A TOUCH OF MAGIC
Disc interfaces for the Spectrum tend to fall into one of two categories. They are either super-fast with all the facilities you could want - and some you don't - or they are plodders.
The SPD1 from LMT Computers falls into the second category. It can load and save Basic, Code and Data and do all the things that you'd expect from a disc interface. All the commands are built into the ROM and if you want to get fancy there are very rudimentary random access commands which let you read and write a sector on the disc.
One usual feature is that, like the BBC, it treats each side of a disc as a separate drive. Although you can get less on a side - 182.5K with an 80-track drive - moving files around is easier.
If that were all it could do, it would hardly stand out from all the other disc interfaces for the Spectrum, but it has a number of features which make it particularly interesting.
Most important of those is the parallel printer port which can drive a range of full-sized printers. Once the port is initialised you can use LPRINT and LLIST to send text to the printer or use COPY* to copy the screen to an Epson-compatible.
Next there is a Magic Button which can be used to transfer your programs to disc. When the button is pressed the entire contents of memory - all 48K - is saved. When this is loaded back the program continues from the point it was saved.
Lastly, there is a utility disc with a number of useful routines, an elementary word processor, a database and a Renumber facility. Two other programs on the disc allow for elementary networking to two SPD1s.
LMT will shortly be bringing out an upgrade board for the SPD1 that gives it proper networking - well, compatible with Interface 1 anyway - which should prove useful for schools. All this adds up to a useful package at a very reasonable £89.95. The upgrade board will be £29.95, or £109.95 for the complete unit.
LMT Computers, South Street Commercial Centre, Bishop's Stortford, Herts CM23 3AL. Tel: 0279-506801.