• Category Archives Computer Arcana
  • Retro computing and other things computer related

  • Personal Computing Today (February 1983)

    Source: Personal Computing Today – February 1983

    Personal Computing Today was a computer magazine published in the U.K. in the early and mid 1980s. North American readers would find some familiar machines like the TRS-80 and VIC-20 but some of the computers covered were U.K. based like the BBC Micro. The February 1983 issue includes:

    • Spectrum Software: Spectrum Zap – Do battle once more with the malevolent mutants from Mars in this all killing, all blasting game for the Spectrum.
    • News – Brush up on the latest comings and goings in the computer scene.
    • Letters – Comments or criticisms? Then this is your page.
    • TRS-80 Software: Spelling Test – Let your Tandy test your spelling. With this program you can set up your own custom spelling tests.
    • BBC Software: Squash – Learn how to program moving ball graphics and end up playing the computer a game of Squash.
    • Next Month – Find out what we’ll be up to in March.
    • Atari Technique: Quick on the Draw – Find out more about the internal workings of your Atari’s graphics.
    • Review – Catch up with our review team in their latest escapades from the world of computer software.
    • ZX81 Microspot: Instring Routine – Find out how to simulate this useful command on your own micro.
    • Program Submissions – Want your name in print? Here’s what you have to do.
    • BBC Review: BBC Disc System – Thinking about treating your Beeb to some discs? Consult our review first and avoid the pitfalls.
    • Letters: Micro Answers – If your Spectrum won’t speak to you, or your RAM pack has rebelled, then drop us a line and we will set the experts on them.
    • Sord: Review: The Sord’s Edge – As the Japanese prepare to do battle for the control of the home computer market, Personal Computing Today agents sneaked a look at one of their secret weapons.
    • UK 101 Software: UK Blitz – Bring your plane in for a safe landing by flattening the city below you.
    • Survey – Personal Computing Today is your magazine, so complete our survey and help us give you what you want.
    • Programming: Gamesboard – This month’s Gamesboard will tell you all you need to know about setting up your own personal adventure.
    • VIC 20 Software: One Touch Entry – Add a single key entry system to your VIC 20 with this invaluable program.
    • BBC Hardware: Using Cassette Recorders – All you need to know about choosing, connecting and caring for your cassette recorder.
    • Reference: Factfile – Mystified by the massive choice of micros? The Factfile will help you gain your perspective.
    • Reference: Software Checklist – If you want a Toolkit for your Tandy or a Breakout for your BBC then turn to the Checklist to solve your problem.
    • Reference: Micro Terms – If you’re flummoxed by files of baffled by bytes then Micro Terms will straighten you out.

    …and more!

  • Grappler CD (Commodore 64)

    Source: Commodore Power/Play – June July 1984

    This ad is from the June/July issue of Commodore Power/Play and advertisers an add-on for the Commodore 64 that most people don’t think of being an add-on today (because it isn’t usually). It’s for a printer interface.

    The Commodore 64 did not provide a standard printer port out of the box. However, it had a user port that could be adapted to a number of uses, including as a printer port. Unfortunately, this required buying a separate adapter. These typically cost in the neighborhood of $30-$50 depending on the brand and time period we are talking about.

    There were printers by Commodore and other 3rd party vendors that would connect directly to your Commodore 64 without an adapter but your choices would have been very limited. Adapters like these would allow you to connect your Commodore 64 to most major printers of the time. These would have been printers that connected to a parallel port (this was pre-USB) and usually either dot matrix or daisy wheel though an expensive laser printer was also a possibility.

    I never heard of this particular printer interface and have no idea what the “CD” stands for in Grappler CD. However, Orange Micro was a major vendor at the time so I assume this would have been a quality product. I had a different and I think more generic brand but it always worked okay for me.