Issue 42, July 2010
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image



Commodore 16/plus 4 version of Commodore Free disk magazine?

It would be a nice addition, would anyone like to volunteer to create such an item,


I started a For sale section at the request of many reader however: I haven’t had ANYONE send any information to me about things for sale! Of course if no one has anything to sell I can’t print anything! Still it’s there if you feel the need to sell your stuff to likeminded people and don’t want to eBay your items, selling via the magazine is more community friendly, but of course auction sites do offer more money.


I personally am looking for a set of books called STEP BY STEP they dealt with specific items so step by step sound step by step graphics I think they were all written by the same guy P. Cornes

Step-by-step Programming for the Commodore 64
Step-by-Step Programming Commodore 64 Graphics - Book Four
Step-by-step programming Commodore 64. Book two
Step-by-step programming, Commodore 64. Book one
Step-by-Step Programming Commodore 64 Graphics - Book Three

And a book called

Step by Step - Interactive programming course in BASIC - Commodore 64

You can guess from the titles they cover Commodore 64 BASIC programming they crop up from time to time on eBay however they are as you would expect very expensive and I don’t have the funds for this route, I will happily pay postage, maybe you are reading this and have the set, I would be interested if you could contact me.


Football is well and truly over for England’s rather dismal display, and whether it was the wrong shaped ball or 1 goal that the ref missed (we still lost 4-1 even 4-2 would be a loss) or if the grass had become just the wrong shade of green or the tea wasn’t warm enough or the sun was to hot or bright. I am glad I don’t really follow the game enough to comment any further, however while the match was on I did the monthly shop with my good lady wife and I must say it was quiet. We saw a couple of sad sorry soles who had been forced into a shop by there wives, but it was quiet no queues also absent was a total lack of traffic on the read. I knew when we arrived home something was wrong as no one was chanting and cheering. Oh well I suppose all the Saint George memorabilia will be half price. I cant help thinking though that having a manager that speaks English would actually aid in the training of the team, still I am no expert on football.


I have been working to create an RSS Feed for Commodore Free (with some help) as many readers wanted some notification of when an issue was ready, also wanted was a one click download for the magazine in various formats. This is currently being tested and you can see how far I have or haven’t got through the process by loading this with a compatible RSS reader or web browser. Once I think the file is ready I will add a rss logo (graphic) to the website so people can subscribe, at this current time it appears to be working without problems.

In This Issue

I have in my possession a bought and paid for MCC (Multiple Classic Computer), the device was held up in customs for some time but finally arrived, and I can tell you that it does work, and the picture and sound quality seems better than the DTV, however; I need to play more games, erm I mean do some more thought testing, as I was having some initial problems I left a review out of this issue. Hopefully (as it seems I am at the moment the only U.k. purchaser) next month I will have something in writing in way of a review about my finding.

BASICEDITOR seems to be an application that is coming on quite nicely and I have an interview with its creator in this issue. I have also a quick tutorial, or brief look at the application, showing a small number of its functions. If you program in BASIC it could be a very useful utility for you.


Test RSS Feed:

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Public Release of MorphOS 2.5 & Introduction of eMac Support

The MorphOS development team is proud to announce the public release of MorphOS 2.5, the fifth new OS version since the debut of MorphOS 2.0 in the same month two years ago. MorphOS 2.5 finally adds the Apple eMac to its list of officially supported platforms. In addition to the extended hardware support, existing users will benefit from various bug fixes and a few new features. For an overview of the included changes, please read our release notes.

We strongly urge owners of eMac computers, carefully read our installation and troubleshoot guides before they attempt to install MorphOS for the first time. Existing users can upgrade via the familiar procedure but are encouraged to read the guides as well. MorphOS 2.5 is available
for download in our files section.

What is MorphOS?

MorphOS is a lightweight, highly efficient and flexible desktop operating system. It includes primarily proprietary as well as open-source components, most notably the Ambient desktop environment. Its many features range from a modern exceptionally customizable graphical user interface, which can utilize 3D hardware acceleration, to a high-performance Just-in-Time compiler which emulates the 68k family of processors and thereby allows to transparently execute legacy applications developed for the Commodore Ax00 series of computers.

Parts of MorphOS are based on work made by the the AROS project

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Spectacular Copy - Turbo To Disk

Sailor has released an improved version of the transfer program Spectacular Copy. The originally creator Stephan Senz used to transfer programs from a datassette to a disk drive.


* Transfer Turbo-tape programs from datassette to disk drive
* Auto transfer mode.
* Rename file name.
* Device number configuration.
* Load error detection.
* File size maximum is 230 blocks. Check on blocks free

Time to go through them old shoeboxes with Turbo250 tapes?

Then this is the tool for you! Perhaps you remember the good old "Spectacular Copy - Tape To Disk" tool? Well, this is Sailor's version, improved to handle rough weather at sea! All info you might need is provided in the program!

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Mass Storage Device C64SD

What is 'the C64SD ?

A Circuit board with Plug & Play features that emulates the floppy drive of a Commodore
You Just need an SD (secure digital) card where you uploaded my package of games Turn on your Commodore and LOAD your favourite games

The device plugs into the Tape port on the Commodore 64 requires no floppy serial cable and does not need any external power source

Technical information about the firmware;

* D64/D71/D81/M2I support (both reading and writing for Dxx, even with direct sector access using U1/U2)
* T64 is not supported
* PRG/P00 etc. support
* limited REL support
* Subdirectory support (CMD command syntax).
* Support for Turbo Disk AKA Fast Load AKA Speeddisk fastloader
* Supports the JiffyDOS fast serial bus protocol, the Final Cartridge 3 fastloader/fastsaver, DreamLoad, Exos
* Supports an external "disk change" button
* Supports FAT long file names
* Supports FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 formatted SD and SDHC cards
* Supports sector access of SD cards from C64 side
* Good standard IEC compatibility
* Supports most typical IEC functions (LOAD, SAVE, OPEN, GET, PUT, CLOSE, ...)
* 1571 ROM has been taken as reference for implementation
* Many non-fastloader games run (see znarF's M2I list).

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The Third Club Info Issue of 2010

The third Club Info issue of 2010 is here to quench your thirst of summer releases! Erich/Ultd has packed two disk sides with a load of goodies: the German language articles have reviews and tips for some of the latest games (e.g. Adventures in Time and Olticrun), jokes and other info. Side B has some new stuff: Dir-Druck 2spalt, Potenzrechner, Supermind (a previously missing game), Tower of Evil +4, Tuerme Von Pompeji and others. Fire up that old Plus/4 (or an emulator) and dig in!

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Aladdin 4D Forums Have A New Home On

June 08th, 2010

Contact: DiscreetFX

Chicago, Illinois June 8th, 2010 - In order to help streamline and simplify log in accounts Aladdin 4D forums now have a new home on This should make them easier to access for those interested in Aladdin 4D and current owners of the 3D package. If you have no interest in 3D animation software or Aladdin 4D you can ignore the new forums and not comment in them. New versions of Aladdin 4D are still in development. Over 3000 hours of development have gone into Aladdin 4D 6.0 to make it multi-platform and modern.

The new version will showcase that fast native 3D animation software can scream on Amiga OS 4.x, MorphOS 2.x and AROS. Many exciting 3D animation programs had their start on the Amiga platform but abandoned it for greener pastures long ago. Aladdin 4D will show that multi-platform quality software can be acceived without leaving out Amiga OS, MorphOS & AROS. If you have created an account on you will have to recreate it here, unless of course you already have an account on like many Aladdin 4D owners.

The forums on will remain there during the transition but will eventually be copied and included on will cease to be a forum in the future and will instead be a full website with details about the 3D package. Forum posting has already been disabled on If you have any questions we will be glad to help you and answer them. Aladdin 4D 6.0 is not vaporware, a feature incomplete beta for Mac OS X was given to Rich at AmiZed Studios on May 18th, 2010 and he can verify that it is real. The current 5.x version of Aladdin 4D is still available and runs great on MorphOS, Amiga OS 4.x and Amiga virtual machines like Amiga Forever 2010. A fix was included in MorphOS 2.5 that allows the Aladdin 4D installer to complete without problems.

You can access the Aladdin 4D Forums via the link below.

Best regards
DiscreetFX Labs

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DIY Action Replay Card

Here you can find all the information you should need to make a working Commodore 64 Action Replay Clone, the project is called GEOACTION see the item in action with this AVI

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Genealogy Newsletter and C64

From: Ernie Chorny
Subject: Genealogy newsletter AND C64

This history of the early days of telecomputing at ---

Don't be turned off by the 'genealogy' reference as there is a lot of historical info here on computers and data providers and genealogy is the application.

Be sure to read the reader's comments at the end of the article and be sure to get to the posting near the end (June 5, 2010 @ 4:59 PM) from Ray Whidden in Edmonton. Ray was a TPUG member and participated in the C128 group. I remember his big application for the 128 was his genealogy work (using CP/M I think) and he was a presenter a couple of times on that subject.

Scattered through the blog and comments are references to VIC-20, C64, C128 as well as Sinclair, Apple, Macintosh as well as IBM and MS-DOS (and others).


Editor : see the article reprinted in this issue

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BasEdit - Edit Basic Programs in Windows

Finally after some years I managed to convert / upgrade my old BasEdit to the .NET platform. Switching from DirectX graphics to GDI+ should help all those people who had difficulties to use BasEdit until now.

It's written with VB Express 2008 and uses .NET 3.5


Edit Commodore Basic files on the PC with syntax highlighting and support of the full PETSCII character set


* full featured editor
  * unlimited lines
  * syntax highlighting
  * cut&paste
  * search&replace
  * insert and overwrite mode
  * switch font size small / big
  * switch font upper/graphics - lower/upper
  * supports special characters for cursor movement and colors in strings
  * character window with all 256 PETSCII characters, double-click to insert characters at actual position
  * right-click on a line number to jump to that line
* load and save tokenized BASIC (PRG) files
* load and save PETSCII (untokenized) files
* load and save ASCII files
  * with support of different translations for {up}, {down}, {clr} etc.
    * BasText
    * PetCat
    * Tok64
* support for
  * host filesystem (= directories on PC)
  * diskimages (read & write)
    * D64
    * D71
    * D81 (no partitions)
    * attach existing or create empty diskimages
    * diskmanager tool integrated
      * copy files from / to diskimage
      * delete files
      * rename files
      * change order of files in directory
* copy and paste ASCII blocks via clipboard using the above translations
* supports different Basic dialects
  * Basic V2
  * Basic V3.5
  * Basic V4
  * Basic V4/C64
  * Basic V7
  * Basic V10
  * @Basic
  * Exbasic Level II
  * Wimbasic
  * Speech Basic
  * Turtle Basic
  * Waterloo Structured Basic
  * Super Expander
* supports different fonts (VIC-20, C64)
* change load adress of PRG file
* Save&Run file in editor with emulator via F5
  * file will be automatically converted from label to line# mode if necessary
  * prg file will bes saved (host filesystem or diskimage, wherever it was loaded from)
  * depending on the start address of the PRG file special emulators will be automatically selected
     **> VIC +3K, PET/CBM series
     **> C64
     **> VIC unexp, VIC +SuperExpander, Plus/4, C16
     **> VIC +8K and more
     **> C128
     **> CBM II series
  * and a setting for a standard emulator if none of the above will be selected
* two different edit modes:
  a) line# mode: the classic editing mode with line#
     * Renumber feature for the whole program or blocks of line#s
     * Auto mode with intelligent numbering when inserting lines between existing lines
     * Compact source to squeeze as much commands in one line as possible
     * Cross refernce to show all jumps and all usages of variables
     * Syntax Check
     * Proofreader support for Compute '83 and '86 versions
     * import binary data with conversion to data lines and an optional POKE*loop
  b) label mode: enhanced editing mode without line# like in modern Basics
     * one command per line
     * indentation of loops
     * special comments with ' (single apostroph) will be ignored when converting to line#
  * programs can be converted from/to both modes at any time, substituiton of line#/labels will be done automatically
* project mode
  * keeps both edit modes in sync, providing a line# PRG file and a label mode PETSCII file for editing
  * when using label mode, variables can be of any length and will be shortened automatically when transforming into line# mode
    * shortening of variables keeps track of used variables to avoid double usage
      (CHECK and CHECK1 will be transformed to CH and CE, for example)
* drag and drop files onto BasEdit icon or onto edit area in running BasEdit will load that file
* free definable keyboard layout
* Basic tokens, ASCII tokenizer, different emulators, colors, fonts etc. can be changed via BasEdit.Ini or special files

F1 pops up a little help dialog with short command summary:

        cursor keys - move around
        home - start of line
        end - end of line
        pgup - one page up
        pgdown - one page down
        ctrl-pgup - got first line
        ctrl-pgdown - goto last line
        ctrl-home - goto first char
        ctrl-end - goto last char
        mouse click - move cursor to mouse position

block commands:
        (blocks can be either some chars in >one< line or multiple >complete< lines)
        shift cursor keys - mark text
        shift-del - cut block, copy to blockbuffer
        ctrl-del - copy block to blockbuffer
        shift-ins - insert blockbuffer

other commands:
        num lock - switch between 16x16 (standard) and 8x8 (small) font
        ins - switch between insert and overwrite mode
        ctrl-shift - switch between fonts (upper+graphics / upper+lower)

right mouse click opens context menu for loading and saving files

Keyboard mapping can be controlled by Keymap.txt for all those of you not using german QWERTZ keyboards

Getting the special commodore symbols on PC keyboards can be tough, special mappings are made for

ctrl and letter keys = graphic symbols
alt and numbers = color codes and reverse on/off
alt and cursor keys = {up}, {down}, {left}, {right}
alt and home = {home}
alt and shift and home = {shift home}

Or just open the charset window (F2) and double click on the desired symbol.

Edit BasEdit.Ini for further options like tab indent, which tokenfile to use, colors etc. - always latest release

No installation needed, just unzip to some folder and have fun.

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Alpha Release of Timberwolf

We're happy to announce the availability of the first Alpha release of Timberwolf, the AmigaOS port of the popular Firefox browser.

Timberwolf needs AmigaOS 4.1 Update 2 installed. Please read the documentation for information about usage and limitations.

This is an alpha release, meaning it will have a lot of problems still, and be slower than it should be. We are releasing it as a small "Thank you" to all those that have donated in the past, to show that development is still going on.

Timberwolf is available on

For further information and feedback, check the Timberwolf support forum on
Welcome to the Timberwolf Alpha 1 release.


First of all, please know that this is an Alpha release. This means that some functionality is not in yet or not working, and the program still contains many bugs.

Launching Timberwolf

Timberwolf is launched by double clicking on it's icon. If you run it for the first time, it will take considerably longer than on subsequent runs. Since there is no splash screen yet, it will look as if nothing is happening.

Known Problems

There is a number of known problems with this release:

- Menus display correctly (mostly), but selecting items with the mouse isn't working. Therefore, we recommend using shortcuts (ALT+underlined letter to open menu, cursor keys to select).

- Some boxes on web pages do not show correctly. They might even destroy some of the UI elements.

- When launched for the fist time, the window will be taller than the screen. You'll have to resize it (if you can't reach the size gadget, use the ctrl+alt key method to resize on any edge of the window)

- Speed is currently much lower than it could be. A conceptual problem in the rendering code (leading to massive overdraw, sometimes 2 to 8 times) and missing hardware acceleration is responsible for that. Since we're updating to a newer release of the base source code (Firefox 3.7), this will be addressed later..

- It crashes a lot. It might even crash when just looking at it. Don't use it for homebanking yet.

Reporting Bugs

There is a support forum for Timberwolf at Please report any bugs that you find. Note that we might not answer to all of the reports, but we will read and try to address all of them.

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New Commodore Club

From: Robert Bernardo
To: Commodore Free
Subject: Commodore clubs

Earlier today I got off the phone with Sean R. who had given me more information about two new
Commodore clubs in the Pacific Northwest. First is the Portland Commodore User Group (PDXCUG). PDXCUG meets at 7 p.m. every second Thursday of the month. It's at the Sunset Lanes bowling alley in Beaverton (west Portland, OR area). And it's in a private meeting room there. Ah, Commodore and bowling... a match made in heaven. ;) The website is

Then there is the Commodore Computer Club a.k.a. the C64 Club in Vancouver, Washington, across the river from Portland. Right now meetings are every Friday evening at Sean's house, but as things settle down, a once-a-month meeting on Friday will be held at a pizza parlor which is being constructed right now. (Hmm, another club... another pizza parlor. :))

For more information, go to For a personal response about either club, contact Sean at the e-mail address listed at

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group
July 24-25 Commodore Vegas Expo 2010 -

I'm starting up a Commodore computer club in the Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR metro area and looking for like minded people with an interest in Commodore computers... mainly the Commodore 64 (C64), SX-64 and Commodore 128 and all the various hardware that comes with that, like 1541 disk drives, modems, 1702 monitors, etc. If there is enough interest, we can discuss the Amiga, VIC-20, C16, Plus/4 or even the C64 Direct-to-TV (C64DTV).

Things are still in the early planning stages. My plan is to have monthly meetings and discuss cool things that are still happening in the scene as well as share project ideas and inspire one another for new ideas or concepts.

We could also help each other out with various repairs and modifications to our Commodore computers. Another cool thing would be a nice get together for us to buy, sell or trade various Commodore hardware and software. The sky is the limit here.

For a little background about myself, I've been involved with the Commodore 64 computer for over 27 years (since December 1983), basically since I was a little kid. I ran various BBS's and did a lot of programming for the Commodore 64. I'm still plugging away on my original C64 and doing repairs for friends and family.

I do plan on putting up a fully functioning website in the near future. This is just a place holder to get some general interest from the surrounding area.

Anyway, if this interests you, please send me a message and lets talk more about it.

Email: geekwithsocialskills {at} gmail {dot} com

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Chicago Creative Extreme Expo


Contact: DiscreetFX

Chicago, Illinois June 14th, 2010 - In order to help expand the use of NewTek products, Amiga OS 4.x, MorphOS, AROS and other creative software DiscreetFX will be hosting the very first Chicago Creative Extreme Expo sometime in February or March of 2011. This will be a weekend show and happen once per year if turn out is successful in 2011 & 2012.

This is still in the very early planning stages but we thought it would be best to let everyone know so they can start making plans to attend now. will have a booth at the show and dealers, developers, usergroups and Amiga portal websites will also be encourage to have a booth. Further information will be released on the DiscreetFX website soon. Come to the Windy City and have some fun.

Best regards
DiscreetFX Team

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Descent Freespace 2 for AmigaOS4.1

The first beta version of Descent Freespace 2 for AmigaOS4.1

This version has some small bugs but it is playable also on slowest machines like SAM 533 You need the 3CD version of Descent Freespace 2 to run the game. Simply click to "Install" script provided with game and follow the instructions.

You will find all information at Game page


If you found other bugs please send them to me at my usual email address.


Thirty-two years have passed since the end of the Great War, we are now in the year of 2367. Ten years after the destruction of the SD Lucifer in the Sol system, the Terran and Vasudan species forged a new alliance, called the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance. The Reconstruction period began in the galaxy as both races prepare their civilisations for the return of the Shivans. Even though, not everything goes very well: Admiral Aken Bosch formed the Neo-Terra Front, a true alliance of an ideal considered hostile by the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance. Both sides have been at war with each other for eighteen months now. Deneb, Alpha Centauri and Epsilon Pegasi are the focus points in this war. Admiral Bosch's rebellion seems to be winning.


* Enhanced graphics
* A completely new and alien environment: The nebula fog
* Be assigned to up to six fighter squadrons, from the Vasudan 203rd Scorpions to the elite 70th Blue Lions!
* Fly for the SOC, Special Operations Command.
* Over 20 weapons of mass destruction
* A thirty-mission single player campaign and even more multiplayer missions!
* Encounter deadly new capital ship weapons: the Flak guns and Beam cannons
* Attack up to 8 players via LAN or TCP/IP
* Over 70 new ships, ranging from Super Capital ships to stealth fighters
* FRED, the easy-to-use mission editor
* Reasonable moddability


Be sure you have the three CD version of Freespace 2.

Simply click on Install icon and follow the instructions

You need approx 1.8GB of free space on Disk.

The installation could take some time depends from your system speed and CD-ROM reader (and Media).

Copy ALL libraries in SOBJS directory into SOBJS: dir (backup the originals first!)


* Audio output has some ticks that depends from OpenAL library
* At exit you will have a problem on OpenAL library
* The in game message windows has a white background (well, this is not a real bug..)

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X-Moto 0.5.3 Now Available for OS4

X-Moto is a motorcross stunts game using the Open Dynamics Engine for realistic physics.

It requires AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1 (for MiniGL 2.2), and somewhere between 32MB and 64MB of graphics memory depending on the complexity of the levels being played.

It can be downloaded from OS4Depot

Network multiplayer is not functional with the official tuxfamily server, but does work between two OS4 machines. The game may crash if the person hosting the server closes it down before the client disconnects. Since the previous port by spotUP / Up Rough, this version can run in a window, has more levels, updated graphics and music, server synchronization and better physics with objects in many levels interacting with the bike

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Arcade Retro Gaming Update

Dear all,

We have new additional items in our Online store for a real classic computer and gaming experience.

Please check out the C64 Keyboard stickers,. Convert now your PS-2 keyboard for the MCC into a real C64 keyboard.

We have a couple of limited edition MCC-216 left. HURRY UP !! They sell fast.

In addition we like to make you aware that we released today a new C64_NTSC core for the MCC-216.
It starts per default in NTSC mode and is intended for US customers.

Please check out our download section for the MCC.

Simply download the core on a PC, copy it to the SD-card and follow the update process from the MCC.
It’s that easy to upgrade your MCC with new a new released core.

We launched in addition two new Youtube videos.

1.) TOP C64 games on the MCC (C64 is back !)

2.) Top 11 Game Music played back on the MCC-216 (SID)


Dirk Dudenbostel

Kind regards / Mit freundliche Gruessen / Bien amicalement
Dirk Dudenbostel
Arcade Retro Gaming


Online Shops:

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Loadstar Unofficial Issue 250 Released and Loadstar Closed

Loadstar was scheduled to run until Issue #256. The last published issue of Loadstar was Loadstar #249. Dave Moorman has stopped doing Loadstar since 2008, leaving the remaining issues undone. I helped with the beta-testing of Loadstar #250 in 2008. It only got to the beta-stage and was never released. I decided to edit the beta to get the bugs out and to release this issue on the web. So here it is, sadly what is the last issue of Loadstar - Issue 250. Enjoy it.

Four D64 images and a D81 image are included.

Download it at:


The Copy It feature does not work on this issue. The Copy It program reads info from a text file called "files on side X". Since this issue was only in beta stage, those files were not on the disks. I could not figure out how the "files on side x" text files were suppose to be written in order for the Copy It program to read it and know what files to copy for a program. So if you want to copy any program off from this issue, just use any standard file copier program.

L O A D S T A R # 250

DISKOVERY....................SIDE 1

CREDITS......................SIDE 1

LABEL 250....................SIDE 1


THE 65XX.....................SIDE 1 BY JIM BUTTERFIELD



BATTLESHIP...................SIDE 1 BY HIT PACK






DB DESIGN....................SIDE 3 BY DAVE MOORMAN



SNACK MAN....................SIDE 3 BY JOHN MCCARTHY


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Fortis Game for MorphOS Released

Fortis game for MorphOS has been finished and released. It is old school shooter wrapped in flashy 3D art and FX. More details about the Fortis for MorphOS, screenshots and video-trailer (see on YouTube or download AVI/XviD) available on Encore Games website.

As we promised, price of the Fortis for MorphOS has been very reduced. Everyone can download the final FULL version of the game from Encore Games website and use it without any limitations. However if you would like to legally own it you need to either buy full version of the Fortis for iPhone, iPod touch (or iPad in future) on AppStore or recommend the game to another user of iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Please inform us once you do it, so we could update our statistics.

Fortis for MorphOS is available on:

Follow Encore Games news:

- on Twitter: @encoregames
- on website:

See you in next (better) projects.
Encore Games

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Updated MorphOS Software Development Kit 2

The MorphOS development team would like to announce that the MorphOS Software Development Kit 2 has left the beta state. All developers who are interested to upgrade their existing MorphOS development infrastructure will need a computer running the recently finished MorphOS 2.5 and at least 300 MB of free disk space.

The latest release of the MorphOS SDK 2 includes the following changes:

- Improved MorphEd compatibility when invzeropage is enabled
- Added minor improvements to the documentation
- Added a convenient update mode to the installer
- Increased the amount of example source code

You can download the MorphOS SDK 2 in our files section.

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Commodore Bounty Mission

Written by redrumloa

Commodore Bounty was started in 2010 with the idea of giving incentives to programmers to create software that Commodore 8bit end users want the most. Users may vote with their wallet on what is most important and programmers have an incentive to do a project they may otherwise not be interested in.

If you would like to be assigned this bounty, please use contact form on right.
Current Bounty - $150.00

The Goal:

1.Document the GEOS DiskTurbo Protocol and it's various implementations (1541, 1571, 1581,FD,HD,RAMLink) and various versions (if different versions exist for Wheels64/128 and GEOS 64/128

2.Implement at least the 1541 and HD variations in the sd2iec firmware

Success will be defined as:

1.Booting a GEOS Disk image (any image type)
2.Running a GEOS application
3.Writing a GEOS file on a disk image
4.Reading the file back
5.Documentation backing up the implementation, including a description of the protocol


1.Ability to change mounted images while running GEOS in a system friendly way.

Bounty Length:

This is a 180 day bounty. Once assigned, the developer will have 180 days to finish the project or the bounty will be moved back to unassigned.


Retro Innovations has pledged to match the first $250 in donations and may possibly match funds beyond that. Retro Innovations has also offered a uIEC/SD for 180 day testing/use. Contact Retro Innovations for more details.


When donating, please use "Add special instructions to seller" to indicate what name should be credited for the donation (real name, nickname, etc).

JiffyDOS for Vic 20

Written by redrumloa

Status - Unassigned

Current Bounty - $23.47 (after PayPal fees)

The Goal:

Re-implement JiffyDOS to the VIC-20 KERNAL (both PAL and NTSC)

Success will be defined as:

1.Creating or obtaining a C64 KERNAL source listing

2.Using the listing at and the original C64 KERNAL source to create a combined source listing that can be conditionally assembled as normal or JiffyDOS

3.Obtaining the VIC-20 Kernal ROM source code on and modifying to compile for both NTSC and PAL VIC-20 systems

4.Adding the required conditional JiffyDOS portions to the combined VIC-20 Kernal ROM source

5.Cleaning up JiffyDOS VIC-20 portions to accommodate smaller screen of VIC-20 and differences between 6522/6526. SJLOAD ( ) could be used to develop the 6522-based Jiffy code

6.Verifying that the assembled VIC-20 source runs on both PAL and NTSC VIC-20s in both JiffyDOS equiped and non-JiffyDOS equiped drives

7.The non-JiffyDOS portions of the source listings released under a suitable FLOSS license

Bounty Length:

This is a 120 day bounty. Once assigned, the developer will have 120 days to finish the project or the bounty will be moved back to unassigned.

There will be a 30 day probation period after bounty has been assigned. The developer must demonstrate reasonable progress has been achieved, or bounty will be returned to unassigned status.


JiffyDOS for Vic 20 will not be free software after bounty completion. Overlays available for sale at Retro Innovations after bounty completion.

Interested in accepting the challenge of this bounty?

Please use the Contact Us link in the Main Menu to express your interest. After the first capable candidate comes forward, the status will change to pending. The status will stay as pending for approximately 48 hours. If no other candidates come forward, the bounty will be assigned. If multiple candidates come forward, Commodore Bounty will consult it's technical advisers to chose who will be assigned the bounty.

Current bounty update

- s2diec-Geos($1073.48)
- JiffyDOS-Vic20($23.47)

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A-EON Technology CVBA and Varisys Ltd Announce Partnership

A-EON Technology CVBA and Varisys Ltd., are pleased to announce their partnership in the development of the AmigaOne X1000 hardware platform for AmigaOS. Varisys Ltd were identified as the ideal hardware partner for the ambitious project to create a new, genuinely modern computer system to run AmigaOS4.x in late 2008, even before the formal creation of A-EON Technology. In early 2009, Varisys Ltd began work on developing a new PowerPC based motherboard, codenamed Nemo, which would form the heart of the new AmigaOne X1000 computer. After months of design and testing, Varisys delivered the first Nemo prototypes in late 2009 and have now completed a Revision 2 design, which will be supplied to beta testers under the recently announced Extended Beta Test Program.

A-EON Technology director Trevor Dickinson said "We are very pleased to reveal Varisys as our AmigaOne X1000 hardware partner. They have a proven track record for delivering high quality products on time and to budget. Their extensive experience with PowerPC and parallel processing solutions makes them our ideal technical partners, and with their help we can revitalise the AmigaOne platform". Varisys Managing Director Paul Gentle said "We are equally pleased to be working with A-EON Technology and we believe our previous background and experience will prove vital in helping to make the AmigaOne X1000 a success" Adam Barnes, Varisys co-founder, added. "The Nemo motherboard design introduced some new and interesting technical challenges but we are extremely pleased with the results. Revision 2 of the Nemo board has recently been completed and will form a solid foundation for the A1-X1000 and beyond".

Visitors to the VCF Exhibition at Bletchley Park on Saturday, June the 19th, will be able to meet some of the Varisys team on the joint A-EON Technology / Hyperion Entertainment stand.

Further information via the linked PDF below.

About Varisys Ltd.

Varisys is a producer of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) products and provider of bespoke hardware design and manufacturing services for industrial and embedded computing applications. The High Wycombe, UK, based company was founded in 2000 by Paul Gentle and Adam Barnes, and since then has earned a reputation for delivering high-quality products with a specialisation in PowerPC and FPGA hardware. Varisys have customers in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, military applications and telecommunications, and are perhaps best known for their development of the PowerPC G4 motherboard used in the immensely popular WholeHog III lighting control console.

For more information, see the Varisys website.

About A-EON Technology CVBA

A-EON Technology is a technology start-up based in Belgium. Founded in 2009 by Trevor Dickinson, Anthony Moorley and Ben Hermans, A-EON works in very close cooperation with Hyperion Entertainment CVBA, the developers of the AmigaOS Operating System, to produce modern computer systems for AmigaOS.

About the AmigaOne X1000

The AmigaOne X1000 is a new high-end AmigaOS hardware platform scheduled for release during the summer of 2010. By providing the AmigaOS platform with a high power dual-processor CPU, modern interface standards, high-end graphics and Xcore technology, the X1000 will launch a new era of modern Amiga computing.
For further information, email

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Micromart U.K. Retro Section

Micromart is a U.k. publication, mainly dealing with PC hardware and software however it does have a 1 page Amiga section, Apple mac section and of course the amazing Retro section. Of course my suggestion is to extend the retro section to cover 2 pages rather than 1. Of course finding new ideas for a magazine week after week is difficult. Here is a message from Shaun bebbington Retro columnist

Hi folks,

Firstly, I'd like to thank the few people who have, over the years provided me with feedback, comments and suggestions, though you are a very few (it seems) amongst many. It's really great when I actually hear from real people :-)

Anyway, for the first time in a long time it seems that I've had some spontaneous feedback (from issue 1111) on the Micro Mart forums and elsewhere, and to be honest, some of the more recent efforts have been a little on the poor side, whether it be content, grammar or both. Anyway, there's obvious interest in the more 'techie' or 'geeky' aspects of [8-bit] computing, like programming. It basically all started out as a mix of hardware, modifications and games and other types of software, ie, applications and utilities. I drifted towards it being mostly about new software and less about everything else because it seemed that the publicity fed on itself and because I was previewing and reviewing new games, more started appearing. Even some other magazines took note of new 8-bit software.

Anyway, things definitely need freshening up, and I'm open to any suggestions. One is to cover the 'demo' scene, perhaps have a 'demo of the week' bit at the end of my column in each issue? Another is to focus on computing rather than gaming, with games being the exception rather than the rule. Perhaps I could provide information on where to buy parts for restoration of machines? Or any tips I've picked up over the years?

One thing I want to avoid is the 'what's this worth' angle because that's more than well-served elsewhere, and to be honest I'm not very good at writing price guides anyway. If anyone wants to know, search on eBay and take an average of what you have with comparable items.

Over to you - any feedback, comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Many thanks,

PS, If there's any 'niche' formats that I've missed over the years (Jupiter Ace, Grundy NewBrain, Texas etc...), now is the time to tell me rather than complaining and doing nothing about it. Just to note though that the retro column is not all about nostalgia; there has to be a community and something happening in it (hardware or software).

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Norton Commander File Manager Clone NTP Commander Now Open Source

Patrick Sucansky, an author of the file manager NTP Commander (Norton Commander clone for the Amiga). Has released the applications free, he has also released the source code for the never released 2.2 version including DICE development

NTP Commander

Source code

DICE (for NTP Commander use only)

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The New Adventures of Alfredo

A Binary Legends Retro Release for the Commodore 64

Alfredo the lovable stickman was once the star of the Big Blue Disk, Softdisk and Loadstar disk magazines in the 80’s. The Alfredo adventures were non-interactive computer “cartoons”. Today they would be called demos, but the term was not in use at the time.

Now in 2010, Alfredo returns in two new Alfredo adventures/cartoons that I created. Back when I did work for Loadstar, I made these two Alfredo’s for Loadstar. Both were published on Loadstar in 2000. Since Loadstar ceased putting out new issues in 2008, I decided to update them and release them for the web.

The disk contains the Return of Alfredo, and Alfredo’s Perilous Pitfall.

This release is freeware.

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The Early Days of Online Genealogy

If you view the site with Internet explorer 8 you receive an error this is fixed using compatibility mode here is what the website says I also contacted the page author and have permission to reprint the article without the readers comments, if you have internet access its worth reading the comments here is the email response

To: Commodorefree
From: Dick Eastman
Subject: Reprint article request

Certainly. I'd be honored.
Please feel free to republish that article, as you specified.
God luck with the magazine!
- Dick Eastman

I recommend the Firefox and Chrome web browsers for this site. Having problems reading this site in Internet Explorer 8? That's because IE8 has a compatibility problem. To fix it, click on IE8's Compatibility Mode icon or else read the article at

Reprint of article (with authors permission) originally found at this URL link

The text was originally created by Dick Eastman

The Early Days of Online Genealogy

A few weeks ago I was in Columbus, Ohio. I went out to dinner, seeking a particular barbecue restaurant that I found highly recommended by an online restaurant database service on the World Wide Web. I found the restaurant listing by searching the web using my Apple iPhone and then was guided to the restaurant by the GPS in the rental car.

As I approached the restaurant, I realized that the neighborhood looked familiar. It seemed to be deja vu. Soon, I recognized an office building that I passed at 5000 Arlington Centre Boulevard. It was the former location of CompuServe corporate headquarters. The building is now empty with a "Space Available" sign on the lawn.

I was inside that building many times in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, I was at CompuServe headquarters the day the company announced that parent company H&R Block had sold CompuServe to its biggest competitor, America Online. There were some long faces in the building that day!

The memories started flowing. I stopped to think how much the technologies have changed since I first started using home computers in the late 1970s and how much has changed since I started using CompuServe in 1984. Most of those computers used television sets as the monitor. I used to access CompuServe by using a 300-baud modem with "rubber cups." I had to pick up a normal telephone, dial the CompuServe access telephone number, wait until I heard the modem tones, and then place the handset in the "rubber cups" on the top of the modem.

In contrast, in 2010 I am able to access far more online information from a shirt-pocket-sized cell phone, using an “always on” Internet connection with no wired connection at all. I don't know the speed of the 3G wireless connection, but it certainly is much faster than 300 baud! I travel around guided by another shirt-pocket-sized device, a GPS. That technology wasn't available on my previous trips to Columbus.

Rest in peace, CompuServe.

I first started installing and repairing mainframe computers in the mid-1960s but didn't start researching my family tree until about ten years later. My first "genealogy database" was recorded in my employer's mainframe computers. I didn't have an opportunity to go online and compare notes with other genealogists until the early 1980s. Of course, online genealogy databases were unheard of in those days.

Online genealogy got its start in the message boards, or forums, simultaneously on commercial services as well as on FidoNet and UseNet. Although quite different from each other, FidoNet and UseNet evolved as separate systems at about the same time. Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea of UseNet in 1979 and established the first online UseNet system in 1980. Usenet was a communications system installed on college and some commercial mainframe computers that were tied together via the Internet. Keep in mind this was more than ten years before the invention of the World Wide Web.

NOTE: Many people do not realize that the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same thing. The Internet was invented first, in the 1970s. The World Wide Web was invented in 1993 as a service that runs on the Internet. The World Wide Web (WWW) is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. English engineer and computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal in March 1989 for what would eventually become the World Wide Web. By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had built all the tools necessary for a working Web. On August 6, 1991, he posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup and made it available to others. However, a functional "Web" requires multiple computers. The second computer in the "Web" did not become available until December 1992. On April 30, 1993, CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone, with no fees due. Some accounts claim that the World Wide Web was born on August 6, 1991, and other accounts claim December of 1992, while still other accounts use the date of the CERN announcement: April 30, 1993.

UseNet soon became popular in the early 1980s amongst college students and many employees of companies that had Internet-connected computers. Thousands of people became active on UseNet message boards. However, UseNet required access to mainframe computers, which was an impediment for many.

UseNet message boards are more popular today than ever before with most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now hosting local copies of UseNet message boards. You can access genealogy UseNet groups at alt.genealogy, soc.genealogy.computing, soc.genealogy.britain, soc.genealogy.surnames.usa, alt.hipclone.genealogy.jewish, and elsewhere. You can find more information about today's UseNet groups at

FidoNet was originally founded as a non-commercial affiliation of independent PCs in 1984 by Tom Jennings of San Francisco, California, as a means to network independent dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) that used his own "Fido" BBS software. Each BBS ran on a single PC, typically installed in someone's home as a hobby. The BBSs were more "democratic" than UseNet. That is, they were available to anyone who owned a home computer and a modem. You didn't need a mainframe user name and password in order to use FidoNet. Many BBSs were available free of charge while a few charged fees for access.

Most BBSs had one telephone line connected. You dialed the number and, if someone else was already using the BBS's single phone line, you received a busy signal. Then you waited and waited until the other user finished. A few commercial systems did use as many as eight or even 16 phone lines. The World Wide Web had not yet been invented, and even the Internet was in its infancy and was not used by the majority of dial-up BBSs.

The FidoNet Bulletin Board Systems usually contained multiple message boards, or “forums,” with topics typically based upon the BBS owner's interests. Local users could read messages and post new messages as they wished. Users could also send and receive email messages to each other outside of the forums (public message boards).

During the early morning hours, FidoNet systems would dial out, connect to other FidoNet systems, and exchange email messages and forum messages. While crude by today's standards, the system worked quite well. For instance, a genealogist on the East Coast might enter a "looking for the parents of..." message on Monday; the message would travel over the next few days through the affiliated network of genealogy-specific FidoNet systems; a user on the West Coast might answer the query on Thursday; and the reply would travel back to the originating system over the next few days, arriving by Sunday or Monday.

Later versions of FidoNet improved the speed of delivery.

The FidoNet genealogy message boards were active through the mid 1980s and into the 1990s, often featuring messages by Richard Pence, Don Wilson, Howard Nurse, and others. In fact, if you were active on FidoNet in the mid 1980s, you may have seen occasional messages from me.

At the same time that UseNet and FidoNet were becoming established, several commercial companies saw an opportunity in providing online services to individuals. Early players included CompuServe, The Source, Genie, Prodigy, and a quirky service called QuantumLink.

NOTE: QuantumLink was a dedicated online service only for use with Commodore 64 and 128 computers. Its user interface featured low resolution video, and its initial services were limited. I looked at QuantumLink around 1985 and said to myself, "This online service won't ever amount to anything; it's too limited." However, QuantumLink soon expanded its services, opened up its service to other brands of computers, and changed its name to America OnLine. So much for my prognostications! I believe that Genie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange) was the first commercial online service to successfully offer an online genealogy forum, starting around 1985. The Genealogy RoundTable was managed by Rhonda McClure for several years. Genie was a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric. The company had built a financially-successful online network by selling stock market and other information to other companies. However, most of the usage of this network was done during normal business hours. The network was almost idle during nights and weekends. General Electric decided to offer online services to consumers with two-tier pricing: very expensive during business hours but at the bargain price of $5 per hour nights and weekends. Prices later dropped to $4.95/month for a set of "unlimited use" features, but other services cost extra. Access was initially available at 300 baud although "high speed" 1200 baud connections soon became available. Higher speeds became available as modem technology improved.

In 1994, GEnie claimed around 350,000 users. The service closed on December 30, 1999, without finding a buyer.

The Source was a commercial network started in 1979 and owned by Readers Digest. It had a similar business plan to Genie, offering services to businesses during the day at higher prices and to consumers nights and weekends. The Source was a popular business service although I do not recall a genealogy service ever being started on The Source. Readers Digest sold The Source to competitor CompuServe in 1989. CompuServe then dismantled The Source.

CompuServe was founded in 1969 as Compu-Serv Network, Inc. although its networking servcie was originally called MicroNet. CompuServe was one of many computer timeshare services of the 1970s, initially running on a single dial-up line in Cleveland connected to a DEC PDP-8 computer. The system soon grew into a network of PDP-8 and PDP-11 computers, eventually replaced by DEC PDP-10 systems. The PDP-10 was the machine that made time-sharing common. The CompuServe dial-up network also expanded to become one of the largest such networks in the world. When I was an active CompuServe user, I was able to dial into local CompuServe numbers when I traveled to London, Rotterdam, Hong Kong, and Aruba.

CompuServe originally was a subsidiary of Golden United Life Insurance, then was acquired by H&R Block for $20 million dollars. H&R Block used CompuServe's network and mainframes to transfer income tax information and stock market information during business hours, then to provide consumer computer services during nights and weekends.

By the late 1980s CompuServe was the largest commercial online service, offering a variety of services. In 1987 I sent a business proposal to CompuServe to start an online genealogy forum with myself as Forum Manager. After some negotiations, CompuServe's Genealogy Forum went live on April 7, 1988.

In my proposal, I had predicted that we would receive 200 visitors a week or so in a genealogy offering on CompuServe. I was wrong. We received more than 2,000 visitors the first day, and the numbers increased daily after that for several years, peaking in 1996. At one time, the Genealogy Forum on CompuServe had 60,000 visitors per day with a total visitor database of nearly 150,000 users. The CompuServe Genealogy Forum provided message boards, text files, and even downloadable programs for IBM, Apple, Commodore, Amiga, TRS-80, and other computers.

The CompuServe Genealogy Forum flourished for several years until competition from the Internet, specifically the World Wide Web, as well as competition from AOL, Genie and others began to take their toll.

When I started with CompuServe as a user in 1985, the hourly charge was $18/hour during business hours but fell to "only" $12.50/hour nights and weekends. Competitive forces kept driving those prices lower and lower, ending at $1.95 an hour in 1995. America OnLine (AOL), however, introduced a far cheaper flat-rate, unlimited-time, advertisement-supported price plan in the U.S. to compete with CompuServe's hourly charges. This caused a significant loss of customers until CompuServe responded with a similar plan of its own at $24.95 per month in late 1997.

In 1998, CompuServe was sold to AOL for $1.2 billion. That was a lucrative deal for H&R Block, which had only paid $20 million for the company eighteen years earlier. AOL has continued to operate CompuServe as a separate, but shrinking service. A newer version of CompuServe, known as CompuServe 2000, is still in operation. The Genealogy Forum on CompuServe is now operated by Betty Clay and is available at

You can access CompuServe 2000 at

AOL has had a long and somewhat erratic history. After all, who hasn't heard of AOL? Originally called QuantumLink, the online service was renamed to America Online and floppy disks containing sign-up kits were mailed to nearly every household in America. The floppies were later replaced by CD-ROM disks, and thousands of jokes sprung forth about the AOL CDs. George Ferguson emerged as the Genealogy Forum Manager on AOL and ran a successful service there for many years.

At one time AOL claimed several million members. However, the bookkeeping was a bit flawed, and AOL executives eventually admitted that former customers were still claimed as “users” for a year or more after canceling their accounts. Internally, previous customers were referred to as “inactive users” and were still counted.

In recent years, AOL has suffered from a decline in customers and the "dot-com bust" of the early twenty-first century. Like most other commercial online services, AOL was unable to match the rapidly-expanding World Wide Web. Parent company Time-Warner spun AOL off as a separate independent company in 2009. AOL still operates with many customers today but is not nearly as big as it once was. You can access AOL today at

Numerous other commercial online services have appeared and disappeared, although not all of them offered genealogy services.

Delphi was the first commercial service to offer Internet access to consumers, with FTP, Telnet, Usenet, text-based Web access (November 1992), MUDs, Finger, and Gopher. While it was possible to access genealogy UseNet message boards on the Internet through Delphi, I do not remember any genealogy services ever hosted on Delphi itself.

Prodigy Communications Corporation was an online service that offered its subscribers access to a broad range of networked services, including an active genealogy section. Prodigy was founded on February 13, 1984, as Trintex, a joint venture between CBS, computer manufacturer IBM, and retailer Sears, Roebuck and Company. The new online service gathered very few customers until the name was changed to Prodigy in 1988 and an aggressive advertising campaign was begun. At its peak, Prodigy claimed 465,000 subscribers.

Prodigy then slowly faded away. Senior executives were replaced two or three times in an effort to turn the company around, but with little success. Today, accessing the domain redirects to, which appears to be a Yahoo!-based content and search portal linking mostly to other online services.

And who can ever forget Wow!? Well, it seems that lots of people forgot it. In 1996, CompuServe felt the need to face lower-cost competitors by introducing a second online service to be called Wow! Wow! was the first online service to be offered with a monthly "unlimited" rate ($17.95), and stood out because of its brightly colored, seemingly hand-drawn pages. The Wow! service would also implement a parental control technology so that parents could limit and monitor the online activities of their children. Wow! was marketed primarily as a family-friendly service: easy for anyone to use and a place where parents could feel safe allowing their children to surf online, even without parental supervision. Wow! only worked with Windows, which was still in its infancy with many users clinging to MS-DOS in those days. There was no Macintosh version.

A genealogy forum was implemented on Wow! with myself as forum manager. The best description I can think of for the Genealogy Forum on Wow! is "sleepy." Nothing much ever happened there.

WOW! was never successful. CompuServe's traditional customers were not enthusiastic about the new user interface. Competition from the new World Wide Web proved to be overpowering. CompuServe shut down the service on January 31, 1997, less than a year after it went online.

Other commercial providers began to suffer growth problems by the mid to late 1990s. The reasons can be summed up in three words: World Wide Web. By 1995 or so, the World Wide Web was in hypergrowth mode. The old-fashioned commercial providers stood like deer staring into headlights on the side of the Information Superhighway.

AOL performed better than most of its competitors, having a successful run into the early 2000s by integrating the Web into the other online offerings. However, by 2005, even this business model began to fall apart. AOL has since laid off most of its employees but is still an online service, offering only a fraction of the services it offered fifteen years ago.

All of these early online services were fun to use. They produced a camaraderie amongst users that is difficult to find amongst the millions of online genealogists today. Indeed, we were all pioneers. The online services of the eighties and nineties tended to be user-unfriendly by today's standards and were horribly expensive. They also taught us a lot about online communications and about genealogy. It was a great experience, and I am glad that I was around to participate.

When did you first go online? What computer hardware did you use?

Posted by Dick Eastman on June 02, 2010 in History | Permalink

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Interview With Björg Stojalowski

Creator of BasEdit

Please introduce yourself to our readers

My name is Björg Stojalowski, I'm 43 years old, live in Germany and I'm totally addicted to Commodore 8Bit computers!

Can you give some brief history about yourself and computing

I started my programming career in 1980 on a PET-2001 at our school, the real early ones with chicklet keyboard and integrated tape recorder. After my first program "10 PRINT "HALLO" - 20 GOTO10" I was hooked...

I bought my first Commodore in 1981, a VIC-20 and started programming it in Basic, but after a while I got my hands on a book about 6502 assembler programming and changed over to assembler. This started another tradition for me as I programmed every computer I got in my life first in Basic and afterwards in assembler. Speaking of computers, I managed to own and use the following computers: VIC-20, C64, Apple-II, Atari-ST 260, Amiga 500, Atari Mega-ST2, Acorn Arcimedes and then PC's in nearly every configuration, starting from 286 AT with 8 MHz and 512KB to a Core2Duo at the moment. Beside the 6502 I have another faible for the 68000 processor, as it seems to be the logical step after the 6502. As high level languages I have experiences with a lot of procedural and object-oriented languages like C, C++, Pascal, Basic, DBase, FoxPro etc.

With this history in computers it was unavoidable to go to the university to study computer science. Unfortunately for me this has nearly nothing to do with programming and fiddling with my beloved computer but is mathematics and theory and some very obscure courses. After 2 years I decided to quit and make a more practical education and made a 2 year training to become something with a very long name which I prefer to shorten as "programmer". From 1992 until today I work as a programmer and I could not even imagine what I would do for a living if we would not have computers...

Can you explain what "COMMODORE BASIC EDITOR" was created for

Simply stated it's a WYSIWYG text editor on the PC which uses a special graphical font to show the complete PETSCII character set as found on Commodores 8bit computers, a more modern editing environment for (Commodore) Basic.

With BasEdit you can edit your Basic sources on the PC, using standard editing controls like pg up, pg dn, home, end, search&replace, cut&paste, insert and overwrite mode, scroll through the code with the mouse wheel up and down etc.

To enhance readability it supports syntax highlighting, lines can be as long as 255 characters and won't be broken into multiple lines on screen but simply scroll out of the visible area. If needed you can switch between big (16x16) and small (8x8) fonts, the first one is the standard editing font, the second one if you need more source on screen at once. BasEdit has an integrated Syntax Checker which can be called at any time and checks the source against the Basic syntax rules and reports any error to the user. To make life easier BasEdit implements an "intelligent" auto feature, i.e. automatically numbering new lines in the source with respect of the surrounding line numbers. Inserting a line between 10 and 20 will automatically generate a line 15. If necessary it renumbers the following lines to make space for the newly inserted line, thereby adjusting all references to renumbered lines. To follow gotos and gosubs, you can right-click on a jump destination to move the cursor to that line, adding a "jump back" option to the context menu to return to where you come from. With this function you can follow a chain of goto's and gosub's and go back step by step.

But BasEdit even goes one step further and enables a modern "shell" for old-fashioned line number oriented Basic in the so-called label mode. You can at every time convert a standard Basic program with line numbers into a program without line numbers, using labels as jump destinations. A special form of REM with a simple apostrophe allows for comments which will be ignored when translating back to line number mode. So you can have as much comments as you want without wasting precious space for the resulting PRG file.

10 GET A$: IF A$="" THEN 10
30 IF A$<>"E" GOTO 10

will become

   GET A$
   IF A$="" THEN LBL10
   IF A$<>"E" THEN LBL10

And to take that even further BasEdit supports as simple Project mode in which a PRG file (for running on the real machine or an emulator) and a lable mode source (PETSCII-file) will be kept together and in sync.

In this mode you program without line numbers and can even use variables of any length which will be shortened automatically when converting back to line number mode. Keeping my small example from above, it would maybe look like this:


When saving or starting the program with F5 it will be converted in background to this (by default BasEdit tries to squeeze as much commands in one line as possible without compromising the logic):


(of course if the variable TA$ would already exist in our source, BasEdit would generate another variable trying TS$, TT$, TE$ and then A0$ until ZZ$!)

And while I was at that feature, I implemented some extensions like WHILE-WEND, REPEAT-UNTIL, DO-LOOP and IF-THEN-ELSE-ENDIF which will be converted to standard Basic V2 command sequences when saved as PRG and/or started.

So finally the above sample could look like this:

   IF KEY$<>"" THEN
      PRINT KEY$

So this runs on a standard PC and can produce basic Code as a PRG file

Yes, it can load and save files from PC disk and since some time you can even attach (or create) disk images and load and save directly from and in these images. The disk manager allows to create disk images (D64, D71 and D81) and copy files from and to those disk images from the PC hard drive, delete files out of disk images as also as rename or move files in the directory up and down. And as a nice add-on you can with one key save your source and run it in an emulator with F5 from hard drive or out of a disk image.

What else can BasEdit be used for

You're not limited to PRG files, in fact you can load and save PETSCII-files as you can see in my samples or even ASCII-files with translations for the printable control codes like home, clr etc., PETSCII and ASCII-files can be with or without line numbers so you could even use BasEdit as a full screen text editor for a diskmag or something like that! Some users take BasEdit to re-type Basic programs from magazines, using the built-in proof-reader function which shows the checksums for Basic lines as used in the Compute issues and some other magazines. And last but not least you can use BasEdit to copy&paste sources from other electronical means like text versions of the Programmers Reference Guide or sources in Wikis etc.

So the program supports all versions of Commodore Basic vic /c64 /c128 /16 and plus4 can it support other versions of basics if so how

BasEdit is for the most part driven by configuration files. I made token files for the most common Basic dialects and even for some I personally never heard of before, but these files can be extended by users with their own token files. These token files consist of some required and some optional information for each token as the token byte or bytes, it's PETSCII form, which sort of line numbers can follow and a syntactical description for the syntax checker, looking at the TokenList_BasicV2.txt as a starter should explain all these features.

The program displays all the petscii codes on screen however I notice you cant print the codes out to a printer PLEASE can this be implemented somehow

Good request!

This is not as easy at it may seem though as the complete editor is graphic based and there is not complete and usable PETSCII TTF font with ALL PETSCII characters. There are some fonts which support the basic alphanumeric and some special characters like +,-,* etc. but I could not find a TTF with all graphical characters and the complete inverse set. So each character in BasEdit is drawn with Draw Image onto the screen (simplified explanation...), I will have to do the same thing for printer output but providing page and line breaks. Nevertheless I can understand the desire to print the sources so I will give my very best to implement a print feature in the future.

How did the project start and what prompted you to write such an application

Since my first computer was a VIC and I try to relive that feeling I do most of my 8-bit programming on the VIC. Being honest I have to admit that coding Basic in 22 columns in 23 lines isn't as exciting as it was nearly 30 years ago, I felt hopelessly confused by the crowded screen with up to 4 screen lines belonging to one Basic line. Trying to edit a program with more than a few lines on the VIC proved to be a nightmare for me. So I developed the idea to use the PC for editing the sources having a big screen and all the possibilities a PC can give.

Some readers will shun the idea of 1. writing Basic programs and 2. using a pc to do so, what are the advantages of writing software in Basic over a lower language and using a pc rather than a real machine

I think that's a common misunderstanding about Basic being slow and ugly and leading to unreadable code etc. Basic itself isn't a bad language, indeed it does a good job with string handling - just trying to be as versatile in self programmed assembler routines as Basic is with strings can be a coding nightmare. Of course it's slow compared to assembler, but taking my above sample of an input loop there is no need to be faster anyway, Basic does the job as good as required! So for me it's always the right tool for the right job, doing the tedious tasks of user input or string handling in Basic and maybe outsourcing some time critical parts to assembler. And doing it on a PC is something along the same lines using the right tool for the right job. If I want to get some retro feeling I code on the real machine, but if I want to concentrate on the source and algorithms I use BasEdit and let the result run in an emulator. When finished and satisfied with the solution in the emulator it's time to test on the real machine as this often; simply feels different; due to screen resolution, keyboard etc. and sometimes the real machine simply behaves differently to emulated one. For example the program Videopoker which is part of the BasEdit distribution as a sample file, was written in BasEdit (the old one). It's for the unexpanded VIC and can be viewed in BasEdit in total within one screen on the PC - on the Vic it's about 10 pages! with basic lines spawning up to 4 screen lines which makes it at least very difficult to edit and understand on the real machine.

The feature lists are quite extensive but have you any new features you want to add


I would like to enhance BasEdit to a full-fledged development environment including character editor, screen builder, sprite editor etc. Another nice feature would be an integrated assembler to generate hybrid programs with Basic and Assembler parts or even complete assembler programs. I could take this any further; there is lots of room for enhancements...

Would you welcome suggestions from readers

Yes, of course, lots if not most of the features BasEdit has are directly or indirectly triggered by user requests. That started with syntax highlighting, continues over syntax check, proof reader, ASCII-tokenizer, variable shortening, jump trace, start address changer and even support for disk images and FE3 loader files. I could never came up with all these great ideas for myself as I am more concerned about programming BasEdit right now then using it. Anders Persson for example requested an interface to start BasEdit directly from his PRG Starter which resulted in some nice discussions about how to translate filenames between PRG files inside diskimages and the PC filesystem as PETSCII<>ASCII. During that time I learned a lot about PETSCII and the work the VICE team made, things I would have not came across without user suggestions.

Is the software free to download and will you include the source code

Yes and no. BasEdit is free to download, but the sources are kept by me. Maybe if I am satisfied with what BasEdit is one day I will release the sources, but as long as I'm actively developing I would like to be the only one who changes anything in the sources. Setting up some sort of source repository and keeping track of changes, merging versions, testing other changes etc. simply isn't the fun I want to get out of BasEdit. For the records: BasEdit consists of 29 files with more than 12.500 lines of code in 224 subs and 91 functions - so even if I release the sources that does not mean that anyone beside me will ever understand what is going on inside it...

I presume this project is amended and a current one how long will you support the application

As long as I'm having fun with retro computing I think. I won't promise anything

What software was used to write the application originally and then in the conversion

My first BasEdit started out I think in 2006, was written in VB 6.0 and used DirectX as output. This was ok for my own machine but proved to be difficult with others - they could simply not get it to run on their machines. So I decided it would be best to ?redo from start as Basic V2 would call it and base it on a more modern development environment. It took a while but earlier this year I started BasEdit.NET from scratch using VB2008 and the .NET framework 3.5. This seems to be a good solution as I did not get any complaints about not being able to run BasEdit on other machines.

Why was the software converted to .net framework most people don’t like this Microsoft extension, can you explain to our readers what .net is in a Commodore style reference

I would say .NET is some sort of standardized kernal for the PC so that programs can run on virtually any PC. The same could be said about a standard Basic V2 program (without specialized POKEs for sound or graphics, of course) which can run on any Commodore 8bit computer.

Do you have any other projects you could tell our readers about

Nothing as fancy as BasEdit, maybe my XAsm, a 6502 2-pass macro cross assembler for the PC with some nice features like generating a complete Basic program out of assembler source with DATAs and the required FOR-NEXT-loop to POKE that data into the destination. Which reminds me to mention that BasEdit can insert a binary file into the source which will be converted to DATAs with the required FOR-NEXT-loop to POKE that data into the destination :-) And I extracted the disk image manipulation part into a standalone command line Disk Tool which can be used to create Disk Images and add, remove or extract files from them within batches/ makefiles/ command line.

What sort of Feedback have you had about the project

A lot of very positive feedback - mostly of the sort "Great tool, great features, but may I ask for this one additional feature...?" as everybody seems to use BasEdit for a different purpose. Sometimes I even had feature requests which where already implemented - unfortunately BasEdit is missing any form of Readme/How-to/Documentation,

Do you have any other comments you would like to make

Maybe to encourage others to do some retro programming and sharing their results with the community. You never know where your project will end, get a lot of interesting feedback and ideas and you will definitely learn a lot more about your beloved retro computer than by simply playing another round of Donkey Kong or whatever (which by itself isn't bad, just to keep any ramblings off!). I learned a lot about the Basic Interpreter during my development time for BasEdit - did you know that a line like 10 A{space}$="X" is totally valid, will be listed with the space between A and $ but nevertheless will assign the "X" to A$. Or what strange things the PRINT command will do when mixing strings and numeric variables and constants. Or even dropping the final ". Or that a line like 10 GOTO 20 anygarbagecanfollow will work - it jumps to line 20 and the rest of the line will be simply ignored. But most important: Have fun with what you are doing!

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Interview With Ross Myers

Creator of Cassadapt

Please introduce yourself to our readers

Hi, my name is Ross Myers (aka VimFuego on Lemon64), I'm 38 and married with 3 kids under 8 and living in Australia. I work in the automotive industry as a programmer on PowerPC based embedded systems, a vastly different beast to the 6510 CPU in our humble Commodore computers. I'm a very musical person, unfortunately I wasn't blessed with the talent to play music beyond some guitar riffs of my favourite songs, but whenever I am working I am always listening to music, anything from Pink Floyd to Slayer, my musical tastes are very wide. Another of my interests outside of computers is old cars, my daily driver is a 1967 Cadillac, quite a contrast considering my work is with cars full of computers and the latest technology.

Can you give our readers a little of your computing history

Well I am happy to say it all began with a C64 back when I was in primary school. I'm not actually sure why my parents bought it because they certainly weren't in to computers and they cost a bunch of money. My two older sisters used it for a few weeks then lost interest, so it pretty much defaulted to being mine. For many years all I had was a Datassette and a Comp-Pro joystick, but the C64 was very popular at my school so there was never a shortage of new games to try. I remember I used that C64 every spare moment I had. At some point I got a 1541 and an Action Replay cart, this set-up did me for many years but the Amiga had also been out for about a year and I wanted one, so eventually my C64 set-up was sold to fund an A500. The A500 did me well for a while before making way for an A1200. As you can see I was a loyal Commodore guy, I was also in a local Commodore computer club during these years. Though back then I never got in to programming beyond the odd type-in from a magazine (did they ever work?) I was more a gamer than a programmer. Eventually I caved in to progress, plus the fact that Commodore was no more and moved on to Windows 95 and a Playstation for gaming. A few years ago I started using Vice on the PC and eventually found myself on Ebay buying up a Commodore collection again. I've got a number of 64's, a C16, Vic20, C128, an A1200 plus a few floppy drives, datassettes, joysticks etc. I think I'll stop buying now, I've covered most of the machines I ever wanted as a kid or need for product development.

You have designed a product called Cassadapt can you describe the product

A quick summary, Cassadapt is a product used to transfer a .prg or .tap file from your PC via the sound card to a Commodore computer via the datassette port. Obviously you can't feed audio signals in to the datassette input, so Cassadapt converts the audio signals from the PC to a digital 0-5V digital signal the Commodore will recognise. It also has a Play button that simulates the play button on a datassette. This means you can actually load a tape game direct off the PC to the Commodore computer with actually having a datassette connected.

How long did the product take to design and then produce

Not too long, the 'smarts' behind it is an Atmel AVR micro, I've been playing around with those for many years so the coding side was done over a few late nights. This being a hobby it's not like I work on it 9 to 5 every day, but overall between a prototype board, a second PCB revision to add a couple more features I guess it was a weeks work but spread over 2 or 3 months.

So with Cassadapt you basically record the sound from the Commodore tape deck the strange screeching and wailing noise’s and record them via the device to a computer audio input. Then you can load the file basically a sound sample of the cassettes screaming wailing back into the commodore machine the commodore thinking that its just a cassette is that the theory

Actually that is one small function of what it can do, in fact I only added the ability to record back on to the PC on the 2nd PCB revision. It's not actually the best way to transfer a tape to the PC but sometimes it works ok. The main idea behind Cassadapt is you transfer a .prg or .tap file from a PC via the audio out socket to the C64 either as a direct input simulating a datassette playing back a tape or you can record it to a datassette. If you want to play games on a real Commodore computer this is a really quick way to do it. Using a program on the PC like WAV-PRG you can be playing a game on a real C64 (as an example) in under a minute without needing to copy it to floppy or record it to cassette. Multipart loading games would be required to be recorded to a real datasette though.

What Commodore machines is this compatible with, and are any workarounds needed

I've tested it on a C64, C16 and a Vic20. Each has it's own little quirks to deal with. There is nothing tricky if you are recording a .prg or .tap to the datassette, it only gets tricky if you are trying to play direct from the PC simulating a datassette. The reason for this is the datassette is often paused during loads, maybe whilst a loading screen is being shown, or a decruncher running. The PC has no way of knowing it's supposed to pause playing back the file whilst the Commodore is busy doing something else and things get out of sync. On games that use turbo loaders you would be best to record it to a datassette. The Vic20 is pretty good in this regard as there is no pause once it's found a file on the tape, the C64 and C16 pause to tell you “FOUND X” program, you have to quickly press the space bar to skip that so the PC stays in sync. Unfortunately for the C16 , Plus/4 because of the non standard datassette plug they used you will need to get a second datasette to remove the harness to use with Cassadapt. I imagine it would work with some of the PET series, but I don't have one of those to confirm that.

Is there a manual for the device?

I did do a pdf for it as there is a little bit of setup required by the user to account for variations in sound cards and a few jumpers to move around depending on how you intent to use the product. I will continue to update the manual as required based on feedback from users.

On the PC side is any special software required or can you use any recording software

Any of the existing programs out there do the job well, WAV-PRG, AudioTAP etc.

Once recorded does the final file need "cleaning" in someway before use or for better reliability, if so what tools would you recommend for this process

Yes it does require cleaning, TAPClean is what I've used during testing.

How did you think up this idea; And Why did you go down the sampling (recording the sound) route rather than another route for extracting the data

The idea behind Cassadapt was born from two things, firstly, I don't particularly like using an emulator to play C64 games. I'm not saying they are bad, far from it, I just like to use the real hardware. So I first started playing games on my C64 by transferring files from the PC to a 1541, this works ok but I found it a little tedious after a while. It didn't help that the software to do that didn't play nice with my desktop PC's LPT port so it crashed often. I then looked at getting a C2N232 adaptor except my laptop which is what I was wanting to transfer files from has no real serial port. Given there is a couple of PC based programs that will play .tap or .prg files out the sound card or convert to a .wav file I thought it would be neat to be able to convert the audio signal from a PC to a signal like the datassette would produce.

Are you a Tape fan, I know its a format frowned on by many users; but I like the loading screens and music, I think they add something to the game the suspense and anticipation waiting to play the game rather than just click-click-play game, it seems to add something. When I first saw a loading screen with music I couldn’t believe that the machine was still loading the game while playing music, mind blowing!

Tapes where all I knew for many years so I'm with you on the views on using tapes, the loading screens, the flashing turbo load boarders are part of the gaming experience. As I say with tapes, there is something cool about something so uncool. My 1541 is currently packed away in it's box, so I am a tape person for sure. Besides, turbo tapes can load faster than a stock 1541 in many cases.

Do you have any other projects, currently in progress or finished you would like to tell our readers about.

Yes, in fact I had another project almost completed before I started Cassadapt, I put that on hold whilst I made a major change to the design. It's a board that that plugs in to the the keyboard connector inside a C64 that serves two purposes. Firstly to provide a way to reset the C64 without needing to fit a push button switch, the second is it will select different Kernal ROM's on a multi ROM board. How it works is you hold down the Restore key for about 2 seconds and it will toggle the Reset line in the C64. To select the Kernal ROM you press either F1, F3, F5 or F7 within the first few seconds of the C64 running and it will select the appropriate ROM lines then reset the C64. It remembers what ROM you want selected at each start up. The idea behind this product is I didn't want to drill any holes in to my mint breadbox 64 but I still wanted switchable ROM's and a reset switch. I hope to get back on to this project shortly. I've got the protypes in all my 64's, it's pretty neat. For those that want to keep their 64's looking original yet have a reset switch and switching ROM's it's ideal.

Do you have any projects currently still in the "design stage" or shall we say on paper awaiting further developments

Nothing more in immediate planning stage, but I'll come up with something no doubt, combining new technology with these old Commodore computers is fun.

Is the Cassadapt now for sale? if so how much and where can our user obtain the device?

Yes it is currently for sale, the cost is $32 USD plus shipping, this is a fully assembled and tested unit. My aim was not to make a substantial profit from my products, I do it more for fun but I can't do it for free either, the Cassette port connector alone is nearly $5 USD! I guess that is one problem with products like this, you are buying parts in low volume so you pay significantly more for them because of it. It seems wrong that the AVR microprocessor in Cassadapt is actually cheaper to buy than some of the connectors I have to use on it. More information on the product, ordering and any future product releases can be found here:

The Cassadapt is professionally produced, did you think about offering the item as a Diy project

I designed it using through hole parts for ease of assembly for anyone, but at this stage I enjoy soldering up the odd one or two here and there, it's therapeutic to put on some headphones and solder away, so at this stage no. I have access to a very expensive Hakko soldering station, so they look like they were machine assembled, not handmade, I'd like to keep it that way.

Do you have any final comments you would like to add

Thanks to those who have already ordered Cassadapt and thanks to the very active and helpful Lemon64 community. Thanks also to Shane at for hosting my website. And of course finally thanks to Commodore Free for publishing a magazine each month, it's always a great read.

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A Quick Look At BasicEdit

A Windows tool to edit Basic files in windows (and more)

I will attempt to show some of the functions of this program in the hope it will, excite you enough to download and start using it. The application itself has been designed for BASIC programmers, and overcomes some of the problems of writing Basic on Commodore systems; notably like the Vic 20`s display screen. You also gain from the Windows clipboard, so you can copy and paste text. The application itself will even convert lowercase text to uppercase before pasting it.

For our brief look at some of the “BASIC” features

First Start the application; Hmm maybe you should download it and second start the application, still you get the meaning

Once the Application is up and running you can see we have a fairly standard looking Application for a windows based system; with all the usual menu options running across the top of the application.

For this brief look I am going to open the basic file videopoker.txt this comes with the download of the application

First we need to load the file:

Select FILE
Then select ASCII
and then select the videopoker file

Once loaded into the BASIC editor you notice that all the Commodore petscii graphic characters’ are displayed, just like you were looking at a real Commodore machine! Now what we want to do is save this file so we could email it to a friend, lets say for checking; or place it on a website for people to type in, maybe to learn programming or syntax. However we have a problem! petscii is a Commodore proprietary standard and as such the characters will not display with windows fonts or any other systems fonts for that matter. I am guessing you know what I am about to say...... so queue up the Drumroll...

Ok Drumrill..... Trrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The solution as I am sure you have seen, would be to use standard text otherwise knows as ASCII to convey the Commodore petscii characters, this would be used for things like “down cursor” and the “colour red” and “reverse text” etc. so when the user is retyping the program he would know to substitute this text for a real cursor down or red colour or reverse text

Select File
Select SAVE as ASCII

Saving the file and then opening it up in Windows Notepad, or your favourite text editor we see the first line of the text is converted to

0 q=36874:pokeq+5,30:print"?{blu}{rvon}";:fort=1to22:print" ";:next

The standard file without converting would look like this

0 Q=36874:POKEQ+5,30:PRINT"???";:FORT=1TO22:PRINT" ";:NEXT

Notice after the print we have strange characters as ASCII text cant display or rather doesn’t have a character for this, well not a Commodore character any way.

Look closely again at the first line; its all lower case!

And also note the none displayable characters (petscii) are converted to {blu}{rvon} so our cursor down example would be displayed as {down} so on a real machine we would look at the word {down} and convert that to cursor down when we retype, following me? No.... Oh well I tried my best to explain it.


Another use for the program; and a real time and life saver is the renumber, how many times have you started numbering in tens then realised you missed something or wanted to add more code but you only have 9 lines, ok there are utilities for the C64 to do this but then you have to save the file load up a utility run it against the saved file ......

select edit then select RENUMBER

Here we can select the line to start renumbering from the last line we want to renumber to and the increments, the program also changes the goto statements to ensure the whole application will still run.

Another option is to Save the text out as a prg file ready to run in an emulator or copy to a real machine, and similar we could open a prg file for re editing. As it’s a windows application you can stretch the screen, so no more hunting though lines to find the error you can maximize the screen and work to the full resolution of your pc monitor.

You can load and even create a disk image all within the application. Heck you can even load a PRG file from with in a disk image, or even save one back. If this was all the program could do it would be great however in this text I have just about scratched the surface of what can be done, I would suggest downloading the application and playing around.

The program covers a large number of basics including

Basic 4 (Commodore 64)
Basic v10
SpeechBasic V2.7
Basic v2
Basic v4
BAsci v7
EXbasiclevel 2

Commodore Free

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