P.O. Box 1343 Round Rock TX 78680
Phone 512-255-1512
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MicroReviews for May 1994 Micropendium
by Charles Good


Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous detective in English literature. By just glancing at someone he could usually tell the person's occupation, where he had been recently, and other details of the person's personal life. He was a "consulting detective". Other detectives (public police and private) as well as the general public went to him for advice when a case seemed particularly confusing. It was the Sherlock Holmes stories that made author Arthur Conan Doyle very wealthy, in spite of Doyle's efforts to direct his writing talents elsewhere. On two separate occations Doyle tired to tell his public that there would be no more Holmes stories forthcoming. Each time public pressure and the offer of vast sums from publishers forced Doyle to write additional Holmes adventures.

The Sherlock Holmes stories were originally published between 1887 and 1926. The copyrights have expired and everything is now in the public domain. I have downloaded all these short stories and book length manuscripts from an information system, converted them into DV80 files on DSSD disks, and am making them available to the TI communtiy.

These text files are nicely formatted in 80 columns, displayed double spaced, and contain no control codes or strange printer formatting codes. Each file is about 200-300 sectors in length and contins either a complete short story or 2-3 chapters of a book length manuscript. Book length stories are split up into several of these files. The text files are too large to load into most versions of TI Writer but thats ok because you don't want to manipulate this sort of text. You want to view the text on screen and/or print the text with your printer and this can be done with either Funnelweb, DM1000 or DSKU. With each of these software packages you bring up a disk directory and put the cursor next to the file name you want to view or print. At this point using Funnelweb's Disk Review or using Birdwell's DSKU you press "V" to view and then a second key to print. Using DM1000 you press "T" to type the text onto the screen, or "P" to print the whole file. 40 column users will probably prefer using DM1000 for viewing and printing. Funnelweb is the choice for those with 80 column systems. Double spacing makes it easy to view these 80 column files on a 40 column screen. Each text line wraps around to the next 40 column line during such a viewing, resulting in double lines of text on screen with a blank line separating the next double text line.

The following Sherlock Holmes stories make up this collection: "A Study in Scarlet"-the book that inroduced Holmes and Watson to the world in 1887; "The Sign of Four"-a book; "The Valley of Fear"-a book that has within it another book; "Hound of the Baskervills"-in my opinion the greatest detective story ever written; and 56 short stories originally published separately and later gather together by Doyle into books titled "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes", "The Return of Sherlock Holmes", "His Last Bow", and "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes". Several of these short stories compilations contain very interesting prefaces by Doyle which were not included when the stories were first published separately.

I am not asking for any copy fee. You can have the complete collection, archived, by sending me 14 DSSD disks or 7 DSDD (18 sectors/track) disks and a paid return mailer. Please make sure that disks are initialized and that the return postage is correct. I will include the ARCHIVER progam (EA5 version) so you can unpack the archives onto DSSD disks and I will also include my SPEAK DV80 program. You can run SPEAK DV80 from extended basic and have your 99/4A read the Sherlock Holmes stories to you using the speech synthesizer. SPEAK DV80 will verbally speak any DV80 file.

THE CASTLE by Vern Jensen

This is a really good game that is somewhat similar to TI RUNNER in that it has multiple levels (screens) that you reach as you progress. My at home testing panel (ages 8, 13, and 15) each individually spent at least 2 hours playing The Castle. The 13 year old spent about 6 hours spread over several days before he finally tired of the game. These are really good times! The attention span of these kids, who have access to a 386 PC and a Sega Genesis, usually isn't very long when it comes to TI games. I spent several hours myself getting lost in The Castle in preparation for this review.

The game is written in extended basic with CALL LOADed assembly routines. The graphics are great and the game play is fast enough to suggest that it was totally written in assembly, which it isn't. You start outside in a hail storm and duck inside a handy castle to get away from the precipitation. There are treasures in the castle which you are supposed to find as you travel through all the rooms in an attempt to get to the last room where the exit is located. Each room (screen) has lots of doors and various brick barriers. One door leads to the next room, one door goes to the previous room, and most of the doors take you to another location within the same room. It is very frustrating trying to find the "next room" door, and part of the frustration is physically getting to all the doors you can see in order to try them out. Those brick barriers get in your way. However some of the barriers are fake. You can walk or fall right through what appear to be solid walls or floors.

There is no instruction book, but there is a very well done on screen interactive tutorial on how to play the game. You actually play an abbreviated version of the game. You see the graphics and you get to experiment with all of the various types of on screen movement. Everything is nicely explained. My 8 year old had no trouble running the game, going through the tutorial, and then playing the game, all with no help from me.

The Castle comes with a bunch of predefined rooms. When you have them all memorized, you can make a custom game by creating your own rooms. You put doors, true and false barriers, etc. where you want them. A documentation text file explains how, since the tutorial does not cover costom room creation.

The music, speech, graphics, and interest holding ability of The Castle are first rate. I give it a thumbs up. You can obtain The Castle for $6 plus $2 postage directly from the author Vern Jensen, 817 Kingsway Drive East, gretna LA 70056.


When was the last time you sat down and actually read the United States Constitution, our country's basic law. I did it a few years ago when there were special celebrations commemorating the 200th anniversary of this document. Before that, the last time I did so was when I was in high school. This is a really important document with which we should all be familiar. It appears in the news almost daily. Gun control (why can't laws prohibit the ownership of guns), capital punishment (is it cruel and unusual punishment), abortion (do the unborn have "constitutional rights"), separation of church and state (is it legal to give tax breaks or "vouchers" to defray the cost of educating children in church sponsored schools) are among many current issues that relate directly to our Constitution.

Now we can read the Constitution on our TIs. Constitution Reader includes the entire text with all the ammendments (in DF40 format) and software for on screen reading of this text. The reader is "Load and Run" assembly software that loads from the EA module, the Mini Memory module, or from Funnelweb. You see the text at the top of the screen and a command line at the bottom. From the command line you can move back and forth through the text one line or one screen at a time, and you can search for text strings. For example, you can search for the string "AMENDMENT XIV" to go directly to the 14th amendment. There is no direct provision for printing to a printer.

Of course all of this (line or screen up/down, and find string) plus printing could be done with TI Writer IF you take the time to type in the text. As far as I know nobody has done this yet, so Constitition Reader is the only way to read this fantastic document on the TI. Constitution Reader comes on a SSSD disk and costs $14.95 including postage. Send your money to Sam Carey, 5820 SE Westfork St., Portland OR 97206-0742

Charles Good, P.O. Box 647, Venedocia OH 45894.
Phone 419-667-3131.
Internet email [email protected]

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