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A bit of a mixture, this one - a mixture of the very practical anc the distinctly theoretical. The practical sections form a usefu addition to your reference shelf, while the theoretical parti make interesting, if rather light, reading. The question tha springs to mind is. why put these together in the one book?

Topics covered range from CP/M and AMSDOS, via assembler and high-level languages, to business and similai applications. The overall impression this gives is one of shallowness - of never spending long enough on any one topic tc really tell you anything.

The CP/M section is very useful, it has to be admitted. For a start, utilities such as PIP and ST AT are documented much more thoroughly than in the relevant Amstrad manuals. This could certainly come in handy, since a good understanding of these is essential if you're to do anything very much with CP/M. The style of writing is conversational and quite easy to understand, again contrasting favourably with the Amstrad documentation.

The more theoretical side of the book intrudes even in the CP/M chapters, however, with sections on the use of programming utilities such as DDT, SID and MAC. While you certainly need additional information to use these - the Amstrad manuals refer you unhelpfully to Soft 159 or the unreleased Soft 971 - you might fairly ask who would want to anyway. There probably are people developing programs under CP/M, and using only the DR utilities to do it. The problem is, the book really doesn't contain the bulk of the information they would need. What little a machine-specific book can usefully tell you about CP/M BIOS addresses are the only things that spring to mind - this book doesn't cover anyway.

Of course, that sort of thing is way outside the scope of a general book like this. The question is not why these topics aren't covered in depth, but rather why they are covered in the first place. Much the same applies to the chapters on high-level languages and business applications.

The book rummages through three languages - Logo, Pascal and C - without covering any of them on a useful programming level. To be fair, this does serve a purpose with C and Pascal. If you were considering the move to another language, this kind of treatment could help you decide which language suits you best. As throughout the book, however, the question of direction crops up - what, I ask myself, is this doing in a disc companion?

Logo, coming bundled with the DDI-1 and both disc machines, clears this hurdle without difficulty. The question here is one of usefulness, though. At the risk of repeating myself, why cover Logo at all if you don't have space to cover it thoroughly? Nobody with an Amstrad disk system needs to decide about buying it, because they've already got it. If there's anything they do need, it's a proper guide to Logo programming - which this isn't.

As for the business section, much the same applies. A selection of major packages is covered, but the book doesn't really tell you anything particularly useful. If you wanted to know which database to buy, for example, you'd need comparative reviews of several different packages. As it is. only two examples of each type of program are covered - one for the 464/664, and one for the 6128. If on the other hand you have already bought one of the packages, you will probably find the book's coverage too light to be of any use whatsoever.

The book as a whole is written in a clear and helpful style -what a shame then that it is so lacking in content and sense of direction.


★ ANNÉE: ???
★ PRICE: £7.95
★ AUTHOR: Simon Williams

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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.