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Undercolor/840101/News and Gossip

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UnderColor, Volume 1, Number 1, December 10, 1984

  • Title: News and Gossip
  • Author: empty
  • Synopsis: Carefully prepared, delicately worded, infinitely interesting.
  • Page Scans: Link




*************** November 26, *****************

** Send news to: Under Color, Box 6809, Roxbury, VT 05669 **

****************** Compuserve 70136,1257 *****************


COCO GETS REDESIGNED AGAIN ... The Color Computer finally outstrips the venerable Model I in Tandy remakes. There are now NINE VERSIONS ... CoCol-C, D, E, NC; TDP—100; CoCo2, 2-A, 2-B; Korean CoCo2, KC2—B ... All the reworkings since NC are "economically driven designs", as one of the key engineers told U.C. ... Repairs to the new units? Forget it. SWAP the board.

  • * * * *

SOCKETS VANISHED in the latest two Korean CoCos; in the first version, all but the SAM and the RAM are soldered in place. In the second version, even the SAM IS SOLDERED in, but more surprising are the RAMs -- just two sockets and two extra connectors. What's up? These are TWO l6K x 4 RAMs and -- get this -- a PIGGYBACK BOARD is needed to upgrade to 64K (does this sound like a 1980 deja-vu?) ... U.C.'s call to Forth Worth engineers revealed that the PIGLET REDESIGN WASN'T COMMON KNOWLEDGE there ... But wait! There's more. Read on...

  • * * * *

$199 64K COCOs continue to have eight 64K x 1 RAMs on board, but the 64K RAMs are SOLDERED IN PLACE! And, if that isn't enough to confuse users, reliable rumor (November 24) has it that Radio Shack's 26-3134B and 26-3136B computers are CoCos with LOWERCASE BUILT IN, and won't be released until AFTER THE HOLIDAYS. Using the 6847-T1 for a video display generator -- not Motorola's hot new RMS high-resolution chip set, as previously rumored -- the NEW COCO loses none of its previous features and compatibility, but doesn't gain in the high-resolution game. So when the warehouses are clear, LOOK FOR COCO REVISION #10 to hit the stores. Now, what about 256K MEMORIES, Tandy?

  • * * * *

TECHNICAL DETAILS on the 16K Korean CoCo RAM setup: a 74LS785 version of the SAM, with TMS4416 RAMs, and Basic 1.3; two connectors and two sockets, with A0 through A7 from the SAM; D0 through D7 come from a new design enhancement, a 74LS623 octal bus transceiver from Texas Instruments (is Tandy moving away from Motorola?); CAS, RAS, R/W*; +5v and ground. MAKE YOUR OWN 64K upgrade? U.C. will give you the details as soon as we get them, but one of our SoCal hardware gurus tells us IT ISN'T THAT SIMPLE.

* * * * *

The MAGAZINE SHUFFLE at Ziff-Davis is still in the news. After cutting loose The Color Computer Magazine and other small computer rags, Z—D sold a boxful of titles for over $100 million dollars ... that's NINE FIGURES. ... Meanwhile, on CompuServe's Color Special Interest Group (SIG), angry talk continues from subscribers who sent in the subscription in The Color Computer Magazine's last issue, and can't get a refund from Z—D. If you're a newcomer to CompuServe, GO PCS-126 and have a look around.

* * * * *

EVER WONDER WHAT IT COSTS to build one CoCo? How about 100 CoCos? U.C. did some shopping around for both retail and quantity pricing, and discovered some surprises ... THE DAYS OF BUILDING YOUR OWN MACHINE MAY BE OVER. Below are some retail and l00-piece quantities for Radio Shack's $199 64K Extended Basic Color Computer:

Item Single 100's


cpu $ 9.95 $ 8.10

PIA (2) 9.00 3.60

VDG 12.95 11.00

74LS244 1.80 .73

74LS138 .80 .54

555 .42 .18

crystal 4.95 1.80

4 jacks 3.96 1.80

Item Single l0O's


SAM $25.00 $18.67

64K RAMs 39.95 24.80

74LS273 1.80 .73

74LS02 .42 .21

2 ROMs (N/A; see next item)

2 EPROMs 30.00 8.60

switches 3.93 1.50

8 sockets 2.32 1.42

2 special chips (based on similar parts) 5.50 1.00

47 capacitors (mixed, best prices) 14.69 4.43

13 diodes, 3 transistors 7.91 1.76

33 resistors, 2 inductors 4.43 .49

power transformer, cassette relay 7.90 5.50

video modulator, TV switch box, cable 13.90 4.80

cartridge connector, AC line cord 5.90 2.43

printed circuit board (quote) (by hand) 22.00

keyboard 39.95 18.00

Basic programming books (none) 8.00



PACKAGING, AND SUPPORT $247.43 $152.09

BUY one complete CoCo at $199 and SAVE $48.43 over a hand—wired, caseless CoCo. BUILD 100 caseless CoCos for $15,209 save $4,691 over buying them (but who will PAY THE LICENSE FEE FOR COLOR BASIC?). HOW much DOES RADIO SHACK PAY for parts in 10,000 quantity to make a PROFIT AT $199?



**************** Compiled November 26, 1984 ****************

** Send news to: Under Color, Box 6809, Roxbury, VT 05669 **

****************** Compuserve 70136,1257 *******************


A NEW COLOR BBS in Monterey, California, is on line, and SysOp Marc Rigas wants everyone to call, since he says "I need a LOT OF CALLERS if I am to keep it running." Sounds like a CHALLENGE. Weekdays 6-8pm, l0pm—7am; Saturday 12-4pm; Sunday l0pm—7am. Call (408) 646-1850 and help Marc keep his BBS running.

* * * * *

An NTSC COLOR COMPUTER is available by special order from Radio Shack ... for you COLOR VIDEO MONITOR users. Reports from the first few purchasers offer mixed reactions to the quality of the signal; U.C. will provide comparatives soon. In the meantime, Radio Shack will NOT RETROFIT existing CoCos with the monitor modification.

* * * * *

SOFTWARE PROTECTION (AGAIN) ... Controversy has been raging around DELIBERATE SECTOR DAMAGE BY LASER BEAM used for PROTECTION of disk software. A few suppliers have been using the protection scheme, which introduces a deliberate pit in one specific location of the disk's oxide coating -- making it UNWRITABLE. The software tries to write information to that special sector ... it assumes the diskette is an original ONLY IF IT GETS AN ERROR. If not -- WHAMMO! It either bombs out (the nice version) or else it ERASES EVERYTHING IT CAN FIND ON THE DISK. Some distributors have RETREATED from this scheme, others defend it. Apparently no DISK HEAD DAMAGE will occur, since the laser pit system is carefully designed to resemble a normal, microscopic disk blemish.

* * * * *

HARDWARE PROTECTION is going on, too. A video digitizer is being released before the holidays with ALL THE ELECTRONICS POTTED IN EPOXY and NO SCHEMATIC provided. Apparently the item is LOW COST and the manufacturer is worried about gnomes running off to some HI—TECH SWEATSHOP and copying it. Repairs? Modifications? Better ask before you buy. With the small-computer SHAKEOUT underway now, you can't tell who will still be here NEXT CHRISTMAS.

* * * * *

OVERHEARD on the Color SIG: "Meanwhile back at primeval swamp where the original CoCo still lurks, it is seen as slowly succumbing to a sickly diet of arcade games -- seen as a computer with no redeeming social value."

* * * * *

COLOR BASIC 1.3 IS HERE ... but don't worry. It's only change is to accommodate the UPGRADED SAM in the new Korean CoCo. Everything else is (for a change) ENTIRELY COMPATIBLE with the Color Basic 1.2 that's been standard for about a year.

* * * * *

For future reference ......

26-3001 4K Color Computer, Color Basic, grey case

26-3002 16K Color Computer, Extended Basic, grey case

26-3003 32K Color Computer, Extended Basic, grey case

26-3003A 64K Color Computer, Extended Basic, white case

26-3004 16K Color Computer, Color Basic, grey case

26-3004A 16K Color Computer, Color Basic, white case

26-3005 ??

26-3006 Color Computer Dust Cover

26-3007 Color Computer Carrying Case

26-3008 Joysticks, original version

26-3009 4-pin to 5-pin cable

26-3010 13" Color TV Receiver

26-3011 4K MC-10 Micro Color Computer

26-3012 Deluxe Joysticks

26-3013 16K RAM cartridge for MC-10 Computer

26-3014 4-pin DIN to 25-pin DB—25 serial connector

26-3015 16K RAM kit for original Color Computer

26-3016 New Keyboard Upgrade, keyboard version #2

26-3017 64K RAM kit for Color Computer 1 & 2

26-3018 Extended Basic ROM kit

26-3019 Diagnostic ROM cartridge for Color 1

26-3020 4-pin DIN to 4-pin DIN cable

26-3021 ??

26-3022 Color Disk #0, 5/12-volt version

26-3023 Color Disk #1, 2, 3

26-3024 Multi-Pak Interface

26-3025 Color Mouse

26-3026 16K Color Computer 2, Color Basic

26-3027 16K Color Computer 2, Extended Basic

26-3028 ??

26-3029 Color Disk Drive #0, 5—vo1t version

26-3030 OS-9 with EDTASM+ Disk Version

26-3036 BASIC-09 Disk Version

26-3134 16K Color Computer 2, new keyboard

26-3136 16K Color Computer 2, Extended, new keyboard

26-3137 64K Color Computer 2, Extended, new keyboard

26-3134A 16K "Korean" 16K Color Computer 2

26-3136A 16K "Korean" 16K Color 2, Extended

26-5000 4K Videotex Terminal

26-5001 16K Videotex Terminal