Award for Hauser?
HERMANN Hauser, joint managing director of Acorn, has been nominated
for the RITA Personality of the Year A ward.
RITA stands for Recognition of Information Technology Achievement.
The aim of the awards is to heighten national awareness of advances
in information technology and to reward outstanding achievements
in that field.
The award will be presented at the opening of the Which Computer
ROYAL GIFT IS A BOOST FOR ACORN
ACORN has made a major breakthrough in its campaign to secure
a foothold in the educational market in India — thanks to a little
help from the Queen.
For following a regal gift of five of the company's microcomputer
networks to the President of India, the company has announced
it has won "a substantial order" for the subcontinent.
The computers formed part of the traditional exchange of gifts
to mark the occasion of the Queen's state visit to India.
In all, the royal present consisted of 30 BBC Micros in the
form of five 6-station "Econet" networks, including
monitors, disc drives and other peripherals.
Now destined for India's leading universities for the development
of software for schools, the gift was made at the suggestion of
the Department of Trade and Industry to represent Britain's achievement
in high technology.
The timing couldn't have been better for Acorn, for the company
has been attempting to make inroads into India's educational market
recently with the backing of the DTI.
Now the Queen's timely gift seems to have tipped the balance
in its favour.
China tests Econet
ACORN seems intent on setting up a BBC Micro empire on which
the sun will never set.
No sooner was a specially adapted micro launched for the US
market than Acorn started negotiations with authorities in India
and the People's Republic of China.
These Asian talks are at a delicate stage, said an Acorn spokesman,
"with nothing finalised".
The deal with China has reached the stage of trials of the BBC
Micro's Econet network.
Acorn is confident that the BBC Micro will meet the needs of
the educational establishments in both countries.
BBC Micro aids deaf children
SUMMERFIELD School for Children with Impaired Hearing is very
much involved in using the BBC Micro in education.
At present the principal, Mr Eulenkamp, is compiling a report
on educational software to see how useful it is for deaf children.
He would very much like to hear from software houses and authors
who think their programs could be of use with deaf children. He
can be contacted at 141 Worcester Road, Malvern WR14 1ET.
ACORN SWITCHES BACK TO BASIC I
TO the amazement of their dealers, Acorn Computers has started
supplying BBC Micros with Basic I as opposed to the Basic II that
has been installed in machines since last January.
Customers have been buying the micros, taking them home and
finding that they have the older version of the Basic chip.
"We were given no warning", said an irate dealer.
"The machines with Basic I just turned up.
"Several customers have brought them back complaining they
An Acorn spokesman would not be drawn on the reasons for using
the older Basic chips. He was, however, prepared to elaborate
on the role of Basic II.
"Basic II is not a bugs-fix, it's an enhancement of Basic
I. Acorn do not consider it a replacement for Basic I".
He then went on to say that Basic I was the "specification"
chip and that Basic II was a "gift".
Acorn had "no commitment to produce Basic II as a right",
the spokesman added.
Technology's caring face
KEEP your eyes open for the "Concerned Technology"
exhibition. At present on a nationwide tour, its aim is to introduce
manufacturers and the public to the uses of new technology in
the design and development of equipment for disabled people.
On display is an extensive range of aids developed to help them
to lead a fuller and more independent life -many of them making
use of the BBC Micro.
Now-CAL packages for nurse training
GARLAND Computing, a software firm from the south-west, is moving
into the new and expanding field of providing computer assisted
learning packages for nurse education.
Garland, a team of professional teachers, originally aimed their
product at the education market covering subjects like biology,
physics and maths.
It is their biology software, designed for schoolchildren, that
is arousing interest in nurse education centres across the country.
The reason - software specifically aimed at this group is practically
This despite much talk about CAL being used to train the nurses
of the eighties and a three year investigation of its possibilities
being partially funded by the DHSS.
While the talking continues Garland has gone it alone and found
a new market.
Business is big business
AS more software reaches the market so the BBC Micro is increasingly
becoming a business-orientated machine. This month sees two more
business software releases.
The simplest is the Cashflow Forecast package from Data One
Systems which can be used on both model A and B.
This, it is claimed, allows a 12 month forecast of income and
expenditure to be created without having to become a computer
From HCCS comes an integrated system of disc-based software
for the small business user covering the range from stock control
and payrolls to invoicing and order processing.
BRUSSELS is the venue for the latest project in Acorn's export
Together with the importation of the BBC Micro into Belgium,
they're opening an Acorn Computer Centre.
The prestigious showroom is located in one of the best commercial
streets in Brussels.
The opening, planned for mid-January, will be attended by Chris
Curry, the UK ambassador in Belgium and several Belgium cabinet
BUSINESS microcomputer users with problems now have a national
consultancy service they can turn to for help.
It has been launched by Cambridge Systems Technology, a firm
formed by David Oliver and Martin Baines, previously of Torch
It aims to provide help for the business user at every level
from the initial selection of a system, through its implementation
and even up to dedicated software design.
Wong to make BBC Micros
BBC Micros for the US are to be manufactured in Hongkong.
Wong Electronics, which already manufactures Acorn products
for Australia and the Far East, has won a 45 million dollar order
and intends to produce 50,000 of the micros by October 1984.
The micros, which sell for 995 dollars, come complete with disc
interface, speech synthesis chip and Econet.
Aimed specifically at the vast US education market, each is
supplied with two different sets of teacher training documentation.
Also a panel of edu cationalists has been set up to monitor
all educational software written for the machine.
STILL IN BUSINESS
REPORTS of the demise of Acorn's ink-jet printer have been greatly
exaggerated, says an Acorn spokesman.
He said there was no truth in the rumour that they were dropping
it in favour of making a deal with one of the leading printer
Keyboard to ease computer teaching
CONCEPT keyboard is an approach to educational computing said
to allow easier pupil-computer integration.
The keyboard takes interchangeable A4 overlays which define
the number, shape, size, colour, position and legending of the
Each program can use a separate overlay, with keys for the application.
The ability to respond directly to programmed questions, via
keys labelled "YES", "NO", "TRUE",
FALSE" improves pupils' interaction with the computer.
The keys can be made large enough for visually or physically
The flat pressure-sensitive keyboard also makes it easy to design
A program to teach shopping skills, for example, could use a
model trolley and an overlay showing the floorplan of a supermarket
with the various aisles and counters.
The keyboard can be used with any micro. It is of value in education
work and where the normal Qwerty keyboard presents operating difficulties.
The keyboard has an 8 x 16 matrix of touch-sensitive areas,
each producing a 7 bit Ascii code which the programmer defines
A bleeper with on/off control, and two additional user-dedicated
touch pads, are also provided.
BEATING the official Acorn product to the market, Cambridge
Systems Technology has launched an IEEE interface for the BBC
Called Procyon, it will allow users to communicate with the
wide range of instruments operating to the IEEE-4888 international
Supplied with Procyon is an IEEE filing system in ROM which
can cope with up to 16 devices.
When it comes to the crunch...
THE latest 3 inch disc drive from AMS is claimed to provide
the most durable form of storage for the BBC Micro available.
The new discs, which
hold 100k per side, are encased in plastic sleeves. Said marketing
director Nick Pearson: "We knew these new discs were really
strong, so we put a couple in the road
and drove over them at various speeds up to 60 mph.
"Not only were they not cracked or anything, but they worked
perfectly when we used them in the drives.
"If they can stand that sort of punishment they'll withstand
anything that schools, companies or the general public hand out",
Dow's new firm
SANDY DOW, former sales manager of Acorn Computers, has formed
a new company, R.H. Electronics.
The Cambridge company is involved with the design, development,
sales and marketing of peripherals and software for the BBC Micro.
On the hardware side it has the already successful R.H. Light
This is joined by a new peripheral called the Interbeeb, a system
which, it is claimed, allows the BBC Micro to control the outside
MODEL B ON THE EXCHANGE
THE BBC Model B is to be the basis of a new computerised information
service to be launched in the New Year by brokers Scrimgeour,
Already the largest supplier of information to the Stock Exchange's
Topic service, the firm has spent two years perfecting the hardware
and software for the new system, called Dog Fox. The system uses
BBC Micros as terminals linked to Scrimgeour's mainframe data
bank. The micro's advanced graphics facilities will allow far
more flexibility in the way customers can have their data presented
than present systems.
Telesoftware gets a warm reception
SINCE its launch in September the BBC Telesoftware Service has
been inundated with praise from enthusiastic users.
Said Lawson Brown, head of Telesoftware: "We expected a
lot of feedback from schools. What's taken us by surprise is the
number of letters we've had from the general public".
The most popular programs supplied by the service have proved
to be those that access Ceefax pages.
Telesoftware plan to supply more of these, and schemes are underway
to allow users to access other databases - the first of which
will supply business information.
January 9 to 22: Shell Sort, Anagram, Box Clever (word shapes).
Plus two other educational programs.
January 23 to February 5: Quicksort, Watchperson (logic game),
Axes of Symmetry, Build (simple computer design) plus two other
FRODSHAM based Micromode have developed the first correspondence
course to teach Basic for the BBC Micro.
The 10 lesson course covers all the major features of BBC Basic
with the emphasis on structured programming.
Along with the usual correspondence course features Micromode
also provide a phone-in service which clients can use to get an
immediate response to their questions.
ZX printer interface
A LEEDS firm, W.D. interfaces, has produced an interface which
allows the BBC Micro to use the ZX printer — the cheapest on the
The device, which comes with full machine code software and
instructions, requires no modifications to either the BBC Micro
or the ZX printer.
It is attached to the micro's 1mHz bus and has its own mains-derived
Retailing for just under £30 its low cost is aimed at
making it an attractive proposition for schools and the more thrifty
BBC Micro users.
DOCUMENTS of up to 255 pages long can be created with the latest
word processing program for the BBC Micro, Merlin Scribe.
Distributors Bucon claim that it is the first package to make
proper use of the Beeb's disc system.
Its main advantage is that the size of a document it creates
is not limited by the amount of free computer memory, claims managing
director Roy Morgan.
Scribe costs £59.95 and is supplied on a chip with printer
utilities on disc.
Camps for computer boys
ELECTRONICS expert Paul Beverley is well known to our readers
as a regular contributor to The Micro User.
However Paul, a deeply committed Christian, is also widely involved
in evangelical work.
Next summer he will be combining these two areas of endeavour
when he leads two camps for 13 to 16-year-old boys who wish to
learn more about the links between electronics and computing.
In the evenings the participants will have the chance to learn
more about what it means to be a Christian in today's world.
The camps, to be held at Letton Hall in Norfolk, are from August
11 to 18 and 18 to 25. For more details contact Sue Beverley,
57 Cambridge Street, Norwich, NR2 2BA.
More shows on the way
PLANS are well advanced for the next series of BBC Micro User
Following the tremendous success of our shows so far, we shall
be staging four London shows this year, in March, June, October
and December — and we've plans for special events to make them
more exciting than ever.
We've not forgotten the rest of the country, either. We've provisionally
settled on August for this year's Manchester BBC Micro User Show,
and are planning several other venues.
Acorn move into the CAL field
ONCE again Acorn has demonstrated its commitment to computer
It has bought out the whole of the ICL education section, now
renamed Acorn Computer Educational Services.
ACES will be headed by Jeff Wood and the whole concern is being
moved to new offices at Slough which the firm will share with
A spokesman was quick to point out that there would be no conflict
of interest with Acornsoft.
ACES would have a training role, producing educational software
for schools while Acornsoft would be concentrating on the home
In order to service this market more fully Acornsoft will be
distributing the widely-acclaimed range of educational games from
'SEXIST' DUO UNDER FIRE
TWO of Acornsoft's latest releases have caused a flood of controversy
in the world of the BBC Micro, not least from feminist groups.
Described by critics variously as "rather silly" and
"extremely bad taste", the programs "I Do"
and "The Dating Game" are Acornsoft's attempt to cash
in on the psychological testing fadism prevalent on the other
side of the Atlantic.
Described as "marriage guidance by computer", "I
Do" is based on a series of questionnaires used by controversial
psychologist Hans Eysenck in his latest book.
The program tests aspects of a person's character such as aggressiveness,
marital satisfaction, political stance, sex drive and sexual satisfaction.
One of the features causing offence is its feminism versus anti-feminism
scale which has been included "because the nature of feminism,
with its tendency towards confrontation as opposed to accommodation,
can lead to marital difficulties".
"The Dating Game" consists of four separate programs
— a computer dating and compatibility program, a "love style"
analyser, a "preferred relationship" indicator and a
"dating skills" examiner.
The compatibility ratings cater for both friendship and romantic
attachment and, Acorn say, work for homosexuals as well as heterosexuals.
Said one psychologist: "The programs could be fun - but
shouldn't be taken too seriously. For instance, they are supposed
to point out the areas where a couple are in disagreement.
"I think most couples can manage that without a computer".
Knight in tourney
WHITE Knight, BBC Soft's chess program reviewed in our December
edition, was joint winner of the computer chess competition held
at the PCW Show.
The contest was in the form of a round robin in which the chess
programs played each other.
White Knight, written by Martin Bryant, tied for first place
with a program running on a micro costing five times as much as
a BBC model.
* * *
TWO versions of a new drawing program to assist professional
designers have been released by AB Designs for the BBC Model B.
* * *
THE BX80 colour printer for the BBC Micro, announced by Integrex,
allows all the BBC Micro modes, including mode 7 teletext, to
be printed using the screen dump listing. It costs £495.
BARRY WOOD'S TAILPIECE
NEW YEAR is always a sad time for our beloved editor. This year
I stumbled over him in our local, tears in his eyes, clutching
a copy of the New Year's Honours list.
"Overlooked again", he sobbed". I'm the VDUO
"What's that?" I asked, thinking I must have misheard.
"Ignored by the system, that's what".
* * *
QUOTES of 1983 "Aren't the second processors in--the shops?"
— Chris Curry, September.
"Who's Barry Wood?" — Acorn spokesman to Barry Wood.
"We're not going to make the mistakes with the Electron
that we did with the BBC Micro". -Acorn spokesman.
"No I'm not Barry Wood". - Barry Wood.
"There will be 150,000 Electrons in the shops by Christmas".
- The same Acorn spokesman who wasn't going to make the mistakes.
"Well, go on then, just one more pint..." - The editor,
"... but don't quote me". - Nearly everyone in the
"I don't know about that - Acorn never tell me anything".
- Acorn PR man.
* * *
A FEMALE contributor complained to our editor, "Your magazine
When asked to quote the offending pages, she replied, "Well
I haven't any actual examples, it's just a feeling I get".
Women's intuition, no doubt . . .
* * *
I'VE written a New Year's resolution generator that should please
10 P. "I will not use GOTO".
20 GOTO 10
ACTUALLY, I did make one New Year resolution. As I told my Acorn
contact, "This year I'm going to tell the absolute truth
I swear, he went white.
* * *
SO Acorn are selling micros with Basic I again, are they? Let's
just hope they don't find a easeful of 0.1 ROMs about the place
while they're at it. . .
* * *
WELL, first of all it was 150,000 Electrons before Christmas,
then it was 100,000. After that it was 60,000, then it was 40,000.
Let's face it, from the way those figures are declining, the thing
sounds like an endangered species . . .
I THINK we're paying our technical editor too much. Last week
I heard him say, "1'11 have to get another printer, the print-out
from this one's getting faint".