SYSTEMS communications (c) Duncan Webster JUNE 1990
Phone Call Costing Program (version 1a)
Many Bulletin Board users run up extremely large phone bills through
their use of the phone system. As British Telecom does not yet
provide itemised statements as standard, this program is hopefully a
step towards the home user being able to enter each call on this
program and then comparing his/her total with the phone bill when it
arrives. Main program Features are as follows ...
1. Contains a charge grid which can be amended from the program to
cope with any BT charge increases.
2. Holds Users Name, Address, Phone No, Area, BT Customer Reference.
3. Either automatic charge deciphering or manual at users choice.
4. Full Statement printout option (printer only) - A neatly presented
"bank statement" style printout detailing all expenditure.
5. Screen Statement option (truncated version of above)
6. "Other" option to enter miscellaneous items on statement - for
example:- Rental Charges, rebates (unlikely!).
Computer : BBC Micro Model B Issue 3 & 4 (not tested on others)
Storage : Disc Only - either Acorn 8271 or 1770 DFS (not ADFS)
(not tested on others)
Memory : 32k minimum.
Advice : Do not use on a disc with lots of other files present.
Recommended that you store this program with the other
"SYSTEMS Bulletin Board Database program" as a forthcoming
upgrade will provide a link between the two programs.
As always, I intend to maintain full support to all people who use
this program. It is known at present that Master owners might
experience problems using the "master keypad" - if you do have this
problem then please use the main "keyboard" keys until sorted.
ALL CORRESPONDENCE & CONTACT REFERRING TO THIS PROGRAM WILL BE
CONDUCTED VIA ONE OF THE FOLLOWING BOARDS ...
"RESOLVE COMMUNICATIONS" BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM.
******* (call 0582 832653) Mailbox = DUNCAN WEBSTER *******
PHASE II BULLETIN BOARD *** call 081-330-7738 (same mailbox) ***
CORRESPONDENCE WILL NOT BE HEARD ON ANY OTHER BOARD AT PRESENT.
All Enquiries & Suggestions etc. will be answered when put forward on
the Resolve board. Once logged on either leave me a message or page
the SySop (John Carpenter). I promise to answer all correspondence
(Phone Call Cost Program)
INDEX TO THIS MANUAL
SECTION 1 --- 1.1 Getting Started ................. page 1
1.2 Future Use of the Program ....... page 2
SECTION 2 --- 2.1 User Commands ................... page 3
2.2 The Charge Grid ................. page 3
2.2.1 Showing The Charge Grid ... page 3
2.2.2 BT Charges Explanation .... page 3 & 4
2.2.3 Amending Charge Grid ...... page 4
2.3 Adding Items to Statement ....... page 6
2.4 Adding Miscellaneous Items ...... page 7
2.5 Printing/Showing Statements ..... page 8
2.5.1 Printing Statements ....... page 8
2.6 Deleting Statement Records ...... page 9
2.7 Amending Default Information .... page 9
SECTION 3 --- 3.1 User Errors ..................... page 10
3.2 System/Program Errors ........... page 10
3.3 Other Notes ..................... page 10
1.1 Getting Started
You should have just one program downloaded. Firstly copy this onto a
blank formatted DFS disc (not ADFS) or alternatively - add this
program to the disc already containing the SYSTEMS bulletin board
database program. To run the program, firstly make sure that the
value of PAGE is set to &1900 (if not sure - enter PAGE=&1900 and
press <return>). To run the program enter CHAIN "PHONE" (or whatever
you have called it) and press <return>. You will see a header message
simalar to the following ...
SYSTEMS Communications VERSION 1a
(c) Duncan Webster June 1990
(phone cost management)
As this is the first time you have run the program, you will need to
create a new datafile. This process will create three files on the
disc. To create a new file just press <return> at the DATAFILE NAME
prompt. The screen will clear and print the words NEW DATAFILE RECORD
on the screen, and prompt you to enter a DATAFILE NAME. Enter a name
of your choice not more than 7 characters long. Do not include full
stops, commas or any other kind of punctuation in the name you choose.
When you have typed in your chosen name (ie. BILL) press <return>. You
will then be asked for the following information in turn with each
item appearing on the screen in turn ...
USERS NAME - enter your own full name (or the name of the phone
subscriber) ie. "Duncan M Webster"
Five lines of addresses (numbered 1 to 4) will now appear in turn.
Enter your full address. You do not have to use all the lines
provided by the computer. Just press <return> at the ones you do not
need. For example ...
ADDRESS 1 - 99 Anyroad
ADDRESS 2 - Anytown
ADDRESS 3 - Anyplace
ADDRESS 4 - Anywhere
ADDRESS 5 -
POSTCODE - Enter you postcode (ie. LE11 3DD)
AREA - Should be on your phone bill (ie. EAST MIDLANDS)
PHONE NO - Enter your phone No (ie. 0530 999999)
CUSTOMER REF - Should be on the top right of
your phone bill. (ie. EM 1234675 Q0008)
CORRECT - Check above details - if correct enter Y if not enter N
Assuming you entered Y at the last prompt, the computer will save the
information to disc, then re-boot the program in order to establish
the correct program settings. You will now see a screen simalar to
that in screenshot one, but with a READY prompt at the foot of the
screen with a flashing block cursor on it's right. The computer is
now awaiting a command. Refer to SECTION 2 for command guidance &
1.2 Future Use of The Program
Now you have created your new datafile, you will be required to enter
two items of information every time you CHAIN this program in future.
Firstly you will be required to enter a DATAFILE NAME which is the
name you chose in section 1.1 (ie. BILL). Secondly you will be asked
for a disc drive No. It is possible to run this program from any disc
surface (0,1,2 or 3) supported by a standard DFS. If you are running
the program on disc drive 0 enter 0 and press <return>, otherwise
enter the drive No. you are using. After a short pause you will be
faced with the screen described in the above paragraph and the
computer will await your command.
Now refer to the next section overleaf which will explain what
commands are supported and how to make full use of this program.
2.1 User Commands
This program is command driven only. Commands are three characters in
length with some commands having a further two character trailer. All
commands are entered in CAPITALS at the READY prompt. A list of all
known commands can be obtained by entering COM at the READY prompt and
pressing <return>. Try this and you will see a screen simalar to the
ENQUIRY COMMAND LIST
AMD DF - Amends Datafile Default Values
ADD - Add Cost Item to Statement
SHW CG - Display Charge Grid
AMD CG - Amend Charge Grid
OTH - Add Miscellaneous to Statement
SHW ST - Statement (screen only)
PRT ST - Full Statement (printer only)
DEL - Delete Phone Statement
2.2 The Charge Grid
In order to accommodate the inevitable future price increases by
British Telecom, I have designed a charge grid which can be amended as
necessary by the user from within the scope of the program. When a
new datafile is set up the computer will save a blank charge grid to
the disc. When first using the program you will have to amend the
charge grid to the current price levels (explained later).
2.2.1 Showing the Charge Grid (the SHW CG command)
In order to see the current charge grid - enter the command SHW CG
from the READY prompt and press <return>. You will see a list of
distances on the left of the screen (ie. Local, A Rate, B Rate Etc.)
and a set of price values expressed in pence (16 in all). If you are
using the program for the first time then all these values will be 0p
hence the need to modify the grid before using the program proper.
2.2.2 BT Charges Explanation
It might be a good idea at this point to explain exactly how this
program arrives at a particular charge. The first point taken into
consideration is the DISTANCE BAND of the phone call. There are five
possible rates that fall into this catagory ...
1. The "local" Rate - Calls within your local area - the phone Numbers
you ring that do not need any kind of code (ie. Dial No. Only)
2. The "A" Rate - Calls outside local area, but within 56km - the
phone Numbers that need local codes (ie. 9 or 82 etc.) before
dialling the number.
3. The "B" Rate - Calls greater then 56km in distance - the calls
you make that are prefixed with a 4 digit STD code (ie. 0530 or
0787 etc.) before you dial the number.
4. The "B1" Rate - This is a low cost "B" rate (over 56km) route used
for busy lines over 56km - for example Leicester to London.
Directory Enquiries should be able to detail you with the B1 rates
in your area.
5. The "M" Rate - The Mobile phone rate (the so called 0898 Numbers)
which is very expensive to say the least! - Distance is no object
in this case and calls are charged at 38p/min Peak rate & approx.
25p/min other times.
So there you have the distance classifications - you can usually work
out the distance of your call just by the code - the front of the
telephone directory has the necessary details. To make things more
confusing, you now have to cross reference these DISTANCE charges with
TIME BANDS (ie. when you make the call). Generally there are three
time bands currently in operation ...
1. Peak Rate - 9am-1pm Monday-Friday (most expensive!)
2. Standard Rate - 8am-9am & 1pm-6pm Monday to Friday
3. Cheap Rate - 6pm-8am Monday-Friday & All day Saturday & Sunday
So when you make your phone call - you will know two things - the
DISTANCE (eg. B Rate) and the TIME BAND (eg. Peak Rate).
2.2.3 Preparing/Amending the Charge Grid
The charge grid values in this program are expressed in PENCE per
MINUTE of your call. You will need to amend the whole charge grid to
the current rates charged by BT before you can use the program.
Enter the command AMD CG from the READY prompt and press <return>.
The computer will ask you for a DISTANCE BAND. These are as
L - Local Rate
B - B Rate
B1 - B1 Rate
A - A Rate
M - M Rate
For the sake of simplicity (?!) the program only amends one DISTANCE
BAND at a time. I will assume this is the first time you have used
the program and will therefore want to amend all bands in turn, so for
starters enter "L" (for local) at the DISTANCE BAND prompt and press
<return>. The computer will then list the current prices held on file
for each individual TIME BAND (peak, standard and cheap) under the
LOCAL distance rate. The cursor will then re-position itself for
amendment to the PEAK field.
You should now enter the COST PER 1 MINUTE of a call (of LOCAL
distance at PEAK rate). At the time of writing (21.6.90) this is 5p.
Enter the value and press <return> - the cursor will move to the
STANDARD field (this is currently 4p) and then the CHEAP field
(curretly 1p). When you have finished the last field the computer
will record the information and return you to the ready prompt.
You must now repeat the above from section 2.2.3 onwards for all the
other DISTANCE BANDS (B, B1, A & M) - Enter AMD CG again and enter the
next distance band to be amended (ie. B) and then proceed as before.
For your convienience a list of all current charges are provided below
- all prices are correct at time of writing (21.6.90).
DISTANCE BAND L DISTANCE BAND B1
PEAK 5 PEAK 15
STANDARD 4 STANDARD 11
CHEAP 1 CHEAP 5
DISTANCE BAND B DISTANCE BAND A
PEAK 18 PEAK 13
STANDARD 14 STANDARD 10
CHEAP 7 CHEAP 3
DISTANCE BAND M Note: All prices are rounded
PEAK 38 up to the nearest penny.
Should prices change in the future I will issue a message on RESOLVE
if at all possible detailing the new charges. If however I am unable
to do this then a CHARGE SHEET can be obtained from British Telecom -
just dial 100 and ask for freephone 2500 (office hours only).
Having amended the charge grid - take another look at it using the SHW
CG command and hopefully the correct information will now be
displayed. If you have used the tables provided above then the screen
will look like this ...
ENQUIRY CHARGE GRID
DISTANCE PEAK/MIN STD/MIN CHP/MIN
Local 5p 4p 1p
A Rate 13p 10p 3p
B Rate 18p 14p 7p
B1 Rate 15p 11p 5p
M Rate 38p 26p 26p