|★ APPLICATIONS ★ COMMUNICATION/TELEMATIQUE ★ CAGE COMMS ROM ★|
|Cage Comms ROM|Amstrad Action)||Applications Communication/telematique|
Amstrad CPC owners have never been over-spoilt when it comes to the quality of viewdata communications software available. Now. at last, someone has come to our rescue. Dave Gorski and Ian Hoare have produced the Cage Comms ROM. designed to put Amstrad owners back into the limelight.
The manual - a 60 page offering - is written in an informal, friendly yet comprehensive style.
The ROM can be fined as a direct replacement to the two Honeysoft roms that are in the Amstrad/PACE RS232 interface (or KDS modem), or it can be fitted into a ROM expansion box. Once the ROM is running you are presented with the main menu which consists of six options:
Instead of setting up all the various parameters and preferences, you will require, each time you switch in the ROM. these can all be saved to disk. Using a program from the manual these parameters can be loaded and the ROM invoked all in one go.
The carousel menu is the heart of the program Once grabbed or created. frames are stored in banks. If you have a 464 then a total of 26 frames may be stored. 6128 machines have enough memory for 94. Having this storage facility means pages can be manipulated as you wish.
If you're "on line" and you see a frame you want, simply press the COPY key and it's (the frame) in the bag, or rather the carousel. The frame is automatically stacked on the next available carousel location. After you have logged-off you can elect to view the carousel frames you have grabbed. Pages are turned forwards or backwards via the right and left cursor keys.
Off-line editing is very well catered for Single key-presses are used for the creation of coloured graphics, backgrounds and inks The editing package includes a pixel editor. When switched on the six pixels under the cursor can be toggled on or off It sounds fiddley, but saves endless reference to a viewdata character set.
Having composed your masterpiece(s) offline, chances are you might want someone else to see them? Unlike other viewdata packages, the Cage can help you with this problem Sending a full frame back upline to the host takes a little under two minutes. A great saving when you think how much it would have cost you to do it all on-line.
The Cage ROM has the ability to download both GET and compacted types of telesoftware fully automatically. The log-on menu allows you 10 set up phone directories, establish log-on and log-off procedures (if you have an intelligent modem), etc, etc. The Cage can store directories onto disk in an encrypted form This means that a password will be needed before the directory is unlocked. This keeps all your valuable account numbers safe from prying eyes.
When you are looking through pages of frames and get the urge to view something else, simply press the TAB key and any letter. The current frame is now marked, just like a bookmark marks a page. After you have finished whatever it was that distracted you. press TAB and the frame-tag letter and the Cage automatically returns you to the frame you were looking at previously In addition, before log-ging-on you can set up the frame-tags as keywords to take you to your favourite pages. Tag strings can be alphanumeric. This means, for example, by pressing a certain key combination you will be taken to the Amsters Cage on Prestel.
The tagging feature saves a lot of typing and is very easy to get used to. So much that it makes me very lazy I really miss this feature when using other comms set-ups now.
The deeper dungeons
This is the comms package that others will be measured by There are rumblings that Amstrad are having a long hard look at it and they could adopt it for the Amstrad RS232 interface by Pace.
I am still delving around the Cage Comms Rom's darker corners and finding out even more things that it is capable of doing I haven't yet found the tea-making facility, but I suspect that it has one. I suspect that I shall be finding new delights for quite some time to come.
Over the last few years I have seen and used a lot of different combinations of machines and comms software (business and home computers alike). On the basis of what I have seen available. I have no hesitation in recommending the Cage for any CPC comms user.