CFOG's PIP, February 1987, Volume 5 No. 4, Whole No. 52, page 11

What's New: The ON! Computer; JetFind; New Version of Presto!

by Benjamin H. Cohen

One of the nice things about the CP/M 'trailing edge of technology' world is that there isn't so much new stuff in the commercial product world every week that you have to spend two hours scouring InfoWorld from top to bottom to begin to keep up with it. In contrast, there's so much out in the MS-DOS world that's new every week that you cannot possibly keep up with the spate of word processors, data base management programs, spreadsheets, communications software, not to mention new versions of old software, and not to mention the latest clone.

On the other hand, the CP/M world isn't dead, either. In other articles in this issue I've reported on the newest version of VDE, Eric Meyer's incredibly fast word processing program, Eric Gans's GKEY2 and the new edition of Smartkey version 4.2 for Osbornes. Other new public domain software is coming out or being discovered all the time -- there's so much of it that I cannot begin to cope with what interests me, much less everything else.

And there is still some new commercial CP/M software or versions coming out, or being announced. A letter published in the Foghorn issue of January 1986 reports that ButtonWare, Inc., is still interested in having someone come out with a new version of PC-File for CP/M systems. Whether that's vaporware only time will tell. And see the separate article on the lastest about NewWord / WordStar.

An advertisement in the January issue of Profiles, the Kaypro magazine, offers a new version 3 of Presto!, the TSR (terminate and stay resident, sometimes called RAM resident) program for CP/M computers. The upgraded version of this program takes 5K less RAM than the previous version, but ADDS features: CP/M commands to read the directory, erase a file, copy and rename files, type files to the screen, and keyboard macro processor including the ability to load definition files with each program you use. $39.95 from Spectre Technologies (800-628-2828, ext. 918, for orders only) for all Osborne, Kaypro, and Otrona CP/M computers. All orders must add $4 for shipping. Upgrades for users of older versions, send your original disk with a check for $5.

At our January meeting we saw at two exciting new things. First, the ON! computer, a full blown ZCPR3/ZRDOS system utilizing a Z80 chip, a Televideo terminal running at an ultra-fast 19,200 baud speed, a 2 Mb RAM disk, and fully power protected. In the near future RAM disks of 4 and 8 Mb will be available. It reads four disk formats as native, including Osborne, and a fifth native disk format can be selected from a list of about 48.

You can pull the plug out of the wall and plug it back any time within 12 hours and get right back where you were when the power failed. Optomized for word processing, this computer will really shine for applications where protection of your documents from power line vagaries is important [i. e., everywhere] and a fully integrated fast and powerful system is needed.

Wonderful as the ON! computer is, it's not perfect. The single quad density 96tpi drive can read double density 48tpi disks, but cannot write to them at all. No hard disk is currently available, although a SCSI (small computer systems interface) port is planned.

With a full-blown ZCPR3 operating system you get a lot of convenience, but at the cost of a modest TPA (transient program area, the space available to run programs). The SuperCalc2 memory 'meter' read 21K with a blank spreadsheet, compared to 25K for an Osborne 1 and 30K for an Executive. This limits some functions on the ON! Keep in mind, however, that this is not intended to be a big number cruncher -- the ON! is a powerful WORD cruncher, and the TPA limitation is not of much importance to that function.

It's a bit pricey at more than $2,000, but perhaps if ONEAC can get enough sales the unit cost can come down. In the meantime, if you have as much money as your time is worth, get the system that's always on and ready to go as soon as you turn on the display and never loses data.

The second 'star' at our January meeting, was JetFind, from Echelon, source of the Z-System (ZCPR3, ZRDOS, etc.). When Lillipute Z-Node sysop Richard Jacobson announced that he had a copy, I told him that on the basis of the Echelon notice in Z-News 609 I was ready to send in a check. It was with some degree of regret that Rich had to report that the program was actually still in beta test. The demonstration, however, was impressive -- here's a program that searches specified files, including wild cards, for a string, can output the line with the string to printer, file, or screen, together with the number of lines before and after the target line, etc., etc. The most impressive thing about the demonstration, however, was the speed with which JetFind worked.



CFOG's PIP, February 1987, Volume 5 No. 4, Whole No. 52, page 11

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