AOH :: DOS-C128.TXT|
MSDOS : C-128 Interface
By: Carl F Howard
It is becoming more common in this day and age not to just own one
Personal Computer but in fact 2 and maybe more. A recent survey showed that as
much as 66% of those people who own one P.C. usually have, or buy a second one.
Many of us started out with a Commodore 64 or 128 as our first PC and have for
various reasons moved up to an MSDOS Compatible machine, mainly due to the
Power and relatively Inexpensive prices for which a Clone may be Purchased
these days. Even the folks at Commodore have seen Blue and come out with
their own versions of MSDOS machines.
If your like myself, you find yourself with one machine for Play and one
for Work. However there are lots of things that you can do with both machines
For example, word processing and data base chores can be handled on both
machines and although the Commodore Program files are not compatible with an
MSDOS machine most Commodore Data files I found, are easily converted into
Standard ASCII files and are very usable on my clone.
Many MSDOS Word processing programs can handle ASCII text files and have
both importing and exporting capabilities for files in this format. As an
example, I use Time Works Word Writer - 128 on my C-128. The Sequential ASCII
files created by Word Writer can easily be used with both the CP/M and MSDOS
Versions of Word Star and these files can easily be used with another popular
MSDOS Program FIRST CHOICE by PFS. The Key to Compatibility here is the
necessary conversion too a Standard format which is of course ASCII. One Note
on the negative side however is that when swapping Text files between word
processors you will have too run your files through a filter program to Strip
Printer Control Characters, if you have used them, and re-insert the codes in
your new format. This however is a small and easy price to pay when compared
to manually retyping entire documents.
I have also had a great deal of success with The Shareware Program PC
File by Jim Button. This Program available here on GEnie in both the CP/M and
IBM versions is a very easy to use Data Base program which can easily swap
data files between either Mode. additionally the IBM version has Powerful
Importing Utility features which with a little practice can allow you to
convert just about any kind of formatted ASCII text file in to a Data Base
file. This means that those Large Data Files Which were taking you for ever to
sort on your C-64 and 1541 can now take just seconds on your MSDOS machine
(I'm not exaggerating the difference in disk drive speeds is awesome).
Additionally the IBM version features a 32,000 plus record capacity which will
tackle just about any Home or Small Business application you could imagine.
The problem with conversion of files is that even with the now popular
Traslation programs for the C-128 such as "Cross Link" and "Big Blue Reader"
there are still some very definite "file size" limitations for making the
tansfers. Also if you don't own a 1571 Disk Drive or a C-128 there is no way
of physically transferring files with a C-64 and 1541. As a result, you may
find as another very desirable and inexpensive option is to Connect your two
Machines together and let them chat directly. In fact one of the first things
I did shortly after buying my Clone was to run out to my Local Commodore
Dealer and Purchase the Aprotek Universal RS-232 Expansion Interface (You
should be able to purchase this or a comparable unit for between $30 and $50).
The Aprotek Interface connects to the User Port of your 128 or 64 and has
an extension slot in its rear end so you can still use your existing modem or
printer interface. A Cable running from the side of the interface has a
Standard DB-25 Serial Connector that plugs into to the Serial Port of your
Clone. You then set Switch 1 on the interface to "Inverted" and Switch 3 to
Printer B" load up your favorite Communications Software on Both Machines and
your ready to make your file transfers.
It really is that simple. Note You Do not Need a modem on Either Machine
to make this hook up, You just need Terminal Programs to make your transfers,
similar to how you currently upload and download files here on GEnie. Also
Your Clone Must have A Serial Port, This shouldn't be a problem since most
Clones Equipped with a Multi-I/O Board feature this option. As a matter of
fact I don't have a Modem in my clone. I let my C-128 do all my Communications
work and then transfer files via the Interface to the Clone. This may sound a
little cumbersome but you can crank both the Commodore and the Clone up to
2400 Baud (provided your software will allow it) so the second transfer goes
rather quickly. As you can see this little investment in hardware on the
Commodore can save you a $100 or more for that second modem for the clone and
you can still do all your On-Line chores as usual.
Anyway, thats it for this time, as you can see I've tinkered with my toys
quite extensively and picked up a trick or two along the way. If you have any
questions concerning Commodore/CPM/MSDOS compatability feel free to drop me
Some E-Mail and I'll be happy to be of whatever help I can.
74000,3077 ON CIS
[CHUCK.WAGON] ON GEnie
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