The Complete Introduction - Amstrad CPC 6128Applications Divers
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If you've just acquired a CPC, and dont know the first thing about this computing lark, perhaps you should get some nice man to tell you all about it. Step forward Head-Line. TRENTON WEBB explains all.

Have you ever wanted to be mote familial with your CPC? Do you want to know its most intimate secrets, just what makes it tick? Head-Line Communication would like to introduce you to your 6128. So sit down, say "Hello, CPC" ("Hello, CPC"), and if you're sitting comfortably we'll begin The package consists of four audio cassette tutorials on two tapes and a work disk which contains exercises and an "electronic book." Using the system disks supplied with your 6128, the aim is to take you from setting the computer up. through to using CP/M.

The whole course has been designed to alleviate "technofear' and introduce the CPC as a powerful processing and computing tool.

So, simply slap the tape in your walkman and do what the nice man tells you. After plugging all your wires into the right holes (yes. it really is that basic!), you're taken through the very fundamental steps of pro gramming in basic.

This is not intended to tell you how to program but familiarise you with the terms and concept involved.

Delving deeper

Alter a headlong rush at Basic, the tutorial now changes tack and goes straight for the CP/M jugular. In no time at all you've started up CP/M Plus, digested the marvels of an operating system ana are ready for some real action.

The rest of the first tutorial is used tc make you comfortable moving around this strange new world that your CPC has entered, dir commands, switching drives, filenames and resetting are all covered, but the most rewarding part is using DISCKIT and actually creating something.

Tutorial two delves deeper into CP/M with exercises in which you chop and change the system disk backup created in Lesson one. edit, show, even submit are all dealt with in a clear and informative manner, leaving the student relaxed with CP/M but aware that there are many more secrets to be discovered. Rather than plough ahead though, the operating system is dropped and you arc plunged back into Basic.

This time you flick through the "Electronic Book" supplied on the other side of the tutorial disk This Is dull stuff indeed, with the narrator talking at you and you flipping screens following the onscreen text.

In tutorial three. dungs start to go awry Everything starts nicely with some more exercises in CP/M Then, as an example of some applications and programs, you are taken into a spreadsheet Nothing wrong with that: this is alter all a complete introduction to the 6128, and spreadsheets are an important and useful application.

However, this general introduction soon turns into a precise guide of how to work this particular spreadsheet. All tins is very informative, but not much use when you're up to your neck Supercalc II, which follows the same principals but a totally different operating procedure.

Falling between two stools

The same problem occurs in the fourth tutori al. where you're introduced to databases. The only useful information apart from the general guide to databases is the introduction to "the electronic book" for recap purposes.

The Complete Introduction starts by guiding the proud owner of a shiny new 6128 through the minefields of Basic and CP/M. The lessons are well constructed and lay solid foundations for later learning, but just when they start to get into some real detail the whole scheme is abandoned.

In the final tutorials examples are given of some of the serious applications of the computer. Both are good, but running them in the same package means that neither concept is fully followed through.

If the idea was to show the various software applications of the CPC, why were only spreadsheets and databases included? What about word processors, an packages. DTP or even a playable game?

The very flexibility of the CPC makes the "complete introduction" to the various soft-ware options a no go project. Whereas in the CP/M and basic tutorials you are led into new fields and the scope for learning is defined by the logical steps that ate prevalent in the two systems; so more can be learned and at least then two areas could be completely introduced. This way solid foundations are being laid for later. more specialised study.

Nice try Headline, but possibly too hard a try. It's an impractical task to cover completely all the possible operating methods and applications of a machine like the 6128 in four half hour sessions

The course is split between the way the 6128 works and what it can do, and it should concentrate on one or the other. Admittedly, it could not then claim to be "complete," but at least it would have the potential to be more thorough than its present form allows.


★ YEAR: 1988
★ CONFIG: 128K (6128 only)
★ AUTHOR(S): ???
★ PRICE: £33.50


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.