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Article #15 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Sat Jul  3 20:33:33 1993


___________________________________
Zmagazine July 11, 1986  Issue #7
Ron Kovacs Publisher/Editor
Middlesex, New Jersey
___________________________________
In this issue we have packed ST news
and ST Software reviews.
In this issue:
 - XM301 Fix
 - Touch-Tablet Fix for RAMBRANT
 - ST Software Reviews
 - ST vs Amiga
 - ST Terminal Software Reviews
 - Zmag Systems
 - Future issues

Before we get into ST news, We will
briefly supply our 8 bit readers a
few fixes recently found on CIS.

Xx XM301 Fix
The Following information was 
taken from Compuserve.

NOTE: This fix is NOT an official
Atari upgrade.  If you attempt
this modification, you do so at
your own risk!

To correct the booting problems
experienced with some XM301/1050
configurations will require you to
have three 470 ohm resistors, some
solder, solder iron, wire cutters,
and a phillips screwdriver.

1. Open the XM301 modem and remove
the PCB assembly.

2. Locate the area where the cable
is attached to the board. The wires
will be labeled with numbers. Some
modems will have these contacts
coated with a sealant.  Remove the
sealant carefully with your fingers
small knife or screwdriver.

3. De-solder the lines labelled 3,
9, & 13 and pull the wires through
the board. Remember which wire goes
into which hole.  Better yet label
them with a small piece of tape.

4. Install each of the 470 ohm
resistors into each open hole. Push
the resistors all the way in
leaving them standing upward.

5. Trim the excess wire extending
through the bottom of the board and
solder the resistor in place.

6. Attach the designated wires 
close to the tops of the resistors,
solder them in place and trim the
excess wire off the resistor.

7. Be sure that none of the
resistors or wires are touch each
other.

8. Put the modem back together.

Works fine!!
NOTE: If you have no electronic
experience DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS FIX.

Xx Touch-Tablet Fix

This fix was taken from Compuserve

Here's a very simple modification
to the Atari Touch Tablet which 
will allow the button on the pencil
to work with the popular RAMBRANT
from the ANTIC catalog. It will not
effect the use of the tablet with
any other program.

It involves placing a small jumper
wire between two pins on one of the
plastic connectors inside the unit.

1. Remove the seven screws from the
bottom of the tablet.

2. Lift the top of the tablet up
and open it like a book from the
cable end to the front of the unit.

BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE
SURFACE OF THE TABLET OR THE RIBBON
CABLE THAT CONNECTS TO IT.

3. Fold the tablet surface down and
you will see the circuit board
inside. On the circuit board, there
are two small plastic connectors.
One has four wires which go to the
buttons, the other connector has
seven wires. Its the one with seven
wires that we will work with. On my
tablet, the colors of the wires are
(from left to right) VIOLET, WHITE,
GREEN, GREY, BROWN, ORANGE and
YELLOW. What we want to do is to
place a jumper wire between the
BROWN and the ORANGE wire.

4. Cut a small piece of 22 or 24
gauge buss wire about a half an
inch long or you can cut a piece of
wire from a resistor lead about the
same size.

5. Now with the touch tablet facing
you, count FROM THE RIGHT to the
second and third pins (ORANGE and
BROWN) wires. Bend the small piece
of wire so that both ends will fit
in the top of the connector. Use a
pair of needle nose pliers to push
down each end of the wire so that 
it fits snugly (snugly?) in place
along side the pins in the
connector.

Thats all there is to it! 
What you've just done is place the
pencil button in parallel with the
left button, so whenever you press
the pencil button, its the same as
pressing the left button on the
tablet.

Now carefully close up the tablet.
Be extra careful as you try to
close the top cover. Don't force it
shut. Make sure that the tablet
surface is seated properly into the
bottom of the tablet. The top
should close and mate with the
bottom easily. Also make sure that
the jumper wire that you installed
is not interfering with closing
the top. Replace the screws that
you removed from the back and
you're all done.

Remember to use joystick port #2 when
using the tablet with RAMBRANT.

                                             Any Questions???
                                                     - Danny -
he IBM PC.  In
fact, the manual you get only has
instructions for booting the IBM
version; the 520 ST boot
instructions and errata are
provided on a separate insert.  The
company is preparing an all-purpose
manual but it wasn't ready in the
early versions of the program.
     Unison World does promise to
send a copy of the new manual to
registered owners (so fill out your
registration cards) as soon as it
is ready.  It doesn't really matter
though, the manual provided is nice
heavy paper stock, attractively
printed, and easy to read.  It will
look very nice on your bookshelf
where it will sit while you play
with the program.  Like The Print
Shop, PrintMaster is so user-
friendly you won't want or need to
take much time reading
instructions.  The best part of
this program is in the experience.
     At a time when it seems so
many software companies are rushing
to port over their best sellers to
the 520 ST, many of them fail to
make use of the GEM desktop or the
mouse.  As a result, we users are
left to flounder with the same
tired old function keys and control
key combinations of someone else's
system.  True, we get a program
proven in the marketplace and
usually free of major bugs, but
it's often not enough to compensate
for the inconvenience we have to
accept.  Not PrintMaster, though. 
It was ported over, true enough,
but Unison World at least had the
grace to include the use of the
mouse for function selection.  It
makes all the difference for
someone who is a convert from the
old school.  The menu selections
are sometimes too close together
for broad movements but judicious
use of the mouse will get you what
you want. For those of you just
dying to go back to the horse and
buggy days, the arrow keys work
too.  No GEM desktop is provided
but you don't really miss it
because of the nice screen design of the program.
      The clip art in PrintMaster
is generally a cut above what I've
seen in similar graphic programs
but it still doesn't matthe
capabilities of the 520 ST in high
resolution.  But then neither do
most printers.  I liked the quality
of the pictures, many of them were
quite detailed and much more than
simple outline drawings.  The only
complaint I have at all about the
art is that the picture of the
computer in the graphics library is
the very image of an IBM PC instead
of the more advanced Atari 520 ST! 
(Fortunately you can exercise this
beastie with the graphic editor). 
The fonts which were included in
the package were more than adequate
for most needs (they each have
three styles including an outline
and 3D version) but I thought the
borders were a little on the skimpy
side.  I suspect that will be
corrected in future additions to
this program.
      PrintMaster has a graphic
editor more complete than most. You
can edit any one of the more than
100 pieces of pre-designed art, flip
it horizontally, or invert it black
for white.  The size of the canvass
is small and you may have problems
using the mouse here but the
editor's commands are displayed
along the right hand side and the x-
y position of the cursor is
displayed underneath so there's no
need to flip back and forth between
screens. Unfortunately, Printmaster
won't accept graphics done in Degas
or Neochrome format so you are
limited to the pieces of art
included on the disk or what is
available in the optional
Artgallery I ($29.95). The graphics
included in PrintMaster aren't
really clip art in the true sense
of the word because they can only
be put in certain specified places
on the greeting cards and banners.
That can be annoying if you can't
fit your message around the preset
placement options. It is here that
the lack of graphic and layout
flexibility of PrintMaster cannot
rival the versatility of programs
like Typesetter ST or Degas.  The
preset format of the PrintMaster
options are sometimes restricting.
Still, there seem to be enough
options available for most
situations and the practical limit
will usually be defined by your own
imagination anyway.
      One of the more pleasing
additions to PrintMaster is the
calendar option. In this option you
can design your own personal
monthly or weekly calendar with
special days carrying your own
message.  Each page of the calendar
can have its own graphics which
highlight the season or some
commemorated event. Great for
refrigerator doors or family
bulletin boards!  There are also
options which allow you to design
and print your own letterhead
stationery, make signs, or create
banners about as long as your
patience.  In addition,PrintMaster
has a preview feature which allows
you to actually see how the
finished product will look before
you print.
      One of the problems with a
program like PrintMaster is that it
is completely useless unless you
have a printer which is supported
by the software.  Playing with the
editor and waiting for PrintMaster
to go through its layout process
can be more than a little
frustrating if the program bombs
when it comes time to print.  In
addition, close usually isn't good
enough. An "Epson compatible"
printer, for example, had better be
very compatible or you'll find your
greeting card slipping over the
perforations of your fan-fold paper.
Make sure before you buy that your
printer is on the list of printer
drivers.  That, however, is one of
the advantages of buying a program
that has already been around the
block a time or two.  You aren't
stuck with just one driver and a
promise of more to follow.
PrintMaster has more than a dozen
printer drivers already built in.
Unison World also provides a
troubleshooting paper as another
insert, suggesting printer drivers
for printers not specifically
listed.  Also, I found the
technical support personnel at
Unison World very helpful when I
found I had an incompatibility
problem with the suggested printer
driver for my NEC Pinwriter.
      There was also a curious slip
of paper in the box which
advertised a backup copy of
PrintMaster for $5.00.  As far as I
can tell, the program isn't copy
protected so I'll admit to being a
little mystified at the offer.
      The bottom line: PrintMaster
is a superior graphics program as
long as you understand the purpose
for which it was designed.  It
won't help you become a graphic
artist in the manner of Degas and
Neochrome, but within the
constraints of the program it's
very flexible and so easy to use
you won't have to spend more than a
few minutes with the manual.
Compared to other graphic programs
of its type, PrintMaster is
superior and a very good value for
the money.  And it's fun -- and in
the world of micro-computing that's
usually what it's all about.

** ST Software Review
REVIEW OF  REGENTBASE
BY     MARK P. SEBAR
JULY 1986

AFTER WAITING A YEAR FOR A DESCENT
DATABASE TOO COME OUT, ONE THAT
MAKES THE BEST USE OF GEM AND HAS
MANY FULL FEATURES INCLUDING BEING
A RELATIONAL DATABASE, I WAS
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO MEET WITH
PROGRAMMER AUTHOR AND OWNER MR.
FRANK COHEN OF REGENTWARE IN LOS
ANGELES CALIFORNIA.

ON A HOT SUNNY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, I
GOT TO SIT DOWN AND TAKE A CLOSE
PEEK AT WHAT WAS SOON GOING TO BE
RELEASED. I HAD THOUGHT OF ANOTHER
FILE-MANAGER COMING OUT OF THIS.
BOY, WAS I SURPRISED TOO SEE THIS
PRODUCT, WITH GLOWING RED LETTERS
"REGENT BASE" AGAINST A BLUE
BACKGROUND. MANY MENU ITEMS COULD
BE SEEN WITH PULL DOWN MENUS AND
SUB DIRECTORIES. FRANK SAYS THAT HE
HAD DECIDED NOT TO COPY PROTECT
BECAUSE HE FEELS THAT THIS WILL BE
A PRODUCT USED BY MANY FOR BUSINESS
IN THE NEAR FUTURE. I COULDN'T
AGREE MORE. THIS IS FULLY
RELATIONAL, MEANING THAT YOU CAN
INTERACT TWO FILES TOGETHER BY
LINKING TWO TEMPLATES.

THERE WERE A FEW THINGS MISSING
FROM THE EARLY VERSION THAT FRANK
WAS GOING TO HAVE READY WITHIN A
COUPLE OF UPDATES.

1.) WAS A SIMPLE TO USE METHOD OF
CREATING TEMPLATES AND THE OTHER

2.) WAS A SIMPLE REPORTS GENERATOR.

IT TAKES A LITTLE BIT OF TYPING AND
PROGRAMMING, HOWEVER SIMPLE, IN
ORDER TOO ACHIEVE BOTH WITH THIS
FIRST VERSION. AS FAR AS RECORDS
GO, IT'S DISK BASED AND FRANK TOLD
ME THAT THERE'S NO LIMIT TO THE
FILE SIZE. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE DISK
SPACE, YOU CAN EXPAND. ANOTHER
FEATURE MISSING THAT WOULD BE ADDED
IN THE NEXT UPDATE IS A HORIZONTAL
SLIDE-BAR TO GO BELOW THE WINDOW.
THIS WILL PERMIT A LARGE AMOUNT OF
FIELDS TO BE ENTERED, AND ACCESSED,
EASILY AND QUICKLY.

WHAT ALL THIS IS GETTING TO IS THAT
WITH THE FUTURE OPTION OF BEING
ABLE TO ADD MODULES TO ENHANCE THE
PACKAGE AND FUTURE UPDATES, GIVEN
THE POPULAR REGENTWARE SUPPORT.
THIS CAN WELL BECOME THE DATABASE
THAT EVERYONE BUYS!

OTHER UPDATES AND NEWS WILL BE MADE
AVAILABLE ON "ATARI 16+32" ONLINE
NEWSLETTER

Xx 520 VS Amiga!
A computer professional writes
about the Atari 520ST vs. The AMIGA

By John DeMar

   I'm sure you are a sane,
rational person, so I'll continue
I'm a software/hardware developer
and an electronics engineer.  I've
seen and used computers from $50 -
he$5 million and have designed VLSI
chips for 6 years at GE until
starting my own business last year.
So, the following is said from
technical expertise and not first-
impression judgements from
marketing "fluff".

   I own (or have owned) both the
Atari 520ST and Amiga PC. I've
given them both a good bit of work
and inspection, including O/S
design and hardware architecture. 
Here are some facts and my
conclusion: 

The Amiga graphics IC's are very
powerful in their own right and the
I/O chip definitely gives nice
synthesized music, but that's where
the power stops dead. However,
since people respond emotionally to
sight and sound, the demonstrations can
easily catch someone's eye.  Inside
the Amiga there is very little true
support for the power of a 68000
cpu.

   In the low resolution mode, those
fantastic graphics chips steal
almost 70%(yes!) of the possible
CPU time that the 68000 could be
using to do real computer things
like calculate, move/sort data, and
plot graphics on your screen. 
Since the complicated screen data
for the Amiga must come from the
same RAM on the same BUS as the
CPU, there are excessive wait-
cycles imposed on the 68000. This,
together with the CPU speed that is
10% or more slower than the Atari
520ST, the Amiga does not come
close to the true power and useful
capabilities of the ST. Inside the
ST you will find MORE custom IC's
than the Amiga and MORE powerful
chips that are 'off the shelf' than
the Amiga. This adds up to a real
optimized, fast and versatile
computer.

   First, there are a pair of chips
working together to optimize data
BUS and screen data access. The
memory controller fetches 16-bit
data directly for the 68000 and
also places screen data onto a
separate BUS for the screen refresh
chip. This operation only steals
8 - 18% of the available true CPU
time. Further into the hardware the
520 has three serial ports, rs-232,
MIDI and keyboard. All of these are
handled separately from the concern
of the 68000 and all in hardware.
The 520 has a 68901 interrupt
controller that keeps track of the
16 separate events in the system
with very little intervention of
the CPU. (This chip is really a
necessity in a true 68000's
architecture and is missing in
the Amiga.)

   Now, the best feature and
performer in the ST design is the
custom disk DMA controller, which
transfers data to the RAM without
using the CPU and does this at a
rate of 1.3 megabytes per second!
This IC also helps the Western
Digital floppy controller, and
makes for the fastest microcomputer
disk access that I have ever seen.
The ST brings in a 32K file in less
than 4 seconds, including drive
start up, directory search, etc.
The Amiga takes almost 20 seconds!
Maybe you like to wait, but I
don't. Not to mention the optimized
setup that the DMA chip has for
adding low-cost, fast peripherals
like hard drives and CD roms.

   The Amiga uses a non-standard
disk configuration, and does much
of  the  disk  support in
software(i.e. Slow). The drives 
have slightly more capacity than
the ST's DS drives(880K to 720K)
but this is at the expense of
speed. The Amiga directory format
(or lack of it) is done much like a
C-64. In fact, to get a directory,
the Amiga goes out and finds a
program called DIR, loads it, and
goes back searching!

   Now that I have started into the
topic of software, I have some more
bad news for you. Intuition is
graphically and colorwise more
advanced than GEM or the MAC, but
fails to perform as a real user
interface. The windows are poorly
configured, and move with flicker.
I rate the MAC slightly higher than
GEM in usefulness, but GEM on the
ST much faster and more predictable
for the user.

   The Amiga OS is full of bugs and
is clumsy to use after using GEM
for 3 months. As far as real
software goes, the ST already has
many useful programs, and there are
more developers working on ST
projects than Amiga.

   As a programmer, I found the
520ST documentation to be well
written and complete. And if
something was unclear, Atari was
very open and helpful. On the other
hand the Amiga has a great deal of
documentation, but things change
every day. Worst of all, you have
to be God or Electronic Arts to
talk to anyone at Commodore. They
simply are not professional people.

   To finish off I would like to 
add a couple of bad things about
the ST. The case could be nicer,
and they should have picked easier
to find connectors for the monitor
and drive ports. Besides that, I
think(and over 50,000 others think)
that the Atari 520ST is the most
powerful and elegantly configured
computer ever made. Also I feel 
that Atari will sell more computers
than any other company has ever
sold to date. This is not solely
due to marketing hype (like the
C64), but from true value and power
that was never offered before. Save
$1000.00 and take a vacation next
summer..... buy an ST.
Sincerely,
John DeMar, QMI.

Zmag BBS Systems
----------------
     /Zmag Information Network\
        New Jersey/New York
            California

     E.C.Syndicate-201-968-8148
     New York City-718-604-3323
     Backstage BBS-201-944-1196
     W.C.Syndicate-415-825-2952
     Elec.Shop BBS-212-547-4871
     M.J.A.C.  BBS-201-469-4474
     Valhalla BBS -212-598-0243
     E.B.B.B.S.   -201-254-6449

        Chicago Systems

  Windy City Atari-(312)775-2970
  Runequest-(312)430-4234
  Enchanted Castle-(312)525-0688
  Centari-(312)668-0984
  Blue Moon-(312)457-2219
  C.L.A.U.G.-(312)889-1240
  Skid Row-(312)439-5873
  M-Club1-(312)730-1846
  M-Club2-(312)349-8686
  M-Club4-(312)458-8260
  Generic-(312)275-2894
  Software Plus-(312)520-1780


If you have a question about Zmag
Windy City-Clinton Smith
Runequest-Jim Dobleski,Rune Master
Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith,
Wizard
Centari-Jim Dobleski
Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid
Claug-Clinton Smith
M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski
Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith,
Wizard
Centari-Jim Dobleski
Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid
Claug-Clinton Smith
M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski
Skid Row-Jim Dobleski
Generic-Wizard
Software Plus-Jeff Williams
East Coast Syndicate-Ron Kovacs
Compuserve-Ron Kovacs,Tim Orosz
New York City-Ron Kovacs,The Mayor
Electronic Shop-Jim
MJAC BBS-Steve Godun
EBBBS-Ron Kovacs
West Coast Syndicate-The Magician,
Ron Kovacs
Backstage BBS-The Director
Valhalla BBS-Woden
-----------------------------------


Xx Ahead in Zmag

We have many contributions promised
from local Zmag readers here in NJ.
Hopefully you will find our future
issues of interest.  If you are
interested in submitting info to
Zmag for publication, please upload
to the BBS you are reading or
downloaded this issue from.

If you got this issue from Compu-
Serve and want to send me any
article or information, please send
me E-Mail. 71777,2140......

See you next week!!
___________________________________
Zmagazine July 11, 1986
Please Contribute!!!
-----------------------------------




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