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Article #107 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine:  1-May-88 #104
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Wed Jul 28 11:05:03 1993


""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE        May 1, 1988
Issue #104    (c)1988 APEI/Ron Kovacs

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Editor in Cheif : Ron Kovacs
Asst Publisher  : Ken Kirchner
Managing Editor : Tom Reade
Technical Editor: W. Keith Whitton
______________________________________
Contents
______________________________________
|*|Editors Desk
|*|GEnie Survey Results
|*|Atari Trek '88 Computer Show
|*|ZMag Technique
|*|10 Commandments of Telecomputing
|*|Commentary on Atari
|*|Newswire
|_|___________________________________
______________________________________
Editors Desk
______________________________________
by Ron Kovacs

Along with this issue of ZMagazine we
are publishing the commentary from Rex
Reade in ST-Report Issue #33. Please
note that comments made in the article
are those of the original author and
do not reflect the opinions of this
magazine. Opposing points of view are
welcome and encouraged.

This month we start our third year of
weekly publication. Never thought it
would continue this long. Thanks to
everyone who has supported us from the
beginning.
______________________________________
GEnie Survey Results
______________________________________
Well, the results are in from the
Atari 8-Bit RoundTable survey!  They
are, to say the least, interesting.

Here are the results, by question:

QUESTION #1
===========
What is your age group?

  15 and under      2%    9 users
  16 to 20          7%   31 users
  21 to 30         27%  120 users
  31 to 40         45%  203 users
  41 to 55         18%   80 users
  56 to 65          3%    3 users
  66 and over       0%    1 user

As you can see, the vast majority of
the users are between 21 and 55 years
old.  98.5% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #2
===========
What is your sex?

   Male             98%  439 users
   Female            2%   10 users

Well, not many ladies in our midst.
98.9% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #3
===========
What Atari 8-bit computer do you use
most often?

   400               0%    1 user
   800               9%   42 users
   600XL             0%    0 users
   800XL            36%  164 users
   1200XL            1%    6 users
   130XE            53%  237 users

As this shows, the majority use the
130XE machine.  Also, from this, we
can see that 90% of the users have 64K
of RAM or more because the 800XL, the
1200XL, and the 130XE are all 64K+
machines.  99.1% of the users answered
this question.

QUESTION #4
===========
What disk drive do you use most often?

   Atari 810           5%   21 users
   Atari 1050(stock)  38%  170 users
   Atari 1050(mod)    37%  166 users
   Percom              3%   13 users
   Indus              11%   50 users
   Other               6%   28 users

From this, it would seem that the vast
majority can handle either enhanced
density or true double density (89%).
98.7% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #5
===========
What is the memory of your Atari 8-bit
computer?

   16K               0%    0 users
   48K               6%   29 users
   64K              21%   95 users
   128K             41%  185 users
   256K             21%   93 users
   320K              6%   28 users
   512K              2%   10 users
   1Mb               2%    7 users
   Not Sure          1%    4 users

This data tells us a lot.  93% of you
have 64K or more, while 72% of you
have 128K or more!  Only 1% had no
idea of what their machine was capable
of in terms of RAM.  That means that
you are a knowledgable lot!  99.3% of
the users answered this question.

QUESTION #6
===========
What modem do you use?

   Atari 1030/XM301  31%  140 users
   Atari SX212       15%   95 users
   Other Atari        5%   23 users
   Other modem       47%  215 users

From this, we can estimate the number
of 300/1200 baud users.  We know that
the 1030/XM301 and the other Atari
will be 300 baud, so that is 36%. The
rest is guess work, but a fair
estimate of 1200 baud users would be
in the range of 45%. 98.2% of the
users answered this question.

QUESTION #7
===========
If you use an interface, what
interface do you use?

   None             35%  155 users
   Atari 850        21%   95 users
   ICD unit         39%  171 users
   Other             5%   22 users

This has to make ICD happy!  This
information, along with that in
question #6, make the estimate of 1200
baud users much better.  97.6% of the
users answered this question.

QUESTION #8
===========
How long have you used Atari 8-bit
computers?

   Under 1 year       2%   11 users
   2 to 4 years      47%  213 users
   5 to 7 years      43%  195 users
   More than 7 years  7%   31 users

That's a lot of people for a long
time!  If you multiply this out, you
find that we have somewhere between
1618 and 2445 years of Atari 8 bit
experience in the RoundTable!  99.1%
of the users answered this question.

QUESTION #9
===========
What other computers do you now own
and/or use?  (more than one answer
allowed)

   Atari ST         13%   57 users
   C64/128           4%   19 users
   Amiga             2%    7 users
   Apple ][          4%   17 users
   Macintosh         3%   12 users
   IBM PC           29%  131 users
   RS Color Comp.    2%    9 users
   Large Mainframe  18%   81 users
   None             47%  210 users

The surprizing areas here were the ST
and the None categories. Relativly few
Atari 8-bit owners have STs and almost
half have/use no other machine.  98.0%
of the users answered this question.

QUESTION #10
============
For what purpose do you use your Atari
8-bit computer?  (more than one answer
allowed)

   Games            73%  328 users
   Word Processing  72%  323 users
   Home Inventory   21%   93 users
   Telecomputing    79%  354 users
   Business         23%  104 users
   Education        23%  102 users
   Art/Music        28%  125 users
   Programming      37%  166 users
   Other            15%   68 users

This is really saying that not all
Atari 8-bit owners actually have a
game machine.  It seems that many use
the computer as a serious tool. 99.1%
of the users answered this question.

QUESTION #11
============
What programming languages do you use?
(more than one answer allowed)

   BASIC            92%  408 users
   Machine Lang.    31%  137 users
   Action!          14%   60 users
   Pascal            8%   35 users
   C                13%   58 users
   Pilot             5%   23 users
   Logo              9%   39 users
   LISP              2%   10 users
   Cobol             4%   18 users
   Forth             5%   21 users
   Other             6%   28 users

To me, it was a shock at how few
people use Action!.  97.4% of the
users answered this question.

QUESTION #12
============
How do you rate your programming
skills?

   I don't program   8%   34 users
   Beginner         29%  130 users
   Average          48%  218 users
   Expert           10%   45 users
   Professional      5%   24 users

With all these average and above
programmers, you'd think that we'd
see more software coming out for the
Atari 8-Bit.  99.3% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #13
============
In what format do you prefer that
files be stored in the RT Library?

   ARC              53%  239 users
   Scrunch           2%   11 users
   Shrink            2%    8 users
   Disk Comm.        7%   33 users
   SCOPY             1%    3 users
   Other format      1%    3 users
   No compression    8%   38 users
   No preference    25%  114 users

So, ARC is the clear preference of the
users.  98.9% of the users answered
this question.

QUESTION #14
============
Do you prefer that program
documentation be:

    Part of the      41%  181 users
    compressed file

    As above, but    34%  150 users
    also available as a seperate file

    As a seperate    24%  107 users
    file only

This one is hard to call.  Just about
an even split, with the first having a
slight edge.  96.5% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #15
============
What terminal program do you use?

   Express!         72%  324 users
   Amodem           10%   46 users
   Back Talk         2%   11 users
   Home Term         2%   10 users
   XE Term           7%   33 users
   Other             6%   25 users

Looks like Express! is still the
leader in term programs.  98.9% of
the users answered this question.

QUESTION #16
============
What DOS do you use most often?

   Atari 2.0/2.5    52%  234 users
   SpartaDOS        33%  148 users
   MYDOS             6%   25 users
   SmartDOS          4%   18 users
   DOS XL            2%    9 users
   HappyDOS          1%    3 users
   MachDOS           0%    1 users
   Other             3%   12 users

Hmmmm....Looks like ICD is doing well
with Atari 8-bit users!  Ofcourse, the
old standard Atari DOS is still number
one.  99.1% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #17
============
How often do you use the RT Bulletin
Board?

   Never            12%   50 users
   Almost never     25%  109 users
   Sometimes        33%  144 users
   Most times        8%   34 users
   All the time     22%   97 users

This tells us that many of the Atari
8-bit RT seldom use the BB area. Some
of the comments that we received might
explain why.  Only 95.6% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #18
============
How many files per month do you
download from the Library?

   None              8%   34 users
   1 - 5            52%  224 users
   6 - 10           23%  101 users
   11 - 15          11%   46 users
   16 - 20           2%    8 users
   21 - 30           1%    6 users
   More than 31      3%   12 users

It would seem that almost everyone
takes advantage of the Library. Only
94.9% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #19
============
Are you an active member of an Atari
User Group?

   Yes              46%  208 users
   No               54%  242 users

Sad, but true.  99.1% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #20
============
What is your occupation?

   High Scl.         4%   20 users
   College St.       6%   25 users
   Computer Pro.    17%   75 users
   Teacher           2%    7 users
   Other Pro.       43%  195 users
   Self Employed     6%   29 users
   Other            22%   99 users

99.1% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #21
============
Have you ever ran a Bulletin Board
System on an Atari 8-bit?

   Yes              20%   89 users
   No               80%  363 users

99.6% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #22
============
When you have a problem with your
Atari 8-bit, who is the first person
that you contact?

   A friend         30%  133 users
   Your User Group  19%   85 users
   Local BBS SysOp  13%   56 users
   A GEnie SysOp     3%   15 users
   Other            34%  153 users

97.4% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #23
============
How many hours per month do you spend
in the Atari 8-Bit RT?

   Under 2          39%  172 users
   2 to 5           36%  158 users
   5 to 7           11%   48 users
   7 to 10           4%   18 users
   10 to 15          2%    8 users
   More than 15      7%   32 users

Only 96.0% of the users answered this
question.

QUESTION #24
============
Do you find the information in the
Atari 8-Bit RT to be:

   Not useful        2%    9 users
   Somewhat useful  50%  202 users
   Very useful      48%  193 users

Sadly, only 89.0% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #25
============
In general, what is your opinion of
the operation of the Atari 8-bit RT?

   Very poor         0%    1 users
   Poor              1%    3 users
   Fair              4%   18 users
   Average           9%   38 users
   Good             38%  156 users
   Very good        34%  140 users
   Excellent        13%   51 users

Again, only 89.6% of the users
answered this question.

QUESTION #26
============
Is there anything that you would like
to change in the RT?

   Yes              23%   93 users
   No               77%  304 users

Only 81.3% of the users answered this
question.

That is the end of the survey results.

As you can see, in the areas where the
users were asked for direct input on
the RT, the number of people that
answered the question dropped off
sharply.  This is perhaps due to the
idea that the users were afraid to
leave negative comments.  In
retrospect, I see that this was not
made clear at the start of the survey,
but the SysOps have no way to know who
leaves what answers.  The only
exception would be questions like #26
where you have a chance to leave
comments.  That goes via GE-Mail, so
your user address is there.  The other
25 questions are totally anonymous.

Most of the comments that we did
receive fell into one of two
topics....

The GEnie Bulletin Board is bad, or...

Atari needs to do ----------------
.

The comments about the BB have been
sent to GEnie.

Atari, in the form of Neil Harris, has
the comments about Atari Corp..

Let me just say thanks again to all
who took part in the survey.  The
data that we gathered from it has
helped us set a new course for keeping
the Atari 8-Bit RoundTable on track
and alive!

...Marty... SysOp    MARTY.A
______________________________________
Atari Trek '88
______________________________________
MAY 14-15 1988

The Atari users groups of the greater
Pacific Northwest are proud to bring
you the second annual ATARI TREK
COMPUTER SHOW.

ATARI TREK88 will be held, Seattle
Center Flag Pavilion, from 10am to 6pm
May 14th and 15th, 1988, admission
will be $3 and children under 12 free.

Admission fee entitles you to a chance
of winning one of dozens of door prize
drawings held through out the show.
There will be exciting exhibits and
displays by vendors from all across
the country and by users groups. For
further information and available
vendor participation for ATARI TREK88,
contact: Dave Hanthorn (206)232-3009.
______________________________________
ZMag Technique
______________________________________
Modifying your PR: Connection and MIO

by WK Whitton

Just as ICD has continued to support
the Atari 8 bit computer, so shall
Zmag! And speaking of ICD, how would
you like to be able to modify your PR:
Connection? "For what possible reason?
you ask. Well, it seems that there is
a problem with using Atariwriter Plus
and the PR: Connection (although of
the several Atariwriter+/PR:
Connection owners I interviewed, none
experienced this problem). When you
reload the spellchecker, the RS232
handler is also reloaded. Now the old
850 interface doesn't allow this, you
load it one time (remember that
horrid, whiny "Booooooooooop!), and
therefore there is no hassle. But
being of advanced design, the PR:
Connection will allow reloading of the
handler. So.........as you back in and
out of the spellchecker, the RS232
handler keeps reloading, thus pushing
the MEMLO up and up, and suddenly...
Kee-rash! Here's what you need to do
to an OUT OF WARRANTY PR: Connection
to alleviate this problem.

1. ___ Lay the PR: Connection face
   down on a soft surface.

2. ___ Remove the 4 Phillips head
   screws from the bottom of the unit
   and set these aside. Also, turn the
   unit over, and remove the top
   cover, placing it in a safe place.

3. ___ Note the Revision number marked
   on the upper right hand side of the
   PC board. If it is Rev. 4 or higher
   you are in luck, as this
   modification was thought of and the
   board was laid out to accommodate
   it easily! If it IS REV 4 or
   higher, please perform step 4.

If it is LOWER than REV  4, please
perform step 5. There is NO need to do
both as they do the same thing, but on
a different version of the PR:.

4. ___ Hold the PR: Connection with
   the 3 ports facing you. Look
   directly behind the port connector
   marked R2. You will observe 2
   little "silver dots", these are
   called "solder pads". They will be
   marked "R1 off".

That's just what they do, they turn
off the R1 port! Solder a 4" #22 wire
to each of these solder pads.

5. ___ Remove the pc board from its
   housing and turn it over.

In the center of the board you will
notice an IC that looks like it is
square (Its cool but square...heh
heh).

Notice one side of the chip has a dot
plainly visible on it. This is pin 1.
Count around the outside of the chip,
moving toward the right, and locate
pin 36. Solder a 6" piece of #22 wire
here, and then place the board back
into its case. Solder a 4" piece of
#22 wire to ground.

6. ___ Obtain a small toggle switch,
   and mount it in a convienient
   location on the case of the PR:
   Connection.

7. ___ Solder the two wires to the
   switch.

8. ___ Replace the cover on the unit,
   and away you go!

Here are some additional hardware
notes:

While at the PACE computer show, I
beheld something interesting on an MIO
on display there. Instead of the solid
panel on the MIO that I become
accustomed to seeing, there were two
screen-like panels to allow free
airflow. When I inquired of Tom about
the availability of these panels, he
said that MIO owners could obtain
these by getting intouch with ICD. He
only asks that you have a mental
picture of the layout of the side of
the MIO where the on-off switch is.
Tom informed me that there were two
different configurations, and thus 2
different possibilities of panels to
obtain.

And lastly, if you are the owner of an
Atari 1050, and you have upgraded it
with the "Doubler" from ICD, you know
how wonderful the high speed and true
double density can be! If for some
reason the IC installed in U10 should
ever go bad, you can obtain a
replacement by sending the original,
along with $7 to the good folk at ICD,
and they will send you a replacement.

Well, if you don't own products from
these fine folk, I trust I have shown
you that ICD provides virtually
unmatched user support in the Atari 8
bit world! You can do no better than
to purchase any of their fine
products! ICD's address and phone are:

ICD
1220 Rock Street
Rockford, ILL 61101-437
Voice: 815-968-2228 BBS: 815-968-2229

Keep those Atari's hummin!
WK Whitton (Mr. Goodprobe)
______________________________________
10 Commandments of Telecommunication
______________________________________
Author unknown

These are a few things that will help
you to be good, polite members of a
BBS system.  They are not set in stone
and there may be more that the SYSOP
has set for the system you call. Which
brings us to rule number one:

1.  Read all notices.  Including New
User notices, system bulletins and
messages left by the Sysop in the
message base to the users.  This is
where you learn about how the system
runs and when changes are made.

2.  Follow the rules.  You are a guest
in the Sysops/Owners computer.  The
Owner has a right to set the rules
just as you have a right to set house
rules for your guests.  Alot of
systems are set up for a particular
reason.  It is not polite to try to
force your way in someone else's
system.

3.  Take your time and use the menus.
Almost all BBS systems allow you to
enter something like ? when you need a
Menu.  Some also have a "panic"
command like "Menu" that brings you
back to the Main Menu if you get lost.
Most things are clear if you take your
time.  One suggestion is the first
time you get on try all the choices on
the Menus to wee what they do.

4.  Leave a message once in awhile. If
nothing else say something about
yourself.  Someone has to start
talking before a conversation get
going. I've seen a lot of
conversations on BBS systems start
with "Why did you buy a computer/
modem?".  Only going to the File
sections of a BBS is like going to a
party and sitting by yourself at the
food and eating.  Sounds kind of
strange when put that way.

5.  Keep your language and discussions
clean and legal!  BBS systems are used
by all kinds of people of all ages.
Unless the Sysop has a Smoking
section...don't  smoke.  Before you
type something ask yourself if you
would say it in Church.  That's a good
rule of thumb.  You can express
yourself without getting vulger, can't
you?  It only start the ball rolling
to worse things.

6.  Type in lower case and take your
time.  HAVE YOU EVEN TRYED TO READ
SOMETHING TYPED IN ALL UPPER CASE.
ALSO HAVE YU EEER TRED OT READ
SMETHING THT HDA ALOT OF TPYOS.  THIS
IS USUALY DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE
PERSON TRYED TO BE SUPERTYPER AND TYPE
FASTER THAN THEY COULD.  ALSO ITS A
SIGN THAT THER PERSON WAS TO LASY TO
CORRECT THE MISTAKES. Grammar is only
important to the extent that other
users can understand what you are
trying to get across.  It's not a term
paper or formal letter, but we would
all like to understand what you are
saying.

7.  Stay on the topic.  If you change
the topic, change the message header.
All BBS system message bases that
allow this.  If the message base you
are in is about ST Support, talk about
something to do with ST Support.

8.  If you find a good PD or Shareware
program upload it to the proper
section.  This is how the new programs
got there that you see.  Either
someone uploaded it to a BBS that the
Sysop calls or someone uploaded it to
this BBS.  Someone was nice enough to
see that you got it.  Alot of people
only call a few BBS systems and don't
come across programs that the others
don't have.  We are not all rich. Just
upload when you have them and use the
message base also.

9.  Don't use BBS systems that allow
stolen software.  This will hurt you
in the long run.  Do you want to see a
computer system die fast?  Then you
will have a $1000 paper weight on your
hands.  Would you work for free?

10.  Last but not least, leave the
Sysop(s) suggestions and comments
nicely.  They, like all people, do not
like to be commanded to do something,
or being cursed at, because the
download section is acting up. You can
be sure if the suggestion is worth
while it will appear.
______________________________________
Newswire
______________________________________
Captured from Delphi

835  27-APR 21:27 General Information

Atarians Rejoice (?)

From: DFSCOTT
To: ALL

This is a Computer Shopper exclusive
story.

Atari Corp. is undergoing another
corporate restructuring, but this time
more massive than before.  A division
company, to be known as Atari
Computers, is being formed.  Charles
Babbitt has been named Atari Computers
President, and Anthony Gould his Vice
President for Sales.  Although still
under the umbrella leadership of the
Tramiels, it appears at this time that
a semi-autonomous company in the
manner of Amiga Corp. is being spun
off.

In an exclusive interview, Atari chief
spokesman Neil Harris told this
reporter that Babbitt has been given
two months to form a new corporate
strategy for Atari Computers.  During
that period of time, says Harris,
Corporate leadership has ordered no
one at Atari Computers to speak with
the press.  Nonetheless, Babbitt was
cornered into releasing general
information to Computer + Software
News about a special packaging
arrangement of the Mega 4, perhaps for
sales to Value-Added Resellers.

It apparently has yet to be decided
what role current Atari Corp.
Management will play in leading the
new Computers division.  More details
as they become available.

D. F. Scott
______________________________________
A SERIOUS OBSERVATION
______________________________________
by T."Rex" Reade

Bless those Atari ST users, they are a
hardy bunch of folks.....or are they?
Have they been pushed and shoved to
their limit?  Is the time near for
these folks to say, "We are sick and
tired of being sick and tired"?

This author has been doing some
informal research for the last 23
days, in and out of all three of the
major network services CIS, Delphi and
GEnie to try and find out why the
Atari userbase is showing storm clouds
on the horizon.  Folks, the results,
although informal, are quite
surprising!

The main theme is coming from three
major areas in the userbase, (a) The
users(consumers) (b) The DEVELOPERS
(hardware & software) (c) The
RETAILER/SERVICE CENTERS.  You say,
what is going on that would have all
these folks upset?

ABSOLUTLY NOTHING!   That's right,
nothing is going on. That is the
entire problem....The thrust is a lack
of reaction to the wants and needs of
these three major areas in the Atari
Community by ATARI CORP........

FIRST, Let's take a look at the
consumer's dilemma, according to the
vast majority of messages read and
articles written, the users have been
all but forgotten by Atari Corp. some
of the user complaints:

1- Why is Atari so busy selling
   overseas while we wait endlessly
   here at home?  ATARI is a U.S.
   based company!

2- Where is this PROFESSIONAL Dealer/
   Service Center Network?

3- Why is the new software so sparse?

4- Why can't Atari perfect GEM and
   GDOS?

5- Why do we have so many problems
   with the built-in DISK DRIVES?

6- Why can't we buy the new ROMS
   (mega) being shipped in the new
   1040s and Mega STs?  Playing
   favorites?

After doing some snooping, I managed
to find a few answers to the sampling
of problems mentioned above that are
facing the users.....The answer to the
first question is PROFIT! The answer
to the second question was harder to
come by ..but this is close to what
most agreed would make a reasonable
cause, Atari, in their infinite wisdom
of being a US based Company is sending
most of the new products overseas and
therefore business people who have
done market studies find the product
unavailable except in extremely
limited quantities and therefore are
reluctant to invest in an outlet
dedicated to Atari products.  Thank
the Lord for the few hardy souls who
put up with all the heartache and
pressure. (more about the dealer
dilemma in a moment) Sparse software
has been blamed on many reasons...
actually if one MAJOR hurdle were
overcome the other lesser reasons
would be easy.  That major hurdle is
Atari Corp. itself! (we will get to
that when we discuss developers).
Skipping GDos and Gem for now, we jump
straight to a very nasty subject

....THE DISK DRIVE MYSTERIES....

I looked carefully into this one
because it is involved, here it is, as
seen by this author....

1- Too many Vendor changes (those who
   sell the drive to Atari)

2- Outrageous economization of drive
   design

3- Insufficient in-the-field knowledge
   of all the changes.

Looking at the first, there are no
less than 4 different styles of drives
in use...why?  The early SF314 with
the square eject button was excellent.
The same goes for the very early
internal drive that came with the
1040ST.  That internal drive was the
best Atari released. Why?  Well how
many of you have the "escape blues"?
You know, switch the disk and hit the
esc key for a new directory....work
every time?...not in the new
drives...what? it wont read a 10
sector format?....you mean the drive
speed is not up to par and it came
that way? Folks, these problems are
NOT products of imagination, but in
fact, were pointed out to me by
Developers and service centers from
different areas of the country.  ATARI
take note....

In trying to be fair, it was decided
to call Atari and ask a Service Tech
about what could be done with a drive
that was misbehaving, chosen was the
re-read the same drive with a
different disk, escape key problem.
Here is what we got for help....Was
connected with a "Tech" and after
explaining the problem 4X!,, He got
the idea and stated that it may be due
to loose ROM chips, (how many times
have you heard this one?), the advice
we got was to pick up the computer to
about a foot over the desk and drop
it!!!!

It was at this point that I asked to
speak to the person in charge of
service....ok we waited, (holding on)
a secretary came on the line and asked
if she could help,(explain the problem
again), she said hold on for moment.
After a few seconds a LOUD BOOMING
voice was on the other end of the
phone, obviously this fellow was using
a distorted and echo filled speaker
phone..oh well....he tried to explain
that the problem we were seeing is due
to one of three things a) Rom chips
(their favorite) b) the controller
chip c) the Yamaha chip.  The net
result was if none of the above
helped, send in the unit for repair or
exchange.  Not once was mention made
that drive may be of the newer type,
(lighter and smaller), and therefore
not totally compatable with the
machine.  He never even mentioned that
the problem may be caused by the
drive......

Allow me to clarify the new drive,
(lighter and smaller), that's how to
recognize it at a glance.....in my
opinion, it is plainly cheaper in
material and shabby in performance...a
host of messages blamed the
programmers for using weird formats
and all sorts of other reasons...I
blame the drive....after having 2
Brand New 1040s with the new Roms
delivered to me.  I went crazy with
drive problems....until I took older
drives and placed them in my Brand
Spanking New 1040s, now....all is
perfect!  Only a small number of
service Centers could tell us how
many different drive vendors Atari has
dealt with.....from 3 to 6 different
vendors.  About the new roms ...Atari
has no info for a person calling on
the phone about them.....interesting,
since I have 'em at this time.....

The MAJOR reason for slow software
releases is ATARI CORP. According to a
number of prominent software
developers who shall remain
unidentified at this time, the biggest
problem that they have is  Atari Corp.
itself....lack of communication, lack
of up to date information and most of
all a very serious lack of
cooperation and confidence on the part
of Atari to work hand in hand with the
third party developers. My opinion is,
advise Atari to be either in the
hardware or the software business but
NOT half way in both!  Best bet Mr.
Atari is to continue making your
hardware the very best there is and
start ADVERTISING and SELLING ST
products in the U.S.A.!

LEAVE THE SOFTWARE TO THE SOFTWARE
SPECIALISTS!  Mr. Developer, I hope
Atari gets the message, I fully
understand the undeniably poor
position you are in....every time you
approach Atari about a new concept or
need help with a new routine, they
give you the stonewall or a big
welcome and NO help or cooperation...
could it be Atari wants all the new
ideas released through themselves?
Does that make any sense?  You bet it
does...just ask the guy who originally
wrote AtariWriter, or get the real
story behind ST Writer or better yet
discuss this very opinion with a
developer, (off the record), you'll
get the straight story and be amazed!

What about this "new" release of micro
word this alledged super word
processor, it was dead before it was
release because it came out far too
late....Where is the "HIGH POWERED"
Thesaurus and Spell checker so heavily
touted? Too many last minute changes?? perhaps your programmers need some
business sense, or is the spellchecker
and thesaurus just more VAPORWARE?

While you are at it, ask the developer
about the horror story called GDOS and
how Atari can't find someone who
understands it well enough to write a
tutorial about it.  Or so they say....

Finally, the dilemma faced by the
Sales and Service Centers...these guys
really take the abuse.....Backorders,
Vaporware and Insults from irate
customers.....Nice things to come in
to every morning, right?....No wonder
more and more dealers are stocking
computers from the "other" companies.
One question to all the dealers we
spoke to was of all the customers you
sold the original ST to, how many are
still using an ST?  The answer was
quick in coming...."ABOUT HALF" we
asked why?.....again a fast answer,
"because Atari is busy supporting a
European market, we can't deliver here
in a timely fashion and the so called
new product development has turned
into a nightmare of Engineer dreams
and show pieces but nothing for the
consumer to buy"..."take the laser
printer for an example, it's already
out classed and over priced by some
real good name brands"!

The only new item of any consequence
has been the Mega ST....or has it? We
asked a simple question about it also,
Has the Mega lived up to your
expectations and is it a reliable
machine.....Three shops said we didn't
have enough room or time to hear about
the Mega ST...however the majority
said basically it is a good machine
but it seems Atari never really
finished it before releasing it! Also,
since it's release none of it's
potential has been made readily
available to the US market place..oh
yes, there is plenty of Action in
Europe....

Author's Note: I personally own quite
a bit of Atari Equipment and really
enjoy using it.  Where else can one
get a computer that will run the
software of three computers [1] IBM,
[2] MacIntosh [3] ST? Atari, you can
have the most advanced Computer in the
world, but if you do not advertise and
allow it to grow in the USA. To the
GIANT USA marketplace, it simply
doesn't exist! Now, with the news of
reorganization, I am faced with the
rumors of Atari Stereos and
Microwaves, ala Federated, if there is
any chance of this ..for heaven's
sake,  either change the name of the
Computer Lines or USE ANOTHER NAME!
....what's with the calculators and
propeller beanie hats with the Atari
name and LOGO on them?.......hey,
Atari, PANASONIC(c) you ain't! Or is
business THAT bad?

I get worn down with all the shortfall
going on....Just last week I was
explaining to a few folks at the
clubhouse about the wonderful things
my computer system could do...
everyone was very interested until I
told them the name...I went deaf with
the HYSTERICAL laughter in the room!
Sad......but never the less, true...
argh!  I AM one of the diehards and am
willing to make very loud noises in
hopes of someone out west (CA) hearing
me.......Never give up hope folks.

COME ON ATARI, LET'S GET WITH THE
PROGRAM SHOW US SOME REAL SUPPORT!

NATIONAL ADVERTISING FOR THE ST
MARKET THE ST IN THE USA NOW!

GIVE DEVELOPERS REAL SUPPORT AND HELP!

T."Rex" Reade
CIS - 73710,1052
Delphi - REXREADE
GEnie - REX.READE

04-29-88
Any and all opposing views are
welcome, the views or opinions stated
in the above article are not
necessarily those of ST Report or it's
staff. This article may be reproduced
only if it's entirety is unchanged.
______________________________________
Syndicate ZMagazine  Issue #104 5/1/88
(c)1988
American Publishing Enterprises
All Rights Reserved
______________________________________




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