Telecommunications Software Review

By Cecil Fretwell

Telecommunications is not a new subject. A way of defining telecommunications would be “communicating over long distances.” The Indians in a sense telecommunicated information using smoke signals, while their jungle counterparts used drums to relay their messages. Those of us who work with personal computers have become the modern day natives and need to have the ability to communicate between computers.

This article will concentrate on the software aspect of the telecommunications process by reviewing several packages. In this process, I have made every attempt to avoid being biased toward a particular package. You will notice I introduce the packages in alphabetical order and have not given the current price for each package. What it all boils down to is I have tried to report the facts and let you decide, based on your needs, and the merit of the product.

At the outset, it must be understood that to provide all the minute details for each package would make the article unreasonably long. Even though I worked with each package in reasonable detail, using both an enhanced lIe and the lIGS, there is always the possibility I omitted a feature. If this is true, I hope I did not miss a major feature and ask the authors of the software to forgive me.

First let me introduce the packages chosen by Call -APPLE. They are:

  1. CW-COMMWORKS authored by Shawn G. Quick and distributed by PBI Software, Inc. 1111 Triton Drive, Suite 201, Foster City, CA 94404 (415) 349-8765.
  2. MM-Modem Magician authored by Gary B. Little and distributed by A.P.P.L.E.Co-op, 290 S. W. 43rd Street, Renton, WA 98055 (206) 251-5222.
  3. MT-MouseTalk authored by Mark Robbins and Bill Blue and distributed by United Software Industries, 8399 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Suite 200, Canoga Park, CA 91304 (818) 887-5800.
  4. PTP-Point-to-Point authored by Gary B. Little and distributed by Pinpoint Publishing, 5901 Christie Ave., Emeryville CA 94608 (415) 654-3050.
  5. PC-PROCOM-A authored by Timothy Dygert and Robert Kniskern and distributed by Prometheus Products, Inc., 4545 Cushing Parkway, Fremont, CA 94538 (415) 490-2370.

Hardware Supported
Each package is given a two or three character abbreviation which is used in the tables presented in this article. All of the packages are shipped with the ProDOS operating system. Modem Magician is the only package which is also shipped with a DOS 3.3 version on a separate disk. Only the ProDOS version
of Modem Magician will be reviewed here.

To start off the process, the hardware supported by each package varies. If you have existing hardware, you need to know early on whether a package will support it. Therefore, the discussion begins with hardware configurations followed by a summary of the various major features.

Only two of the packages support the mouse. MouseTalk uses the standard pull down menu concept with clicking, dragging, etc. Besides the menu control, many functions can also be invoked using the Open Apple key and another key. There is also an imitation mouse mode in case you don’t like a mouse or your mouse breaks. PROCOM uses themouse in a limited mode, only being able to move a menu bar and then select the desired option by clicking the mouse.

Based on information given in the manuals, the following table shows what computers are supported by a package.

The Extended Apple 80 column text card is required with COMMWORKS, MouseTalk, and Point-to-Point. Because it uses the mouse and the associated special symbols, MouseTalk requires an enhanced lIe. Prometheus claims that in the near future, PROCOM will be modified to work with the IIGs.

Hardware for the various packages is best given by means of tables. If your hardware is not in a table and you still like the software, contact the vendor for further information.

A Modem Point of View
From a modem point of view, see Table I for internal modems. For external modems using an RS232C serial interface, Table 2 describes the serial interface cards supported.

The COMMWORKS manual offers no clues as to what constitutes an “Other Interface”. For MouseTalk, the Generic 6850 Serial Card refers to a card using a 6850 UART chip. More details on how to identify a UART are given later in this review.

There are also the intelligent modems or special modems as summarized in Table 3, and connected to one of the serial interface cards given in the previous table. The No Smart Modem option in MouseTalk by their definition is a modem which is not Hayes compatible and is not on the list. Being Hayes compatible is a key factor for most telecommunications packages.

For the printer interface cards see Table 4. The COMMWORKS column appears to be incomplete. I was only successful in making the printer work on the IIGS. The idea of a Firmware Printer Driver may be clearer when the configuration process for Point-to-Point is discussed. I have a feeling it refers tomost of the cards given in this list.

For Modem Magician, an 80 column video display mode can be selected if an Apple IIc, an Apple lIe with 80-column Text Card installed, or an Apple II with a Videx Videoterm (Soft Video Switch version), Videx Ultraterm, or Applied Engineering Viewmaster installed, is being used.

In my experience with a variety of personal computers, once you find software to support the hardware, a large majority of the battle has been won. From here on, the software you choose is a matter of personal choice. Except for PROCOM which comes with two disks, all packages come with one floppy disk. None of these are copy protected, therefore, it is strongly recommended you make a copy of the disks and work with the copy. All the packages involve tailoring the software to support the hardware, the result of which is stored in some module on the disk. Such a module might be an existing file on the disk.

All of the packages assume a default configuration so don’t be surprised if a “warmup” or “familiarize yourself’ tutorial given in the manual does not work until you configure your system.

Once you configure the system on the floppy disk, those of you without hard disks can proceed accordingly. For those who have a UniDisk, or are blessed with hard disks, what to copy from the floppy to hard disk may not be obvious from the manual. If you have problems, either contact the vendor’s technical support staff or seek the help of an expert.

Some of the packages force you into a configuration mode the first time you boot the floppy or activate the package for the first time from a UniDisk or a hard disk. Such is the case for Point-toPoint.

Modem Magician will do this if it cannot find a file called MM.CONFIG. MouseTalk goes one step further and gives you the option of formatting a disk, copying the MouseTalk files, then proceeding to specify your hardware.

Menu Driven

All the systems reviewed are menu driven. For those of you who like AppleWorks, COMMWORKS and Point-to-Point use the file card concept with a Main Menu card and other cards resulting from selecting a menu item. PROCOM uses a 40 column screen with a mixture of file cards and prompt lines. Modem Magician also uses a 40 column screen without the file card concept, however, it retains the menu bar concept. As stated earlier, MouseTalk is best used with a mouse in what one might call full mouse mode.

If you have a limited technical knowledge of telecommunications, the configuration process may appear to be a bit heavy beyond specifying a slot number. COMMWORKS has about the simplest hardware configuration process using an Other Activities file card with an option to “Specify information about your system”. One selects a modem by name, an interface by name, and no choice with regard to a printer interface. MouseTalk is also simple. A list of some possible devices is given, you choose the appropriate device.

PROCOM is less restrictive in its selection process. A couple of· key strokes from Main Menu gets you to a DEFINE YOUR HARDWARE file card. By means of menu bars and arrow keys, one can select a modem card, external modem, and printer card by name. This same screen provides for the screen card, e.g., lIe 80 Column Card (used only when on line with another computer), printer information such as data format, slot, mouse on or off, etc.

Modem Magician and Point-to-Point can both be a bit technical when it comes to choosing a modem interface and a printer interface. If you have a Micromodem, Modemcard, Applecat or Commcard, the configuration is easy, you select a corresponding item. If you don’t have one of these interfaces, you have choices such as Standard 6551, etc. which refer to the UART chip used on the interface card. If the manual for your interface card does not indicate the type of UART used, examine the card for a large chip containing the indicated number, or contact the vendor technical support for further assistance.

Choosing a printer interface is not quite so bad with special choices for the Grappler and PKASO cards. The other choices are standard firmware, standard parallel, or standard serial.

A brief point about UARTs if you purchase a package to use on your IIGS and the IIGS interfaces are not listed. Look for a reference to the 8530 because this is what is used in the IIGs. Such is the case for Modem Magician and Point-to-Point.

Becoming comfortable with any software can take some time. To alleviate some of the pain, some packages offer HELP capabilities. COMMWORKS provides this via the Open Apple-? AppleWorks standard. Modem Magician and Point-to-Point provide limited help only in the editor or when on-line with the host. MouseTalk shows a HELP box to aid in selecting the desired help. PROCOM has HELP only with certain screens.

Just because a HELP feature is limited or does not exist, don’t reject any software package for this reason alone. HELP files tend to chew up a lot of disk space and, especially true with floppy disk based systems, requesting HELP can take some time.

Establish Communications
Once a package is configured, the next logical choice is to test the results by connecting to another personal computer or to a bulletin board system such as DELPHI or COMPUSERVE. Such a process is called “Establish Communications”. Each package has its own method of eventually reaching the condition of being able to talk to the other computer via the keyboard and have it talk back on the screen. Fortunately all the packages are user friendly enough to make it
possible for a reasonably knowledgeable first time user to establish the right kind of conditions without referring to the manual or using a HELP facility.

Universally, each package has a “telephone directory”, stored on disk, which goes beyond the normal phone number. Associated with a phone number are several parameters which control or influence the flow of information between the two computers. The major items contained in each package’s telephone directory are summarized in Table 5.

There are other minor items which could be added to this list, however, only the more important ones are discussed here.

Some other explanations with regard to Table 5 are in order. Traditionally, the XOFF character (Hex 13) is sent to a remote computer to tell it to stop sending data. The XON character (Hex 11) tells the remote computer to continue sending data. Providing a prefix to a phone number allows one to precede the phone number with the various Hayes commands such as mute the speaker on the modem, pulse dial the number, etc.

 

Automatic Macros
Keyboard macros provide the ability to associate several keystrokes with one or more keystrokes from the keyboard. For example, Point-to-Point uses the Closed Apple key and a user defined key to invoke a specified string of characters.

Each package has a special editor for creating, modifying, etc. macros. Beyond what is to follow in the automatic macro discussion, I feel macros is
a subject better regarded as a graduate course after one masters the knowledge briefly summarized in this review.

This leads to the topic I refer to as automatic macros. COMMWORKS, Modem Magician, and PROCOM use the standard simple approach involving
what are known as trigger characters. By way of example, if the host ends its user identification prompt with a question mark (?), these packages can be set up to wait for this character then respond automatically with a string of characters representing the user identification. This can then be further expanded to wait for something like the password prompt ending character, send the password, etc.

MouseTalk and Point-to-Point expand this trigger concept further. They can be told to wait for a string of characters and then respond with a string of characters. There is also the ability to perform alternate actions when an error occurs, wait a certain period of time, etc. MouseTalk provides for a special macro labeled “Log-in”. After a telephone connection is made to the remote computer, this macro can be used to automate the software procedure for gaining access to the computer. Point-toPoint provides this same capability by automatically invoking a macro if the telephone number ends in a plus (+) sign.

Modes of Operation
As referenced in Table 5, COMMWORKS and MouseTalk support a variable terminal type. In the process of specifying communications parameters, COMMWORKS has an option called “Terminal Attributes”. Under this heading is ITY, VT-52, VT-100, and VT-100 (Full Screen Option). ITY dates back to the early days of timesharing when teletype terminals were used with modems. Basically, one typed a line, hit the RETURN key, and waited for a response from the host. This traditional method of communication with a remote computer is still in heavy use today.

Reference to the VT series of terminals is associated with CRTs manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). COMMWORKS is designed to make an Apple Computer “look” like a VT series as far as the remote computer is concerned. Such a mode in operation is called terminal emulation.

Mousetalk greatly expands the list of terminals emulated. Its list of terminals emulated includes the ADDS Viewpoint, ADM 3A, DEC VT-52, Dow Jones, IBM 310 1, Soroc IQ-120, and Televideo 912.

The ability to control the variable file type transfer is related to a future topic regarding changing a file type. As used under COMMWORKS, I uploaded to a bulletin board system a simple Apple Works Spreadsheet, file type ASP, using the XMODEM protocol.

Using a menu under COMMWORKS, I configured it to receive a file type ASP and downloaded the file. The result was a file recognized by AppleWorks. Telling the software to ignore a line feed means ignore the first line feed from the host after a carriage return has been received. In the Apple world of software, a carriage return character not only moves the cursor to the beginning of a line, but also, moves the cursor down a line. Therefore, a line feed (down arrow) after a carriage return could create a double spaced display. On the other hand, a carriage return followed by two or more line feeds from the host is intended to create blank lines.

For the option of sending a line feed with return, to quote the Modem Magician manual, other computers insist on receiving the line feed after a carriage return if a line is to be properly terminated, e.g., when communicating with a Radio Shack Model 100. For the capture buffer type option, in later paragraphs, some discussion will be devoted to the fact that most packages stored received files as TXT type files on disk even though a file may be, for example, an AppleWorks word processor file. COMMWORKS allows you to override this default before you store the file on disk.

The ability to delay after each line serves at least two purposes. First, a host may be slow in receiving a line and needs to “catch its breath” before it will receive another line. There are cases where if this delay is not performed, data may be lost in the process. Second, the host may again be slow, it receives the data properly but is slow in echoing the data. The result is a messy screen on the Apple side of the link.”

Unique & Common Features
Once the system is in terminal mode, i.e., you have established contact with the host computer, there are features common to each package and features
unique to each package. See Table 6. Before making some specific comments about a package, let me further clarify terminal mode. At first, one associates this with typing commands to the host on the keyboard and observing the results. All packages reviewed here allow you to “escape” from this condition back to a menu. The connection to the host is not broken, unless your escape includes this, which  means you can return to talking with the host at any time. If you “escape”, the current screen is cleared, i.e., when you return to host operations, your previous screen is gone. Also, during the “escape” process, if any messages, displays, etc. come in from the host, they are lost. COMMWORKS provides one exception to this general rule, if you escape to another menu, it does not appear to lose the host screen. Point-toPoint is constantly being improved, therefore, I would not be surprised to see it include a screen save feature in the future.

MouseTalk does not really suffer from this “loss of screen” problem. This is due to the use of standard pull down menus which never destroy the contents of the screen they overlay. I mention this not only as a warning, but also, to lay the groundwork for the use of the upper and lower case “x” characters in this table. An upper case X means the feature is available while retaining the current host screen. A lower case X means you must escape to a different
menu, hence, you lose the host screen.

For the status line feature, the COMMWORKS status line includes the capture buffer status (on or off or disk), the amount of memory left in the buffer, and an alternate status line showing the current disk file name in an AppleWorks sense. Both Modem Magician and Point-to-Point include the COMMWORKS features plus a short summary of keys such as start an XMODEM file transfer. COMMWORKS makes up for this by means of AppleWorks type of Open Apple-? help screens. When PROCOM is told to switch to the host screen, it will show the status of the capture buffer and a printer buffer.

This status scrolls off the screen after sufficient incoming lines from the host. By means of a couple of keystrokes, the buffer status can be redisplayed.

A capture buffer is one which provides the ability to store characters in memory as they are received from the host computer. MouseTalk also uses the term review buffer in addition to the term capture buffer. Their concept will be covered in a separate set of paragraphs.

COMMWORKS allows a direct capture to memory or to disk, but not both at the same time. Both Modem Magician and Point-to-Point capture only to memory, however, when the memory becomes full, it is automatically dumped to disk. There is no indication what COMMWORKS does if its memory capture buffer fills up. It is possible to save the buffer to disk under a specified name. In the case of PROCOM, full memory is saved to disk only if that option is specified.

You will note COMMWORKS will allow multiple capture buffers. This is only possible if you have an extended RAM card such as Applied Engineering’s RAMWorks in your system. If you are using a IIGS, the memory expansion card, if any, is not treated as extended RAM, however, it can be used as a very fast RAM disk.

All packages provide the ability to edit the capture buffer. This will be covered briefly in future paragraphs. They all allow the ability to send the buffer to the host as if the file were a text file. PROCOM has the unique ability to send the buffer using the XMODEM protocol. For the other packages, the buffer must be saved to a disk file then sent to the host using the XMODEM protocol.

MouseTalk works with both a capture buffer and a review buffer. The review buffer holds the last 8,192 characters received from the remote computer. When the review buffer gets full, the oldest characters are discarded to make room for new characters. While online with the remote computer, the entire buffer may always be viewed.

With this viewing activity active, portions or all of the buffer can be copied to a clipboard, to the printer, or to a disk file. Most, if not all, the capture functions are available with the exception of not having an automatic spill to disk if the buffer gets full.

Hang Up Feature
For those of you who don’t know what the break key is, it is a key on the old teletype machines. When used on the teletype, it sent a long duration special signal commonly used to make a remote modem hang up the phone.

The hang up the phone feature assumes an intelligent modem which supports the Hayes protocol. This generates the “+++” sequence followed by the “ATH” sequence to hang up the phone. By means of something like “BYE” to tell the host computer you are done, such a command does not always result in a hung up phone. Therefore, having this simple one or two key feature could save a lot of long distance charges.

For the ProDOS file transfer feature, COMMWORKS calls this ProDOS/AppleWorks protocol and Point-toPoint calls this Extended Xmodem Protocol. Under normal XMODEM conditions, only the data in a file is transferred across the link. This feature also transfers the ProDOS file attributes. There is no indication COMMWORKS and Point-to-Point can talk to each other using this protocol.

The screen hard copy feature is the Open Apple-H type of AppleWorks command. It makes a hard copy of the screen using the printer. This is not to be confused with the printer echo during a host feature. MouseTalk’s screen printing capability will only work if one is using the ImageWriter or ImageWriter II printer. If attempted with another type of printer, the results will be unpredictable. All but COMMWORKS provides the ability to have each character coming from the host to the screen to also be echoed on the printer. This is called printer echo during host operations. This is a nice feature for one who doesn’t want to bother with a capture buffer which can always be printed.

The key click option in COMMWORKS or MouseTalk comes up with the click off. It only applies while the host screen active. Turning key click on causes a clicking sound for each key pressed. PROCOM has a feature of this nature only in its editor.

The complete disk send/receive feature is definitely unique to each package. I doubt very much if COMMWORKS can send a complete disk to PROCOM or vice versa. It is an excellent concept, however, it can be hazardous to your phone bill’s health. Without even considering overhead time between records, the transfer of a 5 1/4 inch disk would require 20 minutes and the transfer of a 3.5 inch disk would require III minutes at 1200 baud.

The ability to change file type may be an absolute must when working with bulletin boards such as DELPHI or COMPUSERVE. From a technical point of view, files are either straight text files or binary files. From the Apple side. when receiving a file. it is almost always given the TXT file type even if a binary file such as an AppleWorks file is being downloaded. If the contents of the file are binary, only XMODEM can be used in the upload/download process. Therefore. the file may be complete in every sense of the word except for its type. For example. if the file is an AppleWorks word processor file. AppleWorks will not load the file unless it is a type A WP file.

Therefore. a means is necessary to convert the “default” TXT type established at download time and change it to the A WP type.

Answer Mode
All of this business of terminal mode assumes the Apple is a terminal connecting into a host. This type of situation is called Originate Mode. All of the packages provide the ability for the Apple to be a host computer. Given a modem which can “answer” the phone when it rings, this type of situation is called Answer Mode.

Setting up a package to support Answer Mode does not change any other parameters established for Originate mode. In other words, regardless of mode, a package is set up to support the specified hardware.

COMMWORKS, Modem Magician, and Point-to-Point are plain vanilla when it comes to Answer Mode. They answer the phone after a user selectable number of rings after which the two parties can begin communicating with each other, transfer files, etc. Modem Magician adds a friendly touch by displaying something like “Welcome to Modem Magician” when it answers the phone and establishes contact. Point-toPoint extends this to allow the contents of a user modifiable TXT file called WELCOME to be sent when the phone is answered.

PROCOM does not have a greeting message capability but does have two modes of operation for Answer Mode. The first is as described above. The second is that after PROCOM answers the call from a remote computer, it can be made to either send or receive files from disk in an unattended mode.

MouseTalk has the most sophisticated answer mode of operation. In addition to the so-called standard features supported by the other packages, MouseTalk can act as a limited intelligent remote computer. After it answers the phone, it can be told to require a password before access is· allowed. It can also be told to provide access only to specified subdirectories on a disk.

What it amounts to is if I establish contact with a remote MouseTalk based system and am allowed access, I have limited control of that system. By means of commands, I can:

  1. Display allowed access to files.
  2. Disconnect from the remote system.
  3. Copy incoming text to a file.
  4. Control delay at the end of each received line.
  5. Obtain on-line HELP.
  6. Chat with a person at the keyboard on the remote.
  7. List a catalog of files in current directory.
  8. Change prefix to a directory.
  9. Receive/send files using the XMODEM protocol.
  10. View the contents of a file.

This Answer Mode business can be a bit irritating to ordinary people calling you, e.g., at home. Instead of a person’s voice, they hear the obnoxious whistle of your modem. Or consider the very practical application of transferring files from a non Apple computer at work to an Apple computer at home. In getting the wife fully trained (even if she is pretty good with computers), you may have to call a neighbor to go next door and tell the wife to hang up the phone because of some problem in the “protocol” .

The Text, Line, and Screen Editors
All of the packages have a text editor. These editors range from the use of reasonably simple commands up to a set of sophisticated commands. One very common use of the editing tool is to make last minute changes to a document before you send it to the host computer or make changes in a received document before you save it to disk. These editors are so different, it is not appropriate to take the table approach.

The COMMWORKS editor is a full screen editor which emulates the AppleWorks word processor in an extremely limited sense. It has the following
features:

  1. Full arrow key control.
  2. Delete character to left of cursor.
  3. Append file to end of current buffer.
  4. Move to beginning of buffer.
  5. Clear buffer.
  6. Delete a line.
  7. Change from insert to overstrike and vice versa.
  8. Hard copy of screen image.
  9. Print buffer.
  10. Toggle carriage return display.
  11. Move to beginning or end of a line.
  12. Load/save a file from/do disk.
  13. Set/clear tabs.
  14. Move cursor to beginning/end of line.

Modem Magician uses a line editor. In this editor there are four basic commands. They are:

  1. Add lines to buffer.
  2. Delete lines from buffer.
  3. Edit lines in the buffer
  4. List lines in the buffer.

 

Everything is based on a line number or a range of line numbers. In the process of editing a line, the following capabilities are provided:

  1. Delete character under cursor.
  2. Move left one position.
  3. Insert/overstrike mode.
  4. Delete character to left of cursor.
  5. Clear to end of line.
  6. Cancel edit of line without changing contents.
  7. Fixed tabs.

Point-to-Point also uses a line editor. It is the same as the one for Modem Magician. It has a simple HELP screen for the four commands. It also has a status line telling how much memory is left in the buffer.

MouseTalk uses a full screen editor whose features are:

  1. Delete character under cursor.
  2. Full arrow key control.
  3. Delete character to left of cursor.
  4. Remove selected text to clipboard.
  5. Copy selected text to clipboard.
  6. Insert text from clipboard.
  7. Copy selected text to printer.
  8. Copy selected text to a disk file.
  9. Find or find next text.
  10. Word wrap.
  11. Set margin width.
  12. Change case of a sentence to all capital letters, all lower case letters. or lower case with the first letter being a capital letter.
  13. Remove control characters from text.
  14. Show clipboard contents.

PROCOM has a full screen editor which is very close to being a full featured editor. however, it is not difficult to use. Some major features are:

  1. Tab left or right.
  2. Delete character under cursor.
  3. Insert space in a line.
  4. Combine two lines into one line.
  5. Insert/delete a line.
  6. Delete to end of line.
  7. Restore line.
  8. Split line into two lines.
  9. Block commands to move blocks of data, left justify data, center data. etc.
  10. Neatness commands to left justify. right justify, center, or expand a line.
  11. Go to beginning of buffer.
  12. Go to end of buffer.

There are 26 different major commands started by using the CONTROL key with a letter of the alphabet. Some of the commands are further expanded by a second CONTROL key with a letter of the alphabet. For example, CTRL-Y has some twelve sub commands associated with it. Obviously, by avoiding special keys like Open Apple, PROCOM can be used on an Apple 11+.

Disk Functions
The next major function to be described falls under the general heading of disk functions. Again, a table is appropriate. see Table 7. There is one last major function to be described for the packages and involves printers. See Table 8. In Table 8, form size refers to the number of lines on a page. Page size refers to the number of lines printed on a page. The page pause option provides for the use of single sheets of paper in a printer. For the carriage retum/line feed option, some printers automatically supply a line feed after receiving a carriage return, others do not and need to be sent a carriage return.

This concludes what I hope is a comprehensive coverage of what each package has to offer. Permit me to finish up by describing a couple of additional functions offered by Modem Magician and Point-to-Point.

Some Additional Functions
The distribution disk for Modem Magician contains some extra programs called LF.STRIP, FP, ML, and PASCAL. To explain the function of the machine language program called LF.STRIP, when downloading a text file from some bulletin board systems, that file will contain a line feed character after every carriage return character. If the file is an EXEC file to produce something like an AppleSoft BASIC program, the line feed characters create havoc in the EXEC process. LF.STRIP removes the pesky line feed characters to produce a file which can be successfully EXECed if that is the purpose of the file.

In theory, an AppleSoft BASIC program, which is really in a pseudo binary format, can be uploaded to a bulletin board system and subsequently downloaded.

This absolutely requires XMODEM capability plus some other tricks to make the result LOADable. An alternate would be to have the BASIC program be stored in text form which can be EXECed to produce the desired program in memory. The program FP converts a BASIC program to a text file which can be EXECed.

Again in theory, a machine language program maybe uploaded to a host. This absolutely requires using XMODEM. This is fine for uploading purposes, however, problems occur in downloading. As mentioned earlier, the default TXT file can be changed to BIN. This leaves the problem of the load address which can be manually entered every time a file is BLOADed. The program ML converts a machine language program to a text form which can be EXECed to produce a proper BLOADable module.

A similar problem arises in the use of PASCAL programs. The program called PASCAL converts a program on a PASCAL formatted disk to a text file which can be processed accordingly on uploads to a host and downloads from a host.

Point-to-Point incorporates the LF.STRIP program into its natural mode, i.e., it is a menu option. The programs FP, ML, and PASCAL in Modem Magician are also included in Point-toPoint. Point-to-Point also provides a menu option to convert a TXT file to an AppleWorks word processing file.

Let’s finish up this lengthy review with a hardware discussion. If you are lucky to have the proper cables, cards, etc. to set up your system then you do not have to read any further. If this is not the case, either you or a friend may have to make some cables. Do not fault the COMMWORKS manual if it does not provide cabling information. COMMWORKS is an excellent package which operates with popular hardware. Forthis hardware, usually a standard cable may be purchased.

The Modem Magician manual has a five page appendix devoted to the installation of peripheral devices. This appendix includes the pin assignments for a standard 25 pin connector. It provides further hints for wiring and also switch settings for some common special modems. This same information is carried over to Point-to-Point.

MouseTalk only gives some brief details regarding the Super Serial Card. Beyond this, no further wiring details are given. MouseTalk is an excellent package which operates with a wide variety of popular hardware. As is the case with COMMWORKS, usually a standard cable may be purchased.

PROCOM is naturally slanted toward the Prometheus VersaCard and the Prometheus ProModem 1200 or Prometheus ProModem l200A. It includes some hints as to how to configure an Apple Super Serial Card. It also includes cabling information which should apply to a large majority of situations.

Modem Magician 5.13 is available through A.P.P.L.E. Co-op for $38.00 CODE: S2AIM5, lib. UPDATE: $12.50 plus originaI4.6 master CODE: S2AUMU.

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About the Author

billm

A.P.P.L.E. Chairman of the Board and Club president — Bill worked for the founder, Val J. Golding and A.P.P.L.E. from 1981 to 1982. In 1999, he began archiving the materials which were distributed and sold by A.P.P.L.E.. That project led to the group that remained of A.P.P.L.E. Bill was involved in the financial industry in Tokyo and has over 20 major office infrastructure projects to his name. In March 2001, he retired to write books and to spend more time pursuing personal interests. As the president of the users group, Bill is in charge of distribution of Call-A.P.P.L.E. magazine as well as the organization of this web site. Bill currently resides in Tokyo, Japan and Shelton, Wa splitting time between the places.