More frenzied action with our blue-footed friend. This month, NICK ROBERTS takes a look at some of your letters, as well as giving you all the latest Coupé gossip. Keep the letters, pictures and demos rolling in to: Newsfield, Nick Roberts, SAM PAGE, Crash.
It looks like SAM Computers Ltd are in for an exciting year — they’ve got three major products ready to burst out of their Swansea headquarters. Masterdos is the product all disk users have been waiting for. It’s a set of advanced disk utilities that allows SAM disks to be used in a similar way to normal PC ones. Masterdos sets up a set of root directories and can handle up to 700 file names at a time, instead of the 80 on the normal Coupé operating system. Masterdos should be available now at £14.95. This is a stand-alone product but will also come in very useful with the following...
Due to popular demand, SAM Co are producing a one megabyte memory upgrade. Instead of being fixed internally, like the 256K upgrade, this comes as an external memory connection formatted as a series of 780K disks. You can have as many disks as you like — you could turn your Coupé into a four megabyte monster machine!
Tasks like transfering all the files on the computer into RAM are simple with this amount of memory. You could store six games in one meg, and call them up instantly, or use it to make quick back-ups. The megabyte memory upgrade costs £79.95, the same price as a disk drive, and in line with the prices of upgrades on other machines.
The SAM Buss costs a tidy £49.95 and gives the Coupé four expansion ports to play with. The package has four external interfaces which are fully buffered and comes with a built-in realtime clock, which would be useful when used in conjunction with the Masterdos system.
There’s also an external power socket, in case your normal SAM power pack can’t cope with the extra power demands. This product will be helpful to anyone wanting to expand their SAM Coupé.
The long-awaited SAM Mouse has finally been designed. SAM Co are now waiting for special chips to be made so they can go ahead with the project. Alan Miles said to expect something around Easter, although he was making no promises.
For anyone interested in using the Coupé for MIDI sequencing, the All Formats Computer Show in London was the place to be recently. Tim Humphries has developed a system which he demonstrated at the show. The finished product should be available in time for the next show, to be held towards the end of February.
Having troubles with your SAM? Then you’ll be interested to know there’s a place to go for advice and repairs. PBT are an efficient and speedy repair centre that specialise in the Coupé.
Finally; I have hot news on SAM Tape 4. The battle of compatibility with the Spectrum could be over (we’re all keeping our fingers crossed!). This new version of the emulator tape should be available around the middle of February so watch out for it.
I have a problem with my SAM Coupé and I wondered if you could help. The problem is that I’m doing my own program and I would like to know how to call up another screen by pressing one letter on the keyboard.
Can any of you Coupé Crazies out there help Christopher out? If you can, send your solution in to me at the usual address and I’ll pass it on.
I have a few points to make about the state of the SAM Coupé’s support. There has been absolutely no movement or commitment made by any software houses, except Enigma Variations (and Domark for their Tengen licences). Major houses such as Ocean, US Gold and Code Masters have made empty promises regarding the Coupé, ie compatibility allowances, Coupé Strider and Treasure Island Dizzy, respectively.
One would think that with the thousands of Coupés in the UK it would be an exploitable market by now, but still it is ignored. Some months ago, I wrote to Code Masters, US Gold, Domark and Ocean. It’s interesting to note that only US Gold replied, with guff about a special conversion of Strider, which failed to appear. Since then, out of the four only Domark’s name has appeared in the hallowed SAM page (and these Domark games are being handled by SAM Co’s software wing Enigma Variations). Thank God for PD.
Local software stores are also conservative about the Coupé beyond all reasonable caution. Local Belfast stores have certainly heard of the Coupé, but won’t stock SAM Co products unless the Coupé ‘takes off’. This, I feel, is their stupid loss, and a very blind attitude.
Thanks for this opportunity for a political whinge at the software powers
that be. Please give SAM Page more pages!
Quite right too, Eamonn. More commitment is definitely needed from the big software houses. Just promising that their Spectrum releases will be compatible is not enough. SAM owners want to see their glorious computer in all its glory, not running games packed with monochrome graphics and beep sounds! So come on everyone, what have you got to loose? Enigma Variations seem to be making a living out of this computer.
I bet you’re wondering, What’s all this SCPDSA stuff about?’ If you own a SAM Coupé and you’re not, you ruddy well should be! It stands for the Sam Coupé Public Domain Software Association, set up to provide an easy source of information on all SAM PD.
The SCPDSA is part of Team Sam and have the full support of SAM Co. The association works by producing a constantly updated catalogue of all public domain software available to Sam owners. Called SAMsational Software!, it’s available by subscription for £2 and comes with a free demo disk, containing some examples of what to expect from your favourite computer.
As well as being a source of PD, SCPDSA also protects the programmers of SAM masterpieces by registering their software at the association. Awards of quality will also be made so programmers have a standard to aim for and users know exactly what they’re getting.
If you’re interested in the Sam Coupé Public Domain Software Association (a bit of a mouthful isn’t it?) then write to SCPDSA for a subscriphon form.
That’s it for this month. Things are definitely looking up for the SAM, following a particularity good period leading up to Christmas. The computer’s popularity is growing and a development in Poland is on the cards (golly!). Good luck Uncle SAM!