October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3jrh/acn/text/Back_Issues[1988-1992]/ACN1-3.pdf · 2003-04-01 · 1...

1 October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3 Letter Published in Radio-Electronics (The following letter appeared in the September, 1988 issue of Radio- Electronics magazine. Responses from all over the country follow.) In May 1966, Stephen B. Gray formed the Amateur Computer Society for people who were interested in building their own computers. By sharing their experiences and prob- lems, Gray believed that hobbyists could reduce the frustration and isolation of working on their own to build a computer. Ned Wadsworth's Scelbi-8H, Jonathan Titus' Mark-8, and Ed Roberts' Altair 8800 were the practical results of many years of effort to develop a personal com- puter. While personal computers are now readily available, there is an in- creasing emphasis on business uses and software appropriate for busi- nesses. There is a need for support and exchange among non-business users. To that end, we are announcing the publication of the first Amateur Computerist newsletter, named in honor of Stephen Gray's pioneering interchange. We want to encourage amateur com- puter users to write and share what they are doing with their computers – their successes and achievements, Table of Contents Radio-Elect Letter...........Page 1 Responding Letters...........Page 1 Election & Computers.........Page 3 Savior in Waiting............Page 5 Merit Network................Page 6 Virtual Drives-Batch Files...Page 7 Try This (IBM & Apple).......Page 7 As I Was Saying..............Page 8 Computers & Free Speech......Page 9 Letter to Editor.............Page 11 and their problems. We will try to support and encourage amateur use of computers, and to facilitate communi- cation between users. We recognize the important role Radio-Electronics has played in the history of the personal computer, by publishing Jonathan Titus' Mark-8 in July 1974. (Editor's Note: H. Edward Roberts, M.D., author of the Radio- Electronics "Advanced Control System" series, is the same Ed Roberts of Altair 8800 fame.) We're sure that many Radio-Electronics readers will be interested in the Amateur Comput- erist newsletter, and we hope they will write to us giving details of how they are using their computers; what uses they are most proud of, which programs are most useful, prob- lems they encountered, and programs they've created. Ronda Hauben RESPONSES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY Please send more info your newsletter per letters column Radio-Electronics Sept issue. I was one of original members Gray's Society and stayed to the end. Wish I had saved all issues and many of crazy things I put together. W. E. Young Jr. Phoenix, AZ Being a Coco owner for several years I have learned the very limited software and other coverage given to it by magazines (such as Radio-Elec- tronics, et al.). On the other hand, the Amateur Computerist letter written in the September 1988 issue sounds very interesting. It sounds like something my speed. Therefore, please send de- tails. Scott McMahan Asheville, NC

Transcript of October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3jrh/acn/text/Back_Issues[1988-1992]/ACN1-3.pdf · 2003-04-01 · 1...

Page 1: October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3jrh/acn/text/Back_Issues[1988-1992]/ACN1-3.pdf · 2003-04-01 · 1 October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3 Letter Published in Radio-Electronics (The following


October 1, 1988 Volume 1 No. 3

Letter Published inRadio-Electronics

(The following letter appeared inthe September, 1988 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine. Responses fromall over the country follow.) In May 1966, Stephen B. Grayformed the Amateur Computer Societyfor people who were interested inbuilding their own computers. Bysharing their experiences and prob-lems, Gray believed that hobbyistscould reduce the frustration andisolation of working on their own tobuild a computer. Ned Wadsworth'sScelbi-8H, Jonathan Titus' Mark-8,and Ed Roberts' Altair 8800 were thepractical results of many years ofeffort to develop a personal com-puter. While personal computers are nowreadily available, there is an in-creasing emphasis on business usesand software appropriate for busi-nesses. There is a need for supportand exchange among non-businessusers. To that end, we are announcingthe publication of the first AmateurComputerist newsletter, named inhonor of Stephen Gray's pioneeringinterchange. We want to encourage amateur com-puter users to write and share whatthey are doing with their computers– their successes and achievements,

Table of Contents

Radio-Elect Letter...........Page 1Responding Letters...........Page 1Election & Computers.........Page 3Savior in Waiting............Page 5Merit Network................Page 6Virtual Drives-Batch Files...Page 7Try This (IBM & Apple).......Page 7As I Was Saying..............Page 8Computers & Free Speech......Page 9Letter to Editor.............Page 11

and their problems. We will try tosupport and encourage amateur use ofcomputers, and to facilitate communi-cation between users. We recognize the important roleRadio-Electronics has played in thehistory of the personal computer, bypublishing Jonathan Titus' Mark-8 inJuly 1974. (Editor's Note: H. EdwardRoberts, M.D., author of the Radio-Electronics "Advanced Control System"series, is the same Ed Roberts ofAltair 8800 fame.) We're sure thatmany Radio-Electronics readers willbe interested in the Amateur Comput-erist newsletter, and we hope theywill write to us giving details ofhow they are using their computers;what uses they are most proud of,which programs are most useful, prob-lems they encountered, and programsthey've created.


Please send more info your newsletterper letters column Radio-ElectronicsSept issue.I was one of original members Gray'sSociety and stayed to the end. Wish Ihad saved all issues and many ofcrazy things I put together.

W. E. Young Jr.Phoenix, AZ

Being a Coco owner for severalyears I have learned the very limitedsoftware and other coverage given toit by magazines (such as Radio-Elec-tronics, et al.). On the other hand, the AmateurComputerist letter written in theSeptember 1988 issue sounds veryinteresting. It sounds like somethingmy speed. Therefore, please send de-tails.

Scott McMahanAsheville, NC

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Read your piece in Radio-Electron-ics and you can count me in as amember. Please send the details andcost of the newsletter and I willremit. It is about time somethingsuch as this got started. I have anumber of fine ideas, however I donot have the technical know how tobring them off. Perhaps through thisorganization I can realize a comple-tion of same. For the records I have the follow-ing equipment: AT&T 6300, Plus Devel-opment 20 mg hard card, 2 floppy 5.25drives, AT&T color monitor, Citoh8510 printer, Sysdyne modem, 3.1MS/DOS, 640 KB RAM. The otherequipment is a S-100 bus system:Seattle Computer 8086 with 256 KBstatic RAM, 22 slot motherboard, 2Qume 8" drives, Televideo monitor,and an Anadex printer (this computerI bought around 1980 and shows howlong static RAM has been around).

Very truly yours,R. S. Nieto

Metairie, LA

I've enjoyed the letter you wrotein the August issue of Radio-Elec-tronics. I found the letter to beinformative and inspirational. I'mwriting in regards to submittinginformation in using the computer asa control device/engineering tool. Iwould like to know how I can receiveyour newsletter as well as submitinformation to your newsletter on theabove items mentioned. If you have any information onarticle submission, it will be great-ly appreciated.

Thank YouDonald WilcherOak Park, MI

(Editor's comment: We need all theinspiration we can get!)

I was very interested when I sawyour letter in the September 1988issue of Radio-Electronics. I've beeninvolved in electronics as a hobbyfor the past ten years with computersbeing one of my two areas of inter-est. I started working on a designfor a computer, but the project cameto a halt when I was able to buy one.However, recently I regained inter-est. And the computer I now own (aCoCo 3) is becoming a bore sincetechnical information is scarce onit. Plus, it would be much more en-

joyable to use a system I built fromthe ground up and know inside andout. My main interest in computers isfor scientific use and experimenta-tion. And when I read the newsletterwas for non-business users, I wasexcited. At the moment, one mainlimitation I have is programming inmachine language. I understand it,but putting it to work is still achallenge. One area in computers that I wouldlike to explore is parallel process-ing or super-computers. I do not havemuch information in this area, but itcould be a new and exciting frontier.I would especially like to shareinformation with anyone else inter-ested in this area. Again, thank youfor your attention.

Steve BoutonCairo, GA

(Editor's comment: We would like toinvite someone to submit a series ofarticles helping readers to use ma-chine language.)

I would be interested in receivingyour Amateur Computerist news-letteras described in Radio-Electronics. Ihad a home brew computer running in1977 on the bare boards sold by OhioScientific. That computer is stilloperating, but all the people I usedto correspond with have moved tonewer machines. I also have a PCclone, but still love the old 6502machine since I personally solderedevery joint in the beast.

Earl MorrisMidland, MI

I read your letter in the Sept.'88 issue of Radio-Electronics, and Iwonder if you or your readers canhelp me. You see, I own and operate asmall electronics repair shop, andbusiness is steadily increasing.That's good. The paper work is alsoincreasing. That's Bad. I've been following Peter Stark'sseries in Radio-Electronics on build-ing a computer. I'm seriously con-sidering building it for my businessand other personal applications.There's only one little problem. Iknow Absolutely Nothing about the useor operation of any computer. There

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must be someone, somewhere that canhelp. Mr. Stark's computer is the PT-68K2. The CPU is a Motorola MC68000.It runs on SK-DOS. Is there a text-book or software that will run onthis system, and teach me how to usethis computer? Any help will begreatly appreciated.

Thank You!Paul Nowack

Buffalo, Minn(Editor response: It might be a goodidea to try to write to Peter Starkand ask him for information on usinghis computer. It's helpful to beginusing some computer, to begin to seewhat uses you can make of it. It hasbeen particularly helpful for some ofus to learn a little programming ina computer language like BASIC. (seeseries on programming in C and BASICin second issue.) to be able to seewhat kind of use you can make of acomputer. I've found that I can makeup simple programs to do mailings,keep records, etc. Also, though wordprocessing programs are very helpful.It may be you would want to buy acomputer like an IBM compatible tobegin to see what uses you may havefor one.)

I was very happy to read yourletter in the September Radio-Elec-tronics magazine. As one who is al-lergic to business and fascinated bytheoretical physics, mathematics, andsignal processing/analysis, I wouldbe delighted to receive a newsletterthat doesn't hide the juicy tidbitsamong a deluge of ads and reviews ofproducts that do not interest me.Unlike, say, Byte magazine which hasoccasional articles of interest tome, but is so fat with ads for fancyspreadsheets and laptops for travel-ing salesmen, blah. I usually tearout the good four or five pages andthrow the rest away. My interests are varied and wide-ranging, but within computing includedigging into machine code, large-scale calculations (typically ofquantum-mechanical models) and fid-dling with educational graphics pro-grams. I would like to design color-ful, fun programs that teach the main

ideas of quantum theory. How about avideo game based on particle-holeexcitations of atomic nuclei? Butpartly out of laziness, and partlyout of being busy with other things,I haven't really gotten anywhere withthat. Another project, that I have got-ten somewhat further with is an audiosignal analyzer, based on a multi-Z80system I'm pretending to design,which would, if only I would getaround to it, produce a real-timespectrum of any audio signal fed intoit. Not original, but I find it edu-cational and exciting to do as ahobby. I once toyed with the idea ofbuilding a stereoscopic 3-D displayfrom an old oscilloscope and a home-made Z80 system, but that never gotoff the ground. I was very, very busywith graduate school at the time. Besides these fun hobbies, I alsouse computers professionally. Cur-rently I am writing software at theHenry Ford Hospital for displaying 3-D CAT scan images. Last year, I wasat the Stanford Linear AcceleratorCenter helping them calibrate andtest their beam position monitors, sothat the U.S. will remain the leaderin high energy particle physics. Notexactly a common hobby! So, you see, I've done and plan todo all sorts of scientific and mathe-matical projects with computers, andthat includes building my own home-brew systems. I will have to save forlater more detailed descriptions ofmy projects and the problems I'mhaving (mostly a lack of time orspace), but I certainly want to be onyour mailing list!

Daren S. WilsonUnion Lake, MI

(More responses will appear in thenext issue. Keep your letters & arti-cles coming.)

EditorialUpcoming Election & Computers

Elsewhere in this issue is a letterto the editor that was printed in theSeptember issue of Radio-Electronicsand a few of the many letters andinquiries received in response to it.

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The stream of letters from all overthe country inquiring about TheAmateur Computerist shows that theamateur technology movement whichgave birth to the personal computerby 1974 is still very much alive inthe U.S. The personal computer representsa tremendous technological leap. Inthe next issue we begin serializinga history of computers showing howthe personal computer is the productof at least 400 years of effort bymany people to create a computer. Andmany feel the computer will bring anew industrial revolution much moresignificant than that of the 1800's. But what is actually happening?The automotive industry utilizes someof the most advanced technology in agiven country. The connection of com-puters with machinery on the shopfloor represents a significant neces-sary technological leap. But thatconnection seems stymied in the U.S.at the current moment. Why? U.S. companies traditionally arereluctant to invest capital in newtechnology. But in 1976-9 the UAW wona reduction in the workweek in theircontracts, in the form of paid per-sonal days. This provided the stimu-lus for auto companies to invest over$80 billion in new machinery by theend of 1983*, and was a step forwardfor U.S. industry. Now companies haveagain extended working hours. Productivity is a word being ban-died about a lot these days. Produc-tivity refers to the efficiency ofthe productive process, the quantityof output produced per employee-hourof expended labor. The highest pro-ductivity is achieved when a commod-ity is produced with the least laborpossible. That requires the mostmodern machinery, tools, equipment,etc. If a factory with older machin-ery requires 40 employee-hours oflabor to assemble an automobile, amodern "state-of-the-art" factory canassemble a car using only 29 hourslabor time. This second factory rep-resents increased productivity.** Nomatter how efficient the workers arein the first factory, the productiv-ity of that factory will lag theproductivity of the newer one.

But the auto companies are reluc-tant to put advanced technology intotheir factories because that requirescapital investment. Alfred Sloan Jr.,President of GM in the 1930's (work-ers at GM nicknamed him `Papa'Sloan), gave a speech to the EconomicClub of Detroit in 1943. In thatspeech he explained that U.S. manage-ment must be cautious about puttingstockholder capital into new technol-ogy. Instead he proposed improvingthe efficiency of management's abil-ity to get more labor out of people.To do this he proposed managementresearch into diverse methods of wagedistribution, labor relations andpersonnel psychology. The result is that U.S. industryis now a flood with "partnership","labor-management cooperation","training", "human resource develop-ment", etc. Also, instead of wageincreases, workers are faced with"two-tier wage scales", "profit shar-ing", "bonuses", etc. But all ofthese are efforts to lower wages andget workers to do more intense workfor longer hours. When the same program of bonuses(called "the Scanlon Plan" or "the MyJobs Contest", etc) was attemptedafter WW II, the economy was sentinto a tailspin. The lower the wagesof workers and the longer the hoursthey worked, the less incentive therewas for a corporation to part withits "profits" and invest in new tech-nology. Productive capacity con-tracted and shortages developed,further constricting capacity. By 1947, factories in Flint,Detroit, etc. were forced to shutdown for a day at a time becausethere was a fuel oil shortage. GM hadto restrict production of cars be-cause it couldn't get enough steel,as steel capacity had been cut back.Prices of scarce goods were fuelinginflation. The result was that boththe U.S. Congress and the Michiganlegislature tried to fashion anti-inflation legislation. Newspaper re-porters tried to figure out the causeof the shortages, etc. Thus, `Papa'Sloan's program demonstrated it couldonly worsen economic conditions. UAW workers in Flint, however,

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solved the problem. They went on theradio, put out a press release, wrotearticles in their local trade unionnewspapers, etc. calling for a Costof Living Escalator Clause (COLA) intheir upcoming contract. Officials ofthe UAW International Union opposedthem, accusing the Flint workers ofanti-union activity. And GM manage-ment was opposed to the COLA, aswell. But the Flint auto workers pre-vailed. COLA and the Annual Improve-ment Factor (an annual percentagewage increase, e.g. of 3% called theAIF) were introduced into the GM-UAWcontract in May 1948. That meant GMwas required to maintain a level ofwages that provided a continual in-ducement for it to invest in newtechnology. And based on that gain,other labor management rules wereestablished like arbitration proce-dures, bidding rights, etc. Theserules provided GM and auto workerswith a firm foundation for technolog-ical development. Workers, during the 1940's, hadaccess to their trade union newspa-pers where they could print theircriticism of management and of ̀ applepolishing' workers. These commentswere printed in a section called"Shop News," etc. Thus, there waspressure on GM "to clean up its act",so to speak, and for management andunion leaders to correct glaringabuses. What does all this have to do withthe personal computer and the elec-tions? Instead of any debate overtechnology and the computer, all wehear from both the Republican and theDemocratic Parties is that managementhas to have a free hand to "be morecompetitive", i.e. to cut back workerwages and restrict worker rights.This, we are being told, will provide"Jobs". We are hearing the programSloan presented to the Economic Clubof Detroit for "Postwar Jobs" in1943, as the panacea for today. But"Jobs" at low wages, with long hours,and under conditions of psychologicalmanipulation, not only harm workers,but also are a disincentive for tech-nological investment. Thus, we hearthat it's no longer a question ofproductivity, meaning new technology,

but of "individual productivity",meaning speed-up. Also, tariff legislation is beingpromoted to keep prices artificiallyhigh, and to cut back on the supplyof needed new technology like com-puter chips. And in general, computereducation and computer technology areto be only at the initiative of bigcorporations; and kept out of thehands of amateurs and workers. But this is not a way to developtechnology, not a way to solve theproblems of using computers on theshop floor. We need a debate over thecurrent dilemmas facing our society,not censorship and restriction of thevoice of workers or of amateurs andhobbyists. It is not the "workerlessfactory" (GM President Roger Smith'sdream) or the "workerless State"(Michigan Governor James Blanchard'sdream) that will solve the problemsof technological advancement. Comput-ers need people who can operate themand, more importantly, people who canprogram them and thus understandtheir limitations and strengths, anddebug their mistakes. The developmentof computer technology cannot be leftin the hands of management alone. Itneeds to be in the hands of workers,of amateurs, of hobbyists. That meansthere needs to be discussion, debateand education on all issues concern-ing technology, and discussion anddebate which welcomes the voice ofworkers, small business people, farm-ers, amateur computerists, hobbyists,etc. To this end the AmateurComputerist is dedicated.(*See E.E. Wise "New Technology &Labor-Management Relations at FordMotor Co.", Labor Law Journal, Aug.1985, p. 574.)(** See Albert Lee, Call Me Roger,N.Y., 1988, p 239.)

SAVIOR IN WAITING(The Computer - A Human Extension)

by Floyd Hoke-MillerThe Big MachineThe Big Brave BrainStanding side by sideIn stony silence,Lifeless,Soulless,

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Loveless;There in a positiveSlave-like stature,Waiting to be fedSomething theyCan never have,Nor ever had,Intuition,Food,By the hand of the humanWho created them,InspirationFor action!Waiting the human touchOf manipulation,Of programming,To act uponThat they mightPerform the dutyThat becomesTheir presenceOf being.They are both one,The extensionOf human capacitation(from The Searchlight, 6/12/87)

How to Use the Merit Network?by Michael Hauben

(Editor's note: This article waswritten to tell Detroit area resi-dents how to call Ann Arbor BBS'swithout having to pay a zone charge.For computer users outside of theDetroit area, they can use PC Pursuitto call Detroit to connect to theMERIT network.)

Introduction Would you like to be able to callAnn Arbor and the surrounding area,while only being charged for a localcall? If so, I have the solution! Ifyou like to call in and around AnnArbor then this will save you money!(There is one catch though. You willonly be able to call Ann Arbor lo-cally if you will be using your com-puter to connect to another com-puter.)

Overview of Steps To start off you have to load atelecommunications program into yourcomputer. Next you call a Merit num-ber that is local to you. Once youare on Merit, you connect to thedial-out modems. Finally you can dialthe number you want by using the ATcommand set.

Materials Required A computer, modem, telecommunica-tions software, a phone line, and anumber for dialing a modem local toyou for Merit.

Cautions Sometimes the dial-out modemsdon't work! So don't get frustrated!

Definition of Terms Modem - An acronym for MOdulate-DEModulate. This is a device whichlets computers communicate over phonelines. Merit - A network of the educa-tional computers in Michigan. Telecommunications program - Aprogram which runs on your computerwhich lets you use the phone lines toconnect to another computer. Network - The linking up of com-puters. Dial-out modems - These are modemswhich when you connect to them, letyou use them to dial out of the net-work.

Step One: Setting UPA. Boot your computer with your sys-tem disk.B. Turn your modem on and check tosee if it's connected to your com-puter and phone line.C. Run your telecommunications pro-gram.

Step Two: ConnectingA. Call your local Merit number, withyour telecommunications program setat 300 or 1200 baud (there are a few2400 baud numbers), 7 data bits, evenparity, 1 stop bit (7, E, 1) and fullduplex.B. At the "%Terminal=" prompt, eitherpress return or enter your terminal(emulation) type.C. At the "Which host?" prompt, type"DIALOUT-AA" to connect to thedialout modems.D. Hit return two or more times.

Step Three: DialingA. After "Ok", type "ATSMCSLCC0D9###-####"; (###-#### is the phonenumber.) If the number is busy, or ifit doesn't answer, then type "D" or"R" and return to redial until you'reconnected!

Step Four: QuittingA. Send a <BREAK> character.

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B. Type "%QUIT".C. At the "Which host?" prompt type "Q" to disconnect from Merit.D. Exit your telecommunications program.E. Shut your computer and modem off.

Telephone numbers to dial MERIT:300/1200 (313)593-5059,(313)577-03352400 (313)577-0321Some BBS's you can call using MERIT: M-Net 994-6333 300/1200/2400 baud Beyond Reality 995-0754 300/1200/2400 baud Kite-Net 663-6201 300/1200 baud DMD HQ 420-4624 300/1200/2400 baudOther services available from MERITare connections into CompuServe, TheSource, PC-MAGNET (PC Magazine's newelectronic service) and the NSFSCN(National Science Foundation Super-Computer Network).


WHAT IS A VIRTUAL DRIVE? It is a simulated disk drive inRAM. Virtual drives (or VDISKS) arevery fast, but they use up memory,and all the information on the VDISKis lost on 'shut-down' or reboot. Itis necessary to move any files gener-ated and saved on the VDISK to afloppy or hard disk before 'shut-down' or reset. VDISKs are especiallygood for running overlays or programsthat are disk drive interactive. Theyare also very good for storing fre-quently used programs and batch filesto be used during a work session.This article assumes no hard disk isbeing used.

THE VDISK.SYS COMMAND(Ed. Note: In DOS 3.3 VDISK.SYS iscalled RAMDRIVE.SYS. Check your man-ual to see the syntax forRAMDRIVE.SYS) The format for the VDISK commandis:DEVICE=[d:][path] VDISK.SYS [bbb][sss] [ddd] [/E[:m]]where d = drive; path = directorypath where VDISK.SYS is located; bbb= the desired storage capacity (inKB) of the virtual disk (default is

64); sss = sector size in bytes(default is 128, larger sizes 256 &512 are faster but memory is used);ddd = max. no. of directory entries(default is 64, but can use 2 to 512,one is used for the virtual disklabel); /E:m = for use with extendedmemory.

HOW TO CREATE A VIRTUAL DRIVE Create a CONFIG.SYS file like thefollowing:

CONFIG.SYS device = VDISK.SYS 128 128 16 buffers = 10 files = 20 Line 1 - creates a virtual drive of128 KB with 128 byte sector size anda capability to handle 16 files.Line 2 - the number of buffers at 10is for a PC XT with no hard drive -use 20 if a hard drive is part ofyour system.Line 3 - 20 files can be opened atonce (default is 8).

CREATE A BOOT DISKFormat a blank disk with the /S (tocopy system files) and the /V (tocreate a volume name) option. Namethe disk as you see fit, mine isVDISK_128_K. Copy the following: COMMAND.COM CONFIG.SYS (one created above) PRINT.COM (an example only) AUTOEXEC.BAT (see below) VDISK.SYS (from your DOS disk)

CREATE AN AUTOEXEC.BAT Make an AUTOEXEC.BAT file thatcontains the commands that follow:

AUTOEXEC.BAT echo off copy print.com c: path c:\;a:;b: prompt $p$_yes, Master $ cls

CREDITS Reference book: The Power ofPC/DOS by Seichert & Wood. It workson my unit with two 360 floppies andPC/DOS 3.1 (no hard drive).

TRY THIS(BASICA or GW-BASIC program for IBM)5 CLS: KEY OFF10 PRINT "This is an example of theequation of a straight line"15 PRINT16 PRINT TAB(15);"Y = .5X - 20"

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17 PRINT20 INPUT "Do you want to see a tableof values or a graph (G/T)";A$30 IF A$="t" OR A$="T" THEN A=140 IF A$="g" OR A$="G" THEN A=250 ON A GOTO 100, 200100 CLS110 PRINT TAB(5);"X";TAB(10);"Y"120 FOR X = 1 TO 22130 PRINT TAB(4);X;TAB(8);.5 * X -20140 NEXT X150 INPUT "Do you want to see a graph(Y/N)";B$160 IF B$<>"y" OR B$<>"Y" THEN END200 SCREEN 2210 LINE (0,0) - (0,199)215 LINE (0,100) - (639,100)220 FOR X = 0 TO 639230 Y = .5 * X - 20240 PSET (X,100-Y)250 NEXT X

Here is an Apple version:5 HOME10 PRINT "This is an example of theequation of a straight line"15 PRINT16 PRINT TAB(15);"Y = .5X - 20"20 PRINT30 INPUT "Do you want to see a tableof values or a graph (T/G)?";A$30 IF A$="t" OR A$="T" THEN A=140 IF A$="g" OR A$="G" THEN A=250 ON A GOTO 100, 200100 HOME110 PRINT TAB(5);"X";tab(10);"y"120 FOR X=1 TO 22130 PRINT TAB(4);X;TAB(8);.5*X-20140 NEXT X150 INPUT "Do you want to see a graph(Y/N)?";B$160 IF B$<>"y" OR B$<>"Y" THEN END200 HGR : HCOLOR = 3210 HPLOT 0,0 TO 0,159215 HPLOT 0,80 TO 279,80220 FOR X = 0 TO 279230 Y = .5 * X - 20240 HPLOT X,80 - Y250 NEXT X

AS I WAS SAYING... by Floyd Hoke-Miller Quite often today, I hear workerssay, "Why computerism? Will the com-ing of computers and robots be for usa blessing or a horror?" I can under-stand the question. With all the new

machinery and modern technology con-tinually introduced at the workplace, we are still working the samehour-quotient that our grandfathersand great-grandfathers first estab-lished in 1916. That's when railroadworkers won eight hours as theirregular work day. We were not able,as industrial workers, to wrest thatconcession (or perhaps it should besaid that rightful grant), until thehistorical and momentous seizure of`Chevy Plant Four' by our group ofmixed classifications, auto workersall. We were the human element inproduction and were done being treat-ed as ̀ hired, fired, fixed, and foil-ed factory fixtures'. Our Sit-DownStrike success set off a wave of sit-downs that ended our treatment en-tirely by whim and eventually estab-lished eight hours as the standardwork day for all American labor.Since eight or even ten hours per dayis still standard today, can't we askwhat good has been done for us by allthe advances in machinery and tech-nology since WW II? The question is well and propi-tiously posited and should be re-peated more often. The answer must besought in the remedy of more equaljustice and a wider spread of the`good things of life' that the new`Hi-Tech' leverage can bring to humankind. It is indeed time and over timethat, to the "gentleman's agreement"of 1937, a supplement be added thatguarantees to labor it's share of thegain via a shorter work day and a"pass the profits please" organizedlabor-management treaty. What is computerism? It began inthe "Beginning". We came into thesphere known as life with the ques-tions of why and how. To make lifesuccessful and better, work had to bedone. The more machines and inven-tions could do that work the betterit could be for all. But not justmachines to do muscle work. Why notmachines to do mental work? But thereis still the problem today. After allthese years of the Industrial Revolu-tion, and with us now at the begin-ning of the Cybernetic Revolution, wemust revert to the cry credited toPilate, "What is the Truth?" Will we

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ever benefit from any progress? Thatwill come but it will take the soli-darity of a `one for all and all forone' type of organized effort by theworking class as a whole. Whither computerism? That is aquandary that deserves more attentionthan it has been getting. Will thedirection be governed by commercial-ism, understood in the light of theprofit motive and individual advance-ment; or by amateurism, viewed as alabor of love? Computerism reallyshould, by all sense of logic, be inthe same realm that such basics asTruth, Love and Justice should be.They all belong intrinsically to thePublic Domain. So far the "big machine" has oftenmeant, for workers, big trouble. Nowthe "big brain", what will it meanfor Us? To quote Isaiah, an ancientJewish sage, "come let us reasontogether" so that the cyberneticfuture will not be our enemy. We musttake steps now. In other words, letus use our heads in addition to ourhands, working and studying one withanother, such that a suitable answercan be found in a democratic fashion. We must remember that, by itself,advancement in our present societyhas a concentrating effect on theminority of humanity. That is ourchallenge, for us to share in thefuture, or even to shape the futurefor ourselves. It is a blessing, ̀ Hi-Tech' progress, but we will onlybenefit from it if we shorten thehours required daily of our labor.The boss is not our buddy. We mustforce this from him. To work, then,my friends. Let us fan the frail,flickering flame into a forest firefor the future.


Should there be unlimited freedomof speech? Should the Supreme Courtor any other federal court have theright to censor? Does EVERYBODY havefreedom of speech? These are some ofthe questions based on freedom ofspeech. When Hitler came to power inGermany, he limited freedom of speechby ending constitutional law. Whenthe Chairman of the opposing party

made a passionate plea, Hitler said,"Late you come, but still youcome...during the time we were in theopposition...in those days our presswas forbidden and forbidden and againforbidden, our meetings were forbid-den and we were forbidden to speak,and I was forbidden to speak, foryears on end. And now you say: criti-cism is salutary!"(1) For our society, freedom of speechis part of the Bill of Rights of ourConstitution. Many of the states thatratified the Constitution did so withan understanding that a Bill ofRights restricting the power of thefederal government would be adopted.Patrick Henry was one of the many todemand the Bill of Rights. He arguedsuccessfully for the Bill. The dif-ferent freedoms, including freedom ofspeech, protected by the Bill ofRights have been and still will bedefined through various cases broughtup in federal courts. The concept of freedom of speechhas a long history. It expanded tospeech on paper in the 15th Centurywhen Johannes Gutenberg inventedmoveable type in Europe. Books thatwere cheap and common replaced thevaluable, rare manuscripts immedi-ately after the press was introduced.Information could now be delivered toall who could read, instead of onlyto those within earshot of a speaker.In England, the governing bodythought the power of the printingpress dangerous enough to assign acensor. That censorship was shutdown by Parliament and then rein-stalled after a flood of licentiousand seditious literature came out ofthe mighty presses. Many of these newuncensored books were politically ortheologically based. John Milton, a 36 year old poetand a classical scholar of knownreputation, published on his own andwithout a license in the 17th Cen-tury, an answer to the Parliament'scensoring of printed materials. Hecalled it Areopagitica. In it he says"First, the decision of a censorcannot be trusted unless the censoris infallible and beyond corruption.No mortal possesses such grace;therefore no mortal is qualified to

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be a censor. Second, since anythingmay tend to evil if misused, an ef-fective system of censorship will endup suppressing everything even music,dancing, windows, balconies, eating,drinking, clothes and `the mixt con-versation of our youth, male andfemale together.' Third, if a schemefor issuing licenses be instituted,what does one do with books alreadyprinted and in circulation? Fourth,the job of censor is so dull andunsatisfactory that no able personwill want it."(2) In the five parts of Milton'stext, he talks about the types ofpeople for whom he is writing thisbook. The main type, the humanist, isdevoted to the debate and the discus-sion of things like freedom ofspeech. He was the man of learningthat Milton had in mind. Milton knewthat the person who talks aboutfreedom of speech requires freedom ofspeech. Freedom of speech has been a topicwidely debated around the world onuniversity campuses. For example, in1964 on the Berkeley Campus of theUniversity of California, there de-veloped the Free Speech Movementwhich was a forerunner of thestudent-based civil rights and anti--war movements that were active forthe next ten years. From Berkeleycame several leaders for the up andcoming computer Homebrew movementwhich was the beginning of all per-sonal computers we know today. In thelast two years, there have been stu-dent revolts against the politicalsystem in China and France. Freedom of speech is still freedomof speech even for bad causes. InNorth Carolina, and several otherstates, one can pay $5.00 for an"open sesame" password onto the AryanNational Liberty Net, an electronicBulletin Board. It contains the lat-est in neo-Nazi thought offeringsections entitled "Know yourEnemies", "ZOG Informers" and "Patri-otic Groups." One of the main con-cerns is that of kids who like tohack into closed computer bulletinboards. They are the most vulnerableto this type of hate propaganda. An important vehicle in the fight

for free speech is the personal com-puter. The personal computer can be afacilitator of free speech because itis an information machine. It grewout of the supporters of the anti-warmovement who wanted a personal com-puter for the masses. At the time,the computers available were themainframes made by IBM and other bigmanufacturers, affordable to onlyhuge companies and the government,and the mini-computers manufacturedby DEC (Digital Equipment Corpora-tion) and others. The minicomputerswere more of a people computer be-cause universities could afford themand make them available to students. Many clubs formed that had peopleinterested in a people's computer.California's Homebrew Club was one ofthe famous ones. Many importantfounders of the personal computerblossomed in the Homebrew Club. Thefirst couple of real personal comput-ers were made exclusive, because themanufacturers wanted to make profitfrom them. The hackers soon defeatedthe exclusive rights that these manu-facturers wanted. They figured outand standardized different aspects ofthe machines to fit the hacker ethic,which stated everything should be inpublic domain so that people couldlearn something from, be able tobenefit from, and finally be able toenhance it. As a result of thesepioneers, IBM was forced, when itentered the personal computer market,to conform to the pioneers and tomake an open, public machine. IBM ofall companies! IBM was the Godfatherof the Mainframes. These pioneersachieved a victory for free speech! In 1987, on the campus of theUniversity of Michigan (Ann Arbor),free speech was again brought intoquestion. On an electronic bulletinboard available to the Universitycommunity, a file of ethnic, racialand other jokes offensive to specificgroups was made available by certainstudents. The file kindled the fireof debate on freedom of speech andcomputer propriety. After the studentwho started the file, was pressuredto close it, more debate flourished.Some students started files withpage-long essays on the evils of

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bigotry, while others started newjoke files. So some students answeredthe discontinued joke file, whileothers restarted it. Now that's defi-nitely freedom of speech! Even more debates have beenstarted about whether to limit whatpeople can say by computer, whetherbad jokes should be allowed as acategory. "Some schools such asDartmouth and Carnegie-Mellon haveimposed a code of ethics for studentsusing their computers, with violatorsfacing removal from the system.Dartmouth specifically prohibitsoffensive material in a code thatwarns: `Obscenities should not besent by computer nor stored wherethey could offend other users'."(3)Supporters of the joke file say thatno one was forced to read the fileand that they had to go out of theirway to read it. Isn't there always atemptation though? Robert Parnes,programmer of the software used forthe electronic bulletin board, saidthat he thought that the studentswould try to test the bounds ofdecency. Our world would have to be madebetter to have unlimited freedom ofspeech. Most people in the world whohave a type of Bill of Rights havesome protection of their freedom ofspeech. As Barbara Amiel writes inher article "Censoring One, CensoringAll", "You either have free speechfor everybody or you do not have freespeech"(4), you have to have unlim-ited freedom of speech or you arediscriminating against a viewpoint.The result of unlimited freedom ofspeech is that if someone exercisestheir freedom and expresses theirviewpoint on a matter, a person of anopposing viewpoint would be able toanswer the first person's work. Thisway everyone could hear all sides onthat matter and make up their ownminds on what they agree with.

1. Barbara Amiel, Censoring One,Censoring All, MacLean's, April 15,1985, p 11.2. Irving Younger, "What Good IsFreedom of Speech?", Commentary, vol

79, Jan. '85, pp 45 - 46.3. Isabel Wilkerson, "Ethnic Jokes inCampus Prompt Debate", New YorkTimes, April 18, 1987, Sec 7, p 6.4. Barbara Amiel.

Letter To The EditorJuly, 1988

Dear Editor, It is rare indeed that a publica-tion prints clear statements of op-posing points of view. Your firstissue dedicates you to making comput-ers and computer knowledge availableto all people, especially the workerswho will use computers in theirwork. You wrote, "...to deal with theproblem of automation, it is neces-sary for people to be familiar withcomputers, to use them and to knowtheir capabilities and limitations."In your second issue, however, youprint a letter from a friend whoargues the opposite position. Hewrites, "I do believe that computersare not a mass media." I would liketo enter this debate. Your letter writer suggests sincebig companies are motivated by prof-it, these companies will developcomputers. But what kind of comput-ers? The history of computers showsthat IBM, DEC, etc. were motivated tomake profits. In the '50's and '60's,they saw it in their interest to makelarge expensive computers, the saleof only a few, bringing them largeprofits. Those engineers working forthese companies, like David Ahl, whohad visions of smaller school andhome computers, had to organize andwork outside of the big companies inorder to give any hope to theirdreams. And this trend is constant.Inexpensive computers, affordable bymany people, are always disappearing.Witness, for example, the Timex 2068or Commodore 64. Instead, all corpo-rate innovation is going into top ofthe line 80386 and 68020 and soon80486 and 68030 machines. When wasthe last time a new computer wasintroduced to sell for around $200?Surely the technology and marketexist for such a machine but not thecapital to mass produce it. But also,education in computer programming isalready being cut back. In the De-

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troit area public schools, program-ming classes are rarely given anymore. Spreadsheet and wordprocessortraining is all that is now offeredfor the majority of the people. Hour-ly workers especially see detailedknowledge of computers as a must forthe work world of the near future.But the Wall Street Journal (8/11/88,page 1) reports that, "Five yearsago, ...Michigan decided that itseconomic salvation lie in manufactur-ing, not in turning its factory work-ers into computer programmers...."That says to me the employers areafraid workers will, as your letterwriter wrote, "create chaos" withsuch knowledge. But armed with pro-gramming knowledge, wouldn't workersmake possible the successful intro-duction of computer controlled pro-cesses onto the shop floor? Suchworkers would then be able to catchand correct the inevitable errorsthat management and engineers distantfrom the shop floor will make. Remem-ber, computers are very fast at whatthey do. Without quick intervention,a computer error can produce a lot ofgarbage in a short time. That's whatGeneral Motors found out when it madethe mistake of thinking robots willmake possible a "workerless factory". Hasn't this same debate runthroughout history? Those who holdthe power always argue there arespecial reasons why only they shouldhave knowledge, while those withoutpower strive to gain more knowledge.I believe it is fortunate for prog-ress that there are hackers andhobbyists who go on innovating andexperimenting and there are workers,like your staff, who are learning andspreading computer knowledge. Let me ask your letter writer,where would radio be if it weren'tfor the amateur and ham radio opera-tors in the first quarter of thiscentury? I think history shows itwill be the same with the marriage ofpersonal computers and robots in themodern factories. This is a develop-ment our society is pregnant with. Itcould greatly cut down the number ofhours necessary for each worker towork. But it is being opposed by thecorporate planners who see profit

increases from stretching hours andlowering wages. So again it will haveto be science fair entrants, hackers,hobbyists, tinkers and `amateurthinkers' who will force the neces-sary breakthroughs onto the corpora-tions. That's why I welcome the Ama-teur Computerist and hope your pagesstay open for this crucial debate.

J. Hauben(Editors' note: Last issue we prom-ised that we would answer the "LetterTo The Editor" in the next issue.Since a reader submitted the above,we decided to put off our responseagain until the following issue. Butwe welcome other readers to enter thedebate.


William RohlerNorman O. ThompsonTechnical EditorMichael Hauben

The Amateur Computerist invites con-tribution of articles, programs, etc.Send submissions to: R. Hauben, P.O.Box 4344, Dearborn, Mi. 48126.Articles can be submitted on paper ordisk in ASCII format, (IBM or Commo-dore.)