[Coladam] Let's talk about SYNTAX by FCAUG (First Canadian Adam Users Group)

Daniel Bienvenu newcoleco at yahoo.fr
Sun Feb 21 21:44:33 CET 2010

Again, I don't have all the issues but I think I can extrapolate that they started probably as soon as 1984 to publish their newletter called simply SYNTAX.

F.C.A.U.G. stands for First Canadian Adam Users' Group and the headquarter was established in Westmount (Montréal), Province of Québec, Canada.

Like the U.K. journal I've talked about earlier, the cover (first page) is made of a word written in big letters (here it's the word SYNTAX all in capital letters, probably in a bold Arial Narrow like font) and then the list of contents. At the bottom, we can read the postal address of FCAUG :

First Canadian Adam Users' Group
P.O. Box 547, Victoria Station
Westmount, P.Q. 
H3Z 2Y6

page 2 - The first thing is the introduction which talk about what is in the issue, why it may have been delayed, "continuing the support is essential", and use what I consider catch phrases like "Let SYNTAX be THE voice of the Adam user."

page 3 - The editorial (of sorts), like in the issue March '85 they talk about the letter from Coleco Canada stated clearly how they deal with the ADAM since they announced that they were dropping the line. 

I don't know what it is but something called Dale Integrated Service Centres is refered by FCAUG as a good place potential to find things like Coleco ADAM stuff and electronics. I did find also a list of phone numbers and I did realized that they was established practicaly in all major cities in Canada. It appears that Dale Integrated Service Centres head office was in Toronto but they was present coast-to-coast in Canada, and this is the list of towns where they was : Maritimes (Dartmouth), Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto East, Toronto West, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria. So, I suspect that many of you already knew about it.

page 4 - Well, it's not always the same but it's usually the complement of the editorial.

page 5+ - There is a Questions and Answers section -or- a letters section. Many good questions are answered like how to make backup of Coleco ADAM softwares. Some questions are related to the reality of Québec, like if it's possible to use the tax planner software to fit the reality of the province of Québec, and if it's possible to get support in french or a translation in french of some softwares like a word processor or spellcheck.

The next pages are sometimes used to teach something like what you should know about SmartBASIC or modem.

Then it's a big review section about hardware but mostly about software, particulary about games (old and new ones).

Here and there we can see advertisements of coleco Adam hardware and software suppliers. For example, there is one from "Martin Consulting, Winnipeg, Manitoba" offering cassettes of various contents for about $40 each, like 15 programs called "Bonanza!" or strange exploration of artificial intelligence with 4 programs called "Adam Thinks", and 3 programs of role playing games called "Fantasy Gamer".

And at the end, we can find generally listings from members of the newsletter, including programs coded by (I guess) french canadians. Some listings are tiny, like this one used to center a string like a game title in pure text :

10 PRINT "Centering": PRINT
20 INPUT a$
25 s = LEN(a$)
30 FOR i = 1 TO (76-s)/2
40 PR #1
41 PRINT " ";
50 NEXT i
60 PRINT a$
65 PR #0
70 GOTO 10

I suppose I should mention that they mention usually who did put together SYNTAX. Here is a list : Pete Kopystecki, P. Belanger, Bob Kittle, J.D. Moore, Winston Smith, Ron Saunders.

I did wanted to end this message by finding something written by someone I know, but the only thing I've found is a reaction by Jack Reedy (REDDY SOFTWARE) about a review in SYNTAX of their Entertainment Pack.

"Dear Mr. Moore,
I just received SYNTAX 2.2 and it looks really good. It certainly has a lot of useful information for ADAMites.
I felt the review of our Entertainment Pack was well done, but I do question a couple of things. You mention that Slide Puzzle is great for very young children who are just starting to count. I think this game is quite difficult (especially if you haven't played it a lot) and can't quite picture too many kids solving it. Another thing that botherd me was that although the whole review sounded positive, the last sentence reads, "ayone looking for more games won't be too disappointed. To me this is a negative conclusion saying that I, as the user, will be a little disappointed but not much. Overall, I thought it was a good review tough. Maybe I'm just nit-picking on these two points.


I regret for neglecting to quantify the phrase : very young children. To me, this includes childs in the 5-8 age group. The statement is not meant to question the difficulty level of the game but to imply that these are the users that will derive maximum satisfaction and challenge from solving the puzzle. The educational value of the program and the superb graphics are certainly distinguishing features of this fine game.
It was not my intention to end the review on a negative note but to conclude that this set of game programs as adaptations of familiar games will have a somewhat limited appeal. This is not to be misinterpreted as a knock on the games as their superiority was clearly highlighted throughout the review."


More information about the Coladam mailing list