CFOG's PIP, October 1988, Volume 7 No. 5, Whole No. 67, page 77

Getting the Essentials

by Benjamin H. Cohen

How and where can you get Jon Shimberg's essential programs for CP/M users? Through CFOG, of course. Every one of them is available at our Sunday meetings in Skokie and Thursday meetings in Downtown Chicago. And just for the fun of it, let's compare Jon's list with what FOG and CFOG include on their "Starter Disk" and "New Member Disk" respectively.

FOG does include NewSweep 2.07 and RECVER 2.1. FOG includes FBAD57, an older program than BD05, which does not tell you what files were located on the bad sectors locked out, and NULU 1.1. FOG's selection omits LRUN, MFDISK, DISK, VDE, and SD. On the other hand, FOG includes two disk utilities, DU 8.7 and EDFILE. [To what extent new CP/M users are ready for these programs (especially DU) is questionable, though they have remarkable abilities. If one is to be included, perhaps SUPERZAP would be better since it has more online help for infrequent users.] The FOG Starter Disk was created in 1985 and has not apparently been updated since, as one of my recent disks with articles came back on August 22, 1988 with the Starter Disk on it, unchanged in three years.

The CFOG New Member disk has various versions for Osborne and Kaypro users, with machine specific programs on each. A special supplement for Commodore 128 users is also available. Both Osborne and Kaypro versions include NSWP 2.07, NULU 1.51, and RECVER21. Neither LRUN, DISK, nor VDE, is included. BD04 is included on the Kaypro disk, but FBAD58 is on the Osborne disk. While SD is not included, D3 (directory in 3 columns, for 52 column Osbornes) and D4 (4 columns wide for 80 column Osbornes) are on the Osborne disk and DD (a special directory program for Kaypro graphics, which shows any drive and user area and can show erased files) is on the Kaypro disk. The Kaypro disk includes three versions of MFDISK for various Kaypros.

The CFOG New Member disks also include BANNER (to print banners across the page), BISHOW (bi-directional type utility), COMPEN (to compare two text files, including WordStar files), DIRFILES (a utility to annotate your directory), FIND 5.1 (to find strings in text files), FU 1.5 (fast unsqueezer), NEWPIP (PIP with automatic verify, reset drives, and quick repeat), MCAT45, CAT, and PUTCAT (to catalog your disks and print lists), and UNERA 1.9 (to unerase files, wild cards accepted).

The CFOG New Member disk hasn't been updated in a while, either. Consideration should be given to changing some of the files on it: the fast unsqueezer might well be replaced by UNCRunch, and CRUNCH added. BISHOW is a bit passe compared to QL 40. As mentioned above, QL might well substitute for NULU, since it allows you to view plain, squeezed, or crunched files in LBR files and also to extract and uncompress them with ease. The latest version of BD ought to be substituted for FBAD. NCAT 3.72 probably ought to replace MCAT45. And I can't believe that we let an Osborne New Member disk out without FK.COM and SET.COM!

It won't hurt to expand the New Member disk so that it's more than one disk of programs. It'll probably be necessary to accomodate Jon's whole list and the programs that we have been providing. VDE could then be added, along with LRUN. SD could be added, along with a note that for systems other than two floppy disks it needs to be configured and assembled in order to properly deal with all the drives available.

In two of his last CP/M columns in ProFiles Ted Silveira nominated NSWP, UNERASE, BD, SD, MEX, IMP, VDE, Outliner, GkEY2, QWIKKEY, SEARCH, FINREP, PAIRX, MAGE31, SAVESTAR, RESQ, HARDSOFT, FILT7, NULU, CRUNCH, and UNCRUNCH for his list of essential CP/M public domain programs.

Next issue I hope to have another article on some of these indispensables. If you'd like to write a word or two about your favorites, please drop me a note at Box 1674, Chicago, IL 60690, or leave a message at 726-3569. You've gotten plenty: give a little back!

After some thought on your submissions we'll assemble a set of disks containing our members' nominated essential CP/M public domain programs, generic for all users, one Osborne specific for Osborne users only, one Kaypro specific for Kaypro users only, and one Commodore 128 specific for C128 users. But we need input from YOU to make the most of this. Don't put it off, write today!

[Any CFOG member may obtain a copy of the latest version of CFOG's New Member disks at any meeting without charge. If you want a copy but can't get to a meeting send $5.00 to CFOG, Box 1678, Chicago, IL 60690. Maybe the disk will be updated as indicated above. But watch for our new offering of U-NEEDEM disks, a collection of essential programs for old and new users alike.]