Author Topic: What do you use the PCW for???  (Read 1223 times)

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Offline tjohnson

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What do you use the PCW for???
« on: 19:39, 20 May 17 »
What does everyone use their PCW for?  Does anything actually use it for word processing or serious work these days?
« Last Edit: 23:05, 20 May 17 by tjohnson »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #1 on: 23:56, 20 May 17 »
Not for WP, although I have a pile of letters from the 80s that are all Loco format files, and if I want to re-read any, which I do from time to time, I need to use Locoscript.   For now, they're all stored in the Joyce emulator, not on the real thing, but if I needed to re-print one I'd have to move it over.


Other than that, it's all playing with CP/M, which is more understandable than DOS, and MUCH more understandable than WinDoze.   With CP/M and the PCW, I feel that I am just about in control, unlike with the dreaded W where I often feel that I have no control at all over what the computer is up to.


On the PCW, I have various programming things going on, involving C and CBASIC (compiler) and occasionally experiment with Forth (the most 'fun' language of all), do some bits with Mallard basic, and with dBase II.   Otherwise, lots of learning about the system.   Just now getting the hang of JonB's uIDE thing, which supplies 6 @ 8 Mb 'virtual' HDs and works really well.


Bear in mind that I got into serious computing with the PCW back in the 80s - I bought my machine new in late 1983 (? - as soon as it was available) and used it VERY heavily for quite a few years until I got my first PC, and back then the PCs were not THAT much more powerful than the PCW was.   So my use of the PCW now includes a substantial lump of nostalgia!


Best wishes to you, and your PCW


Geoff

Offline JonB

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #2 on: 10:54, 21 May 17 »
For me it is a CP/M box, mostly. Amstrad's CP/M is a very nice implementation, easy to use. That said, I seem to enjoy collecting retro boxes, so as soon as a new machine comes along, I stop using the previous one. I played with the Amstrad long enough to build uIDE and its driver (a fairly long and rewarding project, especially as the PCW doesn't have much in the way of modern add-ons) but I have now acquired an Intertec Superbrain and I am spending my time getting that up and running.

Last week I had to write a very small BASIC program to capture key presses and print the codes out. The intention was to get another Superbrain owner to run it and verify some key codes for me. I used the PCW to write and test it, because it was handy.


I have three PCWs - 8256, 8512 and 9512. The 9512 has a broken power supply and the 8256 is a bit special because it has a white screen (I fitted it). I don't like green screens much. I used the 9512 with an external supply and monitor to develop the uIDE driver, and the 8512 has one fitted semi permanently, so I use that to prepare and test DOMs and cards prior to shipment.


That's about it!

Offline ||C|-|E||

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #3 on: 13:14, 21 May 17 »
The Superbrain certainly is a lovely machine  :)

Offline JonB

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #4 on: 10:48, 22 May 17 »
The Superbrain certainly is a lovely machine  :)


It would be.. if I could get it working!  ???


This one is a bit special though, as it has a 5MB ACT hard drive. Even rarer than ULTRA RARE! What would our motorcycling friend on eBay say?  :laugh:

Offline tjohnson

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #5 on: 22:12, 22 May 17 »


It would be.. if I could get it working!  ???


This one is a bit special though, as it has a 5MB ACT hard drive. Even rarer than ULTRA RARE! What would our motorcycling friend on eBay say?  :laugh:


I've never heard of one of these before, had to look it up on Wikipedia.  Interesting that is says it was somewhat limited until the 5Mb and later 10Mb Winchester HDD arrived.  Why is that limiting?  The Amstrad CPC / PCW never had an HDD and didn't seem limiting at the time.. 

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #6 on: 23:38, 22 May 17 »
I'd assume this was because the Amstrad machines were aimed more at home/individual users, for whom the floppies were practical even if not always ideal.  The Superbrain, at least on the basis of price back then, was aimed more at business, and a business user would have had larger documents, and MUCH larger data files, and floppies WOULD have been limiting.


Way back in the 80s, when I was using my PCW and thinking about business applications connected with my work, I was hit by the problems of the size any data file would need to be compared to what I could fit onto a floppy.   I was still able to experiment mind you, just couldn't do anything serious!

Way back, there were HDD options for the PCW, maybe three makers, but again only 10 or maybe 20 Mb.   They were quite expensive mind you, again aimed at business users.

Not such a problem now with the PCW.   JonB has done his uIDE device, so we can easily and cheaply have a number of 8 Mb drives!


Geoff
« Last Edit: 23:40, 22 May 17 by GeoffB17 »

Offline JonB

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Re: What do you use the PCW for???
« Reply #7 on: 23:50, 22 May 17 »
Wow Geof... I'll have to get some more PCBs in at this rate...


As to the Superbrain, the answer is that it was no more limited than any other contemporary CP/M computer that had floppies only. Which is to say "not at all" at that time.
« Last Edit: 23:52, 22 May 17 by JonB »