Parts on Fire
In the January "Levitations," Levitan compiled a group of amusing "news" stories, and one concerned the ignition of magnesium cases on the NeXT computer. If such a danger did exist, many of us should immediately retreat from our PCs, as many of them contain magnesium components. The NeXT computer is not even the first computer to have a magnesium housing. Many disk drives have magnesium components, as do printers, where other metals are too heavy and plastic lacks the strength to keep up with the high-speed computing your readers demand.
Each year I spend several days conducting seminars for design engineers explaining the benefits of "hot chambered magnesium die casting." These components are run through a fluxless process which produces a component that must be heated to the melting point (approximately 1000 degrees centigrade) before ignition can occur. Arlan's high school chemistry has failed him, and we computer users are the winners. If you would like Arlan and your staff to attend such a seminar, I will be glad to arrange it for them.
Your article on the new printers ("Print That Page," November 1988) was very interesting and informative.
While a 24-pin printer is a necessity for many people, a simple daisywheel printer will meet my needs for light word processing, which requires letter-quality print. This point was noted by the article's author who stated that 20 cps (character per second) daisywheel printers could be found for $100 and 40 cps daisywheel printers could be found for about $200.
To which printers was he referring and where can they be located? Several calls netted only one printer for $345.
Perhaps your writer could be persuaded to disclose his sources.
Eric A. Stovall
Arlan found the low-cost daisywheel printers in the monthly magazine Computer Shopper. Hunting through this 650-page magazine is no easy task, but one excursion yielded the Alphapro 101, 22-cps printer for less than $100.
Commodore 64 Kudos
A quick reading of the January 1989 issue of COMPUTE! moves me to make some comments. I fully agree with your choice of Microsoft Multiplan as the best multicomputer spreadsheet. It is almost equal to Lotus 1-2-3 in features. What I cannot understand is your neglect of the Commodore 64 version of this program. While the limitations of the 64 and its 1541 disk drive slow down calculations and data transfer, there is no reduction of capabilities. If the 64 version is out of production by either Microsoft or Epyx, mentioning that this fine program had been produced for the 64 could have generated new interest. I doubt that any other spreadsheet available for the 64 has the features, including logic functions, that Multiplan has.
Having purchased the Commodore 64 release of Sky Travel soon after it became available, I can only echo Richard Sheffield's enthusiasm for it. If his problem with printers and this program proves to be general, then some of the changes made since I bought the program were not improvements. I have had no problems using my version of the program with a Cardco GWiz interface driving a Star SG-10 printer. I suspect that the ability to copy my edition to a working disk with a fairly simple copy program has some bearing on the problem. Some forms of copy protection will not allow the program to load if anything is chained to the serial bus or to the cassette port.
I would be interested to know if the secret pictures of landmarks such as the CN tower in Toronto and the Eiffel tower in Paris are still in the program.
William A. Brewer
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