I recently purchased some hardware for my Commodore 64 to enhance its usefulness in day to day activities. Sure, my favorite modern implementation tends to be TheC64 for recreation type activities but when it comes to doing productivity, the Commodore 64, especially with the RAM Expansion Unit with 16 Mbytes really makes the pluckly 1980s home computer a rather useful thing. So, I got to thinking and searching for word processing applications. I could use geoWrite but there is the issue that PETSCII is not ASCII and there would be some format switching required. So, then I wondered… since most of what I do is in plain text anyway, when it comes to writing could I start writing something on the Commodore 64 and have it nicely transfer files over to to my Linux machines to finish and eventually publish?
I stumbled upon this thread in the Lemon64 Forum that began in 2020 and found the various suggestions quite interesting. Some of the solutions here are:
This looks to be a popular one by several in the forum. There are a couple options, one cracked version that has the “cracked by” nag screen.
And another option being a cartridge image that does require some conversion for VICE to be able to use it but this seems to have a faster start time.
To utilize this in VICE, I did have to run this command
cartconv -t normal -i interword2019beta.bin -o interword.crt -n "Interword"
This is a nice looking application, for sure and I could see myself using this to knock out some, distraction free writing.
If anyone has used the Commodore 64 in it’s heyday, they are probably quite familiar with the GOES environment and by extension, GeoWrite. I haven’t tried this yet but this looks to convert the GeoWrite .CVT format into RTF format. This could be quite handy, for sure but, although, I do enjoy the GeoWrite experience, I think the C64 40 column mode limitation does leave me a bit wanting.
This is an interesting application as it you can have it play music as you type. It’s quite the long sequence of a tune and not too bad but it did seem to make me type with more errors as I tended to type faster than normal. That is a “me” problem. I think this is worth trying out, just because it is rather neat.
You can load and save but I didn’t see a kind of file browse feature, which is unfortunate. The function keys act as navigation buttons
F1 – Next word
F2 – Previous word
F3 – Next Sentence
F4 – Previous Sentence
F5 – Next Paragraph
F6 – Previous Paragraph
F7 – Load
F8 – Save
Overall, this is quite fascinating and does require further exploration
This one is from Commodore itself and although it works well enough, it is certainly built as a minimum viable product with a maximum number six pages of text. I think this would work for many purposes, it has a nice PDF manual that can be read through but I think it lacks character. I also do not believe that it would take advantage of any REU for more text. Perhaps the others would but I am not sure about that.
Transferring the Data
There is one post that does reference how they transfer the Commodore SEQ files to their Linux machine to “beam” the documents to Evernote using RS232. I find this absolutely fascinating and it has me thinking.
I don’t believe this is two way transferring but it is getting me half way there. What would be interesting is to use one of those wifi modems for the Userport to transfer to a Linux machine and convert to something usable, even a plain text file would be great.
I have not yet used any of these applications to write anything and transfer to my openSUSE Linux machines for further processing and publishing… yet. I just happened to stumble upon them in a kind of “I wonder if” search on the internet. Perhaps, in the future, i will try this and see if I can make it work well for my particular use cases. I do think that the manual transfer would be pretty straight forward but something a bit more integrated could be much more fun.
With all the continued development that is happening on the Commodore 64 and similar products. It would be nice to use them for more than just games and entertainment. I think they have a pretty great keyboard and I would like to use them for something to further enhance my productivity in distraction free writing.
Lemon64 Forum Thread on modern C64 Word processor
TheC64 on CubicleNate.com
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