Downloadable from NVG, go to ftp://ftp.nvg.ntnu.no/pub/sam-coupe/disks/magazines/Sam_Supplement/.
From the Website:
This web site is a cut-down version of a CD produced for the 2003 ORSAM show in Norwich UK. To find out how to get your own copy of that rare SAM-specific CD, read to the end of this page. To learn why you’d want one, read on now.
The Supplement was originally started to bring together Sam owners, to give them a “Contact” with other Sam owners for the swapping of information and the exchange of ideas.
Over seven years, between September 1990 and September 1997 60 disks were produced (including the double disk issue 12) plus sundry extras like the Christmas Special, SAMForth, and games compiled by Supplement publishers Daton.
Sam Supplement was born when Search: “Brian Mumford” and Dave Tonks came up with the idea together of an offshoot of their disk magazine for users of the Opus Discovery Spectrum disc drive, aimed at users of the new Spectrum-compatible Sam Coupe computer.
Sam Supplement was a non-profit project run by volunteers, with issues priced at just 50p if you supplied your own disk.
As Editor Dave Tonks reported in the 50th issue of the magazine:
Over the first five years we published 33.5 megs on more than 50 disks, with the average disc holding 695k. For those readers not familiar with “megs”, one meg is 1024k, and as each K is made up of 1024 bytes, 33.5 meg is 35,127,296 bytes, which is quite a figure - especially on a system like Sam, where a useful program might only occupy a few hundred bytes of disk space.
Of course, Dave did not take the credit for all of this:
it has been a joint effort of many, many people, some of whom are no longer with us and some who have moved on to other things (I was going to say better things, but “other” sums it up OK). I could not possibly mention them all by name, but a few that spring to mind are Alan Miles and Bruce Gordon for giving us the Sam, Search: “Brian Mumford”, Search: “Steve Monk”, Search: “Frank Harrop” Search: “Pete Bell”, Search: “John Saunders”, John Hutchins, Stan the Man, Search: “[Dave Ison”, Search: “Dr Andy Wright”, Haine, Ian Spencer, Geoff Bridges, Search: “Vic Taylor”, Search: “Colin Rout”, Derek Morgan, Search: “Ettrick Thompson”, Simon Goodwin, the late Search: “Les Philips” and of course Jean, Dave’s better half, who put up with endless phonecalls and had her own counter at the local Post Office.
Dave summed up:
“To anyone who I have missed, I apologise, and to all the people over the years who have contributed, helped with or just simply read the mag, a HUGE thank you. Without you I would have sat here for 5 years with nothing to do.”
In that issue Brian Mumford, Sam Supplement Distributor, added,
“I was talking to Dave the other evening about this issue - it is our 50th - that’s our Golden anniversary issue, that means that five years ago we had that fateful conversation that saw the birth of the Sam Supplement,when the Sam was but 1 month off the production lines. The only magazine to mention it was Format.
I asked for permission to reprint their article in our founder club magazine Spectrum Discovery Club. This was the first time some of our members had heard of the Sam. Dave and I were discussing the coverage we should give the Sam in the Magazine,and we decided that it would be unfair to give a lot of space in the SDC mag on a machine that most of the members did not own yet. So the Supplement was born. Dave agreed that he would edit the new magazine (I wonder if he would have if he knew then what he knows now?)….
“We have seen lots of changes in the Sam world, some wonderful hard and software developments, and lots of changes in ownership of our blue footed friend, first there was MGT then SAMCO and now West Coast Computers, but Sam has weathered the storms and survived against the odds. When I look back at the first issues and see my pathetic attempts at programming and then I look at the latest issues and see how the magazine has grown up, I am very proud to be associated with it. It has taken a lot of hard work on Dave’s part to keep the mag going, and at times he has written 80% of the content.”
The following year saw contributions to the magazine tail off, and in 1997 Dave reluctantly decided to call it a day, with the publication of issue 59 of the magazine. This is what he wrote in the editorial:
“I could, I suppose, struggle on issuing a couple of mags a year but this misses the point of the Supplement, which was to keep you in touch with the Sam world and its developments. This I feel cannot be done with anything less than a bi-monthly mag. I could go on for ever with my reasoning, but I have made my decision, and I shall stick to it… “I finally must give a great BIG thank you to all the people who over the years have helped the Sam Supplement in millions of ways.
“There are too many to name, but you know who you are. I have had nearly 9 years of truly magnificent support, and have enjoyed being the editor of what I consider to be one of the best Sam disk mags.”
In fact the Sam Scene continues to be active, in emulation and in the development of new hardware and software - who would have guessed that Sam would eventually come to support internal gigabyte hard disks, Flash memory and even CDROMs, and the dozens of Sam-related sites on the Internet.
My own involvement with Sam started months before the first reports of the prototype computer were published in the micro press - as Technical Editor of Crash magazine, in 1988 I visited Alan and Bruce in Cambridge when the first Sam was a mass of wires packed onto a prototype board, running a ZX Spectrum ROM and tapes from a cassette recorder adapted to run extra-fast to match the 6 MHz Z80B processor.
Over the folowing year Bruce added new graphics modes, the colour palette and support for extra memory and peripherals. My friend Dr Andy Wright joined the team to write a new ROM for SAM, based on his Spectrum BetaBASIC then greatly extended to take advantage of Sam’s extra features. Alan Miles obtained funding to put the machine into production in the UK, and - against all the odds, so many years after the heyday of home computing - Sam was born, reviving the best of eight bit computing and the do-it-together micro community.
Sam Supplement exemplifies the spirit of Sam, in its focus on the community of enthusiasts. As some people may kick themselves for missing the swinging summers in the 1960s, or the emancipation of punk rock a decade later, later computer enthusiasts will feel nostalgic for the heyday of eight bit computers, when you could find out all the inner workings of a new computer by asking and experimenting, and develop an original and useful application in a few hours, without signing up for any developer support program or non-disclosure agreements.
Now you can judge Sam Supplement and its legacy for yourself with this web site, which contains HTML conversions of the program notes, letters and editorials from all the issues of SAM Supplement as originally published, hyperlinked file lists and title graphics from each issue.
A giftware CD is available containing all this material, plus the Supplement and Daton disk images as well as emulators and utilities to get the programs running on an original Sam or a modern computer (the sort you have to wait for). To get a copy of this sent to you, please email
simon [at] mooli [dot] org [dot] uk
Simon N. Goodwin, Warwick, UK, November 2004.