THE ARTIST'S MICE
KEMPSTON has finally released its mouse for the Spectrum - and it was well worth waiting for. As a bonus it runs on the new Spectrum 128, so it looks as though it will be around for quite a while yet.
The most obvious attraction is that it is bundled with the excellent Art Studio - a Sinclair User Classic - and it makes the program even better than it was before. With the standard Art Studio you have to patch the program to use the mouse, while the extended version is supplied ready patched.
Mice are great for moving a pointer round the screen or selecting items from a menu, hence the current expression WIMPS - Windows, icons, Mice, Pointers. As Art Studio utilises all those functions it is much easier to use.
The Kempston mouse has two buttons, which although normally independent, appear to have the same function within the program. It has a soft rubber ball, which is less likely to slip, and optical decoders.
You cannot avoid comparisons with the AMX mouse. While the Kempston mouse is physically superior and the interface simple and straightforward to use, the main problem is software. Kempston has always been very good at hardware, but not so good at software.
The AMX interface has both a mouse port and a printer port, while the Kempston runs only the mouse. For software writers the Kempston interface is potentially easier to use, but that should make no difference to competent writers.
The software supplied with the AMX mouse consists of a drawing program - not up to the standard of Art Studio - plus an extended Basic so that you can use the mouse, pull down menus etc, in your own programs. Kempston gives you Art Studio only, plus instructions on how to read the mouse port.
On balance I prefer the Kempston mouse, if only because it is better made. It will be up to the commercial software writers to make their choice.
If you write your own Basic programs go for the AMX, if you write in Z80 stick with Kempston. After all, the Kempston joystick interface has become a standard.
Both mouse packages cost £69.95.
Kempston MicroElectronics Ltd, 1-3 Singer Way, Kempston, Bedford. Tel: 0234-856633.