Donated By: Andrea Pierdomenico
from The Personal Computer Museum:
The PowerPad is Chalkboard’s graphics tablet. With its combination of features, reasonable price, friendly support, and wide range of software, it would be an excellent addition to your hardware.
The first thing you notice about the PowerPad is that it’s big: it measures 17 inches by 14 inches, with a drawing surface 12 inches square. It is easier to draw on than the smaller surfaces of other tablets.
The PowerPad uses 14,400 tiny digital switches to read where pressure is applied to the pad. There are 10 x 10 per inch. Unlike the surfaces of other pads, the PowerPad has no problem resolving simultaneous multiple inputs. This ability allows the PowerPad to be used as much more than just a graphics tablet: it becomes a flexible input device.
If you’ve done a little arithmetic, you may be wondering about the PowerPad’s resolution. Ten switches per inch by 12 inches equals 120 points, or pixels – not even as high resolutions as Graphics 7! However, it’s possible to design a program using the Atari’s highest-resolution screen, by “software stretching” of the resolution.
The version of Micro Illustrator ($49.45) for the PowerPad has a special feature called “Scale” that uses ,Software stretching” to let you draw pixel by pixel, even though the tablet’s resolution isn’t as high as Micro Illustrator’s.
Hardware isn’t of much use without software, but the PowerPad doesn’t come with any. However, Chalkboard offers several programs in cartridges requiring 32K of RAM for the Commodore VIC-20.