30 ноября 1995

Part 10 - Spectrum history (part 4).

<b>Part 10</b> - Spectrum history (part 4).


than  it is in a typing pool! I type for a
living,  and I'd be quite happy to use the
Z88   keyboard   -  but  this  is  a  very
subjective  judgement,  and I'd advise you
to  have  a  go  before  ordering  a  Z88,
especially    if    you're    already   an
experienced  typist. Journalists that I've
spoken  to  come  out  about 50:50 for and
against the Z88 keyboard.

It  seems  that  - as usual for a Sinclair
machine  -  the Z88 has been launched long
before  it  is  ready.  The  prototype was
running a neat Word Processor package, but
the   spreadsheet,   database   and  diary
software  were  nowhere  to  be seen. This
software   will   have  to  be  uncommonly
reliable  -  there's not much point having
batteries  that  can  preserve  data for a
year  if  the  software  goes  haywire and
scrambles things, or locks the machine up,
every   few  days.The  Z88  will  run  BBC
BASIC - a dialect much-lauded by those who
know more about fashion than they do about
computer  science. BBC BASIC is faster and
more  expressive  than ZX BASIC - but it's
less  friendly. A version of BBC BASIC for
the  Z80  processor has been available for
several  years, so it should not take long
to  get  the core ofit running on the Z88.
It  will  be  interesting  to see how much
support  we  get  for the paged memory and
LCD  graphics.  Will  we be stuck with the
64K memory limit of other versions on this
machine which promises over 3 Megabytes of
'instantly-addressable memory'? The claims
about  the  memory  capacity  of  the  Z88
should  be  taken  with  a  pinch of salt.
There  are  slots  for  three  ROM  or RAM
cartridges  at  the  front of the machine,
and  32K  and 128K cartridges are promised
to be available with the first machines in
April,  with  a  1 megabyte version coming
'soon'.  That  will  be  built  around the
'wafer  scale integration' ideas that have
been  kicking  around Sinclair's 'Metalab'
for several years - butthere's no sign yet
of  the  Ь6  million  needed  to get those
ideas  into  production.The  only standard
interface  is an RS-232 port, which allows
access  to  modems,  serial  printers, and
other  computers  -  at  least  in theory.
RS-232  interfacing  is a black art at the
best   of   times,   and  Sinclair  serial
interfaces    have    a   reputation   for

I  enjoyed  reading  the Z88 brochure, and
-as  usual - I wanted to order one as soon
asI'd  finished.  The design seems full of
good  ideas, but it's clearly not finished
yet.  CAMBRIDGE COMPUTER are talking about
production  levels  of  10,000  machines a
month,but  this  is  a  pretty meaningless
figure,  as it's the usual 'minimum order'
quantity     for     mass-production    of
computers.I'll  be pleased, but surprised,
if  Sinclair can sell Z88's in respectable
numbers.  EPSOM,  NEC  and  TANDY have all
attacked  the  A4 portable computer market
and  found  slim pickings. The appeal of a
portable  computer  has  been  clear since
XEROX   came  up  with  the  idea  of  the
Dynabook,   long   before   the   personal
computer  industry  existed.  The Z88 is a
step in that direction, and will doubtless
appeal  to  some  people,  but the product
hardly    lives    up   to   the   slogan,
'full-facility,  no-compromise  computing'
at  the  moment.  It's especially sad that
Spectrum compatibility has been ruled out,
because  that could have given the Z88 the
mass-market   appeal   that  it  presently
lacks.  But  Sinclair  is  still  a man to
watch, and - rest assured -CRASH will keep

Amstrad  have  announced  a  Spectrum Plus
Three.  This  will  have one built-in disk
drive in place of the Plus Two's cassette,
and   an   operating   system  written  by
Locomotive    Software,the   firm's   tame
programming  house. At the time of writing
(early  March)  there's been no sight of a
finished   product  although  that  hasn't
prevented  less  reputable  magazines than
CRASH  from getting their crayons out. The
word is that boss Alan Sugar has given the
development team until the end of March to
sort  out  the design. We'll bring you all
the  facts,  and  intelligent  analysis as
soon as the new machine materialises.


Другие статьи номера:

Intro - Contents.

Part 1 - Editorial and news.

Part 2 - Playing tips.

Part 3 - Games instructions.

Part 4 - Haven't i seen you before?

Part 5 - Emulate letters.

Part 6 - Spectrum quiz II.

Part 7 - Technical forum.

Part 8 - Reviews.

Part 9 - Spectrum books database (part 2).

Part 10 - Spectrum history (part 4).

Part 11 - A-Z Of Spectrum games reviews (part 4).

Part 12 - Matthew smith - the legend.

Part 13 - Spectrum games charts.

Part 14 - Spectrum on the Net.

Part 15 - Adventures.

Part 16 - Past, present and future.

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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