GeoCable was a product originally marketed by Berkely Softworks to eliminate the need for a serial interface for non-Commodore printers in the Geos environment. It also speeds data transfer from computer to printer. Well, some users decided to test this speed increase and found that what was accepted before may not be true in all cases. Many scientific, and not so scientific, test results showed that the speed of printing may have more to do with the type of data being printed and the buffer size of the printer, than with the actual method used to get the data to the printer.
Lately more programs outside the Geos operating system are sporting printer drivers that support the GeoCable. As Phil Heberer aptly puts it:
"Most of us GEOS users know the obvious benefit of using a geocable when printing from GEOS, but I'm also happy to see many programmers adding gc support to their programs. I can now use my geocable with nearly ALL of my favorite CBM programs that I currently use besides GEOS (i.e. Superscript/Superbase, TWS128, FGM, BROWSER and ACE15) If Maurice Randall gets 'The Wave' finished for GEOS, it will round out my applications quite nicely!"
Many users are building their own cables as well. Some users are discussing the need for drivers that will work with the Hewlett-Packard PCL language that is becoming more prevalent now that Commodore users are fooling around with ink-jet and laser printers.
Matt Desmond has recently posted a message on FIDONet confirming his work on a version 3.0 of Desterm. He has also stated again that it will have hardware flow control and enhanced REU support. It will NOT support any transfer protocol beginning with the letter Z.
EZ Loader v3.2 Released
David Schmoll announced the release of an upgraded version of his EZ Loader program for the 64 or 128. It is designed to help you access your most used programs on any disk or fixed drive through a single menu. Although most useful for CMD drive owners, it can be used with any Commodore drive. It has too many slick features to be mentioned here but certain ones are disabled on the downloadable version. They can be activated by registering the program. It is available via FTP from ccnga.uwaterloo.ca in /pub/cbm/util128/ and possibly on local BBS’s by now.
Alternate Character Set Access
One user was toying with the idea of storing multiple character sets in the VDC 64K memory of his C128 and swapping between them by simply changing the register address. His aim is to perfect this for display applications for various programs such as character set editors. Rod Gasson suggested an alternate scheme would be to swap the entire stored character set from the VDC ram into the default page at $2000. He says that the VDC’s block move is very quick and it allows mixing of characters from more than one set.
Some folks have reported problems downloading binary files via Lynx or FTP through UNIX servers with their Commodores. Ismael Cordeiro had some suggestions for these MIME type problems. For those with shell access on a UNIX system he suggested using FTP with a customized MIME type file:
"...create a text file named '.mime.types' in your home directory with one line:
application/octet-stream sfx sda arc prg cvt lnx
If you don’t have shell access and Lynx is the user interface…the only thing to do is ask the system administrator to include the above line in the system’s mime.type file.”
Among the miscellaneous topics being discussed on FIDONet is the use of a C64/128 for ham radio communications. This is a rather popular use for the 64. The program being discussed is Digicom. Many newcomers are still asking questions of the “old timers” concerning Desterm setup with high speed modems, REU expansion, and off-line mail reading and replying. For a “dead” machine, it is surprising to see how many are being dragged out of closets, dusted off, and booted up!
So, that’s a glimpse into the world of FIDO, the wonder dog of networks, for this time.