|★ APPLICATIONS ★ COMMUNICATION/TELEMATIQUE ★ SKYCOM ROM|Popular Computing Weekly) ★|
|Skycom ROM||Applications Communication/telematique|
The Rom software and manual supplied for this article were just provisional. The first ‘complete' version should be available in a few weeks, but Skywave says that it will be producing upgrades and improvements.
The existing package is nice, the equal of much that is around, with a Prestel mode, a Terminal mode (for bulletin boards with 80 column scrolling text) and a Telecom Gold mode. Telesoftware downloading is supported.
Although it comes on Rom, you will need a support disc or tape file to hold the phone numbers for auto-dialling, etc. The free memory is used as a buffer for holding characters that you have received, or wish to transmit. You can save the entire buffer, or individual Prestel pages, to disc, edit them, or even retransmit them.
However, more interesting than all this are all the extra features that are coming in the software upgrade; features that plug some gaps but are also likely to raise Skycom well above the more usual comms packages.
We are promised an auto log on facility and more file transfer options for user to user communication. There will be a format for connecting to the Open University computer and also something that is described as a 'simplified' IBM 3270 format. You will be able to connect to a new 80 column viewdata system called Casper, which will apparently give you access to Yellow Pages amongst other things. There will hopefully be a feature for downloading of CP/ M software from Bulletin Boards.
These must represent a tremendous attraction for some specialised or business users and should guarantee Skycom considerable sales.
An auto answer system will also be included whereby people who dial will be shown a text file held on disc, as well as possibly being invited to enter a reply a sort of text based answerphone or very simple Bulletin Board. A further Rom is also promised providing extensive software for running a proper Bulletin Board system from your own home, and Skywave promise that this, too, will contain some powerful features.
Skywave is planning to set up a Bulletin Board in its own office, but they have already paid for their own page on Prestel (£25886) called Skyclub which gives information for all users of Skycom — a level of customer support that they are justifiably proud of.