will be highlighted. To clear it, press and type the new field. To add to what's already there, just continue typing and press . Deleting an Address To delete an address from the file, select the address and click on [ Delete ]. NB - Make sure you have selected the correct address, a deleted address cannot be un-deleted! Searching for an Address To search for an Address, click on the space in the middle of the Search window (top left), and type in the name you want to search for. You only need to type in the first few letters, eg. to search for "Smartsoft" you only need to type "SMA". Click on [ Start ]. If the Address exists it will be displayed. If it's not the one you require the click on [ Next ] until it's displayed. Print Menu Click on [ Print ]. From there you can select whether you want to print just the selected address, all addresses or print search. Print search will print all the addresses that would be found with the search window. Clear Menu Click on [ Clear ]. From there you can select wether you wish to clear just the addresses, the quick-dials or both. File Menu Clicking on [ File ] will give the following options; Save, Load, Directory, Drive 1/2, Quit. Saving the file Click on "Save Add.", the save window will appear. If you want to save with the same filename then click on [ Save ]. If you want to change the filename then click on the current filename and type in the new one. Loading a file Click on "Load Add.". After a short delay the Load window will appear displaying all the SmartPhone files on the disk. If there are more files that could be fitted into the window then up/down arrows will appear. Click on these to scroll the window up/down. Click on the required file and it will be loaded. Directory Click on "Directory". After a short delay the Directory window will appear. Use this in the same way as the Load window. Drive 1/2 Click on "Drive 1/2" to change drive. Quit Click on "Quit" to reset the machine and return to Basic. Dialing SmartPhone has a unique feature. Any phone number can be automatically dialed. It works by imitating a "Tone dial" phone. To dial a number, first select the address. Hold the mouth-piece of the phone a few centimeters from speaker on your monitor / TV then select [ Dial ]. You should here a few short bleeps and the number will be dialed. Normally the area code, in brackets, will not be dialed. If you want to include the area code then select [ Code ] in the Info window to toggle the area code on / off. Notes You will get best results if the volume is turned fairly low and the reception is good. If you are still have problems then click on [ Speed ], in the Info window. This selects a slower speed for the tone dialing. Quick Dial There will be some numbers you'll use more often than others. These often-used numbers can be put into the Quick Dial window (Bottom left). To do this select the required Address, then click, with the left button, on a vacant space in the quick-dials. The right button is used to dial these numbers. Operate this as you would with the Dial option in the Display window. Extra on version 1.1 - Tone Pad If you don't have a tone phone then to use such services as phone banking you will need to buy a tone-pad. These can cost anything from 8 to 10 pounds. SmartPhone can save you this money as it has a built in tone pad. Point to the bottom right hand corner with the mouse and click. You can now use the keyboard as a tone pad. The keys 1 to 9, "#", and "*" will give the appropriate tones, the function keys will work as numbers. Press when finished.
The menu screen by Matt Round is MODE 3 and uses palette line interrupts to extend the logo into the border area.