Info

Fig 16

The question: "Assuming someone would listen to you, what would you like to tell 80-U.S.", brought about a 98% positive response and we appreciate that. There is still a fellow out there who wants to see Cathy in a wet Tee-shirt, and one person said that 80-U.S. looked like it was produced in the basement of a porno shop - he did allow though, that it was improving! We are not treating your suggestions lightly. Although it looks like we were pretty much on the right track, some minor modifications will be made as a result of this survey. Your suggestions and comments were very much appreciated.

Your comments regarding Radio Shack were not as positive. We felt you should have an answer from them, not from us, so we copied all the remarks, verbatim, and sent them to Radio Shack. Mr Ed Juge has replied, and his letter follows. We thank him for the speedy reply, as well as for taking time to digest and answer all those comments. •

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A Division of Tandy Corporation 700 ONE TANDY CENTER, FORT WORTH. TEXAS 76102

May 5, 1980

Mr. Hike Schdmidt 80 - 0. S. Journal 3838 South Warner St. Tacoma, WA 98409

Sear Hike:

Before addressing the questions your readers raised, I'd like to correct a common misconception. Radio Shack does listen to TRS-80 owners! The prime example has to he TRS-80 Model II. Listening, however, does not mean we can respond to every need of 150,000+ individual owners. It means that when a significant number of people request something which is feasable, can be done at a reasonable price, and won't interfere with the needs of other users... we'll sure try to do it. Your question, which began "Assuming someone would listen..." implies a situation which simply is not true.

Sow to the questions... Software! We agree there is a crying need. In the past 2 years, we've Increased our software staff by a factor of about 15. We'd at least double it again if enough qualifie4 people appeared tomorrow, but we want more than just "warm bodies". So "why don't we sell other people's software?" We do! About 60£ of our current Model I programs were written outside. But we will only sell a package if we can answer your calls and letters about it. And we have to know it doesn't use "trick" programming which might not be compatable with our lower case system or later DOS releases... or other Radio Shack hardware or software. If a bug shows up (and they will, in spite of our best efforts), we're going to spend big dollars sending free revisions to a lot of people. So up front, we'll do hundreds of hours of testing, revising, testing again. We rewrite the instructions into our format so you'll feel at home with each new manual. Since we're doing all of this, we sell the program under our own label, so you'll know at a glance that it carries Radio Shack support.

System software source code - An often-raised question. BASIC, FORTRAN, Hodel I DOS, and other system software - though much has been highly modified in-house - was originally contracted from outside sources. Every vendor contractually prohibits us from releasing source code. Good machine level programmers will

Hr. Mike Schmidt May 5, 1980

Page 2

find what they want without help. But releasing source code (even if we could) would encourage programmers to use addresses which might move in future releases of BASIC or DOS. Then we'd either have to live with current system software forever, or give you enhanced versions which might not work with your "Non-Radio Shack"software.

Sell peripherals cheaper! Nobody complains about our computer prices. We price them on the basis of costs plus a reasonable profit, rather than "what we think the market will bear". Peripherals are priced the same way. Unquestionably, some smaller companies can operate on less profit than we can. Most of them are bringing you existing technology designed and often built by otherB. Most are isolated from their customers by dealers (who have to do the support), or by a lot of miles (they won't have to deal with you face-to-face). We aren't. Sure things like 40-track drives are nice, but we were buying mechanisms from the largest drive builder in the world, and they fell more than 5 months behind our demand. You can imagine what the delays would be if we tried ordering 40-track drives from much smaller vendors. Yet the people who sell all of these nice items (and many of them are great) try to make it sound like we're just being arbitrary in our decisions. I always have to wonder where they were when Radio Shack and a few others were designing, building, learning, making huge capital investments and betting on a market that didn't exist, to build an affordable personal computer? If you'd waited on them, you wouldn't own a computer today, much less their "less expensive" peripherals... but they sure make good armchair quarterbacks!

"You need better informed sales people." Let me use an example, though... a professional interior decorator is more knowledgeable (and expensive) than most department store furniture sales clerks. Radio Shack has 6,500+ "department stores", selling a lot of different products. But we've also added 150 specialized computer sales locations where you can get the more professional information (not more expensive). We keep ALL locations informed to the greatest possible degree. Deliveries of parts or finished goods from outside vendors are not predictable, so we tell our field people only what we

Mi PDWEF ft ycüP TF8-80

XEDIT, a high powered compact disk based editor designed for the TRS-80TVl. Whether it is BASIC, ASSEMBLY, or FORTRAN, XEDIT is packed full of commands needed for programmers who are serious about their work. Here are just a few features:

• Rapid access disk cache

• Recovers from DOS errors

• Edits most file formats

• Fast file Entry Point Map

• Block text copy command

• Locate with window feature

• Inserts and maps up to four input files

• Upper/lower case compatible

• Display status command, includes free RAM, current file pointer, output filename and format

• Change text command for any number of occurrences

• Delete characters within window command

• Operates with/without line numbers

• ASCII DISK BASIC compatible

• Line printer paging with adjustable forms

® Sophisticated line editor, handles line feeds

• EDTASM and EDIT80 format compatible

XEDIT will handle files of any size up to 2.7 Megabytes or 10K lines in length. Comes complete with instruction manual with helpful editing hints, designed for 32K and 4 8 K»

Formatted 5-1/4" diskette $44.95

Cassette tape $39.95

SPECIAL PACKAGE INTRODUCTORY OFFER!!! XEDIT PACK and ASM

Formatted 5-1/4" diskette $79.95

Cassette tape $74.95

ASM/CMD - a disk based assembler which generates object code to disk or tape. Accepts any file format including ASCII DISK BASIC. Listing may be outputted to display, disk file, or paged with adjustable forms to printer. Operates under standard Z80 Zilog Mnemonics with 9 pseudo operations.

Comes complete with instructions.

Formatted 5-1 /4" diskette $34.95

Cassette tape $29.95

PACK/CMD - removes spaces from text files generated by XEDIT and EDIT80 to reduce file lengths. PACK enables you to cut file lengths by 5 to 40 percent. PACK also will strip comment fields for additional space savings. Does not destroy compatibility of assembly and FORTRAN source files.

Available only on cassette $ 9.95

XDIR/CMD — An extended directory that offers more than the standard TRSDOSTMdirectory. XDIR will do multiple drive directories with all file attributes including extent locations, file length, EOF index, EOF record, protection level, LRL, password indication, track lockout indication, and much more. XDIR will also display to the printer. Complete with instructions.

Formatted diskette $19.95

Cassette tape $15.95

Please send check or money order to:

Mi Prog Minnesota residents add 4% sales tax.

P.O. Box 27014 Outside U.S.A. add $2.50 postage and Minneapolis, MN . ...

55427 handling.

TRS-80is a trademark of Radio Shack a Division of Tandy Corporation.

Mr. Mike Schmidt Page 3

May 5, 1980

know... not what we "guess". Example (and several readers asked) is the delivery delay on Daisy Wheel Printers. Quite simply, a vendor can't meet his obligations. On April 4 we received his fourth delayed schedule in four months. He told us what quantity to look for during April. Prom April 1 to April 30, we received exactly 15$ of the promised quantity. Ordering elsewhere takes a minimum of 5 months, so we can either deliver "late or simply cancel the product. We chose late delivery, which we're trying desperately to improve. But what kind of delivery dates can we quote in a situation like this?

Technical Information... There is great misunderstanding in the field about Radio Shack's position on furnishing it. Many people call wanting to know how to hook up their XYZ printer, plotter, or whatever. The truth is, we usually don't know. Why won't we develop this type of information? We've said from the start, we simply can't maintain the staff to furnish:

1) information on interfacing to non-Radio Shack hardware, or

2) custom software or information on non-Radio Shack software ...and still support, improve and expand the product line.

We did put some 84 pages of technical information on TRSDOS in the Model II manual, which allows an experienced machine level programmer to do almost anything he needs to do... and makes his work completely independent of future changes in the system software!

Several requests were noted for a kit to make Model I comply with the new F.C.C. radiation requirements. Considerable investigation inidcates that it won't be possible for us to offer a field retrofit for this purpose. Indicentally, the deadline has been extended to January. Model I and IX owners can rest assured that whatever we have to do, they will have our continuing support. I will also tell you that contrary to popular rumor, both computers will be in our 1981 Catalog. ...and there is no "TRS-90"!

Olviously, Mike, it would take a book to answer every question. I've addrepged the most common questions, and tried to give a feel for our thinking and actions. Yes, we're a profit-oriented company... a fact our shareholders appreciate. Mo, we can't

Mr. Mike Schmidt Page 4

May 5, 1980

give you a Ferrari at a Mustang price. Yes, -we do make mistakes... we are only human. Yes, we've advertised things before they were available, but never intentionally. Usually it was a software package in which a last minute bug was found, and we chOBe to deliver "working" rather than "on time".

TRS-80 owners are encouraged to send suggestions to our Computer Merchandising group. This type of feedback helps enormously when we plan the future of our product lines. We listen to EVERY suggestion, but please understand that this group cannot acknowledge or reply to all letters. There are 150,000+ of you out there, and a very limited number of us. We can do the work you want us to do, or we can answer a hundred letters a day... not both. Your questions should always be directed to our Computer Services department only.

Sjjicerely,

Ed Jug^j/ Director

Computer Merchandising

CLOAD by design not by chance

If you're tired of fighting the CLOAD problem, take a look at our BURST GATE signal conditioner. Designed specifically for the S-80. Uses its own internal clock. Restructures tape output to optimized pulse widths with impulse noise lockout. Front end discriminates against 60 hz. sine wave noise (hum). Four solder points to CPU board. Wired and TESTED before shipping. With drawing and easy instructions. No outboard cables or boxes. $18.50 (Texans add 5%) plus $1.50 packing and shipping.

George Shute Rt. 4, Box 122 Country Club Road San Angelo, Texas 76901

A Model II

Editor-Assembler

A look at a new Editor-Assembler produced especially for the Model II Computer.

The Model II computer, aimed as it is at the business market, has had a large amount of software developed already for the end user. However, the programmer has essentially been left behind.

BASIC is completely adequate fof most jobs, but there are still jobs which require Assembly Language for it's speed and versatility. Only within the last few months has development software begun to appear to meet the needs of the programmer who must work in assembly language on the Model II.

First, Small System Software brought out their excellent RSM monitor tailored tothe Model II. In fact, they more than brought it out, they extended and improved it compared to the Model I release. But RSM is still a hard way to program in assembly language.

Just recently, Model II assemblers have started to appear. Galactic Software Ltd, the people who brought us the first truly random access mailing list, have entered the market with a real winner.

The Galactic Editor-Assembler meets several objectives for the Model II user:

1. It allows the user who moved up from the Model I system to use basically the same commands to write in assembly language. It even uses the same pseudo-operations.

2. It gives the new user without previous experience a well tested and recognizable system to work in.

3. The manual explains in detail how to use each facet of the program. (It is still a reference manual, so

Terry Dettmann, Associate Editor beginners will need some extra help. It does not teach you how to program.) Of more importance to many users, it provides a Model II assembly language software development system aimed at the critical jobs: the small ones.

Most assembly language routines on the TRS-80 can be classed as supporting routines for programs in BASIC. For this kind of programming, you need an assembler that will let you work like you do with the BASIC interpreter. The Galactic Editor-Assembler is as near to that kind of assembler as it can be.

A User's Reaction

When I first looked at the Editor-Assembler, my reaction was: "They took it lock, stock and barrel from the Radio Shack Editor-Assembler, with some of the nicer features of Ed-Asm plus from Microsoft and the NEWDOS Ed-Asm from Apparat". How wrong I was!

It turns out that this is more than an uploaded Model I assembler. This is a new package, designed for the Model II with the idea that the commands should resemble those of the Model I to make it easier for people who already know that one. But there is more!

This Editor-Assembler was designed to be co-resident with the RSM monitor from Small System Software! The two packages will work together since the entry points are specified for the Editor Assembler in the package and a new JUMP command has been added to let you go to another machine language routine in memory. This way, you not only have an Assembler, you also have a debugging monitor.

It doesn't stop there though. You can also select assembly directly into memory or onto disk. Imagine being able to assemble a program, jump into the monitor, set break points, test the program, and then jump back into the assembler with the source code intact!

Instructions are also included for doing the same with Radio Shack's DEBUG package instead of the RSM monitor. I have to point out though that DEBUG is more restricted and less capable than the RSM monitor.

You can also provide for an automatic return to the assembler from your program at the end of testing if you want. The assembler, given a JUMP command, puts the entry point to the Editor-Assembler on the stack in the machine. If your program has handled the stack carefully and preserved the stack's integrity, then at it's end the address will be back at the top of the stack. Placing a return (RET) at this point will POP it off the stack and return you to the Editor-Assembler. As one of my more perceptive friends says: "Neat, huh?".

This system gives you an amazing amount of flexibility withoutthe rather unnecessary waste of programmer time in shifting from one program to another. This alone can cut your development time in half by reducing the frustration of trying to run incompatible programs against one another to write and debug a basically simple program.

There are still more other useful features:

1. Pressing ENTER without having a command on the input line displays a summary of all the Editor-Assembler commands.

2. A command is provided to MOVE a block of text from one place to another.

3. There are "Global" search and replace instructions which allow you to quickly locate and/or change any given string in a text.

4. A SYSTEM command has been added to allow the user to access DOS functions from within the Editor-Assembler.

5. A USAGE function has been provided to let you know how much memory you are using and how much you have left.

6. An instant "paging" feature allows you to look at the text in your program in 23 line "pages" by pressing one key.

7. It even works with both UPPER and lower case commands.

fceta-S« TRS-80 OWNERS1

Meca's digital tape provides the features of disk plus gives you more storage and costs less.

* Direct access at 100 inches per second

* Directory maintained by file name

* One-half megabyte of on line storage per drive

* Save and load programs and data under program control

MECA's Digital Tape Systems include everything you need. Each interface package includes all hardware, software, cables and connectors which allow you to plug our unit on to your particular system, turn power on and you're up and running.

SORCERER OWNERS*

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