Your Spectrum
Issue 5, July 1984 - Frontlines
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There's still some confusion surrounding the anti-copying system developed by Jim Lamont, of JCL Data - that's the one that was banned by the Ministry of Defence when a patent was first applied for, because it might have proved to be a risk to British security.
The commonly held belief is that the new (post MoD) system is only now being produced because no patent has been applied for - which means that nothing can be done to prevent its use. This is the view held by GOSH (Guild Of Software Houses) member, Rod Cousins, who is firmly in favour of anything that will prevent piracy.
However, Jim Lamont explains, "The current system, for which I have applied and been granted a patent, is based on one of my very early ideas". And while it's apparently not dissimilar to the one banned by the MoD, it's only about 95 per cent efficient, whereas the other was virtually, if not totally, 'crackproof'. All of which seems to suggest the MoD thinks national security could be at risk if private companies or individuals had the capability to store information that was beyond the reach of government security organisations. Perhaps Orwell's 1984 is really with us after all.
Mr Lamont went on to explain that JCL Data will be offering a
complete service to interested companies, by supplying them with the 'basics' of the system he is allowed to sell - for which they will pay a fee, and from which they will be able to produce their own, customised devices. He says, "Once this has been done, companies must return two copies of each system to us, by post. One will be retained, unopened, to prove on which date it had been implemented, and the other sent to the Trading Standards office. After this, anyone caught trying to break the 'code' (so to speak) will be taken to court by JCL for breaking patent regulations." Any action would be paid for out of the previously collected licence fees. So far, JCL's device has attracted favourable attention not only from GOSH, but also the Trading Standards Office, the Consumer Protection Bureau and the Fraud Squad.
The software industry is already showing interest in the device, in particular some tape duplicating companies. BB Magnetics, for example, has already applied for, and been granted, a licence. And A&F Software is currently customising the system for its own use. A&F's Mike Fitzgerald says, "We've tried it, and are quite happy. Anything that prevents or discourages piracy must be a good thing for the industry as a whole."
All fans of Marvel comics, capes at the ready, 'cos it's Superhero time! Adventure International (UK) Ltd is launching the first graphic adventure computer game featuring the Incredible Hulk. Adventure International in America has signed a licensing deal with the Marvel Entertainment Group to produce a series of software adventure games featuring such Marvel superfolk as Spiderman, Captain America and, of course, the Hulk.
Mike Woodroffe in the UK office explains that "Marvel will produce a comic to go with each game. The storyline is left at a certain point and you have to go to the tape to continue the adventure." At last we'll have the chance to actually take part in the adventures, and as Mike Woodroffe points out "the potential is tremendous". This could really be something to look forward to ...

Regular visitors to the West End of London will probably remember the famous 'green' Games Centre shops. These stores sold all manner of toys and games, from D&D to Dominoes and Computer Battleships to Rubic's Cube - until one day, an acute cashflow problem caused the closure of all branches.
But here's the good news, for store numero uno in Oxford Street has recently been taken over by the Virgin Empire. Yes, in the turbulent wake of me Virgin 'cross-the-Atlantic-for- under-a-ton' scheme, multi-millionaire tycoon Richard Branson has decided to launch his own Virgin Games Centre.
The store looks surprisingly similar to the way it did before. The bottom, or ground, floor is stacked with the usual toys and games, but the top has been
taken over by the home computer department - obviously because Virgin already has interests in that direction.
Checking out the shelves of the upstairs dept, one can't help noticing an obvious lack of plugging for Virgin's own-brand software. Apart from a few copies scattered amongst the racks full of rival product, the only push for Virgin Games is a small poster pinned to a pillar. The computer department's Les Baker said this was because, "we're going for new releases rather than just our own games" - a refreshing lack of bias indeed, and probably good commercial sense to boot.
Once the centre has become more established, the plan is to move away from the VCS-type machines and concentrate on the home market. Wise people. There are also going to be special offers where
you get 'nine for the price of five', or whatever. If this pilot store is a success, then Virgin hopes to open similar centres in other areas of the country.
The Virgin Games Centre is only a couple of doors away from the Virgin Megastore at the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street. Find out more by going there - or 'phoning nn-nnn nnnn.
Still on Virgin ground, the games company has recently been expanding its operations. In a major change of strategy, Virgin has decided to become more than a mere publishing house. "We have decided to create a small team of in-house programming talent to develop unique creative software," said a spokesman. If you think you've got it - and Virgin want it - pop round to nn/nn xxxxxxxxxx xxxx, xxxxxx xnn and check it out.
WH Smith is planning to extend its range of Computer Shops by the beginning of September this year. The company describes these shops-within-shops as having a 'relaxed' atmosphere where you can sit in comfort at console units and use complete systems - as well as being able to make full use of the computer staff's expertise. John Rowland, the Merchandise Controller for Smiths, says "We want people to be able to try out the hardware for themselves and have the opportunity to discuss and compare the various computer specifications and software packages with our specially trained staff." Another idea is computer exhibition evenings to demonstrate the specific use of computers and peripherals.
Of the company's 355 retail shops, 50 will contain Computer Shops and 220 will have 'know-how' departments by September this year. New Computer Shops are being opened at Bolton, Chester, Coventry, Derby, Lewisham, Oxford, Preston, Southend, Sunderland, Watford and York; and 'know-how' departments will appear at (take a deep breath) Basildon, Bedford, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bradford, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Colchester, Crawley, Guildford, Hanley, Harlow, High Wycombe, Ilford, Luton, Peterborough, Putney, Nottingham, Richmond, Slough, Solihull, Stockport, Sutton, Swindon, Woolwich and Worthing. Computer evenings are planned for Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Kingston, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London (Holborn Circus and Brent Cross), Nottingham, Reading, Southampton and Swansea. (Whew!)
Last month's ZIP article died the death of a thousand cuts when some demon scalpel wielder decided to chop it up and stick the bits down in the wrong order.
If you find the article more confusing than usual, the following program (don't RUN it ... just read it!) will shuffle the bits into the order I intended.
Alternatively, ace editor DOGER RUNFORM will spend
his weekend making amends by slaving over a hot photocopier. Write in with a stamped addressed envelope, if you'd like a free photocopy of the article, in the correct order.
This month's article has been split into two sections, so that the last part of the series will appear next month. That is, unless Doger loses it!
Simon (fingers crossed) Goodwin
100 IF page=47 AND column=3 AND paragraph=2 AND last line=errors may be detected Once again the THEN LET next line=line number and a full error message: GO TO page 48 column 2 paragraph 4
110 LET page=48: LET column=1: LET paragraph=3: LET last line=generating instructions to put each next line is number or variable value ON A Stack: GO TO page 49 column 1 paragraph 2
120 IF page=48 AND column=2 AND paragraph=4 AND last line=Because the steps involved are not neces- Next line=sarily performed in the order they are THEN GO TO page 47 column 3 paragraph 2
130 LET page=49: LET column=1: LET paragraph=2: LET last line=through a table of lines This means you: LET next line=can not say GO TO variable in a com: GO TO page 48 column 1 paragraph 3
140 IF page=50 AND program line=5805 THEN LET the smudged bit=26*8
150 IF page=50 AND program line=6570 THEN LET the end of the line=TO 6590: LET the program be rearranged to fit the gap and move the block=from 6560 to 6570 move down 4 lines
160 REM If you misprint this I'll never forgive you.

Before you start typing, this program won't RUN - just read it through with issue 4's 'Adding Zip' article and all will be revealed.
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