ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 8 / DECEMBER 1987 / PAGE 54:
SCADS OF CAD
The GEM-basedÂ SCADÂ lets you work on 16 drawings at once and is accurate to .001 inch. SCAD works on either monochrome or color and lets you save DEGAS-compatible pictures of drawings at any location or magnification. Images are exactly the same size on paper as onscreen, and you can define your page size up to 32 inches square. View controls include Zoom In, Zoom Out, Absolute Move, Ieft, Right, Up and Down. SCAD has loadable font styles, 128 user-defined line styles and 256 user-defined fill patterns. You can rotate items in .1-degree increments and enlarge or reduce them in .1% increments.
$99.95. Xetec, Inc., 2804 Arnold Road, Salina, KS 67401. (913) 827-0485, PRESS. CIRCLE 245 ON READER SERVICE CARD
This is what I was doing 20-some years ago:Â Â In 1985 I met John Flickenger (who owned Xetec) at an Atari users group meeting. Â I set up a meeting with him and at 18 years old pitched the idea of me writing a music sequencing program for Atari ST. He passed on that idea but was very interested in a CAD program Rich White and I had written for Atari 800 while in High School. So John hired me to write a CAD program for the Atari ST.
I believe the above paragraph was the only mention of SCAD in the press. Â I doubt the writer (Gregg Pearlman) ever got a copy or saw the app running. Â Although he might have seen it presented at the 1987 CES.
- SCAD stood for Smart Computer Aided Design.
- I don’t think Xetec ever sold any copies of it. Â I’m not sure they ever put it into production.
- At my suggestion we advertised it as NOT COPY PROTECTED. Â At that time I was annoyed by the copy protection in some of the competitive products which forced the apps to be installed in a specific location. Â My theory was that for every copy out there someone had to buy one, and that piracy was a form a free advertising.
- I think I was paidÂ minimumÂ wage ($3.35 an hour in 1986)Â plus was promised 10% of the profits. They may have paid me $4 an hour. Â Can’t remember. Â Having not sold any (or many copies) I neverÂ receivedÂ any royalties.
- I wrote it from 1986 to 1987 and dropped out of “college” because I was “too busy writing it to do my school work”. Â (If you can call KansasÂ TechnicalÂ Institute a college).
- Secretly I had enlisted Rich White to help with feature ideas and program design, although I wrote every line of code. Â Rich had gone to Lawrence KS to college. Â I would send Rich builds of the app which he tested. Once a week or more we would talk on the phone and he would tell me about bugs he found and give me feature requests. Â Rich was never paid for this help and I never told Xetec that he was helping me.
- Even now I’m quite proud that I wrote my own math routines. Â SCAD did real time reporting as you were drawing lines, showing the length of the line and the angle of the line. Â This required floating point math and the built in FPU was very slow. Â To speed it up I created my own math system using 16 bit integers which ranged from -32,768 to +32,768. Â I slipped the decimal point over so that my number system ranged from -32.000 to +32.000 and I only supported inches. Â Addition and Subtraction used the normalÂ functionsÂ but multiplication and division required me to write a custom function because 2 * 2 in my math system would be 2000 * 2000 which would give a different result. Â Complex math functions like Sin and Cos also had to be created. Â Who knows how I did that.
- I also created support for plug ins. Â I had never seen it in any other application at the time. Â I made a way for a plug-in to be pre-compiled and then loaded in at run time. Â SCAD code relied heavily on global variables. Â So the plug in had to be compiled using my same header files so that it would be able to access all of the same data and variables. Â The idea being that we could later sell plug ins that would add functionality to the application.
- I left Xetec in 1987 to move to Kansas City and work for US Sprint.
- Several years later John offered to sell me the rights to SCAD for $1,000. Â I considered it but declined.
- I wish I had a screenshot to show. Â Rich still has the program on a Atari ST emulator. Â I’ll see if I can get something from him.
UPDATE: Rich sent me some screenshots. Â Look at that detail:
Notice that the whole application takes 241k. Â The Atari ST was 512k machine. Â The Atari 1040ST was a 1 meg machine. Â 1 Meg of RAM. Â It ran at 8 MHz.