Vol.7 No . h Nov-Dec ? 89











RENE BRUNEAU ( 531-9749 )

BILL LAWSON ( 444-8772 )

GEORGE CHAMBERS ( 751-7559 )

RENE BRUNEAU ( 531-9749 )

LYMAN PAQUETTE ( 482-4479 )

RENATO ZANNESE ( 635-6536 )

HUGH HOWIE ( 634-4929 )

JEFF TAYLOR ( 244-8583 )

JEFF TAYLOR ( 244-8583 )



( 416-751-7559 )



Presi dent ^ s Message

Welcome to another year of Timex-Sinclair computing and a new executive. As the new president of the Toronto Timex-Sinclair Users Group, I would like to thank the Past President, Jeff Taylor, on behalf of the club for his gui dance and enthusiasm over the past year in making our club better. Jeff remains as Newsletter Editor so we can expect more of the same this year.

As a general member of TTSUG and later as part of the executive, I have recieved many benefits from belonging to and participating in club activities and I hope to be able to continue in the footsteps of people like George Chambers and Jeff Taylor in fostering group support in the club= In the past year we have seen an increase in membership through distribution of the news letter and there is growing interest in the club for such diverse things as telecommunications, synthesised music, and hardware projects. Special interest groups are a direct result of this and will ensure that our club remains healthy for as long as we can get together.

PARTICIPATE ! It's the only way that you can ensure that your computer will be supported.


We've got a new club executive ! It isn't much different from the last one but there have been a few significant changes.

Rene Bruneau takes over from me as club president. Rene has been the activities director as well as the ZX81 tape librarian so you know that he is an avid club booster in addition to being the resident 2X81 hardware expert.

Lyman Paquette replaces Rene as ZX81 tape librarian. Lyman is a relative newcomer to the club so it's good to get some fresh enthusiasm into the executive. Lyman has this one quirk though, he collects old slide rules (remember those dinosaurs?) so he should fit in here quite well. Welcome.

I have inherited the paper library from Greg Robins. Greg has had a bad year healthwise so I have eased him of this load. Greg, thanks for arranging and cataloging all our books and newsletters .

To the rest of the executive, congrats and welcome back. I am looking forward to your new ideas, to help improve and expand the club in the coming year.


This issue we have made a few changes. The most visible is the new graphic on the cover. Thanks go to Hugh Howie for his version of the Toronto skyline. Hugh produced this beauty on his QL with the EYE-Q graphic program.

You should also note that we are presenting advertisements of a few reliable and deserving TS vendors. If you know of a supplier that you feel should get more recognition drop us a letter and/or a sample ad.


I will be hosting a telecommunications seminar (with a little help from my friends) on Wednesday, November 8. with demos for the ZX81 . the TS2068 and the QL . Space is limited (my tiny den) so please let me know if you are planning to attend and I'll find more lawn chairs (no kidding).

Hugh Howie is having a QL seminar on Wednesday, November 15, with a demo on networking and a speech by Mike Ferris on QL programming. Again. If you plan to attend, let Hugh know ahead of time.

Has anyone received their digitiser from the SMUG group? I ordered the bare board and software back on March 16. 1989 and have yet receive anything. Drop me a card to let me know of your success (or not). That's all for now.





In the last issue of Sine-Link, you probably saw a nay of renaming a Larken disk using the utility 'Disk Doctor' which appears on the club's Omnibus disk. Here is ay pet version for doing this chore; this appeared first as a utility for the old original LDOS system and I have since adapted it to the LKDOS systems with which most club members are by now very familiar.

Type in the listing and check it carefully. SAVE it by a <G0 TO 480>.

This program provides a quick V easy way to give a disk a new naie and what is wore the name can be quite long, up to around 500 bytes. If you. are going to give a disk a complex name, you can set it up by using the word processor Mscript. See the notes below for more details.

Here is the listing and there are some explanatory notes at the end.


110 CLEAR 43400: RANDOMIZE USR 100: OPEN #4,,dd1

120 RESTORE 400: FOR i=0 TO 119: READ val: POKE 44000+i,val: NEXT i

140 LET trac=439Q0: LET settrk=44000: LET load=44006: LET save=44009

150 INPUT 'drive? (0-3) ';dr

160 PRINT #4: GO TO dr

170 as : POKE trac.O: RANDOMIZE USR settrk: RANDOMIZE USR load

180 PRINT : PRINT ' '; FLASH i," Enter Disk Name'

190 PRINT 'Press STOP (SS 'AM to end name ENTER for new line': PRINT

200 PRINT 'Disk Name :

210 LET aF54500

220 LET a$=INKEY$: IF INKEY*=" THEN 60 TO 220 230 IF CODE a$=0 THEN GO TO 220 240 BEEP .02,1

250 IF CODE a$=12 THEN PRINT CHR$ 8?CHR* 32JCHRS 8?: LET m=*-l: GO TO 300 260 IF CODE a$=226 THEN POKE m,Q: GO TO 320 270 POKE »,C0DE a$ 280 PRINT PAPER 6?a$? 290 LET >=»+l

300 IF INKEY$<>" THEN GO TO 300 310 GO TO 220

320 POKE m,0: BEEP .1,20: BEEP .1,20

324 REM GO TO 325 after BREAKing to load Mscript Name

325 GO SUB 370: INPUT 'Ok to save to catalog (y) ?'? LINE a$: IF a$=V OR aS=,Y' THEN RANDOMIZE USR settrk: RANDOMIZE USR save

330 INPUT 'l=more 0=menu '|m 340 IF mm THEN 60 TO 150

350 IF NOT am THEN PRINT #4: GO TO 4: PRINT t4: NEW 360

370 BEEP .05,10: BEEP .05,10: INPUT Disk must have write protect removed OK? '; LINE a$: RETURN 380 STOP

400 DATA 195,249,171,195,7,172,195,27

401 DATA 172,195,56,172,195,75,172,243

402 DATA 205,98,0,201,58,100,0,251

403 DATA 201,205,239,171,58,124,171,50

404 DATA 29,32,205,126,0,24,237,205

405 DATA 239,171,58,124,171,50,29,32

406 DATA 205,129,0,58,29,32,50,124

407 DATA 171,24,217,205,239,171,175,50

408 DATA 32,32,205,123,0,58,32,32

409 DATA 79,6,0,33,112,32,17,80

410 DATA 195,1,0,20,237,176,24,188

411 DATA 205,239,171,33,80,195,17,112

412 DATA 32,1,0,20,237,176,205,120


413 DATA 0,24,169,205,239,171,42,144

414 DATA 171,78,35,70,24,158,0,0

480 CLEAR i PRINT #4: SAVE 'diskna.Bl* LINE 100


Line 120: Pokes into memory, starting at address 44000, the 120 byte machine code routine which loads the directory (catalog) to a buffer area for editing and then saves it back to disk when editing is done. The code is at lines 400-414. This poking will take i few seconds.

Line 150s Prompts for drive number.

Line 170? Pokes the track nueber zero (ie, the directory track) into address <trac> (43900). Calls the routine at <settrk> (44000) which puts the disk drive head on the indicated track. Calls the load routine at <load> (44006).

Line 180? Prompts for Disk Naie. There is root for up to 20 characters on the first line! after that full 32-character lines may be entered. Use ENTER to start a new line at any time. If you are entering CAPITAL letters, do not hold the CAP SHIFT down while pressing the space bar. If you do, you'll get an ERROR tessage <L BREAK into program). You could try CONTINUE then ENTER to resume; but I find it best to start over. The characters will be displayed on screen on yellow PAPER and you may back up using the DELETE key. As I indicated at the start, you could enter a complex name by designing it earlier using Nscript and then when you get to this point, BREAK into BASIC and load the Hscript file into address 54500* Use <PRINT #4: LOAD •name.CT* CODE 54500>; then <S0 TO 325> will save the buffer to disk. Try it! It's a great way to fancy up your disk names.

Line 250: Does the backing up as you use the DELETE key. Notice that the variable <■> which is an address counter or »arker is decreased by one for each DELETE key press.

Line 260: Responds to the use of the STOP key (Symbol Shift and <A>); pokes a zero into the next byte to act as an end-of-name marker (ie <m> mentioned in Line 250).

Line 325: You are reminded to remove the write protect sticker from the disk and then prompted to press <y> to start the save. Code routines at <settrk> (44000) and <save> (44009) are called and the edited directory is transferred from the buffer to the disk drive.

Line 330: You have a chance to do more or quit to menu.

Line 350: This is written to load the Ramdisk Autostart; if you want it to do something else, you must change this line.

Line 480: Here's the place to save the program.

Finally, here is a small sample of a fancy disk name using the technique described above. Start with a line feed to skip the 20 character first line.

**********««***«**#******** « WXYZ SOFTWARE 1989 ft « WORKSPACE NUMBER 4 ** «**«******«***#*#*****»***

Bob Mitchell Willowdale Ontario 890919



One of our members has sent me an item (below) that will be of interest to all Larken system owners. It is an advert that

appeared in the classified section of the October 1989 issue of MODERN ELECTRONICS magazine. Larry is branching out into a new field, as you can see. Good for you, Larry!

CAD-CAM X-Y-Z Drilling/Routing Machines 24* x 24' x 5* or larger, RS-232 Interface, $1200 and up. Larken Electronics, RR Ifl, Navan, Ontario, Canada K4B 1H9.


The Vol.3 Iss 4 of VISTA, the newsletter of the Vashon Island T/S Association has some interesting information about the TS world, which is worth reprinting. Here are selections

from it. gfc

MA catalog from G. Russell Electronics (R.D. #1, Box 539. Centre Hall, PA 16828). Some of you that have been around the T/S world awhile will recognise "G.R.E. " as the company that brought out the Winky Board and the Romswitch, just to name a few of their products. I am glad to say they are still in the T/S market, with a catalog full of goods for the 1000, 2068, and QL. Included are Spectrum ROMs and EPROMs ($10.95. 2/$ 19. 95 free shipping), all three Hi-res TS-1000 games, Rocketman, Fortyniner, and ZXtricator ($5.95. 2/$8.95. 3/$12.50), ZXLR8 Fastload for $10.50, Winky boards, and even some parts specials and books. If you can't wait, call them at (814)364-1325 and order something.

"From Electro Associates of Michigan, (P.O. Box 312, Lathrop Village, MI 48076) comes word of 3" MAXELL brand "AMDISK III style" disks, 10/$40 plus $2.50 s&h, for those of you needing 3" disks. Send cheque or money order or call (313) 533-8797 for quality discounts.

"DISKW0RKS (1-800-456-3889) offers bulk 5.25 and 3.5 inch disks as well as name brands, and they accept VISA, MC, and COD orders. Disks are offered in quantities of 50 and 100 though, so "group buys" would probably be the only way to go there. I don't normally need 100 disks, even if they are only 21 cents apiece ! !

"C0NSUMERTR0NICS (2011 Crescent Drive, P.O. Drawer 537, Alamogordo, NM 88310) sends word that their "Disk Service Manual III" ($25) and "Disk Drive Tutorial" ($20) manuals are available and ready for anyone who cares to service their own drives, or just figure out what makes them tick. They also offer a "Printer and Plotter" repair manual for $15. "Ribbon Relinking" ($8) and many other books on subjects ranging from stealth technology to> higlv-output wood-burning stoves. If you want a look at these or any other of the "secret agent" style books they offer, call Consumertronics at (505)434-0234, or their order line, 1-800-752-7701.

(Consumertronics also advertise these wares in Computer Shopper. . .gfc )

"Finally I have about 14 pages of goodies here from RMG Enterprises, 1419 1/2 7th Street, Oregon City, OR 97045, (503)655-7484. Suffice it to say Rod GOwen has a little of everything for the T/S enthusiast, and if you haven't had the chance to order anything from RMG, please do so RMG is the largest dealer left in the T/S business that I know of, and we need to support him so that he can support us. Among the goods he has for sale are disk drive power supplies for $13*50 (plus $3 shipping), Larken 2068 software package ~s which include the Larken Disk Editor and .ae MAXC0M BBS package, lots of used printers, Memotech products, disk drives, and LOTS of books and software at low, low prices.

"Rod is now distributing his packed catalog as Tasword II files on 2068/Larken disk, so those of you with LKD0S systems can print out your own catalog and get some public domain software he's including on the disks as part of the deal. Give ROD a call soon-^ find out for yourself, because there are bargains in Oregon City.


2 - ZX81 Computers

2 - 16K memory modules

1 - Goldstar TV (modified to provide

a monitor capability)

All for a nominal price. Contact Tom Bradley Box 793

Lenox, MA 01240

Note.. Tom is not a TTSUC member » GFC .


2 - Amdek 3" disk drives in a case

w/built-^in power supply)

20 - 3-inch disks

$120 or best offer.

Contact Greg Lloyd

127 Mammoth Hall Road,

Scarborough, Ont. M1B 1P8

phone (416) 292 0348


1 - Byteback modem (for the TS1000/ZX81 )

with software & documentation

Contact Art Johnson 13 Winstanley Cresc. Toronto, Ont. M1B 1N3 phone (416) 282 8430


Update Magazine

1317 Stratford Ave. Panama City, FL 32404 904 871 3556

News and New Products




In a recent issue of SINCJJNK, a list of our QL Library was sent to the QL Interest Members. It is also available to might-be QL'ers on request.

This should be enough to get something going. More will be added as I find time, and as material comes in. As a start it may not be much, but I feel that with the assistance of the members, more will be coming. I still have some material to be added, and this will be notified in the columns as it comes available.

When you take on a job and you don't know what you are doing, it can be frustrating at times, but I have enjoyed it very much. The main problem I came across is finding out which media is most suitable for a given programme. I use Microdrives and Disk. I also use a 14" RGB Monitor, sometimes a TV, as many of us still do. Now this is where the trouble starts. I get along fine with some small item on RGB, then when I try it on a TV, it just don't work all that good. There is just not enough space on a TV to give a full display.

TOOLKIT II is handy for switching TV/MON, but there is also a small item in the library which will do this for you. To compound the problems, I use a 512 Expansion, and then I find that something was made for the unexpanded QL. Take the game SANTA for example. Run it on TV, everything comes up roses, ( Fir Trees I should say ) but use the expanded QL and what you get is a lot of fancy accented letters. The address is wrong ! By the way, if any one knows where Santa is let me know, I have a lot of goodies to ask him for.

Some of the material I have will just not work on TV. OK in TV mode, but not in Monitor Mode. Makes an interesting exercise.

Sometimes it is fine in Colour, but no good in B & W, the colours come up in close shades of grey. I have tried to use material that works on everything, but that is not always possible. So I try to give an indication of the best method.

Some items will have a little bug, and as I am no programmer, I cannot often find the beast. This is where all you folks out there can help. If you find one of those bugs, let me know, and I will pass the info along to everyone else and also amend the Library accordingly. If you require assistance, ask me, the worst that can happen is that I don't know, ( thats the good part ) but at least there will now be TWO people working on the problem. Get the idea ?

Another thing I would very strongly recommend to the QL'er who does not have an expanded memory. Get one as soon as possible. The extra cost is more than repaid by the sheer joy of what can be accomplished. So many programmes. So many Games. The whole expanse of the QL is broadened by this one little item. Ask Santa. ( I believe " Home Address, Anywhere." is a good place to start. )

Now I don't know whether the Upper Brass in the Club will agree with me or not, but I strongly advise the QL'er to get a hold of UPDATE. This magazine has a lot of good stuff in it for the QL'er. (also for other Sinclair Users) It comes out four times a year, and is full of goodies. I would just love to be able to use their QL MAGAZINE material in Sinc_Link. Are you listening Bill Jones ? You too Bill Cable ? Pity Quantum Levels is down the chute, they were excellent also. What happened ?. By the way, don't forget your old pal Daddy Sine. The guy who got you all started in this. Sincjjink is one way to keep in touch with all the other Sincers - ( skuse me - just got back from a fishing trip - Lost a 4 foot Muskie - Caught a 4 lb walleye - stacks of 4 inch perch. Worms at 15 cents a shot - and you think life is tough ? One worm, one sunf ish,one worm------

go buy a computer, its cheaper. ) EH ? Uh huh. For the cost of 5 worms you could buy 1 floppy.

You know the old saying? You gotta Sine or Swim? Well I feel that I am swimming, so lets get some material in here, we need it, and if you have something you can be sure that someone somewhere is in need of that little tid_bit you are keeping to your self. Send it in. We need it. And if you have a problem, lets share it, thats how we survive. Sharing information.

A Library is only as good as the material it contains, and is of no value if no one uses it. A Library must have fresh material coming in, and is only as good as the material sent in. Please help. Use our facilities. Give us your expertise. Can we be of assistance ? Please ?

Hugh H.Howie. QL Librarian.


George says the above applies to the other Club Libraries also. So git goin folks, an thet me ens 0. . . By the way, I went up to the cottage last week and caught a 45 inch Muskie , ... I did. . . I did. . . I did. . .


Here is a neat little one_liner to give you a Directory of your Cartridge or Disk.

Open #3 , serl: dir #3, radvl_

The ports and drives can be altered to suit your setup. Try it.

H. H. H.



by Steve Spalding

In the WINTER 87 issue of the Pixel Print Press was a 4 para- graph item about customizing Pixel Print to make a 3 column printout. Stan suggested making the double size option into a center column. I'd like to sug- gest the following changes to the 2 column program to give you a 3 column version that still includes the double size option.

We' 11 set up a new c o m m a n d o n the main menu called TOGGLE, or TAB if you prefer. How are we going to squeeze a new com m a n d into the machine code? Easv, ue don't ! We steal one that's "on the m a in men u a lread y . Wed o n 1 1 REflLLV need the QUIT command, you c a n b r e a k t he program by select- ing the Graph ics command and then using SH IFT + BREfiK.

The new command w i 1 "toggle" between the o h a v i n g a C enter col u m n Right col u m n p r i n t o u t to the Printer menu. I Quit on the main menu see T>C or T > R telling option is set. Center Simply set the Toggle going to the Printer m i n g a Left or D o u b 1 e S is the same as before.

1 let us pt ion of

or a when we go nstead o f you will

you which o r Rig h t . before enu. Print- ize co lumn

t ii e:


1 . LO fl D y o u r c u s t on i z e d v e r s i o n of Pixel Print. PLUS!

2. Qu it to BASIC

3 . M a k e the f o 1 1 o w i n g P 0 K E S :

POKE 33463,34 - T

POKE 33464,62 - >

POKE 3 3 4 6 5 ; 6 7 - C

POKE 33 4 6 6, 3 2 - space

POKE 3367 S , 8 4 - m a k e menu see T

POKE 3572 1,67 - set Toggle for C

The next three POKES are for the column TAB positions. You will h a v e to e x per iment with y o u r p r inte r to s e t these.

P 0 K E 3 9 57 0, r. LEFT column example: on m y printer n = 4

P 0 K E 3 9 5 7 1 , n 2 CENTER c o 1 u m n example: on my printer n 2 = 3 O

POKE 39 57 2, n 3 DOUBLE SIZE e x a m p 1 e : o n m y printer n 3 = 5

Look in your Printer manual to get the next number to poke.

POKE 39593, n4

Sets Dot Density to 120 d.p.i.

4. Add these 2 lines of BASIC.

3000 IF PEEK 33465=67 THEN POKE 33465, 82: POKE 3572 1, 82: POKE 3957 1, n5: POKE 3 5 598, 32: POKE 35599,82 : POKE 35600, 105: POKE 35601, 10?- POKE 3 5602 GO TO 200C

104: POKE 35603, 1 16:

3010 POKE 33465, 67: POKE 357 2 1,6 :POKE 3 9 571, n 2: POKE 35598,67: POKE 3 5599, 101: POKE 3 56 00, 1 10: POKE 356 0 1, 1 16: POKE 3 5 602,10 1: POKE 3 5603, 114: GO TO 2 000

Please note that in LINE 3 000 the n u nber y o u are p o king into address 3 9 571 < n 5 > , is the TAB v =u 1 u e for a RIGHT column. With rn P r o gram it w o r k e d o u t t o be 56. In LINE 3 0 1 0 y o u are p o king n 2 into the same address for the CENTER column TAB pos it i o n .

You can now SAME the 3 CO LUMN Pixel Print something like:

c u s t o m i z e d P LUS! us in 9

SAVE "PP+3"LINE 9 000

S A E " P P + 3 c o d e " C 0 D E 2 9 5 00, 1 1 8 00

Don't forget name in LI N E to match the

t o change the file- 9 000 of the BAS IC new CODE filename.

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We carry ALL hardware and software lines tor the Sindair QL. We also cany the Z88.


Sharp's, Inc.

Rt. 10, Box 459 Mechanicsville, VA 23111 (804) 746-1664 or 730-9697

Also calculate the TAB for the RIGHT col u m n , we'll need it s o o n .



TO 1 OOP V ± ci€=?c3 E>*~ ± ver

Many circuits have been published within these pages and elsewhere for hookipg up your TS1000 to a monitor to get rid of the " Crawl ies" associated with VHF television. The following circuit was published in the book "Build A Microcomputer Control led Robot" by B. C. Taylor of Budget Robotics & Computing and is an improvement on the circuit developed by Mike Lord in his Explorers Guild,

The components are easy to obtain and can be assembled with point-to-point wiring or on a small piece of VERO board. When installed, it allows you to use both a TV and a composite monitor at the same time (ideal for demonstrations) .

Tl 2N2221

D1-D3 1N4148 or 1N914

CI O.luF Poly capacitor

Rl 33 ohms, 1/4 watt Resistor

R2 100 ohms, 1/4 watt Resistor

SI RCA phono socket

Small guage stranded wire Coaxial cable (an extra monitor cable cut in two can substitute for the RCA socket and cable)

When mounting the circuit inside the computer case, take extra care to prevent electrical shorts from occur ing that might damage the computer. Wrap the circuit with tape or mount it so that it does not touch any metallic surfaces.

INDEX. Bl A Printer Fix by G. Chambers

On the Club Larken Disk #2 (OMNIBUS) there ip a program called' "indexO.Cm'*. It is a TIME MACHINE^compiled version of a Basic program. Two places in the program have a call for a printer. The program checks to see if the printer is ON. If the printer is not in place or is not turned on the program flashes a reminder to turn the printer on.

This is a neat feature, however it does cause problems. It presumes the printer will return values of 58 (small printer ON) and 237 (large printer on). My printer does not return these values. Instead the responses from my printers are 56 and 108.

The solution is to POKE new values into eight addresses in the "indexO.Cm" code. The POKEs in my case werei

POKE 32325,56 (old 58) small printer

POKE 32357,108 (old 237) large printer

POKE 32425,56

POKE 32457.108

POKE 34344,56

POKE 34376,108

POKE 34430,56

POKE 34462,108

To find out the correct code numbers for your setup run the following lines 1 10 LET n * IN 251

20 PRINT AT 10,10," "{AT 10,10jn 30 GOTO 10

Experiment by turning the TS2040 printer on and off. Then change the program 1 LET n s 12? and do the same thing for the large printer. Verify the addresses have the old numbers shown above j then POKE in the new numbers and re^SAVE the program. This will need to be done with each copy of the program you happen to have.


New Lower Prices end NFW PROPUCTS!

n Announcing: PIX— FX SPECTERM-64(TS-4.1) u

300/1200 TwiwwsJ Software for T/SZOM On O. AFRnn. 1 .rw.r, o.ak or tap*.

Contest** with 2050 mod»m or atandard RS-232e mod«a> with 2-SI/O (b.lowi. Only S17.50 $2.50 S&H

Z-SI/O Bare Boards

RS-232e Sorwl tntarf.c. tor T/S2068, With FREE ?t«0 or# Eiay to aaaawbt*. Only $24.50 $2.50 S&H

[] MAX-C0M Software

100/1200 Tarmnal/BBS Soft war. for th. T/S 206* with LARKEN (v ol D„k Sv.taia. Only $25.00 * $2.50 S4H

LARKEN Disk Hardware;

} Um Disk Svsta

ivkjdai LARKEN Flow Disk Intartaca. LKDOS <v,3 jrtncxw. Uiwra«ns Manual ana UvOOS titan Duk. Only $125.00 * $5.00 S&H

] [MB Turnkey" Systea

includ.i *»«r»thing abov* plua on. diak drive, with caa*. powar tupplv and driv. caoic. If, P^rtv to ftn, mat cormact to th* T/S2068. Only $225 1 up $15 S&H Y 0 if R O u N !vit.«i ''ALL

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?p»ciaHv confiour»d LKDOS (v 3) Cartndo. that vorka with vour AO SAFE Desk hardwar*. tekdaa Op.rattng Manual and LKDOS Utihti.a' Oiak. Only $65.00 $3.50 S&H

Now YOU can tak. a T/S2068 tcr.ani and an aorta oi SPECIAL EFFECTS. Ulrap vour SCJ around a alob.. ehans. p»rap«ctiv«. maqrafv. rpouca. and mara. SCS plua mora, r" 'I Clown CVnua. u«a «»»ooard or loyaock. Da* or.v* compatible. ExcaHant documentation. On tap-: $25.00 $2.50 S&H On dia»k: $30.00 * $2.50 S&H

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by Rene Bruneau



Continuad TiT—.w./' Simoart is brouent to you by:

Ed Grey Enterprises

P.O. Box 4*2186. Insl.wood. CA 90306

Info » 213-759-7406 « Order Ctll he fifty Mtr SBS k HCf/l (m-STWU)


I recently received Data-Skip's VIDEOFACE Interface and Software and was so impressed with this product I wanted the rest of the | TIMEX/SINCLAIR world to know of its existence so here is a short review of this product.

VIDEOFACE takes a video signal either from a TV or VCR equipped with a VIDEO OUT jack and transfers this signal into a digitized format that can be used by the SINCLAIR SPECTRUM (2068) Computer as a screen display. The hardware part of the package consists of a unit a little wider than the old ZX81 RAMPACK, with a SPECTRUM through edge connector, a jack located on the left side (for VIDEO IN signal), a small variable control above the jack and aproximately in the center of the unit, and two LEDs n one red and one green.

The unit is designed to plug into the back of the SPECTRUM computer, with the through edge connector allowing you to connect the SINCLAIR printer or the 2040 printer. I have one of my TIMEX 2068 Computers connected to the SPECTRUM INTERFACE 1 and MICRODRIVE through one of the -TWISTER" boards that simulates the SPECTRUM bus. The INTERFACE 1 has the standard SPECTRUM bus available at the rear of the unit allowing me to plug the /IDEOFACE directly into the rear of the INTERFACE 1.

The VIDEOFACE requires the standard 1 volt VIDEO signal that is found on all VCRs (the signal from my TOSHIBA VCR works just great). When the unit is powered up the green LED is lit anytime there is a video signal present at the input jack. The one variable control is referred to as the "SLICE" control. This determines the level of the video signal at which the electronics either turns on that specific screen pixel or turns it off. This allows you to control the computer generated screen all the way from a totally white screen to an all black screen. The unit is I/O mapped and the red LED only comes on when the unit has been accessed.

The VIDEOFACE is manufactured in HOLLAND and I was concerned whether the unit would work wit8 the our TV system so before ordering the unit I wrote Data-Skip and asked if it would work with the NTCS TV system. They wrote back saying that it should work and my experience has proven this to be correct. European TV has a higher resolution than ours and the only problem that I have found (not really a problem) is that the screen wraps around if you use the cursor keys and scan the most right and bottom of the TV image.

I was also interested in the electronics inside the unit and wanted to know if the unit could be plugged directly into the 2068, A preliminary inspection shows that the unit uses the following edge connections - DO to D7, RD, IORQ, A7, A6, Al, AO, GND and +9v. All of these signals except the +9v are located on the same traces of the SPECTRUM and 2068 busses in reference to the SLOT location. The +9v trace on the SPECTRUM is not used on the 2068 and the VIDEOFACE uses the +9v and a 7805 voltage regulator to power the unit.

The SPECTRUM was prone to overheating

?roblems and I assume the designers of the IDEOFACE decided to add their own +5v so as not to overload the SPECTRUM'S 5v supply. The 2068 uses a switching power supply and can handle a greater load on its +5v supply so a simple modification to the unit may make it 2068 compatable. I have NOT tried modifying the VIDEOFACE but plan to in the near future and will notify the newsletter as to the * outcome.

The software that comes with the unit consists of a short BASIC and machine CODE program. The machine code is the work horse portion of the program, controlling the interface and displaying and storing the digitized video signal in memory. The BASIC handles the main introductory screen and all SCREEN$ saving to Microdrive , Cassette or Disk drives. It is easily MERGEd and changed to handle any Disk drive system you may have. I had no problems converting the software to Microndrive or to my OLIGER disk drives.

The software works in SPECTRUM mode only and is VERY GOOD. The VIDEO image is scanned 3 times a second, thus a slow moving or still picture is not required and my experence with the unit indicates that a usable image is almost always available from most TV programs. The software stores the last six digitized screens in memory constantly updating them. You can at any time stop the scanning and review the last 6 stored screens, picking out the best one. to save or send to the printer or just watch a simple 6 screen animation show. The speed at which the computer switches from one screen to the next can also be controlled over a wide range by using the 'F' and *S' keys. Since the 2068 has a screen resolution of 256 * 192 pixels the whole TV screen cannot be displayed at one time, but by using the k cursor keys (5»6»7 and 8) you can shift the screen around locating the best view.

The unit does not color the picture - the screen is black INK on white PAPER and the actual SCREEN$ SAVE is a CODE SAVE of 6lkk bytes leaving out the Attributes section. This code can be loaded into any ART type program and then modified and coloured to the user's satifaction. I have noticed that the VIDEOFACE prefers a colour video signal and produces a screen picture with more shading than when feed a black and white picture (this produces a very high contrast picture but can produce some interesting effects.

The unit comes with a very short, poorly written manual, being translated from Dutch into English and although helpful it is hard to understand in some places. The software makes up for this and once you load the program, within a few minutes you will be familiar with all the features.

I recommend that the source of the video signal be a VCR because it allows you to rewind and view the picture over again adjusting the SLICE control until you have the exact picture you want. I originally used the direct signal from the TV but found that while adjusting the SLICE control I would miss the picture I wanted to save. By recording the program and then using the VCR this was no longer a problem. I did run into one very big problem though - I got so enthusiastic about


saving screens that within the first hour I had filled a 60 minute cassette tape with SCREEN! dumps. After using it for a while you learn to be more selective with what you save.

Having used this product for the last few weeks I know that it was money well spent and I will be using it for a long time to come (not like some of the software I have purchased and looked at once). If you have any interest in screen displays either for business or just for fun I highly recommend this product. The possibilities are endless.

The price including AIRMAIL from Holland was $93.00 (US funds) in December but this may have changed because of the constant changing dollar so please check with DATA-SKIP before ordering your VIDEOFACE.

Their address ist



Is the OK JM ATE 20 the ULTIMATE TS2068 printer?

USE W/AERCO PRINTER IXF? Yes, if an IBM parallel Plug 'n Print cartridge is used.

OKI SO FEATURES? The GK I 20 can print in WL8» draft, pica,