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Article #120 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine:  3-Aug-88 #117
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Thu Jul 29 10:01:26 1993


                     ZMAGAZINE WEEKLY ONLINE MAGAZINE
                        Wednesday, August 3, 1988
                                Issue #117

                   AMERICAN PUBLISHING ENTERPRISES, INC
                            Post Office Box 74
                       Middlesex, New Jersey 08846

               PUBLISHER    MANAGING EDITOR    ZMAG EDITOR
               Ron Kovacs     R.F. Mariano     John Deegan

ZMag Hdqts North   ZMag Hdqts Midwest   ZMag Hdqts South   Zmag Hdqts West
 (201) 343-1426      (216) 784-0574      (904) 786-4176    (916) 962-2566
=========================================================================
ZMagazine available exclusively on the following services:
                     * CompuServe * GEnie * Delphi *
=========================================================================
                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

<*> Deegans Desk                   <*> Another One Bites The Dust
<*> Atari Scuttlebits              <*> Tips For Online Game Writers
<*> 130XE Console Key Fix          <*> GEnie Offers Ymodem Transfer
                           <*> ZMag BBS Systems

**************************************
DEEGANS DESK
**************************************
by John Deegan (Editor)

Here comes the slowest period for BBS systems and the services.  Slow 
activity is expected as the summer begins it's 1988 close.  I hope you all 
are enjoying your vacations and any time off!

A few weeks ago we included a survey request, I have received approx 13 
responses, I am really looking forward to seeing more!! So, PLEASE!! Let 
us know your thoughts on ZMAG going to a hard copy format.  To get in 
touch with ZMAG directly, you can call the LAUNCH PAD BBS at (201) 343-
1426.  Ron Kovacs will be there if you want to leave any feedback.

A note for the Carina fans about the articles we printed over the last few 
weeks.  Last weeks response written by Jim Stiles did NOT bring a single 
response from the people commented on.  Perhaps the article produced the 
missing facts or back-up to previous comments made by Zmag.  It is 
interesting though that no comments have been made.

In this issue:  Bob Kelly (Ctsy Current Notes) reports on the financial
status of Atari Corp, Console Key fix for the 130XE (ctsy of AtariTech
BBS) and much more....                                

Thanks for reading!!


======================================
Another One bites the dust!
======================================
by Gordon Totty      [CIS: 73157,1212]

I did it.  I crossed over the line, fell off the wagon, gave up the faith,
succumbed to temptation, sinned in my heart (but not like Jimmy, this
time), slipped on one of life's little banana peels, flew the coop, went
over the wall ..... yes, all of this, and more.  There are so many ways
to leave your lover, as Mr. Simon pointed out.  Before you criticize me,
though, answer where were you when I needed you.  I faced this crisis all
alone, and through my cursed weakness of flesh and meanness of spirit,
failed.  Yes, another eight-bitter bites the big bits, because I bought a
1040ST.

That's why I haven't been around much lately.  I have changed my habit
patterns.  I've been burning a lot of midnight oil playing with a mouse,
and trying to coax it to do tricks for me.  Too often, when I point at
something particularly interesting and bang the little fellow on the head,
the computer bombs out.  I have created displays of up to ten bombs for
one tiny infraction.  But I'm having fun!

While I am still very new to the 1040, it might be valuable to my friends
still residing entirely in eight-bit land to read a few of my first
impressions.  Among these are...

The 130XE still seems to have a better keyboard for typing, at least with
respect to the "feel" of the keys.  Neither keyboard, by the way, has a
little raised bump on the "f" and "j" keys, something IBM and others
offer.  This is a nice touch for a touch typist to use to locate the home
row keys with tactile assurance.  I solved this on both computers with a
small bit of tape on the two keys.  It is amazing how little it takes to
send a signal through the fingertips.

The ST has many more keys for many more uses, as I am sure you know, but
also has the advantage of placing the apostrophe to the right of the
semicolon, just like IBM and others.  This is the biggest stumbling block
as I move from one computer to the other.  I have to stop and think every
time I make a contraction or possessive.  Other key assignments differ,
too, but none cause me the problem of the apostrophe placement.

I suppose I should be embarrassed to admit that I did not know that the
ST's three screen resolutions were not all available in color. The highest
resolution is not.  One of the things that motivated me to buy an ST was
looking at a monochrome display of a word processor running on an ST.  I
was stunned at the clarity and crispness of the display.  I leaned closer
and peered through my bifocals to study each letter closely. I was looking
for the fat pixels and the spaces between them, and saw none.  "Wow!" I
said, and that summed it up.  Double wow.  It was beautiful.  It is also
nonexistent on the color monitor.  My early impression is that letter for
letter, and considering that the 80-column display makes letters smaller
than the 40-column display, I am experiencing a sensation of no better
resolution doing word processing on an ST compared to my 130XE.  This is
a very subjective assessment, possibly influenced by bifocals and false
expectations based on the monochrome display, so please don't write in to
snow me with technical data.  I merely caution those of you who have not
crossed the big divide to consider the importance of this to you before
you jump, and do some good A/B comparisons to experience it first.  Avoid
being disappointed like I was. Then jump; it's still worth the trip.

As for resolution, the ST's medium resolution mode is weird!  There is a
distortion where the vertical is exaggerated relative to the horizontal.
Things look tall and skinny, distorted -- there's no better word for it.
This is another disappointment.  It does not show up in a lot of the
commercial software as they appear somehow to compensate for this in the
graphics, but text is another matter.  I see this distortion in the text
of my word processor, though not quite to the degree as it appears in the
icons in the initial screen.

Speaking of software brings me to the major advantage of the ST.  The
programs are, largely, awesome.  I am amazed to remember the days of the
400 with its 16K limit, and contrast them to today's ST software.  It is
nothing for these programs to use 200K, 300K, or more!  I even have a
couple of demo disks that will not run on an unexpanded 520ST.  And,
splurging on the bytes shows in what you see on the screen and what you
can do.  Thank goodness for the cheap chip.

I'm going to stop here with that train of thought, as my intention is not
to do a complete comparison (what would be the point!), or even to do a
complete catalog of what might be right or wrong with the ST.  I have
shared with you what I intended: the most important of my first
impressions. Unfortunately, some were strongly negative, but I am glad to
be an STer.  Overall, it is quite a machine!

As of this writing, A.N.A.L.O.G. owes me 16 issues, as I renewed just as
they ran into "printing difficulties".  I am still wondering if the main
printing difficulty is getting cash to the printer.  So, while looking
around for something else in which to read about the ST, I came across ST
X-PRESS.  By all means, get a copy of this magazine if you haven't seen it
yet.  It is jammed with ST news and reviews.  The two issues I have seen
are each about 80 pages long, and this is 80 pages of nearly uninterrupted
text.  So far, ST X-PRESS carries very little advertising.  ST X-PRESS
just celebrated the end of its first year of publication, and I hope my
favorable comments haven't given it the "kiss of death."

My regular readers (i.e., honey and the kids) will remember that I wrote a
glowing review of Home Computer Monthly, just in time for that publication
to die.  In fact, my review may have been written after their last regular
issue, although they did finish out my subscription with some less
professional product.  I am not complaining; they were honorable and paid
off their obligation to me, which is much more than I can say about a
certain not-to-be-named furniture dealer in North Carolina who took my
deposit with him into bankruptcy court, and then sent me discount coupons
in case I wanted to buy from his reconstructed company again!  And that,
friends, is what a southerner taught a northerner about the evils of
reconstruction.  End of history lesson.

There are bargains galore in the Atari software market. It's scary. Seems
like people everywhere are practically giving away the 8bit stuff, which
I am still buying.  Rumor has it that unfavorable announcements about the
Atari market were made by Electronic Arts and Infocom.  I won't repeat
any of them as I have heard and read different versions of each.  These
rumors may have started another round of dumping.

I was elated and depressed (a dangerous condition, I assure you) by a
recent ST software sale.  A local merchant decided to no longer stock ST
software or hardware.  Sales personnel told me two reasons.  First, they
are very upset over what they said Atari is expecting from Mega dealers. 
According to them, Atari was demanding that they attend a two week seminar
at their expense, and buy a tool kit costing about $3000.  The tool kit
upset them more than the trip to the seminar.  Second, they said that the
Atari software took up too much shelf space.  Ouch!!  This store stocks
Apple software, as well as Amiga and IBM.  I think that the comment can
only mean that proportionately they are making more per foot of shelf
space on the other stuff, and believe the space devoted to Atari is holding
the store's profits down.

I will not name the store, as I might not have heard what I was told
correctly, or I might have misinterpreted the significance of the comment
about Atari software.  For whatever reasons, however, this store ran one
heck of an Atari sale --- 70% off all software.  My elation, tempered by
sadness at seeing another one bite the dust, came from my just happening
to walk into this place at just the right time.  The sale had just begun;
the ad had not yet run!  (Good Lord, poetry too?)  I immediately grabbed
about seven titles plus a book off the shelves, and went back the next
morning to buy six more titles.  A buyer's bonanza.  It felt good, but I
hope I do not see any more of this.  Come on folks, I just got here!!! 
Let's stay in business, shall we?

One thing that hurt was my budget.  I walked away from a laser printer for
less than $1,000.  And I had to swallow an urge to say, "I'll take all of
the software!"  Wouldn't I have been a hero on rummage sale night!  Or
swap night, or whatever it is that we call my favorite meeting night.

Last thought for this month:  Are you an "Atarist" or an "Atarian"?  I'm
seeing Atarist showing up in publications lately.  I prefer Atarian,
because it preserves the Atari name, both when pronounced and when read.
I hope this doesn't turn into another group splitting debate, like eight
vs. sixteen you-know-whats.  I plan to continue using both computers, and
have already installed a data switch for both to access my printer.  As
for the names, whichever you choose has got to be vastly preferable to
being described by as ugly a word as "Michigander".  Good grief, I'd
rather be goosed!

P.S.  Drop me a line on CompuServe, or on GEnie (GORDON-TOTTY).  I'd love to
get some reactions to my written rantings.  Since my very first submission,
when Anne McBain Ezell called me at home, I never know if I'm wasting your
time or not.  As for me, I usually smile when I see my articles printed
(ego trip!), then fly into uncontrollable rage if the editor changes a
comma (BIGGER EGO TRIP!!).  That's not enough psychic income, folks,
which may be the real gripe when people say volunteer work is "thankless."
Please understand that I'm fishing for feedback, not just strokes.  So,
feedback, please.

======================================
ATARI SCUTTLEBITS            Bob Kelly
======================================
Atari Market Happenings .......

I.  Annual Report:

In mid-May, as an Atari stock owner, I received the 1987 annual report. 
Some investors will tell you that a firm's annual report is largely a
propaganda exercise.  This simply is not correct.  The reports are
required to present general financial data in compliance with Federal
statutes that are of value and interest.  The table below, from the 1987
annual report, lists the major stockholders and salaries of those running
the corporation.

   Common Stock Ownership* and the Five Highest Paid Executive Officers

                         Amount
Name                     (millions      Percent    Dollar    (1)
of Owner                 of shares)     of Stock   Compensation

J. Tramiel               25.3           43.9%       ---
Warner Comm, Inc.        14.2           24.6%       N.A.
Sam Tramiel               1.1            1.9%       211,798
Leonard I. Schreiber       .220         ---
Samuel Chin                .193         ---         158,207
Gregory A. Pratt           .177         ---         157,632
Michael Rosenberg          .050         ---
Taro Tokai                  ?           ---         198,720
Steven Kawalick             ?           ---         109,618

* As of April 11, 1988
(1) Compensation includes salaries, bonuses and employer contribution to
life insurance policies.

There are some unfamiliar names presented in the table.  Mr. Chin is a
Vice President and served as General Manager of Atari's Taiwan
manufacturing facility from 1985 to 1987. Mr. Schreiber is, in essence,
Jack Tramiel's personal counsel while also a member of the Board of
Directors.  Mr. Pratt is the Vice-President for Finance/Chief Financial
Officer for Atari.  Mr. Rosenberg is a member of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Tokai is the Vice-President and General Manager for Atari, Japan. Mr.
Kawalick is Atari's Treasurer.  Except for Mr. Kawalick and Mr. Rosenberg,
all senior executive officers at Atari worked for Commodore Ltd., at one
time or another.

A few of the more interesting facts/claims presented in the 1987 annual
report are:

<*> Federated stores' operating losses are expected to continue for the
    first three quarters of 1988.  By year end, Federated is projected to
    achieve break-even by Atari.

Comment:  The fourth quarter holiday sales period is the critical variable
in this projection.  In essence, Atari's overall growth in the price of
its stock by the end of 1988 will largely depend upon the speed of
Federated's recovery.

<*> Research & Development outlays, as a percent of sales, declined from
    6% in 1986 to 5% in 1987.

<*> In West Germany, Atari computers represent 10% of the total market for
    computers selling over 1000 Deutsch Marks (roughly equivalent to U.S.
    $600).

<*> In Switzerland, the Atari ST's share is about 30% of the educational
    market.

<*> In the United Kingdom, Atari sales accounted for some 40% of the 16
    bit computer market.

<*> In the U.S., over 1000 schools use ST's for math, reading, and
    language skills.

In 1987, Atari's revenue (net sales) from the electronic products division
(computers) was $362 million and for retail operations (Federated Stores)
$131 million yielding a total of $493 million.  The operating income was
$72 million for the electronic products division while Federated stores
experienced an operating loss of $6.4 million.  Interestingly enough, of
the total $493 million in revenues, $267 was generated in North America
with Europe's share amounting to roughly $204 million.  Europe's revenues
were all computer related while Federated sales of $131 million must be
deducted from the U.S. and Canada net sale figure to be somewhat
comparable.  Thus, as best can be determined, European computer sales were
roughly $50 to $65 million more than those of North America.

Finally, earnings per share for the electronic products division alone
rose from 53 cents in 1986 to 80 cents/share in 1987, an increase of 51%.
Considering this performance, one would expect Atari's current stock price
to be on the rise.  However, it remains below the average of $10 7/8 for
the week prior to the Oct. 19, 1987 crash (as of early June the price per/
share ranged between $7 & $7 1/2).

II.  Glasnost and Atari:

A U.S. firm will be the first to publish a personal computer magazine in
the U.S.S.R.  The magazine to be printed in the Russian language will be
under the editorial control of the publisher of PC World - IDG.

The first issue of the magazine is scheduled for publication this month
and will cost the equivalent of U.S. $3.20 per copy.  Currently,
the number of PC users in Russia is small and little information about
computer developments is transmitted to the general population.  About a
third of the magazine's content will focus upon developments in Russia
with the remainder covering the U.S. and European computer markets.  The
first issue is expected to be a run of 50,000 copies.  The Soviet staff
of the magazine will consist of seven writers and editors.

What does this have to do with Atari?  Atari will advertise in the
magazine.  The other companies planning to advertise are:  Ashton-Tate,
MicroSoft, and Siemens.  The first issue will be about 150 pages with 20%
of the available space devoted to the advertisers.  Ad space is not cheap.
This looks like a major long-range marketing effort by Atari.

The ultimate goal of this initiative, according to an unidentified Atari
spokesperson, is for every computer classroom and factory in the U.S.S.R.
to have an ST on the desk and a picture of Jack on the walls next to Lenin
and Gorbachev.  Za Zaslugi, Nagradit' Tramiela Dzhaka (Ordenom Lenina).

III.  Europe, Midi, and Atari:

The Financial Times of London recently reported that the European recording
industry is experiencing financial difficulties.  Recording studios in
Hamburg, Paris, and London are being forced out of business.  The problem
stems from the introduction to the music world of the personal computer
and the midi interface.

During the 1970's and up to the mid-1980's, recording artists did most of
their rehearsing in record company studios.  The ratio of rehearsal time
to actual recording time was on the order of 6:1 (usually measured in
months).  However, in the past few years, an increasing number of
recording artists are conducting their rehearsals at home with the aid of
a personal computer, midi interface, and music design software.  Some
studios faced with the loss of the rental income from rehearsals have
attempted to lure artist back by purchasing the latest, most sophisticated
computerized recording technology.  This has stretched the finances of
many companies.  Lately, the major European studios have been reducing
their prices in an attempt to draw back former customers.  The smaller
companies, unable to purchase advanced recording equipment owing to
capital constraints and the inability to significantly reduced prices have
but one option available - close their doors.

By the way, the home computer which dominates the European recording
market is ... the Atari 1040.  Now, you know the rest of the story and
why Atari assigns such a high priority to attending the Midi Expos in
Anaheim and New York in September and December 1988.

IV.  Video Games:

A quote from a recent article in Advertising Age:

"The demand is greater than supply, and the demand has stayed much
stronger than expected . . . Last year, the majority of U.S. sales came
from video games."

The speaker was Michael Katz, President of the Atari entertainment
electronics division.  What he is really saying is the U.S. public's
perception that Atari is a video game company is CORRECT.

Total video game sales in the U.S. in 1987 amounted to roughly $1.1
billion and Atari has about 16% of the market based on dollar sales
(market share is 35% for the number of game units sold).  Nintendo has
about 70% of the market based on dollar sales and between 55 and 60% when
calculated on unit sales.  The best "guestimate" is that XE game related
sales accounted for roughly $140 to 170 million of Atari's total revenue
in 1987.

Atari has hired a new advertising firm to help market its video games. 
The XE game advertising account is valued at roughly $10 million.  Note,
the Atari computer division is without an advertising agency in the United
States.  I leave you with this fact to ponder and its implications for the
priority assigned by Atari to Mega and ST sales in the U.S. for the
remainder of 1988.  Enjoy the rest of your summer and minimize the time
on that computer till fall.

That's all for now folks.........


======================================
Tips for Online Game Authors
======================================
by Jeff Kyle, ACORN

I suppose everyone's been noticing a lot more games on their favorite BBS
lately. What with the release of Carina II and BBS Express Pro, there are
bound to be more and more games available to play on your logon. And of
course, as will always come when there is such a market, there is the
inevitable dreck. I'd like to offer some tips to the aspiring authors to
help raise their games to popularity.  I'll start off by discussing three
different BBS programs and how they handle online games. Of course, the
"big two" right now are BBS Express Pro (hereafter Pro) and Carina II
(hereafter Car2).

Here in Rochester, NY we have a third that is more popular (in terms of #
of BBSs using it) than the other two combined, that is the beta test Puff
BBS II (hereafter Puff II). I'll make notes of how the three compare from
a game author's point of view.

Carina II offers a nice way to write games, just by using a MOE (Modem
Operating Environment). Simply put, MOE lets the programmer write their
game simply writing to the screen like normal, except that when it is run
through MOE, the text is sent through the modem and the modem user can
send data back as if he was right there typing it.

Also, it allows the programmer to easily imbed the person's name,
password, or other stats into a print statement through a few simple
commands. CarII also offers a few extra features of the MOE, that allow it
to do such things as easily center text, depending on the user's screen
width. However, they have to error trap for loss of carrier and sometimes
other modem occurances.

Pro uses by far the most difficult method, in that the programmer must use
many special commands and calls in order to send or recieve bytes to/from
the modem. This makes it virtually impossible to write one in Basic, so
all Pro games have been written in Action or ML. 

Since it is so difficult to easily use the modem, the quality and
sophistication of the games often suffers on Pro.  Puff II uses a MOS
(Modem Operating System) that basically performs the same task as CarII's
MOE. It also has many built-in features to display various statistics as
well as quick access to most stats.

For instance, the programmer can even use a Position statement and the MOS
will automatically use the correct cursor movements to perform the
function. It also automatically supports the VT52 cursor positioning. In
addition, the MOS also automatically traps for a loss of carrier as well
as any other problems.  Now for the actual tips on writing em!

First off, TEST the programs, again and again. Try all things that the
user might try and make sure that it doesn't cause an error and trap the
user somewhere in the BBS. If you are using a high score list, make sure
that your routine properly functions and doesn't die if the high score
file is gone. And also test to make sure that it works online and doesn't
die when played over the phone.

Secondly, make it USER-FRIENDLY. Tell the user what they're doing and how
to do it. Make sure that it is easy for the person to exit to the BBS
easily if they want to logoff. And if you know of any problems that might
influence the user, tell them about it so they'll know what to expect. You
should also often have instructions somewhere in the program, so the new
user can know what they're doing.  Another aspect is SPEED.

The users are tying up their phone lines to play your game, they don't
want to have to sit and wait. One of the worst things to appear in online
games is the DELAY loop. Different people have different speeds, so the
faster the program can go, the better. This doesn't mean the program has
to be in ML, just that it ought to never leave the user sitting. Basic is
usually fast enough for most games. If you have something that the user
should read, and then you're going to clear the screen, just put in a
"Press Any Key" prompt, rather than a delay loop. This way, the person can
read it as fast as they want. I've been a little wordy here, but I can't
stress enough that your programs should be able to run as fast as
possible.

Another thing that can help a game is LOOKS. If a game looks good, people
would rather play it than an ugly game that does the same thing. Cosmetics
are important, and you should quickly decide if you want to have ATASCII
character graphics. Some games don't need it (straight text games),
others pratically scream for ATASCII. If you DO opt for ATASCII, you
ought to have a flag in the program to check whether the user in in ASCII
so you can have it be able to work correctly in both translations.

Another thing is if you're writing for a BBS with many ST users it's
always nice to have support of VT52 cursor movement. In fact, if you've
decided to make it ST VT52 as opposed to regular VT52, you can include
delete and insert lines, as well as color text which makes things
interesting.

An extension of speed is the way your program UPDATES the screen. If you
can, it is usually better to use cursor positioning to update the screen
instead of redrawing it. Also, plenty of clear-screens are nice as
opposed to your text going off the bottom.  More and more games are saving
the top X high scores. This brings up the problem of whether to allow a
person to have more than one score or not. I think that if you're saving
the top 20, unless your program will be on a very populated BBS, you don't
have to worry about one person hogging the scores. However, when saving
the top 10 or 5, it's very easy for one person to dominate the list.
That's when you should only allow one score per person. Another nifty
thing to try to do with a high score list is put everyone's names in lower
case, so as opposed to seeing, say JEFF KYLE on the high score list, you'd
see Jeff Kyle which looks nicer.

Another basic idea is your CONCEPT. There are games that should and games
that shouldn't be online games. Some obvious games that are fun online are
word games, such as Hangman and Lingo, and games that are simply too
boring to make a game worth playing, such as Russian Roulette, Guess the
Number, or Computer Mindreader, and the card game War. Other card games
and board games often make fun games.

A key thing is PRACTICE. A nice way to begin writing online games is
translating them from other computers. A good way of doing this is by
going to a bookstore and picking up a copy of a Microsoft Basic game book.
I use Basic Computer Games, More Basic Computer Games, and Tim Hartnell's
Giant Book of Computer Games. All three have many nice games that many of
which will translate into good games. My games of Wumpus II, Four in a 
Row, and Calvacade of Puzzles were translated from Microsoft Basic.

One thing that helps after you've got the program up and running with
people playing it is to get FEEDBACK from the users. Ask them what they
like and what they don't. Their input can be very valuable towards how
popular and often-played your programs turn out to be.

After you've read all this rambling on, I hope you've thought of some
things you can do to improve any online games you might be thinking about.
I hope this will help some people with their game writing, and "if at
first you don't succeed, try try again"...that's the best advice. After
mastering translations, go for some originals.

So far, I've written SpuddoDOS 4.1 (a joke program), The Noose, Mixed,
and Twenty-One! from scratch. It takes a while longer, but it's worth it
to see people up there having fun playing your games and vying for the
high score. So get out there and write some games!

======================================
130XE CONSOLE KEY FIX
======================================
     
The Atari 130XE is one of the BEST 8-bit computers available today. But
as with all computers, it does have a few small "warts".  One of these
is the keyboard itself, the console keys in particular.

The type of keyboard used is known as a "Low-resistance contact", the
resistance being about 1000 ohms or so.  As you use the keyboard, the
resistance of the contacts tend to go up.  For the regular keyboard and
the RESET key, this increase in resistance causes no problems. But the
console keys (OPTION, SELECT, and START) are read by a different IC, and
the change in resistance will eventually keep the console keys from
working. (The HELP key is actually read as just another letter key).

The fix to the problem is to add just enough resistance in parallel to
the key so that it is high enough not to make the computer read the key
as pressed, but low enough that when the console key is pressed, the
computer will recognize it.

The original idea for this fix came from Alan Haskell from the book "Mods,
Fixes, and Upgrades" available from Best Electronics, 2021 The lameda,
Suite 290, San Jose, Ca.5126.

One minor problem with the fix, however - it wouldn't work on the 130XE
that was given to me to repair.  After several hours of pulling out my
hair over this thing, (and anyone who has seen my balding head KNOWS I
can't afford to do too much of that!) I determined the problem.

The resistor value given - 3000 ohms - was too low, for this machine at
least.  This value was just slightly above what the computer registered
as a key pressed.  Any random electrical noise would cause the computer
to read the key as pressed, which would cause problems with the BBS
program that was being used.  A higher resistor value was needed.

Theres no "correct" resistor value to use, as it varies between different
130XEs.  You may need to do some testing (as I did) to make sure it works
properly.

What You Need:

Soldering Iron and Solder
Wire Clippers
(3) 4700 Ohm Resistors, 1/4 watt
A small Phillips screwdriver
Needle-Nosed Pliers

How to do it:

1)  Unplug all of the wires from the computer.

2)  Turn the computer over and remove the four screws that hold the top
    cover on.

3)  Turn the computer back over and THEN take off the top cover.

4)  Lift the keyboard up and forward and you should see the ribbon
    connector at the lower right corner. Gently remove the ribbon from
    the connector.

5)  Remove the screws that hold the motherboard to the lower half of the
    case. Lift the front part of the motherboard up and then forward to
    remove it from the case.

6)  Straighten the tabs that hold the top and bottom shields on and remove
    the shields.

7)  Turn the board over with the keyboard connector facing to the front.
    The connector pins are numbered from right to left. Pin #3 is the
    ground connection, and Pins #21, 22, +23 are the pins for START,
    SELECT, and OPTION keys, respectively. These are the connections you
    need to make for the repair.

8)  Take the three resistors and solder the wire from one end of one
    resistor and solder it to the second resistor, at the spot where the
    wire comes out from the connector, being sure to cover them with a
    short piece of insulation as well.

9) Check your wiring to be sure that there are no shorts!

10)Use as little solder as possible, and make the connection as fast as
   you can, using as little heat as possible. Place a short piece of
   electrical tape under on the board under the resistors, if needed,
   and press the resistors close to the board.

11)Reassemble the shields and check to see that the resistors are not
   shorting against the lower shield.

12)Reattach the keyboard to the motherboard, taking care not to bend the
   ribbon - it WILL crack.  It helps to insert one edge first, then
   carefully work the other edge into the connector.

13)To test the repair, power up the computer and in BASIC type:

                       10 PRINT PEEK(53279):GOTO 10

and type RUN. You should see a vertical row of 7's.  Pressing OPTION will
give you 3's.   SELECT will give you 5's and START will give you 6's. The
value should not change while any one key is held down.  This should
return the normal function of the console keys.

Special Note for Techs:

You can use the following method to determine the exact resistor value
that you need.  It might save you time and aggrivation:

What you need (in addition):

Multitester (digital best)
10K Multiturn Potentiometer
Some short pieces of thin wire

This should be done between steps #4 and #5 of the above procedure:

A) Connect one short piece of wire to the center pin of the pot, the
   other to one of the other pins.

B) Solder the free end of one wire to the ground pin (Pin 3). These
   connections will only be temporary. Solder the other free end to one
   of the console key  Pins (21,22, or 23).

C) Adjust the pot for maximum resistance.

D) Reconnect the power and monitor.  Reconnect the keyboard.  Turn on 
   the computer with the option key pressed - you should get the
   diagnostic screen.  Select the  KEYBOARD TEST and hit START.

E) Adjust the pot until the tone just starts to sound intermittently.
   Measure the resistance by connecting the probes to the center pin and
   the unused pin on the pot.  Subtract the measured value from the rated
   value of the pot to get the proper value. Record it.

F) Adjust it again until the tone sounds continuously.  Record the value
   the same way as in step E.

G) Turn the computer off, and disconnect the cables and the keyboard.
   Unsolder the wires from the keyboard connector.

H) The proper resistor value to use will be the closest value that is
   both HIGHER than the highest value recorded, but around DOUBLE the
   lower value.  The resistors you will use will probably be between 3000
   and  5000 ohms.  Continue on to step  #5 as above.

If you have any questions about this or any technical questions about 
Atari 8-bit computers, you can call the AtariTech BBS at (813) 539-8141
or write to:

                              AtariTech BBS
                               P.O. Box 974
                        Clearwater, Florida, 34618

We have many files on easy-to-build hardware projects, memory upgrades,
fixes and mods.

======================================
GENIE OFFERS YMODEM TRANSFER
======================================
(C) 1988 by Atari Corporation, GEnie, and the Atari Roundtables.  May be
reprinted only with this notice intact.  The Atari Roundtables on GEnie
are *official* information services of Atari Corporation. To sign up for
GEnie service, call (with modem) 800-638-8369.  Upon connection type HHH
(RETURN after that).  Wait for the U#= prompt. Type XJM11877,GEnie and
hit RETURN.  The system will prompt you for your information.
 
Ymodem Download Help by Marty Albert   Atari 8 RT SysOp

Section 1  --- Terms Used
     
The following terms will be used in this document and are correct for the
actual meanings for use on GEnie.
     
                                  XMODEM

A file transfer protocol where packets of 128 bytes are sent along with
an ending arithmetical checksum to prevent errors.

                                XMODEM CRC
     
Xmodem CRC  --  A file transfer protocol where packets of 128 bytes are
sent along with a cyclic checksum to prevent errors.  Note that Xmodem
and Xmodem CRC are NOT the same and the terminal program must support the
type selected for file transfer.  Xmodem CRC is more error free than
Xmodem and should be used if possible.

                                1K-XMODEM

A file transfer protocol similar to the Xmodem CRC but with 1024 byte
packets and the cyclic checksum.  On many terminal programs, 1K-Xmodem is
wrongly called "YMODEM".  See the Ymodem type below.

                                  YMODEM
    
Sometimes called "Ymodem Batch".  This is a protocol whereby a group of
files may be transferred all at once by the 1K-Xmodem method. The filename,
extender, and file length  are all sent as
a "header" block of 128 bytes.  The file itself is sent as a number of
1024 byte blocks.  The CRC checksum is used.
     
Section 2  --  1K-Xmodem
  
At this time, the only Atari 8-bit terminal program that supports 1K-
Xmodem is Amodem 7.52.  Amodem 7.52 calls this protocol "YMODEM". 1K-
Xmodem, under ideal conditions, is faster than Xmodem or Xmodem CRC. But,
if there is sizable line noise, Xmodem CRC may be faster. This is because
if there is a line noise hit on the data block, 1K-Xmodem must resend 1024
bytes while Xmodem CRC need only resend 128 bytes. My own tests have shown
1K-Xmodem to be about 20% faster than Xmodem CRC.

To download a file from GEnie with 1K-Xmodem, simply select that option
from the download protocol menu. When GEnie tells you that the file is
ready and to start your 1K-Xmodem receive, do so.

                   WAIT FOR GENIE TO TELL YOU TO START!

For Amodem 7.52, you may set up your receive file before you tell GEnie
to download the file by pressing SELECT to go to the menu.  Press "R" to
receive a file.  Type in your file name with device ID. 
Then select the letter for the "YMODEM" transfer.    When GEnie tells you the file is ready, just
press START to begin the download.

It is rumored that PC-Term and Express! will soon support the 1K-Xmodem
format.  Let's hope that the names are right when they come out!

Section 3  --  GEnie Commands

The GEnie commands for 1K-Xmodem were covered in Section 2.  This section
will deal only with the commands for Ymodem transfers.

Doing a Ymodem batch download from GEnie is easy!  Just follow these
simple instructions:

   1>  Determine the NUMBERS of the files that you want to download.
   2>  Select the DOWNLOAD A FILE item from the library menu.
   3>  At the "Download what file?" prompt, enter ALL the file numbers
       with a comma <,> between each file number.  
   4>  GEnie will then show you a list of the names of each file entered
       and ask you if you want to download these files with Ymodem.
   5>  If no, press "N" and hit .  You will go back to the library
       main menu.
   6>  If yes, press "Y" and hit .
   7>  GEnie will then tell you that the files are ready and to start your
       Ymodem receive.

                   WAIT FOR GENIE TO TELL YOU TO START!

   8>  From here on, the process is automatic!  GEnie and your terminal
       program will take care of file names and so on for you!

See below for how to set up your terminal program for a Ymodem download.

If you have a number of files that you want to download from GEnie, Ymodem
is the way to go since it takes care of typing in the filenames for you.

Section 4  --  Amodem 7.52 Commands

This section will tell you how to set up Amodem 7.52 for a Ymodem
download.

There are really 2 different versions of Amodem 7.52 out.  The first is
the "standard" version as it was written.  The other is a "patched"
version that also supports the CModem protocol for use on CARINA II BBSs.
This text will address ONLY the "standard" version. The procedure for the
"patched" version is similar, but some menu items have been changed in so
far as to what letter to press to get a given function.

First off, it is much easier to set up Amodem for the Ymodem receive
before you set up GEnie.  This way, when GEnie tells you that it is ready,
you need only press one key to begin the transfer.

Just follow these instructions to do a Ymodem download:

   1>  Press SELECT to get to the Amodem menu.
   2>  Press "Y" for Ymodem Batch Receive.
   3>  You may be asked if the buffer may be cleared. Clear it to continue
       the download set up.
   4>  Next, you will be asked on what drive to store the files. Enter
       the number of the drive that you want the files to be sent to. BE
       SURE THAT THE DRIVE HAS ENOUGH ROOM TO HOLD ALL THE FILES THAT YOU
       WISH TO DOWNLOAD!!!
   5>  At this time, you will be returned to GEnie with the note from
       Amodem to press START to begin your receive file.
   6>  Refer to Section 3 to set up GEnie and begin your receive file.

A Few Notes....
     
A few notes just for your information are in order about the way that the
various transfers are handled.

One of the disadvantages to Xmodem is that there may be a number of
"extra" bytes appended to the end of the downloaded file. This is commonly
called "padding" and is there to fill up the file to the next multiple of
128, or 1024 in the case of 1K-Xmodem. This means that with Xmodem/Xmodem
CRC, you may have as many as 127 bytes of padding and for 1K-Xmodem you
can have as many as 1023 padding bytes.


Ymodem overcomes this by sending the file length as part of the header
block.  The actual file length is all that is saved on the receiving end.
This alone should be enticement enough to use Ymodem!

As stated in Section 1, when using Ymodem, you need not specify a file
name.  This is done for you.  In other words, to download 4 files with
Xmodem, you need to type in manually 4 filenames and actually set up your
terminal program to receive 4 different files.  With Ymodem, you do one
set up with no filename.  Ymodem does the rest for you.

For those that wish to download a large number of files, this can be a
real time saver!

Conclusion

Now you know how to do 1K-Xmodem and Ymodem downloads from GEnie with your
Atari 8-bit computer.  We hope that this will speed up your downloading
considerably, thereby saving you time and money.

Thanks for your support!

======================================
ZMAG BBS Systems
======================================

Here are a few ZMag BBS Systems!

Reg. Number     BBS Name              Number
==================================================
X004-609        CCCBS                 609-451-7475
X006-718        Dateline BBS          718-648-0947
X008-301        Ratcom BBS            301-437-9813
S112-403        68000 Mice            403-242-0706
Z139-707        Elsinore Brewery      707-437-6366
Z154-415        Eagle BBS             415-565-9742


Zmagazine    Issue #117    August 3, 1988  (c) 1988 APEInc
All Rights Reserved.






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