A Look At The ADAMouse
by Ronald Collins
From N.O.A.H. Hardware Reviews
Northern Ohio Adam Hackers
Well, I have just acquired the "pivotal point" in Adam
hardware for the next few years. It's been called a lot of
things by a wide range of computer distributors, but it's only
now been made available to the Adam Computer owner. It's called
a mouse. Such an un-assuming name isn't it? Don't worry! This
one doesn't squeek, crawl under your feet or scare the daylights
out of your loved ones when seen! It's just another hardware
device... or is it?
The basic idea behind the mouse is simple. After you spend
a few minutes trying to draw a respectable looking picture with
your joystick or arrow keys you tend to wish for something
better. The mouse was a natural answer to this issue. It is a
small palm sized device with a floating ball underneath (sort of
a reverse roller controller on a different scale). You can make
any type of drawings from curves to circles, squares, etc. Just
a slight movement of your hand is all it takes. When the mouse
moves any any direction, so does your onscreen cursor!
This particular mouse is a product of THOMAS Electronics.
If you are interested in more information on the mouse, you can
write the manufacturer at 151 Devonshire Crescent, Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, CANADA, S7L 5V6. The mouse can be purchased in the
USA from M.W. Ruth and from Orphanware Business Systems. I
suggest that you call them for a current price. I found the
mouse to be very well made. It is a fully proportional mouse.
This means when you draw with it, your screen representation
won't be either elongated or squished. A tiny 8 line SmartBASIC
program is listed in the ADAMOUSE installation manual to give you
an idea of it's ability.
I received my ADAMOUSE from Orphanware Business Systems. I
wanted to do a review of the mouse as well as it's installation.
Not being a hardware person, I figured that if I could do it,
then it couldn't be too hard. The advertisements I had seen
mentioned that it would only take about 20 minutes to install
with normal hand tools. I suppose an experienced technician
could do the job in about that length of time. He'd even have
the ordinary hand tools (tools of HIS trade) on hand. To do the
entire job, I only needed 5 tools..(A) a phillips head screw-
driver, (B) a small tipped low wattage soldering pencil, (C) a
wire stripping tool, (D) an X-ACTO knife and (E) a small file.
To be honest, it took me more time to get ready to install
the mouse than it took to do the installation. I had to remove
all the devices I've added over the years such as my modem, PIA2,
auto-dialer, 256K memory board and both digital data drives. I
also had to disconnect my disk drive and keyboard cables. The
manual stresses the need to ground yourself from static charges.
I suggest that you follow the expert advice they give you to
avoid a catastrophic disaster in your memory console. The next
step is to take the console apart. It's held together with
phillips screws, so the screw-driver gets well used! Next, the
game board has to be removed, the solder connections identified
and the parts location determined. You are given simple
instructions on picking the internal location of the mouse
interface. You will find it necessary to remove 3 of the small
louvers in the case to allow access to the port after
installation. The X-Acto knife served this purpose quite well
and the file was used to smooth out the job. This was for MY
machine, and I wanted it to look NICE! The wire stripper is used
to remove a small section of jacket from the 11 wires you will
need to solder to the game board. The soldering pencil should be
low wattage to avoid component damage to your memory console.
The tip should be small so that it can solder the points without
After all this is finished, you still have to put the memory
console back together. All in all, I spent about 2 hours
installing the device. The time was well spent because it looks
almost as if it WERE factory installed! I even have an extra
joystick port if I ever need it! Now, what can I use it for?
Some Coleco programs such as AdamCALC and SmartWriter which
let you use the joystick to navigate the screen will work easy
with the Adamouse. Coleco or Adam games that don't rely on
joystick key input will also work well. If a game uses the pause
feature, it will have problems with the mouse. Games like GYRUS
and ZAXXON work amazingly well with the mouse! Under SmartBASIC,
the mouse has easily programmable capabilities.
My greatest complaint was the lack of current software
support. I guess I shouldn't feel to bad though...as a new
device, I couldn't really expect too much support. As a step
into the "state of the art", I feel that with user support, our
Adam could easily become as effective in such fields as desk top
publishing as a Macintosh or IBM. Just think of the
possibilities of a patch to PowerPaint that would provide for the
simple mouse device requirements. It would be nice to simply use
the mouse to move an arrow, let's say, to the SmartKey label, tap
the button and see the next menu. Drawing would be easier too!
Dr. Swift has done a fantastic job of making PowerPaint user
friendly based on the hardware available. Now, with a mouse
driver, the possibilities are no less than astounding!
Programming isn't my department, but as an EOS expert, I'm quite
sure Dr. Swift could make it work. While were on the subject of
DEI, what about using a mouse with GO-DOS? Those pull down menus
and such would certainly benefit! In the meantime, Thomas
Electronics mentions an upcoming program called the ADAMOUSE
GRAPHIC UTILITY. The manual states that it will have in excess
of 4000, and perhaps as high as 16,000 drawing options! WOW! In
conclusion, I leave you with a paragraph from the installation
manual Thomas Electronics distributes with the mouse....
OVER THE HORIZON
Because the ADAMOUSE has opened an entirely new area for the
ADAM, we will be constantly endeavoring to develop NEW and
SUPERIOR SOFTWARE, to take FULL ADVANTAGE of the ADAMOUSE!
ADAMOUSE CAD, and ADAMOUSE ARCHITECT, are only the start! What
about a WORD PROCESSOR, or SPREAD SHEET, driven by the ADAMOUSE!
Well, that sure does spark some interest in me! Until next
time, keep using your ADAM! It may be old, but it gets better
and better every day!