First Basis User Group|
Newsletter Issue 12, page 2
by Bill Cook, President FBUG, New York, NY
DOWN-UNDER Basis: We have received a letter and several newsletters from the Brisbane Medfly Users Group. Brisbane is in Australia. The Medfly is a Basis 108 (clone) made by a Basis subsidiary in Hong Kong. We understand that it consists of the A4 motherboard from Germany assembled in a plastic case with an attached keyboard.
From the newsletters it seems they are having the same problems we are with communications through the serial port. We hope to receive further newsletters, and are sending them our newsletters in exchange. If you wish to correspond with them, write Dr. K. J. Walker, (adddress omitted,) Coopers Plains, Queensland, 4108 Australia.
The following is quoted from Dr. Walker's letter:
"We are interested in making and maintaining contact with other users groups both in Australia and abroad. We see this as likely to be mutually beneficial through the exchange of skills and information. At present, we are working on various communication protocols for file transfer through to and from mainframes - and would be very interested to hear from others who have succeeded. We are aware of the facilities provided by Softerm, but are anxious to modify Modem7 in particular, for obvious reasons. One of our members has also developed a 40-track DOS 3.3, which he markets quite cheaply. We are interested in other options for further increasing disk drive capacity."
If you are interested in writing to the Medfly factory, the address is:
Note: Remember, Basis is no longer in business.
Basis Microcomputers, Ltd.
First Basis User Group
Through a business associate in Hong Kong, the Lettenmayers learned in early 1983 that an imitation Basis 108 was being manufactured in Taiwan. They went to Tiawan and paid a surprise visit to the factory. They found that the pirate version was a pretty good imitation but was flawed by the use of an imperfect copy of the Basis A3 motherboard.
They were able to strike a deal with the Chinese manufacturer through which a joint company was set up. The new company began making this economy version of the Basis with the A4 motherboard imported from Germany and with the other bugs cleaned out. Speaking of bugs, the name Medfly was chosen with apparent reference to the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, which at that time was giving the area around Silicon Valley lots of trouble.
The Medfly doesn't look like a Basis 108. It has a similar case made of formed metal. The disk drives are not built in. The familiar A4 motherboard with its 7 slots is accessible through a door in the top of the case. The back of the case has the same ports and holes. The lower front of the case is recessed to fit the back of the separate keyboard, much like the Macintosh.
The keyboard arrangement differs from that on the familiar Basis 108, although it retains all of the same keys. There is a numeric pad as on the 108. The cursor control keys have been positioned on the lower right of the alpha keys, and the delete left and right keys are on the lower left. The fifteen function keys are still above the alpha keys, but without the separating bar. The feel of the keys is different, but not disagreeable.
The Medfly computer has become very popular in Australia. Recently, Basis began to ship the Medfly to mainland China. We even understand that there is now a Japanese pirate version known as the DoLingo.