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OFF THE CUFF EDITORIAL We've got a packed issue for you this month, beginning with an exclusive review of the new Delate Paint IV ADA, the updated paint and create program (rom Electronic Arts especially geared to take advantage ol the new AGA graphics chipset that's to be lound in both the A1200 and A4000. It's another marvellous advance in Amiga graphic capabilities and Peter Lee, our resident graphics expert, gives us his own authoritative opinions on the new program on page104. But that's not all wo've got on Oder, as our reviews ot Videomaster, Wentworth 2 and the new Canon BJ-200 testify. Bn the games front, we've got a packed issue, with reviews on the new Lucasfilm adventure, Mr A, and the 'surprise' hit, Street Fighter 2. Yes, I know I said I thought this one would be a complete money waster, but the review on page 58 definitely proves me wrong. It's not the greatest coin-op conversion in the world, hut it's certainly the best beat 'em up ever to grace the Amiga - fact! There's a lot more on offer within these feature-packedl 96 pages, such as a sneak preview ol the gobsmacklng new CDTV products on the way from Psygnosls and a look at the work of Tobias Richter, one of the premier artists currently working with the Amiga. We've even added an extra 32-page Amiga Guide so new readers can start to explore thB Inner most workings ot their magnificent new machines. I hope you en|oy it. Before I go, I'd like to thank all our loyal readers for their continued support throughout 1992.1 hope you've enjoyed the last year as much as I have, and will join us again for what promises to he a most exciting 1993. The Amiga is only going to get better and better, and we'll be there to cover every new development.

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Document sans nom IE AMIGA TOTALLY COVERED AND [PLAINED IN SIMPLE TERMS EXCLUSIVE TO CU AMIGA MAGAZINE!
PART THREE OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE AMIGA EVER PUBLISHED.
FOR BEGINNERS THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE FOR NEW OWNERS BEGINNER'S GUIDE i The story so far you have recently acquired a very nice new machine with the word Amiga on it. Unfortunately you don't really have a clue about what's really going on. In desperation you find yourself reading CU's Amiga Guide in an attempt to get some answers. Now read on... Mil I EDITORIAL Welcome to the third Amiga Guide, tree with the January issue ot CU Amiga. Over the coming months, Amiga Guide will cover every aspect ot the Amiga. Irom programming, graphics and animation to music, video and desktop publishing. Each
tree magazine will cover a distinct toptc, building up into one ot the most complete guides to the Amiga ever published.
Last month we took a look at games. This month we go back a tew steps tor the benefit ot all the new readers out there who have )ust acquired an Amiga and are puzzling out exactly what to do with it We will be looking at your first steps with your new machine , explaining most ot the iargon and hopefuly helping you to get the most out ot your Amiga as quickly as possible.
The capabilities ot the machine and how to harness them will be explained In simple terms throughout and even It you get a tad contused there is a handy glossary at the back ot the issue to help you out.
Common problems will be dealt with in the amazingly cunning Q&A section, where we anticipate those early setbacks and try and get you on course again as last as possible Finally there are respective sections detailing the various fields ot interest in the Amiga.
Be sure to read them or you may miss out on some of the amazing things your brand new computer can do.
Whatever your level ot experience with computers we hope you will learn something trom this guide and stick with us in future issues as we explore the tar horizons of the Amiga experience.
It’s hoped that you’ll en|oy these guides and get a lot out ot them. Initial reaction to the tirst two guides has been incredibly favourable, but it you've any suggestions to make things even better, then please drop me a line at the editorial address.
Nick Veitch, Editor.
AMIGA GUIDE 3 GAMES GUIDE 4 INTRO Your new machine, what it does and how it does it. As the first part of our tour of the Amiga we look at the heart of the machine and the chips which make it the greatest home computer ever.
6 EXPANSION PORTS What are all those funny sockets at the back the Amiga for and are they of any use? We explain the expansion ports - what they do and what is usually connected to them.
22 PERIPHERALS It won't be long before you feel the need to expand. Before you start making deals with Russia and annexing the Sudettenland. Swot up on all the gizmos and goodies which can help the Amiga help you to become master of the universe.
26 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Everyone has some teething problems with their Amiga, so the aim of this section is to help sort them out straight away - because believe me we know how frustrating it is.
28 CLUBS New users can often benefit quite a bit if they join a local club of like- minded users. With a selection of clubs culled from our regular column in CU. This could be just what you are looking for.
30 GLOSSARY A handy guide to all those tunny bits ot gibberish that seem to permeate every aspect of Amiga literature. The manual suggests you may have overloaded the byte count SCSI vector overlay adjustor with a consequent breakdown in Chip RAM yotkie capability? Check it out here.
8 AMIGA DOS The user interface and the CLI are probably the most difficult things to understand when you first use an Amiga. With a little practise, however, it soon becomes second nature. Here we give you a little push start... 12 DISKS Virtually all the data and programs you are ever going to use will at some time be stored on a floppy disk. You may not need to know exactly how they work but you do need to take care of them, as this section explains.
14 WORKBENCH The Amiga allows its owner to change just about every aspect of the environment in which he or she will be working. Knowing the way preferences work is vital to stamping your individuality on your machine.
16 GRAPHICS How do graphics on the Amiga work? Here, with the help of a few examples we show you just what is possible on the brightest home computer around.
20 SOUND The sound capabilities of the Amiga are the same as they ever were, but Paula's not ready to be put out to pasture yet.
EDITOR Nick Veitch i ART EDITOR Steve Rumney WRITERS Nick Veitch John Kennedy Publisher Garry Williams ill AMIGA GUIDE CU Amiga EMAP images 30-32 Farringdon Lane London EC1R3AU Tel: 071 972 6700 Fax: 071 972 6701 mi 1 This issue of Amiga Guide is free with the November issue of CU Amiga. Britain's leading Amiga magazine. It is not to be sold separately unless you really need the money.
©1992 EMAP Images All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the publisher.
WELCOME TO _ THE AMIGA By buying an Amiga you have automatically entered an exclusive club. It's a club bound together through the use and enjoyment of a rather wonderful home computer. The Amiga is an attitude, a way of life, a small piece of plastic with lots of bits of electronics inside.
Whichever model you actually own, you will soon realise that the Amiga is part of a wide family.
Although you may have had another home computer of which there were several different versions, your Amiga is part of an entire range of home computers which all share the same design philosophy. From the small but powerful A600, through the enhanced abilities of the A1200 to the flagship of the range, one of the most powerful home computers yet developed, the A4000, they all operate in a similar environment and to a great extent can all run the same software.
The A1500 and above have been biased more towards productive use by the inclusion of a Zorro card. This is an extension port attached inside the machine, so extra cards can be purchased and installed. A large number of cards are available for all sorts of purposes - modems, accelerators, hard- drives, video equipment - virtually everything you could possibly want to connect to a computer (and a few things you probably wouldn’t) are produced to the Zorro standard.
The Chips The reason that Amigas are so special is largely due to the custom chips.
Instead of having the processor do all the work, as with conventional machines, the Amiga has certain tasks which are handled exclusively by custom processors. In effect you really have three computers in one. In the A600 the custom chips are slight enhancements of those found in the original A500.
Paula Paula is the sound chip.
We will be learning more about sound in a later part of this supplement, but to begin with perhaps we'd better explain how sound is generated on the Amiga. Instead of using a waveform generator and modulating the output, as machines like the Spectrum. Commodore 64 and Atari ST do, the Amiga deals directly with digital samples.
This does mean that the sounds take up more room, but it also allows a greater degree of fidelity. Paula can handle four channels of 8-bit digital sound at speeds of up to 44kHz. This is about the same sample rate as a CD. But because we are only dealing with 8-bit samples the quality is about half that of a CD. It's still pretty good as I'm sure you'll find out.
Paula is the oldest chip on the Amiga, and hasn't changed since the original A1000 back in the mid-eighties. It is due for an overhaul soon, but it still matches the sound performance of any other similarly priced home computer.
Agnus Agnus has changed several times since the first Amiga. This is the chip which acts as a giant terminus for all the other custom chips.
Because they have to share memory using DMA (Direct Memory Access) channels, there needs to be something to tell them whose turn it is and where to look. The Agnus chip controls what is known as the Chip RAM, the memory which is directly accessible by the other custom chips.
Various versions of Agnus allow different amounts of memory to be accessed. The latest version allows the chips to access up to 2Mb of memory, more than enough for home use.
The Agnus chip is also home to the Copper. The Copper is a graphics co-processor which can be programmed to alter the colour palette and the screen resolution at any point in the screen's display cycle. It is the copper which makes possible those graduated screen effects and, more usefully, the ability to drag different Amiga screens so that more than one is displayed at any time.
As well as these duties, the Agnus also contains the blitter, a really fast piece of circuitry which is designed to do one thing only - move memory. The amazing speed with which the blitter can manipulate memory makes many graphics effects possible which are belied by the relatively slow processor speed of the 68000.
Denise The Denise chip is the one which controls the graphics display modes. It doesn't do anything exceptionally clever, but being able to generate all those different screen modes is clever enough. The A600 is equipped with an ECS (Enhanced Chip Set) Denise, which allows more screen modes (such as super high-res and productivity) and also has extra functions which add flexibility to any gen- locking activities you may get up to.
HTROI I So what good ore oil thoso (hips?
Well, lor a start they enable the Amiga to be a very effective and relatively cheap games machine. That is in fact what the Amiga was designed for in the first place. Jay Minor and the other fathers of the Amiga were actually working on a games machine for Atari until they ran into financial trouble and Commodore bought up the whole project.
Being a decent games machine also means that the Amiga is capable of some pretty advanced professional work. In order to be a good games machine the hardware has to be a lot belter m terms ol speed, sound and graphics than if it were just designed to be a word processor.
Having excellent graphics makes it incredibly useful as a tool for designing artwork, animations, desktop publishing, and of course video work.
The Amiga is already used professionally by many small video companies Even some TV operations use Amigas to generate titles and effects. Some of the software and hardware available to the Amiga desktop video enthusiast is unrivalled by any other personal computer.
The sound capabilities aren't quite up to CD standards, but the Amiga can still form part of a useful studio with the simple addition of a MIDI port. The software available for the Amiga is impressive in this area too.
So impressive in fact that an Amiga running KCS3.57 was used by Madonna whilst recording an atoum The Amiga has the most advanced operating system of any home computer too, because it multitasks. This means that it can carry out two entirely separate operations at once.
This is not the same as task switching, which is possible on the Mac and PC. Because in their case only one task can be active. On the Amiga more than one process can be active at a time. So what?
Well, it means you can use a wordprocessor (like I am doing now) and process graphics (like I am doing now) at the same time (like I am doing now).
The computer intelligently uses the time it would otherwise spend waiting in one task to carry on with the others It doesn't matter if at you want to do is play games, fiddle about with Dparnt and maybe compose a tew demo tunes - the point is that the Amiga calculations and executes all the programs, passing on instructions to the custom chips when necessary. The Motorola 68k series is also used by Apple in their macintosh computers, but you are unlikely to tind a Mac that uses anything less than a 68030 chip.
This is because these machines don't have custom chips and rely on the processor to do all the work, including graphics and sound. Even then most are unable to keep up with the blistering pace of the Amiga.The new Amiga 1200 uses a 68020 chip, which not only executes instructions about four times faster than the 68000, but also allows the addition of a maths co-processor. A co processor is a custom chip designed to speed up floating point calculations (hence it is known as a floating point unit or FPU).
EXPANSION PORTS II isn't enough that you've got a computer, they all have an inbuilt obligation to buy lota more devices to keep them company. The main method of affixing things to your computer is not superglue, but the interface ports to be found along the rear of your keyboard unit.
There is an awful lot going on at the back of your Amiga. It Is a machine that likes to connect to the world outside. Here is a brief guide to what the ports are tor, and what you would most likely find hanging off the back of them.
The Mouse Ports These are standard 9-pin connectors which you can use to connect a variety of input devices to your Amiga. Okay, so most people stick their Terminator joysticks and their Commodore mouse in here, but it doesn't have to be that way.
The ports will also accept Trackballs (a kind ol inverted mouse), paddle controls (if you can still find any about) and analogue joysticks, all the better for playing flight sims with.
It is important, particularly when using devices which have shielded connectors, that you discon nect the power when trying to add or remove devices on these ports. It only takes two of the pins to cross out for you to be left with a nasty burning smell and an unusable machine.
Disk Drive This port is to enable the connection of an external disk drive, or indeed a chain of them. You will soon discover that being the proud owner of a mono drive Amiga is not conducive to remaining out of the sanitarium. AmigaDOS seems to work a whole lot better with two drives (because you can keep Workbench permanently in one of them).
The Amiga can handle up to three drive units in total, so on a A600 or A1200 this means that you can add an extra two at the back. These drives usually have a daisy-chain port so that they can be linked together through only the one port on the Amiga.
Having two drives may put a strain on your Power supply though Commodore do not recommend the connection of more than one external drive unless they are powered from an external source. Some companies produce models with two drives in a single unit, powered with its own supply, but for most people one extra drive is enough •rial The serial port is both an input and an output device and is used primarily for communications.
The most common peripheral to be connected to this port is a modem, which allows your computer to connect to a phone line and exchange data over the phone with other similarly equipped computers. Because of the nature of serial communications, it doesn't actually matter what kind of computer you are talking to at the other end of the line. Software is required to drive a modem but the best programs are available either free or relatively cheaply under Public Domain or Shareware schemes.
The serial port is synchronous which means it can only send or receive in sequence at a regulated rate. Computers communicating in this way must do so at the same speed the Amiga is fairly reliable up to speeds of 38400 baud, though you are unlikely to be able to find a phone (or an affordable modem) that can handle this speed Parallel Port This interface, like the serial port, is both an input and an output. The parallel port is much faster than the serial port because it is asynchronous and not tied to a specific speed at which to operate. It also has multiple lines so data does not have
to be transferred one bit at a time, but can be sent in bytes.
The parallel port is not often used for communications between machines though, because it is very expensive to encode multiple channels of information down a conventional phone, and it would also only be able to transfer data at the same speed as a serial device when used in this way.
The parallel port is used for local communication though, such as connecting the Amiga to a printer.
Many peripherals use the added speed of this port to their advantage. Samplers and digitisers, which require high speed data transfer, often use this port.
Audio ports The audio connectors, one right and one left, are standard RCA phono plugs, so you won't have any difficulty connecting them up to an amplifier They could also be connected to the audio input of a video, or a set of stand alone speaker-ampli- fiers if you don't like the quality of the sound from your TV.
VkUo Port This port provides the red, green and blue video signals, plus the synchronisation signals, which are required by RGB monitors. This is the best quality output you can hope to achieve on the standard Amiga If you don't have a monitor, check that your TV doesn't have a monitor input before connecting up that nasty modulated signal.
Composite Output The composite output is provided in the standard form used by composite monitors and video recorders Although it is easier to connect (being just one lead) there is a lack of quality due to cross channel interference in the encoding and transmission process. It still has an advantage over the modulated output (because the modulated signal is essentially the same signal with a further encoding process on top) so you might like to use this if your TV or video has a composite input.
TV output The modulated signal from this port can be directly connected to the aerial socket of a receiver. This signal carries both the sound and picture information, but it is not a very good quality signal as you will soon discover.
Power Socket This is where the split power supply is delivered to the Amiga. The highest voltage here is only 12v, but it could still be dangerous, especially if you fuse or ground it. Try to make sure that the Power supply * firmly fitted to the Amiga before you turn it on Many apparent problems with the machine are down to an ill-fitted power lead, so it's worth your while to check.
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Ow l(D CDTV MbmMW CorpM* Mh ICOsor Anp pop** FrwFstOFOaa «*c*or'cl 6E0 **».
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percnerais included.
1 you can ir»«h Ski lull power of your i Commodcre COTV r ini CDTV Player ._.... £399.99 CDTV Keyboard_______________ £49.99 CDTV Disk Owe ..... £99.99 Fred Fish CDPD ... £19.99 Sim City . £29 99 ZoP Pack ...... £12792 Total Pack Value £72797 Less Pack Samg: £22887 Silica Price: £499.00 ENC'fClOPE°'A' $ guo»** 05*1 Ss!5=rW imiii iiiiiii 'Mini Mill SlW CALL FOR A FREE PRICE LIST ALL PRICES INCLUDE VAT - DELIVERY IS FREE OF CHARGE IN THE UK MAINLAND Sfnpty put CDTV mixes CD sound and Amiga type software in cne
• asrfy controlled unit and alows you lo Interact* wth the
results trough your television. Oi the outside the CDTV
Standalone Player «s a sleek, elegant black box. Inside it
cortains the worlongs * the UK’s most popular home computer,
the Commodore Amiga, W with two major differences. Instead of a
keyboard and mouse it I jses a video style remote controler tor
simple operation and, Instead of a floppy dskdrive, there's a
compact dsc drive MUSIC & SOFTWARE I As well as beng able lo
play standard studo cornpad discs n high Wlity stereo sound,
the CDTV can also use software sieved on CO. Ths is similar to
Amiga softwre. With thousands ol Amiga jrcgrams avafabe Yai
also get much, much more • a COTV Disc Is equal to over 600
ftoppy disks in capaoty.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
| With CDTV you can teten to your favourite pop group, look up
* *sory, play the latest arcade games, have a Karaoke right or
learn French In one ur*. COTV can do things you would otherwise
need I a vdeo, CD player and computer to do! You can watch as
Ned Armstrong waits on the moon, kslen to hm speak ard read the
I fascinating details of how Apollo got there!
INTERACTIVE MOVIES A new kind of move; hi-fi sound tracks and moving pctures just like | onema films, but you determine the oulccme and how the pkX turns Mt* Will Batman really save Gotham City? Interactive moves are set to arrne on a COTV near you soon.
EDUCATION Wth its huge siorage capacity, colour graphcs and easy control.
[ CDTV is deal for education. Levels from prmary edixabon to adult 'oreqn language courses are availatte.
ENTERTAINMENT Packed with masses of colourful graphics, hi-fi sound and huge
* vels, CDTV games are set to dwarf their Amiga counterparts. The
COTV award wnnng version of Sim City for instance, has 10
Megabytes of extra graphics, studio recorded sound for CD Audio
quaky. Mere detailed game play (new zcom mode) and 4 different
eras (Medeval. Western, Actual ard Future).
REFERENCE imagine that you could refer to several encydcpaeda’s at once, without hawg n constantly swap between pthlcabons. Flp pages or refer to lengthy indexes across miitple books? CDTV Refererxre Wes enable you to do this plus a lot more!
MORE FORMATS COTV can play COTV software, CD audio discs. CO.G (audio discs weh fyncs ard pictures). CD.MIDI (speoal tracks along side the audio tracks control MO instruments attached lo Vie COTV). With ne aid of a floppy dsk dnve and keyboard. COTV can also on mast Amiga software.
FREE FROM SILICA 1 . M SIM CITY CD I' t'su "ave evei payed Sun Ci amazed when you see kslen lo and play the Anga CO verson!
Mem even more ¦xMicir*’ w«h audio recorded sound and a masshe iCMb d graphics. Sim Cily CDTV is a Me smjtalon game mat has lo be soon to be Delreveo! Sm Oty comes Iteewm WHAT IS CDTV?
A NEW AGE IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT ADD-ON FOR AMIGA OWNERS AMIGA A570 FOR THE A500
• Enables your Amiga to run CDTV software
• Plays normal audio CD discs
• Storage capacity equal to 600 floppy disks
• Internal RAM expansion option ,0
• Internal hard drive option tc s*™
• Compatible with CD + G and CD + MIDI formats
• Transfer time 153Kb second
• Compatible with CD-ROM industry standard ISO9660
• Comes with Fred Fish CDPD collection + Sim City FREE from
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• Based co the best sdlng Amiga computer
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¦rvVg game. KjKhnscnl: A vast ercycKpew* Tho A570 « an sssenotU add-on lot youi Amiga SOD CD-ROM a Mi *o replace disks as iho standard Icymal tc. 9*mes and serious lilies in the not loo distant luture lAosi software companies have I already amo *icod plans lo release CO versions ol Iher soltware!
The sneer saorage size cT a CD (60D oisks) means dial uong a CD scrfie-are a lasicr. Graphics are enhanced and game play is rvcreawd Mlh hgger levels, more complea problems H so*.* I and larger areas 10 explore! And. Being compaltele wilh auto 1 Cos. Ihe sound qusity Item CD games Is .rivalled! Sin Cfly for nsttnce has Over 10Mb of data lor *s graphics alone ard ¦ has muse recorded K a Studio! SlFCa'B nee km price of £299 means that there is no toner time lo txr, the A570 and. With the award winning Sim City included FREE every A57D from Shea, there a n bener place lo buy «fromf AMIGA
VCDTV PLAYER CDTV Player ... £399.99 Lemmings .. £34.99 Sim Oty ..... £29.99 Hulchinsons Encyctcceda £49.99 Total Pack Value: C514.96 Loss Pack Saving: £145 96 Silica Price: £369.00 SOFTWARE TITLES AND PERIPHERALS AVAILABLE ¦EASE SEND INFORMATION ON AMIGA CDTV MAIL ORDER HOTLINE iJ 081-309 1111 SILICA SYSTEMS Mr Mrs tAssiMs: ...... Initials: . Surname ... Company Name (il appfccaWe): ...
Address: . .... Postcode: ... Tel (Home): .... Tel (Work): Which computet(s). If any, do you own?.. EAOE A9«im cnat w«J weokaWns ™ AMIGA DOS Amiga Dos is the operating system that is used by the Amiga range of computers, in various versions depending on which machine you have and when you bought it. Tho A600 uses AmigaDos version 2.1, and since most of the new
additions to the Amiga work! Will own an A600, that is the one we will be concentrating on. If you have an Amiga 1200 or an A4000 don’t worry. All of the things we are about to explain for AmigaDos2.1 will work on AmlgaDos3 as well.
Even if you only ever use your Amiga to play games, there will come a time when it is not only useful, but also necessary for you to dirty your hands with the business end of the computer. This little guide should help you come to terms with the operating system, which you may, in time, come to love and respect What is an operating system?
The operating system, or OS. Is a software program that allows the user to interact with the computer and its devices, and to allow access to any of the files or applications which are stored on compatible media Usually it is this software AMIGA that you will run first when you turn on your computer, as it is necessary in order to use a lot of applications written for the Amiga.
The software for running the operating system is stored m two parts, the first part is in ROM on board your computer. This ROM.
Known as the Kickstart, contains the instructions for the startup-sequence of the computer and also instructions on how to access some of the machines devices, such as the floppy disk drive. A large number of sftware routines are also present on the ROM which enables slightly faster execution of programs.
The rest of the operating system is loaded in from floppy-disk.This is the Workbench disk that is provided with your Amiga. Although the disk is completely full, not all of the files are needed to make the OS work, as we ll see later If you have graduated onto the Amiga from another home computer system, such as the CBM64, the Spectrum or the BBC then you probably haven’t come across an operating system before These machines had an interpreted BASIC language in ROM so in order to use the computer itself you had to program through the BASIC language. The operating system on the Amiga is more
geared towards locating and executing files stored either in Ram. Floppy disk.
Hard-disk or CD-ROM. In this way it is very similar to the Apple Macintosh and the IBM PC.
Who are you calling a WIMP?
The operating system is based on a concept known as Windows Icons Menus Pointers, or WIMP tor short. What this means is that access to the computer is controlled largely via the mouse and not the keyboard. Xerox came up with the idea years ago that life for the computer user would be a lot easier if they didn’t have to remember the names of files and take RSA typing stage three to be able to use their machine. Instead files should be represented graphically on the screen and the user should be able to access them simply by pointing and clicking with the mouse.
The little pictures (icons) and associated information on a file are stored in a seperate file under Workbench, called the "info’ file. Thus for an application such as "Med', there will be another file called "Med.info'. The Amiga Workbench differs from the Macintosh system in that some of the files are not given icons.
This makes sense, especially when using a hard disk as the screen would soon be chock- a-block with all sorts of files. Usually only applications are given icons, because these are the files that user will wish to access. The data files containing information used by the apptica- tions are more often than not left without icons, which under normal circumstances means that you will not be able to see them. You can view them however, if you select the "Show AH’ option from the workbench menu. For example, boot up using the Workbench disk and wait for the startup routines to finish. Using the
pointer, double clik on the disk icon and a window will appear in the middle of the screen. The window contains lots of drawers corresponding to various parts of the system software. Move the mouse inside the borders of the window and dick once. Now hold down the right mouse button (or menu button) and you will see that the top bar across the screen changes and lists a number of topics. Still holding down the menu button, move the pointer to the word "Window".
A list will appear underneath the word. This is a menu. Whilst still holding the button, move the pointer down the list to the item marked "show".
When you reach this item another menu will appear to the side of the word "show". Now move the pointer over the words’all files’ and release the menu button.
The disk drive will become adive as information is read off it. When it has finished more drawers will be visible in the disk's window.
These are directories which have no “.info" files, but corresponding icons have been created for them by the operating system.
So what's this CII thing then?
YOU WHAT?
I “Assign devlcename path' where the two parameters are the name you wish to give the device and its ordinary directory path. For example, if we enter: “ Assign Printers: workbench :devs printers” then we have created a logical device attached to the printer driver directory.
You can change these assign simply by re-issuing the command. If you kept all your fonts on a separate disk, you may want to reassign the fonts device to point to them, so that they are automatically located by any program which wishes to use fonts. You can do this by simply typing: "Assign fonts: fontdisk:" There are plenty of other useful commands which can only be really useful by accessing the CLI.
Try reading about them and what they do in your AmigaDos manual.
EASY ACCESS Fortunately tor the less able, Woritbench now has an execute function available. Simply select the execute command item Irom the Workbench menu (or use the hot-key Amiga-E) and a small gadget will pop up In a window on the Workbench screen.
You can type in any command you like, and it will be executed. The default directory tor commands Is taken to be the C: directory, but if you start with the pathname you can execute commands anywhere.
To use this gadget just click In the text window. When the cursor appears you may type in the command. Pressing return will execute It. If the command is one which generates an out- put, a window will be opened on the workbench screen to show you the result. This is an easy way to get used to the Workbench commands without having to trouble with using the Shell.
Although the WIMP system is very efficient and easy to understand, there are still some things that can be done better by a more traditional Command Line Interface, as used on the IBM PC. In fact the Amiga uses a mixture of the WIMP environment (like the Mac) and a CLI (like the PC) to give the user the best of both worlds. It is completely possible to use your computer using solely one of these methods, but a bit of both is usually preferable.
You can gain access to the CLI by double clicking on the “shell" icon, found on the workbench disk.
A small window will open up and you can then pretend that you are using a PC, by typing in commands (although not all the commands are the same as those in MSDOS). For example the command "dir" will list the directory that you are currently in. Showing all the files that can be found there. The command “cd name" will change your current directory to a directory called "name". Directories are arranged on the disk in a tree fashion, and it is necessary to step along the tree to get to the place you want to be. Often this can be done with one command though. For example, to get to the printer
device drawer on your Workbench disk you could use the command cd Workbench :devs printers Note that a name with a colon after it is a device name. This can be the name of a disk (e.g. Workbench), the name of a physical device (e.g. DfO:) or the name of a logical device.
DOS A logical device is one which, although it is not actually a separate physical entity, it Is convenient to think of it that way. There are plenty of examples of logical devices on your normal Workbench disk.
The fonts directory is a logical device which is set up when you boot up your machine through Workbench. Try going into the CLI or Shell and typing: “cd FONTS:” You will now be in the fonts device, but if you look at the shell prompt it says ‘ Workbench:fonts In effect, logical devices are simply a shortcut, but they can be very useful too.
In order to create your own logical device, you may use the Assign command. The syntax for this is: Sounds Logical Window A window is a box within a screen.
Windows usually have a title bar, with their name in. A resizing gadget and scroll bars so you can see what is contained within. A typical example of a window is the one which appears on the Workbench screen when you double click on a disk icon.
Icons are the small pictures which some files (usually programs) and devices are given to help you locate them on the Workbench.
When using the Shell you can take advantage of some of the advanced edit ing options. The cursor keys will allow you to move backwards and forwards through what you have just typed and also the backspace and delete keys will allow you to delete forwards or back wards from the current cursor position Using the up cursor invokes the shell memory, and you can scroll back through a list of commands that you have already issued since you ran the shell.
These are the little lists that pop down from the top of the screen. The list contains elements known as items, and may in some cases contain further menus.
Menus are accessed by holding down the right mouse button and moving to the top of the screen.
Pointer The pointer is the red arrow which follows the direction of the mouse. You may change the design of the pointer to suit your needs, and indeed many programs will do this automatically when you run them.
Siring Gadget This is the term used to describe a window containing nothing but a text box and a flashing cursor. These are often used by programs when they are asking for informain such as your name, or the date. Etc. The names given to the various features of the WIMP environment can be a little confusing, so here Is a little guide to what all that jargon really means.
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unit of data storage is the floppy disk.
They are small (3.5" isn't big no matter what Tony Horgan says), plastic and usually a rather unpleasant shade of blue - but how much can you fit on one and, more importantly, why aren’t they floppy?
Formal The disk format is the set of rules by which data is organised on the disk. If there wasn't a format, the computer wouldn't know where to look for the data or what sort of data it was, even if it could find it.
AmigaDOS disks are organised on a system of 512 bytes in a block, 11 blocks to a track. 80 tracks to a surface and two surfaces to a disk. Some of these blocks are reserved for use by the computer, to store directory information on and to indicate what type of disk it is.
The 'boot' block of the disk indicates whether the disk is just an ordinary data disk, or whether it is one that the computer should try and boot up from. If it is a bootable disk, small programs can be inserted into the boot block which are executed when the disk is read during startup. This is the method games use so that you don't have to go through AmigaDOS first in order to use them.
Before a blank disk can be used by the Amiga, it has to be formatted. This is quite a simple operation. Insert the disk into your disk drive and wait for the computer to recognise it. It will have a few goes at trying to read information and then give up, leaving a standard icon on the screen with a label of "DF0:BAD????-, which just means that AmigaDOS hasn't recognised the disk.
Select the icon by clicking on it once with the left mouse button and then select Format Disk' from the Workbench's 'Icon' menu. A small requestor will appear, asking if you are sure that you really want to do this (in case you have accidentally selected format) because any data on the disk will be lost. Since you have no data, there is nothing to worry about so just click on 'Okay'.
After about a minute the disk will be ready to use. You may notice that there is a quick format option when the requestor pops up. This is only to be used if the disk you are formatting has previously been formatted as an AmigaDOS disk. This option is provided because it is often a lot quicker (and less messy) to re-format a disk rather than delete all the files on it.
Unless you are fortunate enough to already own a hard drive, you are going to be spending a great deal of time dealing with small squares of plastic known as floppy disks.The floppy disk is one of the most bizarre parts of the entire computer industry.There are at least two things you should know about floppy disks. The first is that they are not floppy. Not unless you leave them under the grill for too long. The second thing you should know is that (as I’m sure you've guessed by now) they are not disc-shaped. They are in fact more or less square.The reason they are called floppy disks is
not necessarily to confuse people, but because they do actually contain a floppy disk inside.
The disk is made of a thin bit of plastic coated with a compound containing iron oxide granules. Data is stored on this surface magnetically by the disk drive head, which, when in operation, floats slightly above the surface of the pinning disk. The accuracy this gives allows around 880k of data to be stored on just one disk. That’s about the same information as an airport paperback, but your computer doesn't have to go on holiday to Cyprus to read it.
Svstm2.& DISKS AMIGA GUIDE 13 DISKS Flotation Today's floppy disks are a lot more reliable than the older types such as the 5.25’ and 8’ disks you may see in some museums. The old disks were made of the same material, but instead of a plastic case they just had a cardboard sleeve.
Worse than this, there was no metal flap or anything, just a hole which left the magnetic material exposed to the air! The 3.5" disks are much better protected (they even contain little cleaning pads to prevent the build-up of dust on the disk's surface) but you can still have some problems.
In the result of a disk error, the Amiga may claim that your disk is unreadable and suggest that you try using the diskdoctor program to correct it (as found on the Workbench disk). This is a definite last resort. There are much better disk rescuing programs around, such as FixDisk (which is Public Domain) and Quarterback Tools (which isn’t). Usually the error is only on one block or track, so probably over 90% of the files on the disk are still okay and can be rescued using the right software. Unfortunately if the error is on a commercial disk, especially a games disk, even losing one file
can render the entire software package unusable. Now you know why everyone tells you to make backups.
Copying Disks There will probably come a time when you will need to make a copy of a floppy (like when you are making all those backups that we told you to). This is quite easy to do under AmigaDOS, but can be slow if you have only one drive (because you’ll have to swap the disks a few times, depending on how much memory you have available).
To do this simply insert the disk you wish to copy and select it using the mouse.
Then choose ‘copy’ from the Workbench's Icon menu (or use the Amiga-c hotkey). A box will appear on the screen asking you to put in the source disk (in this case the one that is already in there) and click 'Okay'.
Just dick Okay and the computer will read the data on the disk. When it hasn’t got any room left in memory it will ask you to put in the destination disk. Just swap the disk for the one you wish to copy onto and dick okay. When you have finished you will end up with an exad duplicate of the first disk, except it will be called ‘copy_of_ xxxx' where xxxx’ is the name of the original disk. You don't need to have formatted the destination disk, as because it is a dired copy of the original all the format information is copied over too.
Disk Do's And Don'ts
• Do store disks vertically upright
• Do keep them in a box or oilier conlamor
• Do attempt to label them
• Do write protect important disks, sucli as original soil ware
• Do keep back ups
• Do use reliable disks, branded ones of ton come with a
guarantee
• Do use Double Sidod, Doublo Density disks
• Do regularly chock for viruses WORKBENCH Once you begin to get
to grips with the Amiga, you will soon find that you prefer
some options over others. The beauty of Workbench is that you
adjust the system to be exactly the way you like it, and know
that that’s the way It will be every time you switch on.
Backdrop or Scroon?
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to make your Workbench a Screen or a Window. This is chosen from the Backdrop option in the first Workbench menu. It's purely a matter of taste -1 like mine to be a screen to help avoid clutter. You may like having it as a window which you can then send to the back or pull to the front of any other windows. To make your choice stick, youII have to load a tool from the Prefs drawer, change nothing, and then select Save'.
Note that if you chose to leave the Workbench as a window you can actually turn it off by clicking on the dose gadget Tins is useful occasionally, but remember that once you have closed it in this way there is no way of getting it back!
Pointer The Amiga Workbench is where you will spend most of your non-game playing time so It's important to make it as pleasant as possible. In fact, some users think of it as a giant Adventure game in its own right, with hidden treasures to be found in the most obscure places.
Startup drawor On the Workbench disk, hard or floppy, is a drawer called WBStartup Anything you place into this drawer will be run on boot up So. For example, if you wanted a clock to always appear on your screen without having to ask. Simply drag its icon into the drawer.
This works with IconX script files as well, which is very handy for running This is probably the easiest tool to use. And the hardest to get good results. The idea pointer is accurate, but not obtrusive. Everyone has their person favourite, and I reckon it’s about time we had a competition to find the best WB Pattern Ok. So it might seem trivial, but a race relaxing backdrop can make all the difference Try to avoid very busy backdrops or you’ll get a splitting headache trying to read text. Both the Workbench and the Window patterns can be chosen separately to help you differentiate between
them.
Those of you lucky enough to be using Workbench 3 can actually use full-screen sized pictures.
This is a bit on the ridiculous side because there are very few pictures that you will actually be able to make out your disk icons over the top of. That said though, there is a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from copying disks on a remote cambean island populated only by yes.
Well I'm sure you can see how easy it is to get carried away.
Assign scripts if you have a hard drive The startup drawer is a good place to put your virus checker as it wiK immediately become active and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to start it. Ajso. Some viruses can fool virus detecting programs if the virus is in memory before the virus checker is initialised. It makes sense to make this the first thing you run when you start up.
Tli1 Prefs Drawer There are so many ways of altering the Workbench, that the control programs have all been split up and placed in one drawe - the Prefs drawer In here you'll find programs for changing everything from the shape of the pointer, to the size of the Workbench screen All the preferences set in this drawer are saved to special files so that the Workbench will always be set up the way that you want it There are a lot of preference programs, but the files they create are quite small so you can copy these onto any boot-up disk without having to have all the programs on as well.
S rNnMode This tool is easily the most powerful available.
Not only can you define which sort of Workbench display you want, but you can also choose to have as many as 16 colours on the Workbench (which can get a little slow), or as little as 2 (which is boring). A little known fact is that you can also have Workbench sizes which are actually greater than the screen can display - when you move your pointer off the side, the screen scrolls to show the new parts. The Palette tool can be used to define any new colours you may have created, or to alter those already used Workbench 3 owners can select up to 256 different colours - that should keep you
busy.
WORK AMIGA GUIDE 15 WORKBENCH 0 (} Fr«ct«M !vk: Q l*wre | 0 Nsitiv* M 4tk ): rwi 0 HorizMtal H«(*t ): ETW| e Elatlc SHIite Font Once you start changing the screen size, you may find that the text is a bit difficult to read. No problem - use the font requestor to choose a larger size. Some application programs may have problems using the new font, so this may limit your choice to those which aren't too outlandish. The text that the icons are named with, the text used for Window titles and the CLI text can all be chosen separately. Remember the choice is to make your Workbench easier to
use - not to make it look like a Letraset catalogue.
Overscan If you hate to think of all that wasted screen which is used to form a border, you can cause the screen to overscan’, and enlarge the Workbench area. The enlargement will depend on the television or monitor used.
Overscan is quite important if you are going to be using the Amiga for video work.
Normally the Workbench screen doesn’t get to the edges of the video image, so if you were recording an animation or trying some titling with a genlock you would be limited to the centre of the screen.
Fortunately the advanced video chip in the Amga allows you to increase the resolution of the Workbench screen to almost fill the entire video picture area.
Input If you are having problems controlling the mouse, try altering the speed available from this tool. You can also choose whether or not to have acceleration active: this will make the pointer move faster the more you use it, and takes a bit of getting used to! Key repeat rates can also be fine-tuned here.
BENCH Parallel, Serial and PrinterGfx If you add a printer to your system, you'll have to inform the Amiga what sort it is. If you can’t find your particular printer listed, it’s a relatively safe bet to start with the EpsonX driver first. If you are using a modem, you can alter buffer sizes and protocols with the Serial tool, although your Comms software might use its own defaults.. Making your rhanges permanent All the tools in the Prefs drawer have ‘use’, ’save' or cancel' gadgets. If you select 'use', the new options will come into force, but nothing will be saved - the next time you boot
Workbench everything will be back to normal. If you select save’ the new preferences will come into force everytime you boot the computer from your normal Workbench disk.
All the tools also have a "Save as...' menu option. If you make use of this feature. You will be able to put together a collection of different preferences for different occasions. You may have a huge multi-coloured extravaganza to impress PC-owning friends, a 2-colour extra small Workbench for memory tight situations and a normal every day option.
With Workbench, the choice is yours!
Leaving icons out Being able to take an Icon from its parent window and leave it on the Workbench is a very powerful way of customizing your system. All you need to do is highlight an Icon and select 'Leave Out' from the Icon menu. I have a paint program, a word processor and a comms pro gram always on my Workbench, ready for immediate use. This feature works best when you have a hard drive, winch will avoid any disk swapping on boot up You can leave out icons on a nor mal disk too. It doesn't have to be a bootable disk. This is very useful on a floppy based system. If you leave out an
application, and snapshot it then every time you put that disk in the drive the icon will appear on the Workbench - with no need for you to open the disk window.
GRAPHICS One of the most amazing things about the Amiga is its graphic capability.
But what good are all those colours, sprites and copper bars, if you don’t know how to use them. Here we hope to dispel some of the mystique surrounding Amiga graphics.
H you bought your Amiga for its amazing graphics capabilities you’ll not be disappointed. The basic Amiga 600 is capable ot an astounding colour resolution of 4096 colours, with screen resolutions varying from 320x256 to 640x512 viewable on a standard TV or monitor.
To obtain these displays the Amiga uses a series of bitplanes to make up the images in memory. You don't need to know how this system works to be able to use an art package and draw wonderful pictures (or “interesting” pictures If you are artistically challenged), but a basic understanding is helpful in understanding why some things are simply not possible. So off we go: What's a Bitplane then?
A bitplane is a term used to describe an area of memory set aside for the graphics display of the Amiga. Imagine it not as a continuous area of memory, but as a rectangular screen shaped block m your computer s chip RAM. Each binary "bit" of this area represents one pixel on the screen, and gives information on whether that pixel is to be turned on or off.
In two colour mode there is only one such “t it- plane" of data, because there are only two possible combinations (either the bit is on, or it is off). For more colours further planes of memory are added, up to a total of six on the A600.
Each further bitplane is mapped on top of the first, so they are all the same size, but now you have two or more bits of memory referring to the same screen location.
Two bitplanes gives a total of two bits of data for each pixel, which means there are four different combinations for each screen location.
This translates to four possible colours. As you can see the number of colours goes up by a factor of two every time a new bitplane Is added, up to a maximum of six, giving a total of 64 colours possible using this method.
It also means that the amount of memory used by the computer to display the image goes up arithmetically, in a screen sized chunk every time another bitplane is added.
For example, a 320x256 2- colour screen takes up a total of (320x256 bits - 10k), whereas a 32-colour image the same size would take up five times the amount of space (because it is five bitplanes of data) or 50k. Th* may seem a very small amount of memory compared to the gargantuan 1 Mb available to you, but try imagining an animated sequence of 25 frames (which is only one seconds worth if run at a decent speed for proper animation) and you'll end up with a massive 1250k of memory - a good bit more than is available to the standard Amiga.
The size of the screen also effects the ability of the Amiga to animate it properly.
If we are talking about 25 fps (frames per second) animation then you are asking the custom graphics chips to process that 1250k of information every second I Even a mono image animated at that speed would require 250k of memory. This is not outside the realms of possibility for a machine as powerful as the Amiga, but as we have seen, memory is in short supply. So what's the answer?
X 4 ITS ONLY RIVAL 8 THE HUMAN EYE FUJICOLOR ITS ONLY RIVAL IS THE HUMAN EYE FUJICOLOR Compression In order to maximise your value for memory the images are usually compressed in memory. There are various ways of doing this but essentially fhe technique involved is the same. Much of a picture is usually made up of large blocks of a single colour, so instead of remembering every single pixel of information the Amiga simply remembers the colour for the whole block and how big the block was.
It’s a bit like a Pot Noodle really, all the useless watery stuff is taken out so you end up with something much lighter and more compact. In computer terms this means it takes up less memory and therefore is less time consuming to move about.
However, like the Pot Noodle, it also means that it takes a bit of time (to add the water again) before it can be used. This means that although you are saving memory or storage space, it takes slightly longer to retrieve the information. What you gain in effective use of space is taken away again by increased processor time.
Animations use a different approach from static images though. Working on the principle that each successive frame is only going to contain slight changes from the previous one. An animation file contains only the initial image and then a sequence of the bits that have changed (this is known as delta- shift encoding if you want to impress your friends).
That is why animation files are stored in a different file format to ordinary pictures.
ITS ONLY RIVAL IS THE HUMAN EYE FUJICOLOR _ ITS ONLY RIVAL S THE HUMAN EYE FUJICOLOR r Top loll: A1200 owners will be able to display 260, 000 colours in HAMS mode, leaving A600 owners with only 33 to play with (right). Dither modes (bottomplcture9) can enhance the graphics dramatically though.
GRAPHICS Things to get There is probably more graph ics software on the Amiga than any other type of application.
Here is a brief list of the programs to look out for DELUXE PAINT IV : Deluxe Pami has always been the standard graphics package for the Amiga. Dpaint III is still available and is given away in some Amiga packs, but the true potential of the Amiga is not explored unless you have Dpaint IV.
As well as enhancements such as light tables, extended fill operations and a rudimentary morphing feature, this version is the first in the series that allows you to manipulate HAM images with a 4096 colour palette. The animation section also allows full screen animation of HAM images.
DELUXE PAINT IV AGA This is the latest version of Deluxe Paint and is more or less identical to the version above except that it has enhancements to cater for the AGA chipset found in both the Amiga 1200 and the A4000.
This version is of no use to you unless you have either of these machines If you do you will now be able to use all eight bit- Hang on a bit... A! The beginning we said the standard Amiga could display 4096 diflerent colours, but then we said that it could only use six bitplanes. Two to the power of six is only 64, so where do the extra colours come from.
Well, the 4096 colour mode is a bit of a cheat. It is known as Hold and Modify mode, or HAM for short, and that may give you an idea of how it works.
Instead of using the bits of data as discrete colour information, HAM mode uses these values as an offset from a base colour. It is slightly similar to the delta-shift technique used in animation files - instead of containing information about the whole colour, the data simply represents how much the present colour has changed from the previous one.
This does have its disadvantages. For a start it is not possible to use the HAM mode on anything other than a low resolution screen (320x256 pixels). It also means that colours blend into each other, sometimes with unsightly fringing effects (because the two adjacent colours are too different for the colour to change in one go). Another point to remember is that all this calculation takes up processor time (you can check this out by running a program like Dpaint in Ham mode and checking how long it takes to redraw the screen after, say, a magnify operation).
On the whole, though. HAM mode gives exceptional results and the fringing problem rarely occurs in ‘realistic’ images, like ones obtained from a scanner or digitiser.
BETTER PICTURES Just because the Amiga as it stands cannot display 24-bit graphics, like machines which are used in professional graphics applications such as TV work do, it does not mean that you cannot create them. In fact there are several packages on the Amiga, such as ASDG’s Art Department Professional, which are designed specifically to handle 24-bit images. These can still be used for DTP or video work if you are using a bureau to produce the finished article.
Some 24-bit adaptors are available for the Amiga which enable it to display these images directly - though these can be beyond the price range of most people.
The Alternative The alternative to bitmap graphics is structured graphics. Instead of being built up of pixels, these are built up of mathematical lines and shapes. The advantage of this is that the pictures are not limited to a particular resolution. A circle is still a circle whatever size you choose to display it.
Using conventional bitmap graphics shapes and text become distorted as you magnify them, but structured art retains its shape.
Of course, the objects still have to be rendered before they can be shown on the screen, which makes them a little slower than bitmapped packages, but a lot more flexible when it comes to design work. There are a number of structured art packages available for the Amiga, from Expert Draw to Professional Draw, they all operate on these principals.
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£25.00 TOTAL VALUE: £224.00 SAVING: £69.00 SILICA PRICE:
£155.00 ?VAT = £158.63 Ret: PR I 8204 T = £182.13 Ret: PR I
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- Orth £29 38 (£2S.v*i) complete* FREE OF CHARGE It includes all
you need to get up and running with your new printer.
• S i'OHM with Amiga i ST Printer Orivtn
• 1t Metre Parallel Printer Cato
• 200 Sheets ol Quality Contmmm Paper
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• 5 CeaDmnet Envelopes on Trader Feed SOM) for orty £24.38 - £5
oft RRP! WORTH £29 38 SILICA SYSTEMS OFFER YOU 1 I FREE
OVERNIGHT DELIVERY: On all hardware orders shipped in the UK
mairdand.
» TECHNICAL SUPPORT HELPLINE: Team of lechrecal experts at yoi* service.
» PRICE MATCH: We normally match compeiitors on a ‘Same product - Same pree” basis.
I ESTABLISHED 14 YEARS: Proven track record in prolOSSional computer sales.
I £12 MILLION TURNOVER (with 60 staff): Solid, reliable and profitable.
» BUSINESS ? EDUCATION * GOVERNMENT: Volume discounts available 061 -308 0888.
» SHOWROOMS: Demonstration and training facilities at our London & Sidcup branches.
I THE FULL STOCK RANGE: A8 of your requirements from one supplier.
T FREE CATALOGUES: Will be mailed to you with offers . Software and peripheral details I PAYMENT: Ma|or credit cards, cash, cheque or monthly terms.
Id® when to buy your now primer, we suggest you thir* very careful* about WHERE you ir what it Wit be like a few months a her you have made your pi*chase. When you may e addtkmal peripherals and accessories, or help and advice. And. Will the company you buy trom a you with details ot new products? At Silka Systems, we ensure that you w* have nothing to y about. We have been established tor aknoet 14 years and. With our unrivalled experience and Use. Wo can now Cairn to meet our customers’ requirements with an understanding whch is d to none. But don't just take our won) for it Complete and
return tho coupon now tor our latest E literature and beg* to experience the "SAca Sysiems Service' 52 Tottenham Court ucwsai ascweocpn_|«_u : Selfridges list no*). (Word £ Swwfl aXmr-Ittpn(S« OM63Cprr _uhj H The Mews. Hatheriey Rd. OnerWq (tout V LONDON SHOP: Owrerq mure h SIDCUP SHOP: OperWQ Hems: V ESSEX SHOP: Ooer.-g Ham: h To: Silica Systems. CMUSR-0193-84. 1-4 The Mews. Hatheriey Rd. Sldcup. Kent. DA14 4DX PLEASE SEND A BROCHURE ON THE SEIKOSHA RANGE Mr Mrs'Miss Ms: Initials:... .
Company Name (if applicable): Address: ... SILICA SYSTEMS '" mmm MA,L ORDER HOTLINE 081-309 1111 Tel (Home): . Which computers), if any, do you own?... E»OE - Amne»d BOOT* am mhkWctIc-u m*y tfang* - fUme r* 20 AMIGA GUIDE SOUND If you did any research before you decided to get an Amiga, then you must have heard hundreds of fantastic music demos on the Amiga, and wondered how it was done. Now read on... i ' E5=SjlE Ecgnnniiaop The Amiga’s sound capabilities may not have improved In the last seven years, but that
doesn't prevent it from still being one of the most advanced home computers when it comes to sound. Only recently has this power on a home computer been overtaken by a new rival, the Atari Falcon - but If you consider the respective prices of the machines, you’ve still got a bargain.
More about Paula The fundamental thinking behind sound generation on the Amiga is a quantum leap from the old style sound generation chips on home computers.
In the old days (or the present day if you still have an ST) sound worked on modulating the signal from a waveform generator. This was all very well if you wanted to simulate transformer hum or pure notes, but It was next to impossible to generate anything that sounded like it might have originated in the real world.
Paula is quite cunning. Instead of generating a waveform, the Paula chip just replays digital data, very much like a CD player. In effect it’s a sampler in reverse. Instead of converting analogue waveforms into digital data, it goes the other way around.
The downside of this is that the samples tend to take up a rather large amount of space, but with the modem home computer you have more space to play around with. Unless you were to try recording an entire album track, you should have plenty of memory for quite long samples.
The going rata In order to save some space the samples need not be played back at the fastest rate. The Amiga is capable of playing samples back at around the same speeds as a CD player, but often this is just wasteful. A lot of sounds can be played back at half the rate with no real difference.
Halving the rate means half as many sample points, so you either halve the amount of space the sample takes up, or you could double the length of the sample.
Paula actually has a pair of stereo channels, all of which can replay sound samples simultaneously. Musicians and musical engineers may be horrified at the thought of the lack of stereo imaging (i.e. each sample coming out of only one speaker) but you can use stereo samples as well (although these obviously take up two of the channels, one on each side). Most people won’t be able to tell the difference if they are using a TV (where the sound is mixed into mono) or a stereo monitor (where the speakers are so dose together you wouldn't notice the spacing unless your face was against the
screen).
Sampling Because the Amiga simply replays samples it is incredibly simple for the home user to record their own without any specialist knowledge. All you need is a sampler and a suitable sound source - a tape recorder, CD player or even just a microphone.
Many sampling packages exist for the Amiga, and they are not very expensive at all (about £30-40) so even if you just want to record a few silly noises to liven up Workbench you have no excuse.
There is even a whole range of sample Cds around, which are designed specifically to be used by sampling packages (okay, they are intended for use with professional sampling equipment, but that doesn't stop you from using them). The content of these discs vary from sound effects to classical instruments.
Another advantage to having a variable rate sound chip is that you don't necessarily have to play the sample back at the same rate as you sampled it at. This means you can effectively (if not scientifically) alter the pitch and play a whole scale with just the one sample. If you sampled a trumpet for example, you would only need one sample to play a very effective solo.
SOUNDS AMIGA GUIDE 21 SOUND View from a bridge You can of course take this a whole step further and compose entire tunes out of your samples.
Because these are stored as a list of sequences of different samples, it is possible to construct very large tunes instead, as all of us here at CU know only too well when once again the strains of breakbeats and "my mummy says..." drift from Tony Horgan's magical music cupboard.
There is a lot of commercial software available that will let you do this simply and effectively, but the established tradition is to use one of the ‘Soundtracker' clones. These are music compositors for the non-musician, where tunes are put together rather in the manner that programmers would have music written. This works out quite well because it makes it very easy to include the tunes in any programs you happen to write.
MIDI There is a way to use your machine for helping record music professionally. This doesn’t have very much to do with the sound capability of the Amiga though, but it does entail using your machine as an intelligent conductor of other musical instruments.
There is a standard amongst the manufacturers of electronic instruments which has been designed to help join a whole load of instruments together. This standard is called MIDI and consists mainly of a sort of serial network. All the instruments are connected together by their MIDI ports and can thus synchronise their playing to a common time signal.
In order for this to work effectively you need a machine which sends out the data telling the instruments what notes to play and when to play them. This is usually the job of a dedicated sequencer, but there are certain advantages to using a proper computer for the job. This is where the Amiga comes in. Equipped with a MIDI interface, it can direct the playing of more musical instruments than you could comfortably fit in your front room.
Because you are using a computer you can easily compose all your songs (with the relevant software ) and simply save them to disk, for a performance anywhere. It worked for New Order anyway... The ST used to be the musicians first choice when it came to a home computer, mainly because it has built in MIDI ports (you have to buy them separately for the Amiga) but this has changed recently as the software on the Amiga has improved dramatically. KCS. Produced by Dr. T (the best music software company, who program for a large number of machines) is, at the moment, most advanced in the Amiga
version - so much so that top artists like Madonna have used it whilst producing albums.
Better than life Just because the Amiga doesn’t come with CD quality sound doesn't mean that you can't produce it. There are now a number of 16-bit sampling cards available for the Amiga with facilities for direct to disk sampling. Effectively this means that you can digitally master an entire album on the Amiga (provided you have a big enough hard disk, about 600Mb would do).
Having all the data on disks means it can just be sent away to a CD mastering factory and reproduced - a true DDD recording, which is more than a lot of artists can manage at the moment.
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Song playing module* can replay tunes without the overbead* ot a compositor package.
PERIPHERALS So you’re bored with your new Amiga already?
If your beige beast isn’t quite as powerful as you’d hoped, we’ll show you exactly what you need to make the machine of your dreams.
External disk drive Nothing is perfect, even an Amiga straight out of the box. Through cost and market restrictions Commodore have to make compromises.
Thankfully, the next generation of the Amiga has improved the situation somewhat, but for most of us some extra expenditure is needed to create a useful system (or at least one that you can use without going irrevocably, totally, barking, raving mad, or as we should say, rationally challenged).
Before you go completely mad watching "Please insert disk Workbench for the umpteenth time" messages appear on-screen, an external floppy drive should arguably be your very first foray into the world of Amiga peripherals.
Thankfully, this needn't be a stressful, or even a very expensive business drives are available from most dealers and hundreds of mail order companies.
Prices start at £50 for a "Prima Addup" from First Computer Centre, and just keep on going. Don’t pay more than £70 for a single drive, or you are being done.
With two drives available to your Amiga the disk-swapping messages will be reduced dramatically. The only drawback is that the extra drive takes up some of your precious memory, so that's next on the list.
PERIPHERALS AMIGA GUIDE 23 PERIPHERALS MISC Next up we have all those things that you really need, but never seem to have. By the way, it makes an ideal list tor those buying presents for Amiga owners!
Blank disks & labels Basically, you can never have enough blank disks. Some of the more famous Sod’s Law of disks state:
1. You are always one disk short at any one time.
2. If you do only have one disk left, it will be faulty.
3. When formatting a disk, it will only fail at the last possible
moment.
And so on. Get out there, buy the best branded disks you can and REMEMBER TO WRITE ON THE LABELS!
Mouse mat Magazines are too slippy, trousers are too fluffy and the cat won't stay still long enough. You need a mouse mat. For some reason. 90% of mouse mats are blue. If you spend more than £5 on one, you are a very silly individual. FutureTech do one at £3.50, which is close to the limit. You can even get official CU AMIGA mouse mats, for the more discerning. What better present for a birthday, what better expression of sentiment, what greater testament to friendship (and more shameless plugging)... Dust cover As an unfeasible percentage of household dust is composed of human skin, don’t
you think a dust cover is a good idea? Unless you want your mother to vacuum up the keys off your keyboard, I’d recommend one. If you are a person with strange tastes, you can buy a device called a Seal’n'Type which encases your keyboard in a thin film of plastic.
Control Centres A control centre is the computer equivalent of the extra skirting people buy for their Ford Escorts to make them look fast and sleek like Rally cars. If you have a Ford Escort. Captain Diamond can make your day for only £35. He claims it will transform your Amiga into “the ultimate hi-tech integrated workstation environment", and who am I to argue?
Books No matter how much you think you know, someone will always write a book to tell you otherwise.
The Amiga has a large number of books written for it. Some by people who, believe me, know less than you do. The manuals which come with all new Amigas are particularly well written, and it’s only when you get into slightly more specialist areas such as programming that books are worth worrying about.
The exception to this rule is probably AmigaDOS, the name given to the various commands you can type into the Shell. The best books in this area are published by Bruce Smith Books, and given such snappy titles as Mastering AmigaDOS volume 1' and Mastering AmigaDOS volume 2’.
INPUT DEVICES Getting information into the computer has to be as easy as possible. Here we look at ways of improving the situation.
Joystkk If you want to play games, a joystick is a mus - a fact which is so taken for granted that it sometimes doesn’t appear on the game’s box! Playing a game with a mouse can be too frustrating to be worthwhile.
The range of joysticks for the Amiga is staggering
- you can even buy them in the shape of Bart Simpson if you
really want to. So much is down to personal choice that you
really need to try before you buy. I like the Konix Navigator
style, some can’t stand it and yearn for something more subtly
masculine in appearance. Dynamite Computers have a large range,
starting from £3.50 for the classic Quickshot to £20 for a
steel shaft Quickjoy Megastar. They’ll also supply the Cheetah
Characterstick in several different guises for £9.
Mice The mice supplied with the Amiga don’t seem to stand up to well to the test of time. Some people simply don’t like them from the offset. Well, it’s a free world and replacement mice are easy to come across. Naksha have an excellent reputation, and for £25 FX Direct will send you a replacement rodent.
Tra kballs Just to be different, you might like to consider a trackball instead of a mouse. They plug in to any Amiga in exactly the same way as a mouse, but don't slip and take a lot less space. If you can donate a day or two to getting the hang of them, you might find that you prefer them. Evesham Micros will sell you one for £30.
TECHIEWARE Now we re talking! If you really want to get Into computing with the Amiga, you’ll need to add some of these items to your shopping list. And while you’re at it. Get us some too... Hard drive Almost essential for serious and even semi-serious use. A hard drive will radically alter the way you use your Amiga. If you are buying an A600 A1200 make sure you spend extra and get a hard drive.
For the rest of us the choice is bewildering. SCSI or IDE?
External or hard card? Through port? Expansion RAM? Built in accelerator’ Rated amongst the best for the A500 is the GVP HD*, which is also available in accelerated form Prices start at about the £300 mark, so shop around from any of the dealers mentioned for the best deal. Back issues of CU Amiga carry reviews of practically all the drives available.
Atialaratori If your new computer isn't fast enough tor you. You need an accelerator. They plug in and go. Speeding up operations by as much as you are willing to spend. The best budget boards come from SSL. Available from many dealers. Prices are as low as 150, so keep a lookout.
Emulator!
So you’ve bought an Amiga, but realised what you really wanted was a PC. You're in luck, for you have several ways of getting that all-important user-unfriendliness up and running on the Amiga. KCS and Vortex both produce boards which slot in to various places, and can run any PC software you want.
Modems The best way to get information. Starting at E70, a moOem will connect you to the rest ol the World Free software, tnendly chats and hot gossip are all available from your local bulletin board.
Check out the regular Comms column in CU Amiga every month.
Printers By adding a cheap 9-pin printer to your computer, you have made it more useful by a factor of at least 100%. Now you can word process, and throw that bottle of correction fluid away.
Silica Systems sell printers starting at a little over £100. Think seriously about getting one - you won't regret it VIDEO The quality of the Amiga's graphics has always been its trump card. Ideal for anything from 3D Image rendering to home video titling, every Amiga has amazing possibilities.
Monitor A dedcaied monitor makes so much differ- ence to an Amiga that some say they should be compulsory. Suddenly text is rock-steady and clear, colours are bright and there are no longer any fights when Home and Away comes on.
The standard monitor is the Philips
8833. Which also appears under various other guises.
It is perfect for everything from games playing to word processing, and costs less than £200. If you value your eyesight and want to restore calm to family life, consider telephoning an order to Silica Systems Genlock You can buy a Genlock for as little as £65 from Gordon Harwood Computers, and here’s why. Recording titles onto video tape is all very well, but overlaying them on hve footage is something else Now you can subtitle drunk relatives speeches at weddings, draw false beards on newsreaders and perhaps even make some extra pocket money producing semi- professional videos.
Video digitisort image scanner!
Capturing images from external sources opens up all sorts of possibilities. With Rombo's VIDI12 (available from HB Marketing) you can grab full-colour images from video and then load them into Deluxe Paint for butchering. A hand scanner from Hobbyte will grab your pictures in a format ideal for Desktop Publishing. You’re looking good' SOUND__J The Amiga supplies four channels of 8-bit sampled sound as standard, which until fairly recently was considered the bee s knees. These days the public demands a little bit more, and as ever, we deliver.
Sound MmpUri In order to capture your own sounds, you will need a sampler. Prices for samplers vary according to features, but the GVP Sound Sampler at £50 from Silica Systems is rated very highly. Cheaper mono samplers are available, and nearly all come complete with the software needed to drive them.
Sound enhancers When sounds are played back by the Amiga hardware, they must first pass through some electronic filters to try and improve the quality. The simple filter built into the Amiga can be improved upon, and two such devices are available. They are the Omega Projects sound booster (from Special Reserve) and the Pyramid sound enhancer (from Genloc Ltd.). MIDI interior* & software A design flaw on behalf of Commodore means that the standard Amiga does not come with a MIDI interface as standard. For £20. MJC Computer Supplies can rectify this fault, with an excellent little unit which
plugs into the serial port. With a copy of a sequencing program, for example the quirky but excellent Music-X, you can compose your own tunes with the aid of musical instruments ranging from the cheapest of compatible home keyboards to the most expensive of professional synthesisers.
Recommended.
Memory expansion If you have a A500 or A600, you’re In luck as giving your system a quick memory boost is cheap, quick and almost impossible to do wrong. Adding an extra 512K or 1 Mb is the surest way to cut down on those nasty Software Failure messages which seem to crop up at the most inconvenient times.
Shop around before you buy, but Reflex will update your A500 to 1Mb for £15. Phoenix will give your A500* a total of 2Mb for £35, and for £33 Futuretech will populate your A600 to 2Mb. Memory has never been so cheap!
If you want more memory than this (greedy!), you'll need to explore other avenues. A600 owners will need to make use of that credit card slot on the side of their machines, A500 owners will need a box of tricks to plop onto the side. Prices are higher here, so keep a regular check on the advertisements In CU Amiga. As an example, Evesham Micros will provide A500 owners with 4Mb of extra RAM (expandable to 8Mb) for £160.
Owners of the shiny new A1200 can use their credit card slot, or more sensibly will wait for a week or two as the manufactures race to discover what exactly can be done with the various interfaces.
Owners of the big box’ machines (A15002000 3000 4000) have many third party cards available, and companies such as Reflex can offer advice on how to spend your money.
That brings us to the end of the essential upgrades, what follows are the optional extras which tailors your machine to your exact needs. We can't mention everything is this small space, so make sure you keep reading the reviews In CU Amiga every month for the latest news.
First Computer Centre 0532 319444 Reflex 051 708 5588 Phoenix 0532 311932 Futuretech 0908 211665 Diamond 071 580 4259 Bruce Smith Books 0923 894355 Dynamite Computers 0234 214212 FX Direct 0296 688222 Evesham Micros 0386 765500 Special Reserve 0279 600204 Genloc Ltd. 0257 472887 Silica Systems 081 309 1111 Hobbyte 0582 457195 HB Marketing 0753 686000 Meridian 081 543 3500 1 HARD ¦fwMb DRIVE GREAT VALLEY s PRODUCTS UALITY AMIGA PERIPHERALS WITH A 2 YEAR WARRANTY ka Systems are pleased to present the GVP range ¦*merals. GVP are the woftfs largest third party mJadurer of peripherals for the Amiga
range and k* a reputation for high specification, quality ¦duds. The company was founded onfy four years IB »y a man who knows about the Amiga, ?natore’s ex-Vice President of Technotogy. He.
Wt; Mti a team of Amiga experts induing other ex- wr-odre staff, understand the acMon requirements
* rmga owners Better than anyone. Not only do bc provide
peripherals that Amiga owners want.
» aeso offer peace of mind, with a 2 year warranty 1 t»e products they manufacture. So. If you are tor the very best in peripherals for your Amiga vxtMr. Look no further than GVP.
A530 HARD DRIVES & ACCELERATORS e s. AMIGA SHOPPER (HOSv) GVP doims this is foe fastest hord dm* in foe word ond non* of our tests could prove foot wrong _ Unkxxhobk. THE choke’ AMIGA SHOPPER flUMt) 5HH foe best hard drive1- 92% AMIGA IORMAT 11291 (HOS.)
'GVP have done it ogotnT- 94% AMIGA FORMAT 9 92 (ASX) ' _ foe build quality is excellent _ in terns oi performance, their geor is foe best - their equipment is worth every perm .
AMGAtORUAT 9 92 (ASX) 40Mb I 80Mb I 120Mb I 213Mb £849|£929|£1099 ACCELERATORS mini limn 1:1111 VIDEO ENHANCER
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Cfro-a Key nxB d te E CS A* cfs wi I e tv My tfoce to »e iraMrea van 1: i m i huini Mews. Hatherley DA14 4DX g S'**,'™ 52 Tottenham Court Road, londce. W1P OBA Tel: 071-581 4010 LONDON SHOP: SeUnOges lib No! Oxlotd Street. London. WU Iflfl III: 071-6291234 (teQ ig Hxs Ucn tQ 9.»tp7 Cqtn tSai Oce» 6 Mrrn_lata W* - tpn_£o»o»«i 3ei« SIDCUP SHOP: 1-4 The Mews. Hatherley Rd. Sidcup. Kent. DA14 4DX Tel: 081-302 8811 a---g "xn UC-SK 9 0*1-5 LM l*qn Erpay ¦ 7pr _'a. No CQ1-OT XU ESSEX SHOP: Keddies (m (tari. High Street Southend-on-Sea. Essex. SS11 LA T«l: 0702 462426 A--. 0 K--. U: »O * »- • j
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To: Silica Systems. CMUSR-0193-68. 1-4 The Mews. Hatherley Rd. Sidcup, Kent. DAI4 4D T PLEASE SEND A BROCHURE ON THE GVP RANGE Mr Mrs Miss Ms: Initials:..... Company Name (if applicable): Address:--------------------------------- SILICA SYSTEMS MAIL ORDER HOTLINE 081-309 1111 FREE OVERNIGHT DELIVERY: On al hardware orders shipped m the UK mainland TECHNICAL SUPPORT HELPLINE: Team of technical experts at your swvice.
PRICE MATCH: We normally match competitors on a 'Same product - Same price- basis ESTABLISHED 14 YEARS: Proven track record in protesaona! Computer sales.
£12 MILLION TURNOVER (with 60 stall): Solid, reliable and profitable.
BUSINESS ¦ EDUCATION . GOVERNMENT: Volume discounts available 061-308 0888.
SHOWROOMS: Demonstration and tralnng facwoes at our London & SkKi© branches.
THE FULL STOCK RANGE: All ol your requirements trom one supplier.
FREE CATALOGUES: Will be mailed to you with offers ? Software and penpheral details PA YMENT: Major credit cards, cash, cheque or monthly terms lore you decide when to buy your new Amiga products, we sugpest you think very carefully about 4ERt you buy them. Consider what 4 wh be like a few months after yew have made your purchase,
• n you may require additional peripherals and software, or help
and adwoe And. Wi the cc*r«iany j buy trom contact you w»h
detafe ol new products? At Silica Systems, we ensure that you
will have thing to worry about. We have been established tor
almost 14 years and. With our unrivalled Dertence and
expertise, we can now claim to meet our customers' requrements
with an understandng ich Is seccxid to none. But don't just
take our word for it. Complete and return the cot*on now for
our »st FREE literature and begn to experience the ‘Silica
Systems Service' GVP5 HD8. Hard drive and A530 hard drive with
40MHz accelerator. 1 the highest quaWy Amiga 500 peripherals,
at very affordable prices, incorporates a last action hard
drive, RAM expansion capabety. Custor VLSI chip and FaaaSTROM
SCSI driver, for unbeatable performance.
The HD8* hard drive offers up to 8Mb of standard internal Fast RAM expansion and the v A530 Combo, up to 8Mb O 32-Ort wide , fast RAM expansion. Both feature a X SCSI controBer, which supports up to 6 additional devices and an AutcCoolGame cut-off switch Both are available in 80. 120 and 213Mb . hard drrve versons.
In addition, the A530 Combo zooms the Amiga forward with an 030 accelerator, running at a blistering 40MHz. This enabtes your Amiga 500 to run at an credible 12.1 MIPS, faster than an Amiga 3000! No other product in the world combines all the features found in the A530 Combo! A plug-in PC emulator option, shown below, is available lor the HD8» and A530 Combo. ,- . - .. Postcode: Tel (Home): .... Tel (Work): --------------------------------------- Which computers), if any, do you own? .. 68Q
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• 16MHz 80286 processor
• 287 Maths Co-Processor socket
• 512K of PC RAM plus the use of Amiga RAM
• Supports Hercules. CGA, EGA VGA (monochrome) and T3100 video
modes
• Runs MS-DOS (3.2 and upwards) plus thousands of other PC
programs Ties powerful 286 emifitor module srrpy plugs nto he
-mrwslor of the GVP HD8- or A530 (without nvaWabng the
warranty). It has full access to the Amiga’s resources arxl
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• IX Mt or 'HI ?uut • QUESTIONS & ANSWERS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS 26
AMIGA GUIDE i Not everything goes according to plan. Not
everything is right first time, every time. But fear not. Even
the most magnificent of experts had to start somewhere, and
how well we remember those first setbacks. Therefore we have
cunningly compiled an extensive list of some common problems
and their oh-so-obvious solutions.
Disks drives can damage the surfaces. Ensure that you always wait for the drive light to go out before removing disks from the computer.
Q. The disk drive doesn't seem to work prop- erly. What’s up?
A. Occasionally the square plug from the power supply doesn't lit
into the socket on the Amiga as snugly as it should. This can
stop the internal disk drive from receiving power. Push it
lirmly home.
Q. What does Write Protected’ mean?
A. Floppy disks have small tabs in the corner.
When in the open position (i.e. you can see through them), it is impossible for the Amiga to store information on them: they are Write Protected.
Q. Why won’t my hard drive auto boot.
A. Most hard drives will give priority to floppy drives. Check to
see there isn't a disk in one of your external drives.
Q. There isn’t room on my disks to store enough information!
A. You can archive' files to save space. If you don’t need
immediate access to them, for example the files are old
documents or pictures, use a program such as LHA, ARC or ZOO
to squash them in size. If you want to squeeze programs - such
as Deluxe Paint- a program such as PowerPacker is better, as
it automatically uncompresses programs.
Ask your PD library for more details.
Q. My floppy disks become corrupt quite often.
A. Look carefully at the way you treat the disks.
Do you pile them on or near sources of strong magnetic fields such as loud speakers, televisions or power supplies? Do you store them in dust free environments? Do you smoke whilst using your computer? Particles of cigarette ash ?Q&A??
Miscellaneous
Q. Why does my mouse keep slipping?
A. It's ball is dirty. All mice can have Iheir ball removed for
cleaning. While you have it apart, check the roller mechanisms
for fluff. If necessary, disconnect the mouse from the
computer and remove the fluff with a darning needle or hat
pin.
Q. When someone switches the kettle on in the kitchen, my Amiga
crashes.
A. You need a surge protector'. You can buy them as single plugs,
or built in to a 4-way gang.
Think about getting one anyway, and then you can switch on your computer, monitor and printer all at once.
Q. My disk drive remains on, even after a program has loaded.
A. Sounds like one of the internal chips - a CIA chip to be exact
- has broken. This is a common complaint, especially amongst
those who like to connect and disconnect peripherals to the
serial and parallel ports without switching the Amiga off
first.
Q. Something strange seems to be happening... Help!!!
A. Stop holding your breath for so long, it’s bad for you.
Alternatively, it could be that your system has become
infected with a virus. One of the dangers of using pirated
games is catching a virus.
(Another is being caught, and having to pay a fine.) Get hold of the latest version of an antivirus program such as ‘Virus Checker' from a PD library, and check all your disks. The best way to avoid viruses is never to use any software that you can’t trace directly back to source.
Q. . How can I run CP M on my Amiga?
A. Go away Jeff, it isn't funny any more.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Video
Q. When using the TV modulator, I can’t get any sound out of my
TV.
A. There is a small switch on the modulator, used to determine
where in relation to the video signal the audio component is
placed. If after switching it to its alternative position you
still can’t here anything, you should check the following: Is
the television sound turned up? Are the leads from the Amiga
to the modulator inserted correctly? Does mistunning the
television slightly help?
Q. When I select Interlace mode from the Workbench Prefs or
Dpaint, the screen flickers.
A. it sure does. Unfortunately that's the way Interlace works.
The only way around this problem is to buy a special card
called a flicker-fixer, and a dedicated monitor (SVGA or
Multiscan).
The new Amigas (A3000, A1200, A4000) have integral flicker-fixers, but still need the expensive monitors. The flicker is not so noticeable if you video-tape the signal and play it back, but for most applications this is not a feasible solution.
It's a trade off - you either get higher resolution and flicker, or lower resolution and no flicker.
Q. How can I Improve the quality of the picture on my
television screen?
A. The best way is to sell the television and buy a monitor,
which has the added benefit of not being able to display
Australian soaps. If this isn't possible, try the following.
¦ If your TV has a SCART (Peritel) socket, buy a lead which will use the pure RGB from the Amiga Instead of using the modulator. The picture will be much, much clearer.
¦ Use high quality leads. Don’t try to use cheap twisted pair speaker cable to extend the video signal. Keep the leads as short as possible.
¦ Keep the leads connecting the Amiga to the TV away from the power supply and any other mains cables.
Power supplies generate interference.
¦ If you have many external devices, try disconnecting them one at a time.
Switch the computer off before removing them! If the picture improves it could be due to one or both of the following reasons: they are using too much power from the Amiga (get separate power supplies for the peripherals), or the peripherals themselves are generating interference.
Workbench
Q. What are hotkeys’ and how do I use them?
A. Hotkeys are shortcuts that save you having to select options
from a menu. For example, the Workbench menu option Backdrop
has a hotkey equivalent B'. The strange A symbol in front of
the B indicates that you should hold down the left ‘Amiga key'
and whilst holding it down, press B. The Amiga key is the key
immediately to the left of the space bar. The Backdrop option
toggles the Workbench from being on a Window to being on a
Screen - choose the one that you prefer.
Q. When I do a DIR at a Shell window, I've noticed a lot of files
which end in ‘.Info’. What are they for?
A. Every file which has an associated icon, has a second file of
the same name, but with the .info extension. If you were to
delete the .info file, the icon would vanish. Some files, for
example, the C directory and its contents, don’t have
associated icons and so don’t have any .info files. If you
really want to see them in Icon form, select Show All Files
from the Workbench's Window menu.
Q. How can I get more memory for my application programs?
A. If the application program is running on another screen, try
to select an option from one of its menus which is called
something like ‘Close Workbench ”. Don't worry - it will be
opened again if you leave the program. If you can’t close it.
Use the Workbench Prefs program to alter the Workbench display
to be a 200 line, 2 colour screen. This will save a sizable
amount of Chip ram, and also speed up Window and Icon opera
tions.
Q. When I try to re-define the Workbench screen, It keeps telling
me to close windows and retry'. Why?
A. Any program which needs to access the main Workbench screen
must be stopped before the screen can be re-drawn in its new
size, resolution or colour scheme. This is because altering
the screen alters data structures used by the application
programs. If the data structures were changed without telling
the programs, Woof!
Instant crash. That's why you need to shut down every running program first. You need to close any Shells because they have processes running themselves. Programs running on their own screens don't need to be shut down
Q. I spend an hour tidying up the Workbench, putting all the
icons were I want them. When I switch the computer on the next
day, they have all moved back to where they were - why?
A. The icons and windows will only remember their positions if
you use the Snapshot' option from the Workbench menu. Select
all the items you want to snapshot - using the extended select
trick of holding down the shift key if necessary - and then
select Snapshot from the Icons menu.
Q. My Amiga doesn't know the time. The clock option is always
wrong.
A. Some Amigas don’t have internal clocks. If yours is one of
these, you can add one by buying a memory expansion card with
a clock option.
Once they are set, they will continue to remember the time for years.
Q. I have an A500Plus A600 and some budget games won’t run.
A. This is because the programmers broke some of the programming
rules. Some older games, which are typically several years
old, were written before the new Amigas existed. You can try
taking them back to the shop and claim a refund by bluffing
about Trade Descriptions'.
Sound
Q. How do I improve the quality of the sound?
A. Don't put it through the television. Use standard phono
leads to connect the Amiga to a hi-fi amplifier. If you don't
have a nearby hi-fi, think about buying a dedicated Amiga amp
and speakers. The improvement over TV sound is amazing.
Q. How do I make my own sounds for use in programs such as
OctaMED?
A. You'll need to buy a sound sampler, which will allow the Amiga
to digitally record sounds for your own use.
Q. Why does the power light sometimes change brightness?
A. When the power light goes dim, a program has switched off the
internal audio filter.
Depending on the type of sound, the filter can actually reduce playback quality.
WE'RE HERE TO HELP There are always some things that will confuse or elude you, and that's where we can help. Just drop us a line at O&A at the usual CU address and our experts will answer whatever you throw at them.
CLUB CALL CDTV USERS ASSOCIATION 113 Fouracres Road.
Newall Green.
Manchester M23 8ES.
A year old this January, the club has grown from the two friends who founded it into an organisa- | tion with more than one hundred members. It’s still growing, and membership remains free (although a regular supply of stamped addressed envelopes is required).
The club has set itself several aims which will, no doubt, attract the sympathy of fellow CDTV users It intends to:
• Supply the technical support which seems to be lacking at
present.
• Encourage software houses to label Amiga titles with regard to
CDTV compatWity.
• Compile a list of compatible and incompatible software.
• Promote the potential of the format to software I houses and
prospective customers.
• Encourage software houses to keep the price of I Cds reasonable
and make new products CDTV I compatible.
• Provide a regular newsletter with the latest CD I news,
reviews, users’ letters and competitions. I The chairman,
Julian T. Lavanini. Is also looking I into the possibility of
hiring Cds (due to their non copy able nature), and selling CD
hardware and software. If you want more info. Julian’s the man
to write to.
GLASGOW SENSIBLE SOCCER CLUB 28 Stamperland Hill, Clarktton, Glasgow G76 8AF.
Briefly known as the Glasgow Sports League dur ing its formative stages, this dub for devotees of Renegade's famous footy game is putting together a growing squad. With ten members already signed and a further ten prospective candidates m receipt of their application forms, team-building is proceeding apace.
A newsletter for members. Glasgow Sensibies.
Is now being published and should feature results and match reports. If you can’t think of a better way to enjoy your Amiga than chasing a few pix els up and down a pitch, why not write and get details of the next match.
UK CLUB AMIGA GUIDE 29 CLUBS COMMODORE PRODUCTS USERS GROUP
P. O. Box 1309, London. N3 2UT.
Tel: 081-346 0050 In existence tor 14 years, the ICPUG is a well- established organisation whose most visible presence is its well-produced newsletter. With almost 100 pages per issue, the bi-monthly magazines provide information on the C64 and Pcs as well as the Amiga. Features on CDTV and heartrending articles such as The Day my Hard Disk Crashed’, extensive coverage ot programming and applications, reviews ot hard and software, news, and readers’ letters are all included.
Though not a club in the way that most groups featured on these pages are. Many of ICPUG's widespread members have formed local clubs which meet and discuss their computers in the usual fashion. An extensive PD library is available to members, numbering 1,100 disks for the Amiga alone.
A special end of year subscription offer may still be snapped-up if you,re quick: the September October issue (containing the articles mentioned above) and the November December edition are available for £7. A full year’s membership (including subscription to the newsletter), to begin in 1993, will cost £21 for UK residents, £25 for those of you elsewhere in Europe, and £35 for anyone outside Europe. All enquiries regarding membership of ICPUG should be directed to the Membership Secretary. Jack Cohen, at the above address.
AMIGA USER'S GROUP (FYLDE) 25 Glen Eldon Road, Lytham St Annes Lancashire FY8 2AX.
Here is a Lancastrian club which certainly believes in keeping in touch with its membership.
Firstly, it compiles NewsDisk, a monthly on-disk magazine containing articles by members, hardware and software reviews, programming tips. PD programs, listings of second-hand goods for sale, and (surprise, surprise) news about forthcoming meetings and Amiga-related events. Secondly, it provides a telephone advice line aiming to solve equipment and software problems.
Membership, including a subscription to the NewsDisk, is available for £15 a year (£8.50 for six months), which goes towards covering the costs of this non-profit-making club. Members with modems can also access the Red Rose Bulletin Board, based in Preston, for an extra £7.50 a year. For a membership application form and further details contact Andy Wilkinson at the above address.
ROUND UP AMIGA 500+ CLUB 3 Islay Court, Irvine, Ayrshire KA11 4JQ.
Clearly committed to providing its members with access to the sort of hardware and software they might not otherwise be able to use, the Amiga 500+ Club has recently purchased a real time frame grabber to complement its colour video camera. The range of facilities now available includes assistance in getting both colour IFF and HAM files for use with DTP programs, and the conversion of slides, negatives, photographs, video and cine film. These services are free to members, who only have to pay for a disk and postage. Completely free off-line printing will also be provided following the
purchase of an H.P. IIIP laser printer. Furthermore, the club plans a bulletin board for the near future.
THE GURU MASTERS 111 Sherborne Road.
Bushbury, Wolverhampton WV10 9EU.
An unusually-named club which is actually a demo group producing utility and demo compilations, digitised slideshows, sampled songs and remixes (they are currently working with some songs by a group called Purple Mouse, which I am assured are very funny). In existence for two years, and with a membership of twenty, The Guru Masters are working towards full coding of demos and would particularly welcome new members with knowledge of this field, and of music and graphics. Enquiries should be directed to ‘The Sheriff at the above address.
AMOS PROGRAMMERS CLUB 6 Brassey Avenue, Broadstairs, Thanet, Kent CT10 2DS.
A recently-established club which, as its name suggests, hopes to assist people learning the AMOS programming language, and provide a forum in which AMOS users may swap ideas.
The club organiser compiles a disk magazine for members that includes example programs, samples and, naturally, help with AMOS. Future plans include the establishment of a free PD network to allow members to exchange programs. Details from the above address.
The club is very well supported by well known programmers who regularly creat demos and tutorials.
Although this club is interested in more than gaming, it started just over a year ago when a group of friends gathered to run competitions on Kick Off II and Stunt Car Racer. Hundreds of cheats are currently being compiled by the club and put on disk, making just the sort of reference material keen gamers are eager to get hold of.
The thirty members also share PD programs and magazines, and an on-disk newsletter is being established for them.
THE KENT YOUTH COMPUTER GROUP The North Youth Centre, Essellar Road.
Ashford, Kent.. In September this club moved its meeting place to a purpose-built computer room at the above address. Meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 6.30pm and 9.30pm. with a 50p entry fee (40p to existing youth dub members. Other computers are covered besides the Amiga.
PERTH AND DISTRICT AMATEUR COMPUTER SOCIETY 14 Imrie Place Hillyland Perth PH1 2QN Covering the Perth (that's Perth, Tayskle by the way, not Perth Australia) region, this club meets every month to discuss all things computer related, including all types of Amiga.
Talks are given on a range of subjects interesting to Amiga users, such as the pros and cons of buying a CDTV, animation. MIDI, programming and info on the best peripherals to buy.
There are regular workshops and demonstrations of all kinds. Members are free to use the clubs rather extensive PD library for immediate access to programs covering a whole range of applications.
A bulletin board is being established so members can access all the hints, tips and software of the dub without ever having to leave the comfort of their own computer.
Membership costs, at the moment, £6 per annum . If you live in the Perth area it may be well worth your while going along one evening as a guest to try out the dub before you join.
Send an SAE to the above address for furthe details and dates of when the club meets.
Aueferator This is a hardware device which enables your machine to run faster. They are very useful if you run a lot of programs which require heavy processor time, such as graphics work, DTP and raytracing.
A tive A window is said to be active if it is the currently selected task. You can make a task active by cficking on its window with the mouse button.
Amiga DOS The disk operating system of the Amiga. The DOS provides the basic functions necessary for the computer to work.
Application The name given to a program which is used for a spedfic task. Applications include software like Art packages. Word processors etc. Archive An archive is a way of storing information which is not needed immediately in a space efficient manner. Archived files take up much less room, but they must be unarchived again before use. Popular archivers on the Amiga include LHA.
LHArc. Zip and Zoo.
Argument This is a parameter passed to a program to give it further information about its task.
For example 'LHA x plop’ tells the LHA program to extract files from the archive called plop’. See also editorial discussion.
ASCII The standard format for text storage on any computer. ASCII text is almost universally transferable between machines and applications on any system.
Backup A security copy of information, cunningly made in case of any accidents with the original.
BitpkiM A block of memory containing one bii of information for a graphics screen. See page t6.
Bool To slart up Ihe machine from scratch, booting’ from the software currently in the disk drive.
Bootable A disk which the machine is able to boot up from is said to be bootable. To do this the disk must have been ’installed' or copied from a bootable disk.
Buffer A temporary storage area in memory, used to speed up operations.
Bug A mistake in either software or hardware which causes programs to malfunction.
Close Gadget A small box which may be present in the upper left of a window. Clicking on it closes the window.
Chip RAM Also called Graphics memory, this is the area of the computer's memory which can be directly accessed by the custom chips.
Coprocessor Effectively an extra brain for the computer, the Coprocessor is usually designed for a specific task. E.g. a maths coprocessor, which speeds up floating point calculations.
Dithering This is the name given to the technique in graphic displays of creating smooth transition phases between two colours by alternating them to varying degrees in the spaces in between.
Drawer The name given to subdirectories on Amiga disks.
ICS The Enhanced Chip Set. The redesigned custom chips of the Amiga, present in the A500+ and A600.
Execute To carry out instructions in a CU, program or script file.
Extended selection The process of selecting more than one file at once, achieved by holding down shift whilst making multiple selections with the mouse. All files chosen should remain highlighted.
Fast RAM Any memory accessed by the Amiga which is not Chip RAM.
File A collection of data stored in an organised fashion on a disk or in RAM Font The name given to a character set or typeface used by the Amiga. All the available fonts are to be found in the ‘Fonts:’ directory.
Format To prepare a disk for use by the computer. Organisational data is recorded onto the disk so that it can be recognised by AmigaDOS Gadget An area of the screen which will initiate some command or function when clicked with the mouse.
Genlock A device which enables the user to overlay Amiga graphics onto a video image from another source.
GUI Graphical User Interface, an alternative name for a WIMP system. See page 8.
HAM Hold and Modify. A graphics mode used by the Amiga to display 4096 colours. See page 18.
Hard disk This is a device in which data is stored in a similar way as it is on floppies. A hard disk uses a rigid platter and is often a collection of disks on the same spindle. They generally hold far more data than a floppy disk and are much faster.
Hot koy The name given to a keyboard shortcut in an application to initiate a desired function.
These are usually a combination of keys such as Amiga-Q for quit. Etc. Interlace A screen mode used by the Amiga which doubles its vertical resolution.
Unfortunately it is not possible to view this mode without excessive flickering, unless you own a special monitor or a flicker-fixer hardware device.
Kickstart This is Ihe name given to Ihe Amiga's ROM which contains part ot the operating system.
Library A set of functions stored in a file which may be accessed by other programs.
Menu A list of on-screen options which drop from the top of the screen when the right mouse button is pressed on the title bar.
Menu item An option that appears on a menu list.
Monitor A dedicated computer display device.
Multi-tasking The ability to perform more than one operation at the same time. The Amiga has a true multi-tasking operating system.
Overscan A technique whereby the screen resolution is increased to take better advantage ot the width of the video signal.
GLOSSARY There are quite a few things that may be a little confusing at first.
Probably the most mystifying is why everyone seems to be speaking an entirely different language when it comes to computers. To help you here is a brief list of the important terms you may come across in this magazine and elsewhere.
Parallel An interface port which is normally used by any printer or sampler you may have connected.
Partition An area of space on a hard disk. They are often broken up into partitions, which act as separate devices, in the interests of speed and security.
Peripheral An external piece of hardware which is used with the computer.
Pointer The graphic image which acts as a cursor on the Workbench screen.
Preferences The name given to a collection of programs on the Amiga which allow you to alter the Workbench environment to suit your needs.
Qualifier A key which is pressed in conjunction with another to denote a special action. Common qualifiers used are the Amiga keys, shift, Ctrl and Alt.
RAM The memory of the computer into which programs and data are loaded for execution or processing. RAM is volatile and all the contents will be lost when the machine is turned off.
RGB Red Green Blue. This is a type of video signal which allows exceptionally clear displays.
The Amiga provides an RGB signal from its video port.
ROM A memory store just like RAM except the contents are permanent and will remain in ROM even when no power is supplied. ROMs are generally used for storing a computer's operating system.
Root Block The area of a disk which contains important directory information.
Reboot To restart the computer, either by turning it off and then on again, or by using the reset key combination of Ctrl and both Amiga keys.
Script A file containing a list of commands in ASCII format. This may be executed as a program by AmigaDOS Serial An interface which is commonly used for communications devices such as modems or network cards.
Snapshot A method of preserving the position of an icon.
To9I** An option which can be switched between two states, usually on and off.
Trashcan A special directory on a disk into which unwanted items are placed. They are permanently removed only when the trash is emptied, using the appropriate selection from the Workbench menus.
Volume An alternative term used to descnbe a floppy disk or hard disk partition.
Window A rectangular screen area which can accept or display information. Windows can often be moved, pushed to the front or back of the screen and resized.
Workbench The name given to the WIMP operating system used by the Amiga.
Xylophone An annoying musical instrument which, thankfully, has nothing to do with the Amiga.
York!* A chocolate bar particularly enjoyed by men operating industrial machinery. See above.
Zoom gadget A gadget which may appear in the upper right of a window, allowing it to swap between two sizes.
400 Mb dpi RAM PPM A4 TEXT.'AS GRAPHICS © 400dpi -M GRAPHICS S3WW FLASH ROM UPGRADEABLE!
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PC-LAN etc
• LAYOUT Document Description Language
• SERIAL + PARALLEL PORTS
• 1 YEAR ON-SITE WARRANTY Next working day response Silica
Systems are pleased to introduce the revolutionary Ricoh
LP1200. It has all of the specifications that you would expect
to see in today's most technically advanced laser printers,
plus a unique additional feature which places it far ahead of
the competition - FLASH ROM. This ‘Future Proof technology
protects the investment you make when you buy a Ricoh LP1200,
as it enables you to keep up to date with new laser firmware
developments. FLASH ROM is an area of memory inside the LP1200
which hokis the printer’s controller instruction firmware. If
new firmware is developed, eg an update to the pnnter's command
language, it can be downloaded into this memory. Other manu
facturers would require you to buy a new printer! Fonts,
macros, graphics and additional emulations can also be stored
in FLASH ROM. Or on removable, industry standard FLASH ROM IC
cards. The new Ricoh LP1200 is the only laser printer to offer
this FLASH ROM facility. The LP1200 comes with a 100 sheet A4
paper tray (letter and legal trays also available as extras)
and the facility to feed single sheets of paper and card up to
157gsm. An optional extra universal feeder provides the
facility to automatically feed up to 150 sheets, from sizes of
98mm x 148mm to 216mm x 356mm in size at weights of up to
158gsm. The universal feeder also feeds up to 15 envelopes,
overhead transparencies and labels automatically.
IIDUjQDDD PCL5 LASER PRINTER i Group of companies, ongtnaHy establis n 1936. With a turnover of over S5 bitHon and 37,000 employees. Ricoh have n producing computers and peripherals since 1971 and are the world’s second if manufacturer of Laser Printer engines. Ricoh have employed their expertise to e a first ’ in laser printers lor the world market, the LP12O0 with FLASH ROM.
Y HP LaserJet I™ compatible, the LP1200 employs Industry proven laser page pnnters, which use light emitting diodes, the LP1200's ource, focussed by high quality lenses, is able to produce the most accurate
o printed images. Its fast, efficient processor and engine,
together with a tf paper path design, allows printing at a full
6 pages per minute. Unlike its
* ** i the LP1200 can print an A4 page of graphics at 300dpi with
its standard So, Ricoh's advanced laser engine enables the
LP1200 to address a . Inf resolutions up to 400dpi. The
standard 2Mb of RAM installed the LP1200 to print a full A4
page of text using standard internal fonts, or an A5 page of
graphics, both at 400dpi. A FREE Windows
* supplied enables the Ricoh LP1200 to print a typical page of
text at (pi from Windows 3 using the controller firmware
currently installed . Mnler and standard internal resident
fonts. A 2Mb RAM upgrade (total b RAM) is required to print an
A4 page of graphics, in, unlike the competition, the LP1200
includes a powerful iment description language as standard.
This language. LAYOUT, s unique opporfuwfies to develop
custom-made printing sms. Forms and document templates can be
igned and stored Ironically in the .
• 1200's FLASH 'M. Alleviating need tor t-printed FREE OVERNIGHT
DELIVERY: On all hardware orders snipped in the UK mainland.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT HELPLINE: Team ol lochrwcal exports at your service.
PRICE MATCH: We normally match competitors on a *Same product • Same price' basis.
ESTABLISHED 14 YEARS: Proven track record in professional computer sales f 12 MILLION TURNOVER (with 60 staff): Solid, reliable arxl profitable.
BUSINESS - EDUCATION . GOVERNMENT: Volume discounts available 001-308 0888.
SHOWROOMS: Demonstration and training faolites at our London & Sidcup branches THE FULL STOCK RANGE: All ol your reqiaremerfls from one supplier FREE CATALOGUES: Will be mailed lo you with otters • software and per©heral details PA YMENT. Major credit cards, cash, cheque or monthly terms
• ore you decide when :o buy your new laser printer, we suggest
you think very caretully about HERE you buy 4. Consider what it
wfl be bke a lew months alter you have made your purchase, when
u may require addibonal peripherals or consumables, or he* and
advice with your new purchase
O. will the company you buy from contact you with delate ol now
products? At S*ca Systems, we sure that you wit have nothing
to worry about. We have Been established lor almost 14 years
and.
H our unrivalled experience and expertise, we can now claim to meet our customers' requirements h an understandng wtsch is second to none But don't |ust take our word (or 1 Compete and return i coupon now lor our latest FREE literature and begin to experience the ‘Silica Systems Service* SILICA SYSTEMS OFFER YOU 1 HP LASERJET III™ COMPATIBLE MAIL ORDER HOTLINE zJ 081-309 1111 THE Computer SHOW * Incorporating the 16 Bit Computer Show i Sponsored by AMIGA iy WEMBLEY 1W VENUE OF LEGENDS The show specialising in everything for your Commodore Amiga and Ct
- Business, Education, Music, Video and Entertainmenl 19, 20 & 21
February 1993 Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre, Hall 1
Nearest Tube station - Wembley Park (Metropolitan and Jubilee
Line Purchase your fast 1 Bring the family for a great day out
lane tickets all the latest new products from Leading
manufacturers February to save money Major feature areas,
Competitions, and avoid Advice centres and terrific bargain the
queues.
Also on show - products for PC, Acorn $ and A ATARI computers and games consoles.
Westminster EXHIBITIONS Ticket prices on the door: £6 Under 10's. Students. OAPs and unemployed: £4 (identification required) Westminste Exhibitions Limited.
Surrey Hous 34 Eden St., Kingston.
Surrey KT1 1ER In advance: £5 and Under 10's: £3 Please send me I enclose a cheque P.O. Credit card details for £.
Ticket hotline: 0726 68020!
Are I ] AP trademarks and property of the manufacturers phone 0726 68020 to book with credit card Bfl * L_J To: International Computer Show. PO Box 68.
St Austell PUS 4YB Credit Card No.
Address . Fast Lane Tickets @ £5.
Under 10's Fast Lane Tickets ® £3 _ made payable to International Computer Show Postcode . Expiry date .
1 Don't ror.l colfoo mugs on disk:.
• Don t scatter thorn around it disk
• Don! Smoko 20 Densons over them
• Don’t use a disk which doesn’t have a metal protective cover
• Don't leave them neai a telephone, loudspeaker or other magnets
• Don’t let them got too warm or too cold
• Don't oat them
• Don't send them hack to me saying they don't work

Click image to download PDF

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