Irrelevance from the author

Debunking 64’er magazine

Now for a story about the magazine 64’er, which TMR can’t even read, apart from the program listings!

And this is hardly a problem since it wasn’t available in the UK when your correspondent was learning to program – not being able to read German language publications was, essentially, a secondary issue compared to not being able to get hold of them in the first place. And, since 64’er wasn’t available in the UK during the author’s self-imposed 1984-1985 window, his entire post is completely irrelevant and can happily be ignored, although we will cover and correct a few points just for entertainment purposes.

This magazine, by the company Markt & Technik (who also published “Happy Computer” magazine, as well as various books), started in Germany in about April 1984, which was the same time I got a Commodore 64, but due to language censorship and lack of distribution, I don’t think I ever heard about it until 2012 or 2013.

Where “language censorship and lack of distribution” actually means “the ridiculous costs of importing a magazine published in Germany to the United Kingdom” of course; shipping paper magazines around the world was and indeed is a very expensive business with the cover price doubling or sometimes even tripling in the process to effectively price the item out of the target market before potential language barriers have started lowering.

Interestingly enough, a sequence of commands which is supposed to give access to the whole 64K, although it claimed to make it look like the C64 had died, didn’t actually work on my C128 in C64 mode! I just got the “READY.” prompt.

Without knowing the actual commands to see what went wrong it’s hard to comment, but your correspondent assumes that the problem will either be an error on the author’s part or down to the commands themselves being misprinted; as noted by your correspondent previously and by the author himself later in the post we’re looking at, publications of the 1980s were typeset by people who had no knowledge or interest in computers and mistakes regularly crept into articles and listings. Not all of these errors were caught and corrected later.

Unfortunately, Commodore soon managed to seize 50% of the home computer market in Germany, so 64’er magazine was devised as a way of helping people who found themselves in the traumatic situation of owning a Commodore 64 or VIC-20

And yet there’s a contingent of those German users still using the C64 to this day; that’s incredibly odd behaviour for people who were supposedly in a “traumatic situation” unless the author mistakenly believes that Stockholm syndrome applies to micro electronics. This supposed trauma is in the author’s head rather than anywhere else and it’s completely impossible to take over half of any market with a product that isn’t wanted by said market.

The next paragraph is about the disk fast loader Hypra Load which was originally a type in listing:

This caused a big stir wherever people were able to get hold of this magazine, such as German speaking parts of Europe, Denmark, and the Netherlands, but not Britain, where it was unknown, so unlucky C64 owners in Britain who could afford disk drives had to pay out even more money for Jiffy DOS or Dolphin DOS instead.

This is of course complete and utter bilge, even by the author’s self-imposed cut-off of 1985 there were software-based fast loaders available to C64 users in the UK both commercially and in the public domain. The author mistakes his own ignorance for fact once more.

It seems that in the USA, packages including the C64 with a disk drive were heavily discounted, but according to “Compute!”. the original C64 designers made the commands LOAD and SAVE default to tape, because they thought most C64 owners would be using “Datasette” tape drives instead of the more expensive disk drives. […] This means that Commodore’s original masterplan was to leave C64 users with BASIC V2 instead of a replacement language or compiler loaded from disk!

And this is completely nonsensical even by the author’s “standards”; the default device is tape yes, but that doesn’t prevent anything being loaded from disk at all.

Staring with their Issue 01/85 (i.e. January 1985) 64’er magazine began publishing listings with checksums for each line, produced by their own published checksum type in programs! One of these was for BASIC programs, while the other was for pure Machine Code. They even accepted hexadecimal numbers!

The author previously said it wasn’t possible to use hexadecimal numbers from C64 BASIC so it’s nice to see him debunking his own posts again.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t published by Commodore, so it was yet another example of Commodore letting other people fix their mess instead of doing it themselves!

Once again the author is whining on as though no other computer company did exactly the same thing so we shall note once more dear reader that, whilst Commodore provided all the information required to create these expansion programs, Atari kept the relevant information to themselves for years and left programmers floundering or (illegally) reverse engineering Atari software for information.

The author desperately wants Commodore and the C64 to be the villains of the piece as an excuse for his own previous failings, but even after a year and a half he’s still spectacularly avoiding any kind of coherent argument.

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