PAUL EVANS takes a look at the latest in hardware add-ons and moans about inflation

HELLO PEEPS! I’m a bit pooped at the time of writing because of all the hefty revision that’s been going on as I get nearer my first exam! It seems that doing this and keeping Micronet in check has become a busy job — and a tiring one. This is my explanation for the smaller article this month. The deadline for my next piece is slapbang in the middle of my exams so I don’t know if I’m even going to get that one done! (You’d better — Ed) My promised ‘surprise’ is still being prepared, so keep guessing. Interesting things have been happening...


We kick off this month by looking at what could be Prestel’s biggest upset since it began. Up until now I have never been a big fan of Prestel charges, especially the fact that we have to use normal priced lines when connected, so any drop would be welcome with open arms. However, a number of reliable sources (I’ve always wanted to say that!) have come to me with details of a new price INCREASE! Yes, all my friends tell me of a new time charge costing 1p + VAT for every minute that you are logged-on to Prestel, INCLUDING off-peak times.

Surely, with this news, the very existence of Prestel will come into doubt! I cannot see many more people joining if this new charge comes into use. I certainly won’t be logging on as frequently as I normally do — I can’t afford to! I have been unable to get hold of the lords of Prestel, but I will!

If this charge is enforced then I will personally hold a campaign into its stoppage. The normal user will be unable to afford Prestel useage and so less people will subscribe to Micronet. If that happens, Micronet will shut shop and then Prestel loses their biggest customer. If that happens then Prestel will soon revert into the old small system that existed before Micronet. Therefore Prestel seem to be slitting their own throats!

If you have any comments, MBX me or write to me at COMMS, CRASH.


The Spectre Comms pack

After a long wait, a modem for disk owning +3 friends has finally been released. Spectre, the creators of the VTX Editor ROM, have come up with this new package. It’s an advancement on the famous Spectre Comms Pack which was a big success on the QL and a slight success for the Speccy.

The new pack is compatible for the entire Spectrum range from the +3 to the old rubber key 48Ks. All the software is held on the internal ROM, which sounds very similar (if not identical) to the Spectre Comms ROM for the VTX. It has extensive frame preparation, good MBX facilities with storage to microdrive or disk (no mention of tape). The software also has printer drivers for Epson compatibles or the humble ZX black blob (the instructions always talked of not cleaning the ZX Printer with spirits because it would turn into a black blob. I must try it sometime...). Should you want Micronet’s extensive range of telesoftware, a downloader has been provided. Your thirst for the scrolling boards can be tamed by the on-board ROM too!

As for modems, it supports Hayes compatibles as well as manual dial modems such as the Tandata QMOD which is the more-or-less standard modem supplied for the Comms Pack. The QMOD are switchable for use with V21, V22 and V23 (Prestel) standards.

How much dosh? Well, for £49.95 you can have the comms pack or if you wop out £99.95 from your wad then you get the QMOD too! This includes P&P. Where? From Spectre Comms Ltd.


I don’t care what the editor (hallowed be his name) says, it’s got to be engineered into my article somewhere! It seems that PETER GABRIEL (whose 4th album is being played as I type) and that master of the synth, Howard Jones, have teamed up in a vegetarian way to launch a bulletin board! It’s for people concerned about the environment and has little to do with computers themselves. Sounds like a good idea to me, but will it take off? I’m now looking into it and will soon have details!

That’s it I’m afraid! More news on the above next month and a further delve into the great Prestel scandal! Bye all!