This is a nice portable computer ! It comes with a few built-in software (the 'IS' in 'IS-11' standed for 'Integrated Software'):
- P.I.P.S is a spreadsheet which can hold 45000 characters. The calculation results can be represented as graphics through pie-charts or histograms. It is also possible to declare macros which will do your common operations. Files created with PIPS can be transmitted to other computers.
- CALC is an intelligent calculator software which holds in memory all the operations for later reference.
- while EDIT is a simple editor, WP is a real processor with block editing functions and justify functions.
- COMM makes it possible to use the IS-11 as a terminal for another computer. You can thus consult databases, transfer files to or from the microcassette tape at a 9600 bauds rate.
- there is also a tool to import files from Lotus-123, Wordstar or Supercalc to PIPS.
An orignal feature is that the microcassette recorder is used as a disk-drive ! Files are indexed on the tape so you don't to have know where there are on the tape. Of course it's a bit slow but a C30 tape can hold as much as 128kb.
Above the nice keyboard there are 6 functions keys which are used in most applications to navigate through the functions. To help you visualize these, F1 through F6 are written just below the screen.
There is a ROM cartridge slot which can be used to plug-in new applications or extra ROM memory (up to 128kb). These ROM cartridges can hold from 8kb to 64kb.
CREATIVE COMPUTING wrote in September 85 :
"The operating system is so difficult to learn that by the time you get it down, the batteries run out."
I was in charge of the Japanese word processor development for the IS-11. We had to make our own Japanese Kanji character font ROM, and our own Japanese dictionary to be used in parsing sentences and automatically converting to Kanji characters. The operating system had an API for displaying Kanji, but it was too slow so we always accessed the hardware directly.
I worked at SORD Computer in the 1980''s in the USA, then in Japan at their factory in Kemegawa, Chiba Prefecture.
I did some development in Z80 Assembler on the IS-11 and IS-11C.
I wish I still had one. It was far more advanced than the Epson, or Radio Shack portables of the time. None of the US computer magazines ever spent the time to learn just how powerful and far ahead of the competing units it really was. PIPS was amazing.
I have an IS-11, which is actually working, even though the casette recorder is a bit sensitive regarding how and when the recording took place, it can be hard to read from an old tape.. I also got the I-BASIC cartridge, together with it''s manual, and in the manual that is claimed to be Microsoft Basic compliant! It is working really great though! :) I have also a WordProcessor cartridge, which is working great as well. I am looking for the System development manual, since I was playing with the thought of using this as a controlling unit for an old plastic Robot-arm I bought about 20 years ago... I will try to scan the I-Basic manual to make it available on the web, if someone is interested... So Keep up the good work and keep the old systems running!!
Wednesday 10th November 2010
Jörgen Svensson (SE)
BUILT IN LANGUAGE
Spreadsheet, Wordprocessor, Communication software