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The Brief but Illustrious Career of Reggie Ramloose (1983-1987)

The Brief but Illustrious Career of Reggie Ramloose (1983-1987)

©2013 by Dallas Denny








I bought my first computer—a Commodore VIC-20—and immediately fell in love with it. I attended the initial meeting of Tennessee’s first Commodore users group and immediately became an officer. When the city’s VIC and C-64 groups merged to form the Nashville Commodore Users Group, I was the newsletter editor.

These are my columns as the fictitious character Reggie Ramloose. Click the tabs to read Reggie’s ravings or the button just below to read my other contibutions to the NCUG Magazine.


My Other Contributions to NCUG Magazine



I Go Commodore

In 1981 I scraped together every penny I could find and bought a Commodore VIC-20 color computer.

The VIC, newly released and priced at $299, featured color video output, three programmable voices, a full-sized build-in keyboard, and 3.5 kb (KB!) of RAM. It had a port for ROM cartridges and memory expansion of up to 32 kb, a joystick port, a serial port, a user port with both Centronics and RS-232 signals, and built-in BASIC programming language. Its primary weakness was a screen display only 22 characters wide.

I chose the VIC for several reasons—its color and sound capabilities, its full-sized keyboard, its ability to accept additional memory (both ROM and RAM), and its ability to connect to just about any electronic device. The combination of features and low price won out over its rivals—Sinclair Research’s  ZX80, Atari’s 400 and 800, Texas Instruments’ TI99/4A, and the Apple ][. The VIC was, it turned out, a fortunate choice.

The VIC was so new its input devices—a cassette tape machine and a floppy disk drive—were not yet available, nor were any programs available other than a few games and home applications on cartridge. There was, however, a most excellent user’s manual, and I spent the six weeks before the arrival of my datasette learning the BASIC programming language.

When, two years later, the Commodore 64 was released, I was in graduate school at Vanderbilt University and couldn’t afford one (not at the whopping price of $595!)—but an opthalmologist acquaintance bought me one in exchange me writing a program which would allow him to train his patients to follow movements on the screen. With 64 kb RAM and a 40-character screen width, I loved the C-64 even better than the VIC.

When I arrived in Nashville for grad school I ventured to a computer store on 8th Avenue North for the formation of a users group for the VIC-20. There were about a dozen people, and each of us was eyeing all the others, wondering what sort of weirdo would have a computer in their home. The group grew and in 1983 merged with a forming C-64 group to form The Nashville Commodore Users Group. Soon there were more than 450 members and there was at least one meeting every week. I was an officer in one capacity or another from NCUG’s formation through my return to a position as a psychological examiner in East Tennessee in 1987.

The first few newsletters of the VIC group were one-page, prepared on a typewriter. I remember astonishing the other board members when I was made editor—I announced my intention of producing a newsletter on the computer itself! Unbelievable!

The newsletter was soon promoted to magazine status.

Out of the blue, one day early in the newsletter’s  history, I created a nom de plume—Reggie Ramloose. Reggie allowed me to wax profoundly silly about my Commodore computer. Founding President Dave Rushing was convinced I was targeting an early member of the group, but I just liked the name Reggie; it went perfectly with Ramloose.

For some years Reggie’s column appeared in first the VIC-20 group’s newsletter, and then NCUG’s.

Writing Reggie (April, 1991)

CUGA Newsletter (PDF)

©1991, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1991, April). Writing Reggie. Newsletter of Commodore Users Group of Atlanta, 9(4), 5.


Writing Reggie

By Dallas Denny


‘Way back in 1983. about the time the Nashville Vic Users Group and a forming C-64 club merged to become the Nashville Commodore Users Group, peculiar things began appearing on the screen of my brand new 1701 monitor. As I was not sure I wanted my name associated with such nonsense. I searched about for a pseudonym. The name Reggie Ramloose manifested itself, and I became a psychic channel for his twisted and sometimes biting sense of humor.

I’m not sure why I chose a male pseudonym. Sometimes I think Reggie chose me, rather than I choosing him. Certainly, he did all the work. I never consciously thought about what I was going to write. I just sat down at the keyboard, and an hour later, a column had appeared.

By 1986 or so, Reggie had disappeared, most likely to haunt someone else. But in the three or four years of his existence, he had lots of things to say. He lampooned Alexander (I’m in charge!) Haig’s appointment to the Board of Directors of Commodore Business Machines. He parodied Siskel and Ebert’s “At The Movies” television show, a Compuserve feature which was written by a man (I forget his name) who was traveling around the country on a tandem bicycle with a Tandy portable computer mounted on the handlebars, and Fred D’Ignazio’s wonderful column in Compute’s Gazette.

Reggie was not shy. In fact, he sent his column to poor Fred, who reprinted it in his column in the Gazette.

But the reason Reggie will live in infamy is a column called “How to Double—Side Your Notebook Paper.” It has been reprinted in dozens of user group newsletters, in Torpet (the magazine of the Toronto Pet Users Group), and, I’ve been told, may have even found its way into the pages of Compute! or the Gazette. Every time I think it has died a natural death, there it is again, rearing its Reggie head. It has been seven or more years since it first appeared, but it just will not die. At the CUGA board meeting earlier this month. I was leafing through some newsletters and stumbled across it. Seeing it gave me the inspiration for this column.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the article, or who may have read or not understood it, it was a disguised discussion of the merits of formatting and using the back side of a 5 1/4” diskette.

I doubt I will be inspired to “write Reggie” again, but as long as that column continues to surface from time to time in the pages of a user group, Reggie Ramloose will continue to live.


And Now, Reggie Ramloose

Our President (July, 1983)

©1983, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1983, July). Our president. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.

This was the first of the Reggie Ramloose articles.


Our President

 By Reggie Ramloose

July, 1983


In the absence of an official biography of our president, Dave Rushing, I have taken the liberty of preparing the following:

Dave Rushing was born in nASCIlville, Tennessee in 1942, the son of an engineer and an arithmetic operator. His father rode the serial bus every day for four years in order to work on the original Wheatstone Bridge. Little Dave’s first words were 1 and 0, making it necessary for the family to hire a BASIC interpreter in order to communicate with him. An active youngster, Dave played Base 16 in the Little League. He was active in the Cub Scouts, where he learned to march in sequential file, and at one time wanted to run away to be a clown in the circuits. While his friends sold lemonade for 15 cents per cup, Dave attempted to sell Apples for $1200.00. He was successful until a naval officer (Commodore) moved into the neighborhood and offered a better deal on a better product.

The rest of Dave’s childhood was uneventful. After a brief stint as a floppy disk jockey, and another as a TRaSh collector, he went to college, graduating with honors from Valley Intensive College (VIC), where he introduced the school cheer: SYS Boom Bah!

Dave now lives at Block 5, between $A000 and $BFFF. He has a son, Devin, and two daughters, Nora and Nand, and is proud of the baby of the family, TINYMON. The family does not currently have a PET; their last one, a RAM, having succumbed to an accidental POKE.

When asked to tell something about himself, Dave will admit that his all-time favorite TV show is “Make ROM for Daddy.” He speaks fondly of the old show “Route 64.” “It would have been better if George Maharis and that other guy had driven a Honda CiVIC instead of a Corvette,” he says.

Dave reads extensively, mostly classics like “Modem Dick” and “The Fall of the House of USR.” He likes old movies, too, particularly chillers like “Cursor of the Werewolf,” He plans to travel next to the Orient, where he will visit Japan, China, and Okidata. Dave loves music also, and can often be heard humming the Beatles tune, “We all Live in a Yellow Subroutine.”

Dave feels the next few years hold great things in store for him. Says he: “I feel like my chip has finally come in.”

The True Descender (August, 1983)

©1983, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1983, August). The true descender. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.

Early dot-matix printers raised letters with descenders— p and q and and y to keep them in the grid. The result wasn’t pretty. Descenders were in fact a highly-desirable feature, but the recaptioned song below (recaptioned lyrics for the Platters’ The Great Pretender) worked better otherwise.


The True Descender 

By Reggie Ramloose

 Assistant Editor 

August, 1983


This one is for you people over thirty…


Oh, oh, oh yes

I’m the true descender

I go below the lines

My appeal is such

But I cost too much

I’m a feature

That no one can sell


Oh, oh, oh yes

I’m the true descender

I interface parallel

Though you think that I’m not

I’m composed all of dots

I’m a feature that no one can sell

Going Binary One Better (October, 1983)

©1983, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1983, October). Going binary one better. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.


Going Binary One Better

 By Reggie Ramloose

Assistant Editor

October, 1983


In my Commodore 64 there is 64k of RAM memory. That is, 64 times 1024, or 65,536 bytes. Each byte consists of 8 bits, so in my Commodore 64 there are 524,288 bits of RAM. There are over a half million switches etched into to the silicon on the chips of this less-than-$200.00 computer.

If those switches were tubes, the RAM for my 64 would take up a city block and generate enough heat to warm the Municipal Auditorium. That’s a lot of switches. It almost boggles the mind to think of that many switches in a package that can fit under your arm.

But as small as our half-million switches are, they aren’t small enough. Just as a growing need to handle large amounts of data led to microminiaturization of switching devices— from tubes to transistors to integrated circuits to large-scale integrated circuits to very-large-scale integrated circuits to wafer-scale integrated circuits— the increasing amount of data will necessitate yet smaller and smaller switches.

Unfortunately, switches are limited by the speed of light. Electrons can move only so fast through switches, and the nature and characteristics of electromagnetic radiation will eventually cause a lower limit to be reached. Beyond a certain point, miniaturization will be impossible.

What, then? Well , I foresee we will have to give up switches.

The decimal system served us well in the days before computers, and the binary system serves us well now, but I think we will eventually have to make a choice of another number base. And I think the base of the future is Base 1. O-N-E. Yes, Base 1. Just as Base 2 consists of the digits 0 and 1, Base 1 consists entirely of zeroes. And it will save us millions of dollars.

You’re way ahead of me. You’ve already noticed that using this base will do away with the necessity of switches. Yes, because all digits in Base 1 are 0, there’s no need for switches, All numbers in Base 1 are the same. Certain religious factions have seen the natural order inherent in Base 1 and have gone so far as naming themselves accordingly. The following come to mind: Unitarianism, The Way (there are no other ways?), Reverend Sum One Moon and the UnitficationChurch. Buddhism teaches the all-oneness of Nirvana. Awe and respect for Base 1 doesn’t end with the churches, however. Base 1 is omnipresent in our culture. There are singles. Shoes have soles. There is a card game called solitaire, even a first base in that all-American game, base (1) ball.

The first Base 1 computer has yet to be produced. Perhaps its time has not yet come. However, once the inherent simplicity of the Base 1 computer has been comprehended by the human mind, the Base 1 computers will be upon us.

Editorial On the Moral Majority (December, 1983)

©1983, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Ronnie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1983, December). Editorial (On the Moral Majority). Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine. Reprinted about 1990 in Commodore Users Group of Atlanta Newsletter.


Editorial (On the Moral Majority)

By Reggie Ramloose

December, 1983


Word has it the Moral Majority is concerned about computer terminology— they find it vulgar and suggestive. While the burning of computer books is not yet upon us, perhaps we should take the indignation of the MM as a sign and consider this an opportunity to look closely at our terms.

Perhaps Mr. Falwell is worried about all the bytes and nibbles that seem to be going around. More likely, he is bothered by all the interfacing that we hear about. Interfacing requires the interlocking of male and female connectors, but let us assure old Jerry this is merely to facilitate handshaking between computers and peripherals such as joysticks (oops!) and, for the S&M set, paddles. The special desirability of parallel interfacing should be explained to Mr. Falwell; perhaps a demonstration could be arranged.

I’m sure poking and peeking have caused much misunderstanding— be assured, Jerry, that poking requires no physical contact and peeking isn’t against the law. And that my floppy disk is not a sexual dysfunction. That PROGRAMMER’S AIDs are not transmitted by bodily contact. That loops and DEVICE NOT PRESENT errors don’t refer to contraception. That a cursor is a little square box on the screen. That “SIN TAX” is spelled with a “Y.”

And don’t forget, Mr. Falwell: the computer, unlike you, can SAVE.

A Commodore Christmas (December, 1983)

NCUG Magazine, December, 1983 (PDF)

NCUG Magazine, October, 1984 (PDF)

©1983, 1984, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Ronnie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (As Ronnie Ramloose). (1983, 15 December). Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, 1(7), p. 1. Reprinted in NCUG Magazine, October, 1984).


A Commodore Christmas?

By Ronnie Ramloose


Editor’s note: The departure of Reggie Ramloose for East Tennessee had left us at NCUG desperate for humor. His brother, Ronnie, perhaps feeling sorry for us, sent the following story. Ronnie is Eastern Seaboard correspondent for a major computer newsweekly.

 King of Prussia, PA, Dec. 1—Commodore officials today announced their newest computer, expected to be out in time for Christmas. The machine is Commodore’s answer to the IBM Peanut, and is to be called the Commodore Potato Chip (or PC). Commodore head Jack Trample is reportedly incensed over the attention lavished on IBM’s newest (non)entry into the home computer market, and over IBM’s use of the Commodore marketing device of selling nonexistent products.

 The new machine, expected to sell for only $125, will have 400k of RAM memory and will run software compatible with the Apple, IBM, Atari, and CP/M (though not, unfortunately, the VIC or 64). The Potato Chip sports a full-size keyboard in a cream-colored plastic case, with four special function keys. Trample denies rumors that the new Potato Chips are surplus VIC’s that have been plundered for parts. He admits, however, that the unit sports a video display of 23 lines and 22 columns. In addition, there is a cassette interface built in so that programs and data can be stored on cassette tapes.

 To cut costs, the familiar serial buss for connecting a disk drive has been omitted. Trample apparently feels the average user will not want to bear the added expense of a disk drive. Besides, he adds, “we still can’t get our 1541s to work.” Rumors abound that Commodore is engaged in major negotiations with Micropro to place Wordstar on cassette tape for the Potato Chip. Queried about whether the Potato Chip would really be ready in time for Christmas, a Commodore spokesperson gave assurances shipping would begin “very soon.”

Industry insiders doubt the product will actually appear by Christmas, but suggest Commodore will try for a second time the highly effective sales strategy it pioneered with the 1541 disk drive, in which Commodore ships a specified number of “rain checks” to major chain stores to be given to customers in lieu of the actual product. One pundit has referred to this technique as “selling Potato Chip futures.” Commodore, undaunted, is in the process of changing its slogan from “The Friendly Computer” to “The Cruncher,” in honor of the PC. It looks like another Commodore Christmas.

A Short History of Hacking (February, 1984)

© 1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose & Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As Reggie Ramloose). (1984, February). A short history of hacking. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.


A Short History of Hacking

By Reggie Ramloose

February, 1984


It’s unfortunate the term “hacker” has come to have negative connotations; in the current vernacular, a hacker is one whose main purpose as a computer user is to illegally break into other computers, preferably those belonging to the Department of Defense, universities, and large corporations. Only five short years ago a hacker was a mainframe user, a college undergraduate with minimal social skills and a failing grade-point-average who printed giant sheets filled with X’s and O’s which, when viewed from a distance, resolved into silhouettes of naked women or Snoopy sitting on his doghouse. But the term hack predates computers. It is my purpose to describe the varying definitions of the term and to trace its emergence and evolution.

Even cavemen had hacking, or hoarse, dry coughs. They were no doubt expert at hacking, or cutting up other cavemen with hoe-like implements called— you guessed it— hacks. The wounds caused by these weapons were also called hacks. Food— probably hackberries— was dried on racks called hacks, in a process also called hacking.

With the advent of the middle ages, falconry became popular. The board on which falcons were fed was called a hack. No doubt to take the place of the hoes (hacks) of the cavemen, a firearm called a hackbut and a tool called the hack hammer (not to be confused with tack hammer) were developed.

Perhaps because the bridles worn by the animals were called hackamores, horse-driven taxis were called hacks. Motor-driven taxicabs— and, by association, their drivers— came to be known as hacks. A writer who turns out worn, stale material (like this column) is a literary drudge, or hack. Probably the commonality of the keyboards caused the term to be transferred to computers.

I hope I haven’t hacked you off.

Commodore's New Minority BASICs (1984, February)

©1984, 2013 by Ronnie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Ronnie Ramloose”). (1984, February). Commodore’s new minority BASICs. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.

I knew this piece was terribly homophobic and politically incorrect when I wrote it, and for some reason submitted it anyway. No one ever called me on it; they should have. I include it here for reasons of completeness. It was the first and last time I wrote something quite so stupid.


Product Review

Commodore’s New Minority BASICs

by Ronnie Ramloose

February, 1984


AP— West Chester, Pa. In an effort to increase its market share, Commodore has just announced the release of several versions of BASIC for the C-64 computer. The new BASICS were developed by Microsoft and are engineered to appeal to various minority groups. Until this exciting new software appears in the K—Mart store, we must be satisfied with the following information, which was gathered by a personal phone call to Jack Tramiel.

DIFFERENTSTROKESBASIC— Especially designed for viewers of the television show Different Strokes, this BASIC features such terms as “WHATCHOO TALKING ABOUT, WILLIS?” and “SAY WHAT?” Tramiel reports that this version narrowly escaped being called BASIC BLACK.

GAYBASIC— This BASIC changes the screen color to mauve, and adds commands such as “SWISH” and “POOH!” The cursor is called BRUCE and moves across the screen in a peculiar mincing fashion.

GERIATRIBASIC— In this exciting BASIC the C-64’s memory is reconfigured in such a way that it forgets everything almost immediately. Screen characters are double-sized and the cursor tends to doze off for minutes at a time.

VETERAN’S BASIC— The computer will not respond to commands unless ordered. This BASIC boots with a rousing version of “Stars and Stripes Forever.” A version for new recruits is called “BASIC TRAINING”.

SUHTHUN BASIC— To all VIC-20 and C-64 owners south of the Mason Dixon line, Commodore is offering free replacement RAM chips and the booklet “How to speak Southern to Your Computer.” Most BASIC commands, functions, and error messages are replaced with syntax based on Southern pronunciations. Some examples:


  • Priyunt        (Print)
  • Geyut          (Get)
  • Liyust         (List)
  • Eeyuf—Theyun  (If—Then)
  • Neyew          (New)
  • Leyut          (Let)
  • Verifah        (Verify)
  • Siyus          (SYS)
  • Diyum          (Dim)
  • Sahn           (Sine)


The booklet also clears up some areas of potential misunderstanding for Southerners, stating, for instance, that Cuhsah is not an insult (as in “You ah a cuh, sah!”) and “Cain’t Contlnyuh” is not a quote from General Lee.

Forthcoming are KIELBASIC for persons of Polish ancestry, and NECROBASIC.

“Let’s face it,” mused Tramiel, “It’s a wonder we got away so long with using PET BASIC.”

Billboard's Hotware (March, 1984)

© 1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose & Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, March). Billboard’s hotware. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.


Billboard’s Hotware

By Reggie Ramloose

March, 1984


It had to happen. Billboard Magazine has started a chart of songs about computers. Here’s BILLBOARD’S HOTWARE for February:






















^ (with a bullet)

New Product Line From Commodore (April, 1984)

© 1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose & Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, April). New product line from Commodore. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.


New Product Line From Commodore

By Reggie Ramloose

 April, 1984


Remember Commodore’s Max Machine? Remember the P128? For you Commodore newcomers, the Max Machine was a game machine which was to be released in this country; it never was, The P128 was everything I ever wanted in a computer— 128k of RAM, expandable to one megabyte, sprites, SID chip for music, detachable keyboard, console designed by Ferrari— and about $700.00, full retail price. And— you guessed it— it was never released. Nothing came of rumors for a Super-Vic 20. A hand-held Commodore computer was announced some time ago, and has never materialized— at least in any quantity. For that matter, how many of us have seen the S-100 transportable at the local Target store?

Commodore recently announced the introduction of two new computers, the 264 and 364, which lack the sophisticated sound and graphics of the 64, but which will feature built-in software. And now Commodore tells us the 264 and 364 won’t be released. Let’s face it: Commodore has not released some fine computers. And there are plans to not release more.

In a statement not released just before his resignation, Commodore’s Jack Tramiel reported that Commodore plans to not release the following computers:

The C 6.4— Commodore’s entry in the competitive kindergarten market. The disk drive will be not manufactured by Fisher-Price.

The C 98.64— Designed for the health-conscious. A European (Centigrade) version is in the works, but will be not released under a different name.

The B-24— A business machine. Reported to be somewhat noisy.

The PC-64 Junior— Rumors indicate this may be a ploy to not get rid of surplus VIC-20s.

The Bic 20— Will be not sold for Just 19 cents.

Radio Shack, rising to the challenge, reported later the same day that it would not release a model called the TRS-64. Other computers which will not be released include the Kaypro 64, Sinclair Apple 64 E, and Sinclair ZX 64.

A Chip-Testing Machine / Terrible Names for Computer Games (May, 1984)

© 1984, by Reggie Ramloose & Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, May). A chip-testing machine / Contest: Terrible Names for Computer Games. Nashville Commmodore Users Group Magazine.


Reggie Ramloose

May, 1984


A Chip-Testing Machine

Do you remember (I often start this column with “Do you remember”)— Do you remember the tube testing machines were once found in drugstores across the continent? I remember them. You trudged in with the tubes from your TV in a brown paper bag (remember brown paper bags?) matched their number to the instructions, put them in the proper sockets, and ran the Vibration Test. If they were defective, you could buy a new tube.

How’s this for an idea… A chip testing machine! I’m looking for a partner to help me buy up all the old tube testers and refurbish them. We’ll place them in video arcades all over the land, and when a C-64 gets smoked, the owner can bring it in and find the defective chip. If this idea works out, you folks can call me Richie Ramloose.


Contest: Terrible Names for Computer Games

There is a program for the C-64 called ATTACK OF THE PHANTOM KARATE DEVILS. A VIC game is called REVENGE OF THE BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES. A third game is named ATTACK OF THE MUTANT CAMELS.

I’ll bet you think every terrible game name in the world is in the above list. EVERY bad name for game is in the list.

Wrong, 6502-breath.  There are lots worse names for games. I’m sure of it that I am offering prizes for the worst and second-worst bad game names to me.

Send your bad game names to me, Reggie Ramloose, Box 121282, Nashville, TN 37212, or tell your ideas to my envoy, Dallas Denny.

All ideas must be received before June 1. The winner will receive a copy of “The Best of Reggie Ramloose.” The runner-up will receive TWO copies of “The Best of Reggie Ramloose.”

On the Road with Reggie D'Ignazio (June, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF) Compute’s Gazette (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Reggie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (As Reggie Ramloose). (1984, June). On the road with Reggie D’Ignazio. NCUG Magazine, 2(1), p. 5. Reprinted as part of Fred D’Ignazio’s column “Computing for Families”  in Compute’s Gazette, 2(1), November, 1984, pp. 70, 72, 74.

Fred D’Ignazio wrote a delightful column in the Commodore-oriented magazine Compute’s Gazette. His writing was colorful and distinctive—so of course Reggie parodied him. D’Ignazio took it with good grace and reprinted Reggie’s piece in his own column.


On the Road with Reggie D’Ignazio


There is a place in my house where you or I can go zooming into the sky like a jet fighter pilot with a fine mustache, or feed peanuts to the elephants at the zoo, or figure out our budget for Christmas presents for Aunt Patsy and Uncle Roger, or play tic-tac—toe with someone who lives in a cloud. It is a magical, exciting place. It does not have fancy curtains or decorations, or even a rug on the floor, but in it my neighbor’s children have killed nasty green aliens from space, and in it they have made friends with men in red—and-white-striped balloons. It is a place where there is a television screen, but where television never comes. It is a place which is filled with wonderful sights and sounds.

The place that I am talking about has a lot of outlets to plug things into. You can plug things into slots in the floor or the wall, or dangle them from the light bulbs on the ceilings. It has a desk with lots of interesting things: there are pencils without erasers and pens without caps, staples, rulers, ink, paper clips, rubber bands, razor blades, harmonicas, matchbooks from faraway places, batteries, note pads, stamps, out—of—date prescriptions, envelopes, guitar picks, pocketknives, screws, rolls of tape, and expired identification cards.

On the desk in my place sits a computer. It is not a particularly big computer, or a particularly tiny computer; it is just a computer. But my computer is a ticket on Lufthansa Airlines. It is a letter from my grandmother. It is a vacation trip to Disneyland. My computer is a lifetime subscription to National Geographic Magazine. It is a paper cup telephone that connects me with my friends. It is a notebook on which I can scribble my thoughts. It is dinner for two at Andre’s. It is a reunion with an old friend, it is a coloring book, it is a safari to Africa.

There are places with computers like mine all over America. All over the world. Magic places. And… who knows? Maybe there are similar places on Betelguese, Sirius, or Proxima Centauri, If there are, do you think we could arrange a software exchange?

Mix 'n' Match (July, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1984, July). Mix ‘n’ Match. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, V. 2, No. 2, p. 21.


Mix ‘n’ Match

By Reggie Ramloose


Well, I won’t announce the winner of the “Worst Name for a Computer Game” contest, mainly because there have been no submissions. If I don’t get an entry soon, I’ll award the no-prize to myself for my own entry, “THE ATTACK OF THE BAD KARMA CHAMELEONS.”

This month, it’s mix and match. See if you can match the programs in the left column with the right column, which is something you will see on the screen if you wrestle with the program long enough. Only the real hackers will get all of these.


1.         Blue Max                                               A. “I can be a strange alien!”

2.         Delphi’s Oracle                                    B. Bombs Away

3.         Dig Dug                                                   C. “Go away, Human”

4.         S.A.M.                                                     D. Runway Sweeper

5.         Pogo Joe                                                 E. Weak Werebear

6.         Deadline                                                  F. Sergeant Duffy

7.         Castle Wolfenstein                              G. Formats as it Goes

8.         1541 Backup                                          H. Kaput!

9.         Four Minute Copy                                I. Statistics of Creation

10.       Jumpman                                                J. Pad 3, Please

11.       Pirate’s Adventure                               K. Try “Anchors Away”

12.       Gruds in Space                                       L. Ode to Zippy

13.       Sword of Fargoal                                  M. Fygar

14.       Space Taxi                                               N. Enter the Program Operation Code


Answers to Mix ‘n’ Match

1-D; 2-I, 3-M; 4-A, 5-L; 6-F; 7-H- 8-N; 9-G; 10-B; 11-K; 12-C- 13-E; 14-J

Should You Double-Side Your Notebook Paper? (August, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

TPUG Magazine (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Reggie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (as “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, August). NCUG Magazine, 2(3), p. 14. Reprinted dozens of time in computer group newsletters, including TPUG Magazine (1986, No. 22, p. 37) with the title Double-Siding Paper: The True Facts.”

The Commodore 1541 disk drive used 5 1/4″ floppy disks (remember those?), reading and writing data to one side of the disk only, allowing the storage of 170 kb of information. 1541 owners quickly realized that if they duplicated the write protect notch on the other side of the disk they could flip the disk over, gaining an additional 170 kb of storage space. Naysayers warned of reliability problems if this were done—but I double-sided hundreds of floppy disks and they still work reliably some thirty years later.

Reggie had something to say about all this.


Should You Double-Side Your Notebook Paper? 

by Reggie Ramloose


 The good news is that due to the rising sales of computers, the price of diskettes is falling. The bad news is that the near future is likely to bring higher prices for paper supplies. However, if you still use the old No. 2 bonded lead word processor, I have some useful information: you can double side your notebook paper!

Although paper manufacturers only certify the “front side” of a piece of paper, it is a little-known fact that the back side is capable of holding the same amount of written information. You, too, can use the back side of your paper, but before you do, I must inform you that there are mixed feelings about doing so.

Paper manufacturers are quick to warn that writing on the back aide can cause problems for the data on both sides of the paper, and will not honor warranties if the back side has been used. The biggest problem is “write-through.” This occurs if the wrong pencil or pen is used, or if too much pressure is applied during the writing process. There is a problem with standardization, also, with some users turning the paper upside-down when writing on the back, and others leaving it right-side-up (If the paper is held upside down during the reading process, it will be in the wrong orientation to the “head,” and a read error will occur). Also, many public school teachers, publishers, and governmental officials frown upon the practice of using the back or the paper, and will not accept material if both sides of the paper have been used.

Students and other paper users, however, claim that they have used the backs of many thousands of pages with little or no loss of data. A few go so far as to claim that there is a conspiracy among paper manufacturers, merchandisers, and public officials to discourage the use of the backs.

You must yourself decide if you will use the back side of your paper. But if you decide to give it a go, here’s how:

Look at a sheet of paper. You can tell the front by several methods. First, the row or alignment holes goes toward the left. Secondly, the watermark can be read if you hold the paper up to a light. To double-side a sheet, turn it over. Examine the back, looking especially for obvious flaws add defects. If the overall appearance is satisfactory, then with a ruler and pen mark locations on the left side corresponding to the holes which are now on the right side (You should try this initially with paper containing no valuable data) . Use a regular hole-punch to make the holes (You can purchase one at a department store, but I don’ t recommend that you tell them what you intend to use it for).

Your paper is now double-sided. Good luck, if you decide to try it. 

Jetsons: High Tech. Flintstones: High Touch (September, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Reggie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (as “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, September). Jetsons—High tech. Flintstones: High touch. NCUG Magazine, 2(4), pp. 17-18.


 Jetsons—High Tech

Flintstones—High Touch

By Reggie Ramloose


All of us have seen the Hanna-Barbara cartoons The Flintstones and The Jetsons. You remember them:

 FADE IN: George Jetson is on his way home. He is flying his jet car in heavy traffic. Our boy succumbs to temptation and zips around a slow commuter. A traffic cop is parked behind a floating billboard and chases George down on his jetcycle. George gets ticket. He parks in the garage of his 200+ story building and rides the air tube up to his apartment. A moving sidewalk takes him to his door; a mechanical arm knocks for him. Astro, his dog, bounds up, knocks George over, and licks him in the face. Even though he is tired from his three-day-a-week job at Spacely Sprockets, George takes Astro for a walk on an electric treadmill. Daughter Judy wants to go see the newest wigged-out rock group. Jane, George’s wife, is talking on the videophone She holds a mask up because she hasn’t bothered to do her face. George’s boy Elroy asks him what gasoline was. George tells Elroy it was used in the distant past, before nuclear power was invented. Jane presses some buttons on a console and, as dinner pops out of the chute, announces that supper is served. “Oh, no,” moans George. “Not vegetable protein again!”

CUT TO: Fred Flintstone is at work in the Bedrock Gravel Works. The “whistle,” a haggard-looking bird, screeches, and Fred yells “YABBA-DABBA-DOO!” Jumping into his sports car, he picks up his friend Barney Rubble. He propels the car home with his feet. Dino, his “dog,” bounds up, knocks Fred over, and licks him an the face Fred takes Dino for a walk amidst trees, grass, ferns, and flowers. He comes back into the house, kisses Wilma, chuckles Pebbles under the chin, and tosses her up in the air. Wilma sets Fred’s dinner on the table. “Oh,. no,” groans Fred. “Not Brontosaurus burgers again!”

After dinner, Wilma empties the plates into the “garbage disposal”—a pig-like creature that lives under the sink. “I HATE brontosaurus burgers,” it tells us in an aside. Barney Rubble comes over with his Lodge hat on. Tonight is the night of the big election. Betty is with him. She and Wilma warn the boys to behave. Fred assures them that they will be good. FADE OUT as Fred winks mischievously at Barney.

 In his book Megatrends, author John Nesbitt makes the distinction between HIGH TECH and HIGH TOUCH. High Tech is short for high technology—microchips, hi-fi, Betacorders, Walkmans (Walkmen?), High Touch, on the other hand, is an acceleration or deepening of our humanity. Nesbitt feels High Tech will lead to High Touch—that is, that rather than alienate us, high technology will increase our human potential.

The Jetsons live in a High Tech society. But it is not a High Touch society. It. is a society of anomie and alienation. The Jetsons have no neighbors. Their obtrusive technology is the end-all and be-all of their existence. But, if wondrous, it is also somehow dehumanizing. The Flintstones, now—should we :all them “primitive?” Perhaps the technology is there, but in the background rather than the foreground. That crane that Fred operates, for instance. It’s a dinosaur. Could it be bioengineered? Could that armadillo-like creature that serves as a bookend be specially bred for the purpose? Are Bedrock’s gene-splicing machines hidden from view? Perhaps the technology is there, but is not obvious because it is not worshipped. Perhaps there is a lesson here.

Are  Hanna and Barbara making a social statement? I think so. I think the Flintstones are hundreds or thousands of years ahead of the Jetsons. And all this time you thought they were behind!

At the Computer (October, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

CUGA Newsletter (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1984, October). At the computer. Nashville Commodore Users Groups Magazine, V. 2, No. 5, pp. 11-12. Reprinted in Commodore Users Group of Atlanta Newsletter, July, 1990, V. 8, No. 7, p. 5.


At the Computer

By Reggie Ebert and Reggie Siskel


Ebert:Good evening. I’m Reggie Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times Users Group. Sitting across from me is Reggie Siskel of the Chicago Tribune Users Group.

Siskel: Tonight on “At the Computer” we’re going to review three popular programs for the Commodore 64.

Ebert: The first is JUMPMAN, by EPYX Software.

Siskel: I liked this little program.

Ebert: I did too, Reggie. I thought the title sequence was particularly well done. And the music and graphics are great.

Siskel: Reggie, I think you miss the point completely. The significance of JUMPMAN is not its flashy opening, its great graphics, or its stunning music. What I think is important about this program is the performance of the leading man, Jumpman. I think we have a major new actor here. I can foresee at least an Oscar nomination.

Ebert: He was absolutely tireless. But I think the most important feature of the game is the use of multiple scenarios. Before Jumpman, two or three screens were considered sufficient. And JUMPMAN has over thirty! Some recent games have even more, but it was JUMPMAN that broke the ground. I think that’s as important a breakthrough as PONG was in its day.

Siskel: You’re right about that. And JUMPMAN was ground-breaking in that it retains the high scores of the players. It was the first program I’ve seen to do that.

Ebert: JUMPMAN is a milestone program in a number of ways. Two thumbs up.

Siskel: The other two programs we are reviewing tonight are ATTACK OF THE MUTANT CAMELS by HESware and BLUE MAX by Synapse Software.

Ebert: The less said about CAMELS, the better. I nominate this program for Turkey of the Month.

Siskel: Again I agree with you, Reggie. CAMELS is totally without plot or redeeming social value. Are we really supposed to buy the notion that giant mutant camels have attacked the Earth? Come on! If we were that gullible we would own TI-99/4/As! Two thumbs down.

Ebert: Let’s go on to BLUE MAX. I really liked it. It’s a great program. Like JUMPMAN, it has everything. Thumbs up.

Siskel: I must disagree with you there, Reggie. You’re right about the content; it’s excellent—but the programmer’s warning to software pirates was totally offensive to me. It was so offensive I must give this otherwise excellent program a thumbs down.

Ebert: That’s funny. I don’t remember seeing such a warning.

Siskel: You only see it if you use a track/block editor to look at the—never mind.

Ebert: Reggie, I’m ashamed of you! You couldn’t have seen that message unless you were trying to—

Siskel: Well, there you have it. We both loved JUMPMAN…


Siskel: And we disagreed on BLUE MAX. I hated it.

Ebert: And I loved it. Until next week…

Siskel: I’m Reggie Siskel.

Ebert: And I’m Reggie Ebert.

Ebert & Siskel: And we’re “At the Computer.”

How to Put a Flat Plastic Membrance Keyboard... (October, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny (as Reggie Ramloose). (1984, October). How to put a flat plastic membrane keyboard on your VIC-20 or Commodore 64. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, V. 2, No. 5, pp. 15-16.


How to Put a Flat Plastic Membrane Keyboard On Your VIC-20 or C-64

By Reggie Ramloose


One of the features which the Commodore 64 and Vic-20 computers lack is a flat plastic membrane keyboard. If you have been at Burger King and sighed with envy as the cashier rang up BURGER FRY COKE on the smooth surface of the cash register, or wondered why your Commodore has a areal keyboard when the more expensive Atari 400 doesn’t, then read on.

It should not be difficult to obtain a flat plastic membrane keyboard. So many users of the Timex-Sinclair 1000 and Atari 400 computers have replaced them that one can hardly drive down the street without seeing scores of the discarded keyboards in the gutter. Simply steer your Ferrari toward the curb, lean out, and grab one.

When you are back in the penthouse, remove three screws at the bottom of the Vic or 64. Then open the case. With a hammer, gently chip out the standard keyboard. Next, lay the flat plastic membrane keyboard in the resulting hole. You can connect the wires from the old keyboard if you wish, but this step can be considered optional. Put the two halves of the case together and reinsert the screws.

Congratulations! You have just greatly increased the value and usefulness of your computer.

Commodore Customer Service Exchange Policy (December, 1984)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1984, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Reggie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (as “Reggie Ramloose”). (1984, December). Commodore customer service exchange policy. NCUG Magazine, 2(7), p. 6.


Commodore Customer Service Exchange Program

By Reggie Ramloose


As you may know, for several years now Commodore’s Service Department has provided an exchange service for Commodore computers and peripheral devices. To take advantage of this service, you simply mail your Commodore product with a check for the amount of repair to Commodore Service Department, 1700 Wilson Drive, Westchester, PA19380. You will get a new or repaired product in return. The prices vary with the product:

  •  $55.00   Commodore 64
  • $35.00   VIC-20
  • $85.00   1541 Drive
  • $85.00   1525 Printer

On November 24 the Service Department announced that because of the success of the exchange department, they will now exchange non-Commodore items. A partial list with suggested prices follows:

  •  $.35                                    Dial Soap (Family Size)
  • $.55                                     Sunbeam Bread (Sandwich Loaf)
  • .$20                                     Hershey Bar (1.5 oz.)
  • $.22                                     Hershey Bar with Almonds (1.5 oz.)
  • $2.12                                   Country Ham (Price per Lb.)
  • $4.65                                  Jack Daniels T-Shirt
  • $21.15                                Castle GraySkull
  • $12.95                                Michael Jackson Watch
  • $14.95                                First Alert Smoke Detector
  • $44.00                               Hamilton Beach 14-Speed Blender
  • $32.95                                Black & Decker Circular Saw
  • $225.00                             Sanyo 14” Color Television
  • $900.00                             Frigidaire Refrigerator
  • $14,900.00                       Chevrolet Camaro Z-28
  • $24,000.00                       Mercedes Benz 350 SL
  • $66,00.00                           Beechcraft Twin Bonanza Aircraft
  • $75,000.00                        Three- Bedroom Suburban House
  • $1,450,000,000.00          Arizona
  • $ 1,900,000,000.00         Guam
  • $34,000,000,000.00       General Motors

Interview with Alexander Haig (January-February, 1985)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

Commodore Users Group of Atlanta (PDF)

©1985, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1985, January-February). Interview with Alexander Haig. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, V. 2, No. 7, pp. 6, 12. Reprinted in Commodore Users Group of Atlanta Newsletter, June, 1990, V. 8, No. 6, p. 7.


Interview with Alexander Haig

By Ronnie Ramloose

(Filling in for Reggie)


It’s no secret there have recently been some changes in the board of directors of Commodore Business Machines, Inc. The most noteworthy of the new appointees is former Secretary of Defense General Alexander Haig. Haig reluctantly agreed to an interview.

R.R.: General Haig…

Haig: I’m in charge here. Give me that tape recorder! I’m impounding it in the name of social security—make that national security.

R.R.: General Haig…

Haig: Let’s see your security clearance, Ramloose. Aw hell, you’re probably all right. You got in here.

R.R.: I noticed it was kind of difficult. Are those real machine guns?

Haig: Business is war. Someone big once said that.

R.R.: That was founder and former Chairman of Commodore, Jack Tramiel—who now runs Atari Corporation.

Haig: I thought it was Patton.

R.R.: He said war was hell. Is that your philosophy?

Haig: War is business. That’s what I told Nixon.

R.R.: I noticed all those boxes marked “Honduras.” Would you tell me what’s in them?

Haig: (Leaning forward). Confidentially, that’s our new Mark 64 Digital Intelligence Analyzer. Right there is one in operation.

R.R.: It looks like a Commodore 64 to me.

Haig: Well, there are certain similarities. But due to custom touches and our philosophy of rigid quality control, there are, of course, vast differences.

R.R.: I notice that the screen reads “COMMODORE 64K DIGITAL ANALYZER—UNDERDEVELOPED LATIN AMERICAN NATIONS VERSION 2.)—38911 BASIC BYTES FREE.” Are there any other difference?

Haig: It comes with a box of cigars. We’ve also souped up the peripheral devices. Look at this Directional Controller.

R.R.: Looks like a WICO joystick.

Haig: There are superficial similarities. But look at that armor-reinforced cable.

R.R.: nice. How much for this setup?

Haig: $120.

R.R.: That’s not bad! Just a hundred and twenty dollars, huh?

Haig: No. One hundred and twenty million.

R.R.: That’s a lot for a Commodore 64.

Haig: I was talking about the joystick.

R.R.: Is the U.S. government using any Commodore equipment?

Haig: All of our ICBMs now have a Vicarious Intelligent Controller, Model 20 in them.

R.R.: A VIC-20?

Haig: Sort of. We added a “Launch” button to the keyboard.

R.R.: Any other projects?

Haig: Plenty! We’re almost ready to introduce the Plus 4 antipersonnel device. And there other things I can’t tell you about.

R.R.: I see.

Haig: (As alarm sounds). We’ve just gone to DEFCOMMODORE II! I’m in charge! Someone boot up “Raid Over Moscow!” (Interview concludes as Haig goes to watch a private screening of “War Games.”

Ramloose Across America (February, 1985)

©1985, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose & Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (As “Reggie Ramloose”). (1985, February). Ramloose across America. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine.

Ramloose Across America was inspired by the journal of a man who published posts from a TRS-80 Model 100 computer as he bicycled across America. I can’t remember his name.


Ramloose Across America

By Reggie Ramloose

February, 1985


It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a few short years. Just how much things have changed came home to me the other day, while I was cleaning out the attic. In a trunk I found a journal which belonged to my father, Freddie Ramloose. It was the year he crossed the country via bicycle. He took his computer…

August 15, 1960: Left New York City; only made it to the New Jersey state line. I will really have to get into shape if I expect to make it all the way to California. Spare parts will be a problem, too. I had to send back to NYC for an extra supply of vacuum tubes.

February 2, 1961:  Oh, the joys of computing! I’m standing in a phone booth in a blizzard in North Dakota. Through the driving snow, I can barely make out my bicycle. It’s obscured partly because of the snow, and partly because of the four twenty-foot solar panels it takes to power my portable computer. Of course, about 80% of the energy is for the air conditioning. I’m transferring this file over telephone lines. It will appear in an article in Look Magazine.

March 15, 1961: In Las Vegas. I’m a little low of money. Am making do with a program that plays blackjack. The tourists love it.

March 31, 1961: Junked the bicycle. There wasn’t room in the trunk of the caddy for it.

April 5, 1961: Still in Las Vegas. Went to the First Annual Consumer Electronics Show. The hit of the show was an eight-track tape player for your car. Had a few drinks with a representative from IBM. I showed him my computer and asked him if he could make it smaller. He just laughed at me.

May 10, 1961: California. Near San Francisco. Some nice ranch and orchard country hereabouts. I met two small kids on bicycles, who were intrigued with my computer, but couldn’t understand why it wasn’t smaller. Their names were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

May 12, 1961: I’m at the end of my journey. I saw some kids on the beach with tiny little radios. They called them “transistors.” I wonder if they could use them in computers instead of tubes? Nah…

How to Turn Your Commodore 64 Into an IBM PC (July-August, 1985)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1985, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny (as Reggie Ramloose). (1985, July-August). Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, V. 2, No. 9, p. 6.


How to Turn Your Commodore 64 Into an IBM PC

By Reggie Ramloose


Let’s face it. You would have bought an IBM PC if you had had the money. Well, now there is a way to turn your C-64 into a PC in 9 easy steps:

1. Go to a hardware store and buy a spray can of white paint and a can of spackle. Go around to the back of the store and get a cardboard box.

2. Return home and paint the box white. Cut a hole in it and slide your 1541 drive under it so only the front of the drive shows.

3. Spackle up the joystick holes and cartridge port of your C-64. Paint your 64 white and slide it up next to the cardboard box.

4. Find the RETURN key on your Commodore 64. Pry it loose gently with a screwdriver. Got it? Good. Now put it where it’s hard to reach—in the bottom drawer of your desk, or on the top of your closet. Next, cover the SHIFT/LOCK key with a large cotton wad; be sure you cannot tell whether it is up or down.

5. Now you must open your 64. With a pair of tweezers, find and remove the eight sprites. Be careful—they scurry around and are hard to get hold of. Place them in a terrarium. You must give them fresh batteries at lease once a week or their colors will fade.

6. Remove the Sound Interface Device (SID). Replace it with the noisemaker you got last New Year’s Eve at the party.

7. Buy a stopwatch. Whenever you are ready to turn on your computer, click the stopwatch on and wait for one minute. This simulates the memory check of the PC.

8. Finally, turn your monitor off and back on each time you hit the RETURN key. By the time the picture is back, a PC would have refreshed the screen.

9. You won’t appreciate your new PC unless you are so deeply in debt for it that you will HAVE to like it. So send me $3000. You’ll be glad you did. If you want to use your new PC with a green screen monitor, send me $300. If you want to use it with a color monitor, and have block graphics, send me $600 more. If you would like to have a joystick, pry the spackle loose from port 2 and send me $40.00 If you want to use a printer, send me $150. Send me $150 for the cost of MS-DOS. Your PC software will cost at least double the price of C-64 software, so total your expenditures for software and send me a matching amount. Send me $30 if you have a Koalapad, and $20 for each joystick you have.

I hope you enjoy your new PC.

The New Amigo Computer (November-December, 1985)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1985, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny (as Reggie Ramloose). (1985, November-December). The New Amigo Computer. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, p. 9.


The New Amigo Computer 

By Reggie Ramloose


Commodore Business Machines, Inc., has finally readied its new Amigo computer for shipment. You can expect to see the new Amigo in selected computer stores and Mexican restaurants by late October.

The VIC-20 claimed to be “The Friendly Computer,” but the Amigo is your friend. “Hey mon, I am your frien’,” it says through its built-in speech synthesizer, which features Mexican, Puerto Rican, and NorteAmericano accents. The Amigo’s other features include outstanding color graphics and 512K RAM. A demo program, Mariachi Music, is included with the Amigo to demonstrate its superior sound.

But the real power of the Amigo is its software. Artificial intelligence programs enable the Amigo to function as your pal, mentor, or loved one. Commodore introduced the programs Brucie, Ronnie and Nancy, and Rosie the Riveter at launch. Third-party software is already on the market and includes Bully! by MicroSoft and Airsick Simulator 11 by SubLogic Corporation. Electronic Arts enthusiastically supports the Amigo, and has plans to introduce The Jimmy Connors Tantrum Construction Set and Oy! (Your Jewish Mother).

Each of these programs will imbue your Amigo with a different personality. Here’s an example of the message Oy! (Your Jewish Mother) by Electronic Arts puts on the screen at power-up:

Oy! You’re looking pale!

You should be sure to put on your hat and coat before you go outside.

Here, have some nice chicken soup.

It remains to be seen if the American computer-using public will flock to buy a computer which, upon power-up, might declare “Tm not in the mood!” or ‘You make me sick!” “Let’s face it, the personality that will sell the Amigo hasn’t been written yet, ” say Commodore representatives.

Other computer companies are developing their own Amigo-like software. Atari Corporation is reportedly rushing to get their ST 520 computer to market before the Amigo. Apparently, there are some problems with Jack,  the built-in personality of the 520. IBM’s offering is under close wraps and is said to be called either Charlie or The Great Dictator

InfoWorld reports Apple Corporation will announce Macbeth! and Lady Macbeth some time within the next month. Kaypro reportedly will bundle Danny Kaypro with all of their computers. Only Tandy Corporation has not jumped on the bandwagon. “At this time, we have dropped all plans for a personality emulator for our computers,” said the synthesized voice of Sandy Tandy, running on the TRS-80 Model 4 computer.

The Next Generation of Fast Copy Programs (June, 1986)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1986, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1986, July). The next generation of fast copy programs. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, 4(1), p. 10.


The Next Generation of Fast Copy Programs

By Reggie Ramloose

Assistant Editor


 We old-timers (or is it us old-timers) remember the gas gauge of the old 1541 backup program with less than maximum fondness.

Thomas Templemann wrote the first fast backup program. It was called, variously, S-COPY, GERMAN FASTBACK, and THREE-MINUTE COPY. It copied an entire disk on the 1541 disk drive in three minutes, with only three passes (Tom should have gotten rich from that program. He didn’t—but that’s another story). There are now a wealth of fast copy programs, and the time required for backups has gradually decreased. FAST HACK’EM, by Basement Boys Software, will copy a disk in about 30 seconds, and will nibble a disk in one minute. But sometimes even FASTHACK’EM seems slow.

Not to worry. Waiting in the wings is the next generation of fast backup programs. The first to be announced was GRAPEFRUIT 45 FATBURNER BACKUP. Their spokesman is a Tom Selleck lookalike: “There’s been some heavy research done on the GRAPEFRUIT 45 BACKUP and the FATBURNER PLAN. I’m talking scientific. I’m talking results. You’re going to be beautiful.” How fast is GRAPEFRUIT 45? “I’m talking copy after beautiful copy. Not untypical was Dallas Denny of Nashville. Tennessee. Dallas backed up over 45 disks in only two weeks! We’re talking class act!”

A good deal of research and development went into the production of the GRAPEFRUIT 45 FATBURNER BACKUP, and the authors are understandably proud. “We had your basic, respected, independent research laboratory try the GRAPEFRUIT 45 FATBURNER BACKUP. With success comes class, so you know I’m not going to squeeze it. What the heck!”

Other new generation backup programs are under development. Already announced are the ROACHKILL BACKUP, the SURVIVAL KNIFE BACKUP (it comes with a compass, fishing line, sheath, and sharpening stone), the C.O.M.B. BACKUP (it comes with a Free Plus-4 computer), and the CHRISTY LANE ONE-DAY-AT-A-TIME BACKUP. Rumor has it that K-TEL has plans for THE BEAUTIFUL SOUNDS OF RICHARD CLAYDERMAN BACKUP, and Ronco is working on THE AMAZING BACKUP-O-MATIC.

I have already sent in $39.95 for a 30-day supply of the GRAPEFRUIT 45 FATBURNER BACKUP. I understand I won’t be hungry and that there’s a money-back guarantee if I’m not completely satisfied.

Who Has a Computer? (July, 1986)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)

©1986, 2013 by Dallas Denny and Reggie Ramloose

Source: Dallas Denny (as “Reggie Ramloose”). (1986,July). Who has a computer? NCUG Magazine, 4(2), p. 7.


Who Has a Computer?

By Reggie Ramloose

Assistant Editor


I hired a private investigator to determine famous people who have (or would have) and have not (or would not have) used computers. He returned with the following list:

Computer People                                    Non-Computer People

Bill Buckley                                                      Ronald Reagan

David Letterman                                           Ed McMahon

David Bowie                                                     Ozzy Osbourne

John Steinbeck                                               Ernest Hemingway

Willie Nelson                                                    Johnny Paycheck

Dolly Parton                                                      Porter Wagoner

Thomas Jefferson                                            Andrew Jackson

Robert E. Lee                                                    Ulysses S. Grant

Hugh Hefner                                                      Jerry Falwell

Leonardo da Vinci                                          Michaelangelo

Clark Gable                                                         John Wayne

Bob Newhart                                                      Tom Poston

Captain Nemo                                                   Captain Ahab

James Bond                                                        Rambo

Harold Sprague                                                 Ernest T. Bass

Eddie Haskell                                                      Lumpy

Bugs Bunny                                                         Yosemite Sam

Mister Peabody                                                 Bullwinkle the Moose

Sky King                                                                Roy Rogers

Sherlock Holmes                                               Columbo

Lex Luthor                                                            Jimmy Olson

Batman                                                                 The Joker

E.T.                                                                         Godzilla

Dracula                                                                  Frankenstein’s Monster

Fred Flintstone                                                   Barney Rubble

Build a Custom Power Supply for Your C-64 (August, 1986)

NCUG Magazine (PDF)


©1986, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny (As Reggie Ramloose). (1986, August). Build a custom power supply for your C-64. Nashville Commodore Users Group Newsletter, V. 4, No. 3, p. 8.


Build a Custom Power Supply for Your C-64

Reggie Ramloose

Assistant Editor


How many of you out there in Readerland have had your C-64 go on the fritz, only to discover your power supply is faulty? And how many of you have gone slightly batty trying to figure out how to get the dad-blasted thing open? The failure rate of power packs is frightening, and is bound to get worse in these days of multiple peripherals.

Consider: do you have two joysticks, a television, a 1702 monitor, a numeric keypad, a Datassette, four disk drives, a Cardco printer interface, a printer, a printer/plotter, a modem, and an expansion board with Fast Load, S’More, and Magic Desk plugged in? You do? And you’re wondering what that burning smell is? Face it—the C-64 power pack wasn’t built to handle all that. You need to build a custom power pack—one with plenty of punch that will also free you from the vagaries of Nashville Electric Service. And here’s how to do it.

Buy a Trader’s Post and look in the used car section. You should be able to find a junker that didn’t pass MARTA inspection for under $500. Try to find one that is wrecked, but still has a good engine. And show some class. An old Cadillac with a 400 cubic inch V-8 engine would be just fine. Have it towed to your home, and place it just outside the window of the room in which you have housed your computer. Next, find a 500-gallon gasoline tank and have it installed next to the Cadillac. Fill the tank with gasoline, and connect it to the carburetor. Next, remove the starter switch from the automobile and splice about twenty feet of wire to it. Run the wires through the wall of your home. (You may have to drill a small hole.) Secure the switch somewhere near your computer. You can now start the car from your desk. VROOM! Fun, huh?

Next, remove the output wires from the alternator and run them through the wall. Find an old refrigerator in the Trader’s Post, bring it home, and remove the motor, shelves, and the fish in the freezer compartment. We will use the refrigerator to hold the components which provide the voltage conversion necessary for the C-64. Feed the wires from the alternator through the back of the refrigerator. For now, just let them dangle.

(Coming next month: a trip to the Aerospace junkyard, and a WWI surplus warehouse, as we conclude this two-part series.)

Clone Wars (December, 1986)

NCUG Magazine Pages (PDF)

©1986, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny (as Reggie Ramloose). (1986, December). Clone Wars. Nashville Commodore Users Group Magazine, V. 4, No. 5, p. 6.


Clone Wars

By Reggie Ramloose


If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, what is it? A duck, you say? How perceptive! OK then, if it walks like an IBM-PC, talks like an IBM-PC, balks like an IBM-PC, what is it? Yes, it may be an IBM-PC. But more likely, it’s a Campy Compaq, Zany Zenith, Handy Tandy, Sap­py Sanyo, or any of a host of other (increasingly inexpen­sive) compatibles. Now, is it an Apple or is it a Franklin or is it an Orange Micro? Only the Shadow knows. But does the Shadow know there is now a C-64 clone? Yes, Virginia, it’s true!

Recently, mysteriously, a machine (cleverly) called the C-64C began to appear on the shelves of your local Target store. The imposter almost fooled yours truly. But then I thought “Wait a minute! What’s going on here!” Close inspec­tion revealed the following: Gone was the sleek and sensually rounded front of the C-64! Gone was the familiar row of four function keys! Even the color was different. Gone was the familiar coffee-with-cream hue! And then I saw something which made me KNOW it was an imitation! How? Elemen­tary, my dear Watson. The price tag was higher than that of a REAL C-64! Commodore would never do that! Not the Commodore I know and love! The folks in West Chester would never raise the price without adding features. Never! And this machine had no numeric keypad. Had no extra memory.  Had no reset button. It couldn’t be a Commodore!

There is only one logical conclusion: we are dealing with a fake. Cheap, shoddy goods. So beware! Don’t settle for the cheap imitation, even if they are giving away “free” software with it. Insist upon the genuine Commodore trademark.

How to Talk Southern to Your Computer (March, 1987)

©1987, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose.”). How to talk Southern to your computer. (1987, March). Nashville Commodore Users Group Newsletter.


How to Talk Southern to Your Computer

By Reggie Ramloose

March, 1987


I have always been somewhat offended by “How to Talk Southern” books and by place mats in “Southern Cooking” restaurants which have pictures of barefoot hillbillies on them. I have always suspected they are written by Yankees, and I am not happy with Yankees who make fun of Southerners.

There is, nevertheless, a ring of truth to most “How to Talk Southern” books. Those of you who have been fortunate enough to be exposed to traditional southern dialects will know what I mean, for you will have heard non-standard usage of English from your friends, families, and acquaintenances.

I’m lucky enough to have a relative who has retained many of the traditional Appalachian speech patterns. I had occasion to visit this person— my cousin, Vestal Ramloose— last month. Cousin Vestal was fascinated with my SX-64 computer— would have been even more so if there had been a place to plug it in.

In talking about computing with Vestal, I became aware that his regional dialect and what he called my “Durn Yankee accent” led us to misunderstand each other a good deal of the time. In the interest of ethnography, I fetched what I call a Walkman and what Vestal calls a “Bitty little voice recording machine,” and captured some of Vestal’s usage:

ANALOG— As in “Put the lights out analog on the fire.”

BACKUP— Become riled, as in “Don’t get yer backup, Amos.”

BINARY— As in “I didn’t binary a thing when I went in ter town yestiddy.”

BUFFER— As in “Better not swim inna buffer Pop’ll whup you good.”

CABLE— As in “Cabe’ll tote that poke for you if you want him to.”

CURSOR— As in, “Don’t cursor Ma’ll wash your mouth out with soap.”

INTERFACE— As in “Jeb’ll just have to come interface the music.”

MODEM— As in “Cousin Luke, I want some modem ‘taters. Fetch ‘em over here”.

MONITOR— That damn ship that sunk the Merrimack in 1862.

POKE— A sack, as in “Don’t binary pig in a poke.”

Commodore 64 Guest Stars on The Judge (1987)

©1987, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (as Reggie Ramloose). (1987). Commodore 64 guest stars on “The Judge.” I’ve no record of this column ever having been published, but it well may have been.


Commodore 64 Guest Stars on “The Judge”

By Reggie Ramloose

 (The computer’s responses are messages that reside in its native BASIC programming code)


DAY 1: C-64 found in contempt of court

Prosecutor: Your Honor, the State is prepared to prove that on the night of December 24, 1974 the defendant did willfully and with malice aforethought burglarize the offices of the Democratic Party at the Watergate Hotel. Computer, are you prepared to begin?

C-64: READY.

Prosecutor: Did you burglarize those offices?


Prosecutor: You honor, the witness is evading the question by feigning emotional turmoil!

Judge: Computer, you will answer the question.

Prosecutor: Would you like for me to repeat the question?


Prosecutor: Very well. Did you or did you not break into the offices of the Democratic Party at the Watergate Hotel and steal a file containing information about then President Nixon?


Judge: The witness will answer the question!


Prosecutor: Your honor, I would like to introduce Exhibit A. This is the file in question. Computer, would you examine this and tell me whether you have ever seen it before?


Prosecutor (Petulantly):     Very well, I will open it for you. (Opens file.) Have you seen this before?


Computer’s Attorney: Your honor, I believe my client is indicating that It needs its visual aid. (Produces COMPUTEREYES device).

Prosecutor: If I may proceed. Have you seen this file before?



DAY 2: C-64 charged with DUI, Grand Theft Auto, and Resisting Arrest

Prosecutor: Computer, how much alcohol did you imbibe on the night of July 23, 1987?


Prosecutor: And then what happened?


Prosecutor: And didn’t you then attempt to steal the police car which has been marked Exhibit A?


Computer’s Attorney: Your honor, my client is trying to say it mistook the police car for its own automobile.

Prosecutor: (Grumbling.) The officer’s report states you proceeded to 8th and Broad, where you decided to stand in the intersection and direct traffic. What do you have to say about that?


Prosecutor: The report goes on to say that when the officer whose automobile was stolen reached the intersection and tried to apprehend you, you cursed at him.


Prosecutor: Didn’t you say, and I quote: (reads long statement full of expletives).


Computer’s Attorney: Your honor, my client indeed could not remember the entirety of that statement! I would like to remind the court that my client has pleated guilty to the charges. Must this line of questioning continue?


Computer’s Attorney: Your honor, my client has apparently decided to change its plea to Not Guilty. I would like to request a fifteen minute recess in order to consult with my client

Judge: I will declare this court in recess. Mr. Defending Attorney, I remind you your client is absent without leave from the US. Naval Submarine Base at Roanoke, Virginia. I will send a bailiff to provide security during the recess. Computer, do you understand that you must return to this courtroom? You must not go back to your duty station.


Judge: Court is in recess for fifteen minutes.

The Top 11 Ways My C-64 is Better Than a C-64 (ca 1991)

©1987, 2013 by Reggie Ramloose and Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas (As “Reggie Ramloose.”). (ca 1991). The Top 11 Ways My C-64 is Better Than a C-64. Stone Mountain Users Group Newsletter.


The Top 11 Ways my Commodore 64 is Better Than My PC

By Reggie Ramloose

  • It starts immediately, without having to go through a tedious Windows load process.
  • It turns off immediately, without having to go through a tedious Windows shutdown process.
  • Programs do more and are 1/100th the size.
  • The games are better.
  • It doesn’t need a graphics card.
  • The graphics are faster.
  • It doesn’t need a sound card for voices or music.
  • It costs less.
  • It has a better operating system.
  • It is rodent-free (no mouse).


But the best reason is:

11.  My Commodore does what I want it to do, and not what Bill Gates wants it to do.


(Uh-oh—just found out Microsoft wrote the version of BASIC in the C64!)