News, Reviews & Letters Index > Letter - Ace and the Forth challenge.

Letter in Popular Computing Weekly 2 December 1982
Paul Purvis of Preston, Lancashire, writes:
I have seen the advertisements for the Jupiter Ace and, like a lot of other ZX81 owners, I am very interested in the challenge that Forth would offer. However, I am worried that the small faults which dogged the ZX81 will also plague the Ace. Namely, loose jack sockets and I/O connectors, poor Loading and Saveing, and just the general delicacy of the ZX81. I accept that a computer is not a robust toy, but it must be able to withstand a certain amount of wear and tear. Also I know the keyboard is meant to be a proper one, but does this mean 'proper' in the sense of the Spectrum keyboard?

To a certain extent only time can fully answer your questions. However, the Ace is more robust than the ZX81. The jack sockets if anything are too tight. It is quite possible to lift the Ace up and shake it in the air, without any chance of the plugs becoming disconnected even for a moment. As yet there are no add ons for the I/O port, so I cannot say how good the connections will be.
Again, until it is thoroughly tested the Load/Save facilities cannot be judged. But it does seem as though the signal has been inverted, because the instructions that come with the computer tell you to turn the tone right down. Remember. the designers of the Ace were also responsible for the Spectrum, and the Load/Save in this is excellent.
The keyboard on the Ace is the same type as the Spectrum's, but the rubber is stiffer, and the keys have a small peg underneath to make contact easier. For people used to the ZX81, and even the Spectrum, the positive response of the keys on the Ace will be very welcome.
It is a less delicate machine than the ZX81. However, such terms are relative and, like all computers, it is not designed to be battered or thrown around.