Visit Atarimax Store


Free-Net Logo
The Atari SIG Historical Archive
Created and hosted by: atarimax.com
[ HOME | GO ATARI | 8-BIT | ST/TT | PORTFOLIO | LYNX | JAGUAR | LIBRARY ]


Article #166 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine: 20-Jun-89 #162
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Sat Sep 25 16:17:32 1993



                             
                             
                            
                           
                          
                         
                        
          
          |  ROVAC ZMAGAZINE  |
          |    Issue  #162    |
          |   June 20, 1989   |
          |Copyright 1989, RII|
          
                 
                
               
                           
                            
                             
 
 
 
        
        |This week in ZMagazine|
        
 


   Interview with Chris Roberts 
        Bob Brodie and John Nagy

            Line Noise 

     GEnie New 8-bit Uploads 

             Autoduel 
             Dennis Pitman

   CompuServe New 8-bit Uploads 

      SuperDOS Right Margin 
             Frank Walters

            Tech Tips 
             W.K. Whitton

   Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition 
             Harold Brewer

                    


     
     |INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS ROBERTS|
     
     
     |by Bob Brodie and John Nagy|
     

    Reprinted from ST-ZMagazine #25


                                 
          CHRIS ROBERTS:         
    NEW ATARI USER GROUP COORDINATOR

Atari Corporation has at last filled
the position of User Group Coordinator
by hiring Chris Roberts.  Chris will
also be handling all coordination of
Atarifests and show appearances.  The
position was previously held by Cindy
Claveran, and Sandy Austin before her,
but had included developer support
duties that made the job nearly
impossible. 

Chris comes to Atari with first hand
experience in user groups.  He was 
president of the P.A.L.A.C.E. user
group (Pasadena Area Local Atari
Computer Enthusiasts) in southern
California for two years.  He was
involved with the Glendale Southern
California Atari Faire, and ran his own
BBS, The Dragon.  He has extensive
experience in 8-bit Ataris, and is a
proficient programmer favoring BASIC XE
on the 8 and True Basic on the ST.  A
number of Chris's original 8-bit games
are still available on GEnie and
CompuServe.  His articles on Spectre
128 have been published in ST-Xpress,
and he also worked for The Federated
Group.  Most recently, Chris was
employed by Hughes Aircraft doing
computer work.  He currently has a
program for the ST under submission to
ARTWARE, an ST developer.  Chris is 32,
a native Californian, and is married
with 3 children aged 2, 5, and 6.

This is good news for Atari 8-bitters,
for at last they truly have "one of
their own" inside Atari, helping on the
front line.  User group officers will
appreciate knowing that Chris has
already shared their path.  He knows
the trials of running a group!

Z*Net spoke with Chris for nearly two
hours on his first day at Atari
(June 12) and we were really impressed
with his energy and enthusiasm for his
new job.  He has a lot of ideas to
improve the support of user groups.  He
indicated that Atari is dedicated to
improving their support of user groups,
and wants to improve their
communications with them.  He repeated
Sam Tramiel's request of last year,
that groups can best help Atari right
now by approaching dealers and trying
to get them interested in ATARI.  It
will be easier and more attractive to
be an Atari dealer than ever before.

We asked Chris if he felt insecure
knowing the history of rapid turnover
at Atari, and he laughed and said he
was already too busy to worry about
anything but work.  He feels he has a
lot to offer Atari and the user groups,
and expects to be around a long time.
One of the projects he hopes to see
implemented is a multi-level state,
regional, national, and even
international network of user groups,
independent of Atari but in close
association with it.  Chris expects
that a group should be able to be as
small as five people and still be
recognized.  The only other
requirements he thinks should be
relevant are monthly meetings and
bylaws with a strong anti-piracy
clause.

Chris hopes to get a developer's kit
and access to a private area on GEnie
telecommunications network for each
registered club.  The special SIG there
will offer a place to get the newest
information direct from Atari as well
as keep groups in close communication.
Other plans are to revive the User
Group Newsletter on an
every-other-month basis...without fail.
That may be a tall order, as Chris will
go to EVERY consumer event that Atari
is involved with!  Look for him at
Atarifests and World Of Atari shows!

In our conversation there was a real
note of pride in Chris's voice when
asked about his office equipment.
"I've got a Mega ST, and the original
prototype Atari Laser printer!  What a
piece of history!  They had planned to
put in a font cartridge, apparently,
'cause there's a slot on the printer
for it.  No cartridge, but the printer
still works great!!!"  Who else but a
diehard Atari user would get excited
about that printer?  "This job is a
dream come true for me", he said.
"I've been after Sig Hartmann for some
time for this position.  Every time 
there has been an opening, I've been on
the phone asking for the position.  I
finally got it!" 

Chris stressed that he had stacks of
mail to go through that had 
accumulated since Cindy left, and that
the existing database of user
groups was almost unusable and very
incomplete.  He asked EVERY GROUP to
PLEASE send him a card with their group
name, official address, president's
name and phone number.  Including a
newsletter is optional.  Even if your
group registered last year, PLEASE send
it in again...so many groups did not
register last year, some due to the
questions about a dealer sponsor, that
Chris just would prefer to start over.
Send to:

  Chris Roberts, 
  User Group Coordinator, 
  Atari Corporation, 
  1196 Borregas Avenue, 
  Sunnyvale, CA 94086  

Of course, you could always call him
him at Atari.  His phone number is 
(408)745-2052.  This is a direct line
to him.  Soon you will also be able to
reach him on GEnie.

As the main interface of the User and
Atari, Chris promises that he will
always be honest with the public.  "If
I don't know the answer to a question,
that's what I'll say, I won't make
something up, and I will try to find
the real answer," he stated.  Items
Chris passed on to us in our first talk
included:  there is serious discussion
again about offering the BLITTER
upgrade for the 520 and 1040; the
upswing of national advertising is
REAL, with major campaigns coming in
top magazines to help inspire dealer
and buyer confidence; and the products
to be announced by Atari on August 25
will be EXCITING.

Z*Net looks forward to a great
relationship with Chris and Atari, and 
offer our Congratulations and Best
Wishes, Chris!

                    


              
              |LINE NOISE|
              

   From MS-DOS BBS Triangle Park, NC
     Reprinted from ZMagazine #114


   Line Noise and the Problems it Can
       Cause with File Transfers

Many people have left messages on my
bulletin board asking me why there are
so many 'garbage' characters on their
screens and why file transfers are
riddled with errors.  These garbage
characters are really line noise and
can be introduced in many different
places.  Pure noise is a decimal 255
(FF in hex), but most line noise is not
'pure'.  It usually comes in as
something less than 255, like maybe a
251 (a character that looks like this
'').  Ever see that one before?  Yup,
so have I!

One of the more common and familiar
introduction points of line noise is in
the telephone company's system and even
here there are several ways noise is
introduced.  A signal is routed through
multiple stations before it eventually
makes it to the other end and some of
these stations aren't exactly new.
Older areas may have older, less
sophisticated equipment that is more
apt to be affected by ambient noise.
This is one reason some people continue
to have noise problems even after
hanging up and calling back multiple
times.  Also, a given physical
connection at one of these junctions
may not be up to snuff.  If your
particular bout of line noise is solved
by hanging up and calling back, then
it's probable that you were previously
connected through an intermittent or
'dirty' connection.

It is possible that the problem is
being caused at this end, but not if
the problem goes away when you call
back and the line is clean -or- if you
are one of a very few users
experiencing noise problems.  You may
say that you are not having problems
with other boards...in which case the 
problem is more than likely the route
that your call takes to get here.  You
may be going over microwave or through
buried cable which for some reason are
sub-standard.  No matter how many times
you call, you will probably be routed
over the same path.  Microwave problems
are sometimes the hardest to track down
because they can cause intermittent
problems.  Some interference only
occurs during certain times of the day
or week.

Another common noise introduction point
is in your home.  Most residential
homes have televisions, radios,
microwave ovens, VCRs, and if you are 
reading this, a micro-computer.  All
these devices radiate radio waves 
that can (and often do) get into the
phone lines and cause noise.  Electric
motors and mechanical dimmer controls
can introduce noise into the electrical
wiring in your house and cause
problems.  If your line noise problem
does not go away after repeated hanging
up and calling back, then you may be
suffering from one of these household
problems.  If you are suffering from
this problem, you can take steps to
eliminate it.  First of all, turn off
EVERYTHING except the fridge (if it IS
the fridge, then you're SOL--can't
live life with your ice box unplugged)
and see if the noise persists.  If it
goes away, then start turning things
back on, checking the computer each
time until you see the noise start up
again.  It may be that a single device
is not bugging you but several devices 
plotting together to annoy you.  This
elimination tournament may take a
while.

Another area to check is your wiring at
the computer.  Use noise supressors on
your power connections to both the PC
and the modem (if external).  Use a
shielded RS-232 cable to connect your
modem to the PC.  Ribbon cables
(especially long runs of it) are great
antennas and will cause problems.
Re-route the RS-232 cable so it does
not run next to the PC power supply or
any other transformer. 

And now a little discussion about the
modem itself.  First of all, I'd like
to clerify a commonly misused
term--BAUD.  The term "Baud" is
actually a man's name--J.M.E. Baudot
(pronounced Baw-doe) a French
Telegraphy expert.  1,200 and 2,400
Baud is NOT the same as 1,200 and 
2,400 BPS (Bits Per Second).  The usage
of "Baud" to describe line speed in
terms of data through-put is incorrect.
1,200 and 2,400 BPS modems both operate
at 600 Baud.  Basically, without
getting too technical, a Baud is a
"blip" of information.  1,200 BPS
modems use four states per blip (or
Baud) and 2,400 BPS modems use sixteen
states per blip. If you want more
information on what Baud and BPS mean
and a full explanation of how data is
actually represented and transferred by
the modem, please refer to PC Magazine
Volume 6, Number 9 (May 12, 1987).

Modems operating at 2,400 BPS are much
more intolerant of line noise than are
modems operating at 1,200 BPS.
Conversely, modems capable of 2,400 BPS
operate better at 1,200 BPS than do
1,200 BPS only modems.  If you are
being hopelessly attacked by noise at
2,400 BPS, trying calling back at 
1,200 BPS.  It's very possible that the
noise will be greatly reduced or
disappear altogether.  I know, you
didn't buy a 2,400 BPS modem just to
retard it to 1,200 BPS.  The brand of
the modem plays a part in the immunity
to line noise.  Some modems can digest
more noise (lower signal-to-noise
ratio) than others.  PC Magazine (same
issue mentioned above) ran a test on 87
different modems.  You might check the
results to see how your modem ranks.
Most 2,400 BPS modems operating at
1,200 BPS have approximately -8 to -10
db error threshold while the same modem
has about -16 to -20 db threshold
operating at 2,400 BPS.  For this
reason, line quality is much more
critical at 2,400 BPS operation.

Additionally, a friend of mine who runs
a bulletin board from their office has
been plagued with line noise problems
at 2,400 BPS but very little noise at
1,200 BPS.  The culprit is the office's
centralized telephone system.  Many
office buildings have a given number of
trunks that actually enter the building
while there may be many, many more 
extension within the building.  These
types of telephone systems have their
own controllers and line assignment
devices and are frequently not as high
in quality as a hard-wired MaBell (or
GTE) line. The acceptable
signal-to-noise ratio in some of these
inter-office phone controllers are
lower than necessary for reliable 2,400
BPS operation but not too low for 1,200
BPS.

If you get transmission errors while
downloading or uploading a file, don't
fret it.  The Xmodem (or whatever
protocol) incorporates an error
checking/correction mechanism that
automatically detects and corrects any
errors that may occur during
transmission. The very fact that Xmodem
reported the error in the first place
means that he caught it and corrected
it. The only errors you have to worry
about are the ones that Xmodem does NOT
report  Any reported error has already
be corrected.  Xmodem, especially the
CRC flavored one, is a very reliable
file transfer protocol.  Even if you
got 100 errors during transmission,
chances are still pretty slim that the
file got corrupted.  Occasionally, a
file will be corrupted after transfer,
but many times this may be due to a bad
ARCing of the file or perhaps a disk
error that may have occurred sometime
during the file's past.

I hope this text helped explain some
facts about modems, line noise, and
file transfers.  If you have other,
more specific questions, concerning
modems or communications in general,
leave a C)Comment to the SYSOP.  I'll
try to answer them.

                    


       
       |GENIE NEW 8-BIT UPLOADS|
       

Courtesy of GEnie's 8-bit Atari Library


 
 No.  File Name
      YYMMDD   Bytes   Access Lib
 

 4427 MACREAD.ARC
      890617   32760     17   7
      Desc: View MAC pics on ATARI!

 4426 BOWL3SRC.ARC
      890615   68040     15   9
      Desc: BOWLING ASSISTANT VER. 3.02
            PROGRAM

 4425 BOWL3DOC.ARC
      890615   15120      8   9
      Desc: BOWLING ASSISTANT VERS.
            3.02 DOCS

 4424 Z161.ARC
      890615   16380     76  13
      Desc: ZMagazine #161 for 13 June,
            1989

 4423 REVB_MIO256KTO1MEG.ARC
      890613    7560     19  11
      Desc: Rev B (Final).  Upgrade a
            256K MIO

 4421 BOBTERM11.ARC
      890612   61740    139   8
      Desc: * BobTerm version 1.10 -
            D/L this! *

 4420 CURLY1.GR9
      890611    8820     17   7
      Desc: Gr.9 pic of Curly from 3
            Stooges

 4419 STOOGES.GR9
      890611    8820     14   7
      Desc: Title screen from Stooges
            short

 4418 AIRPORT3.GR9
      890611    8820     11   7
      Desc: Gr.9 pic of scene from
            CASABLANCA

 4417 AIRPORT2.GR9
      890611    8820     10   7
      Desc: Gr. 9 pic of scene from
            CASABLANCA

 4416 AIRPORT1.GR9
      890611    8820     10   7
      Desc: Gr.9 pic of scene from
      CASABLANCA

 4415 LOUIE.GR9
      890611    8820      7   7
      Desc: Gr.9 pic of C. Rains in
            CASABLANCA

 4414 BOGIE1.GR9
      890611    8820     15   7
      Desc: Gr.9 pic of Bogie in
            CASABLANCA

                    


               
               |AUTODUEL|
               
           
           |by Dennis Pitman|
           

                  MVACE


Based on the popular board game Car
Wars by Steve Jackson, Autoduel is
essentially a futuristic role-playing
game that takes the player out of a
dungeon and places him on the
outlaw-infested highways of the
twenty-first century, "...where the
right of way goes to the biggest gun."
However, Autoduel also requires a 
mastery of the arcade-style game skills
called upon in the popular Spy Hunter
computer game (which it closely
resembles in many ways).  Finally,
Autoduel demands strategy, logic, and 
planning.  It's really a game within a
game within a game.

In Autoduel your chief characteristics
are not strength, dexterity, and
wisdom; instead you split beginning
ability points among driving skill,
marksmanship, and mechanical skills.
With those attributes and $2000.00, you
find yourself in Albany, New York (one
of 16 cities that make up the Northeast
Sector as determined by the AAA--the
American Autoduel Association), looking
for courier jobs as a way to earn fame
and fortune.  Because of the deadly
bandits and underworld gangs who patrol
the highways, drivers with guts and
guns are needed to transport anything
from valuable stamps to computer chips
from one city to another.

Computer role players will find that
Autoduel offers a refreshing change of
pace after one too many tours of
various dungeons and demon-infested
lands.  Unique in many ways, Autoduel 
provides many of the same satisfactions
as role-playing games, but it also
offers an exciting new scenario with
new challenges and unexpected
situations.

The Driver is required to build his own
car, designing it as he sees fit and as
resources allow.  This aspect of the
game is almost as much fun as the
actual highway shootouts.  You must 
determine each characteristic of your
car:  how much armor it needs and where
to put it, what weapons it will use,
what kind of suspension best suits it,
how much carrying capacity is required,
etc.  Certain types of designs will
naturally be better for different types
of jobs, and as you become more
successful and more wealthy, you will
end up with a stable of machines from 
which to choose.  You'll be able to
suit the car to the job.

The possible variations in car designs
are endless, and each design opens up
an entirely new spectrum of strategies
and job possibilities.  Obviously, a
car designed like a war-wagon, 
containing every possible armament,
would be deadly but slow-moving due to
its weight.  On the other hand, a car
given maximum engine power, but lightly
armed, would be a highly mobile, easily
maneuvered machine.  The various cars
would require various strategies and
tactics to derive the maximum benefit.

The world of Autoduel includes many
challenges and adventures.  Most cities
have arenas where deadly races are held
nightly.  A driver can earn money and
prestige in the arena...or death.  In
Atlantic City, stop at a casino and
gamble away the money you've just been
paid for delivering a rare pet to a
zoo.  In Philadelphia, visit a Gold
Cross building and have a clone
created:  if you die, he, or rather, it, will take your place.

Of course, you don't have to be a
courier; you could be a vigilante,
gunning for outlaws.  Or maybe, just
maybe, you might prefer to be an outlaw
yourself.

Autoduel is more than a game--it's a
complete system of play.  There is a
wealth of additional features I don't
have room to cover, and the overall
game play is excellent.

Now you too can be a Road Warrior,
riding the highways of those who would
control them for the wrong purposes.
And remember the AAA's motto:  "Drive
offensively!  The life you save may be
your own."  This exciting program is
highly recommended.  You even get a
small tool kit, real tools, when you
purchase the game.

Autoduel retails for around $49.95 or
less depending on where you go.

                    


     
     |COMPUSERVE NEW 8-BIT UPLOADS|
     

Courtesy of CompuServe's Atari8 Library


 
 Uploader address
 Filename/type
          Date    Size    Downloads
 
[72750,747]
BOULDE.ARC/binary
        19-Jun-89 2944

[73270,1117]
ALIENS.BAS/binary
        15-Jun-89 12544   Accesses: 45

[76704,41]
NEWCON.TXT
        15-Jun-89 4215    Accesses: 14

[71777,2140]
Z161.ARC/binary
        14-Jun-89 15232   Accesses: 20

[72347,1104]
BOWL3D.ARC/binary
        14-Jun-89 13952   Accesses: 3

BOWL3S.ARC/binary
        14-Jun-89 65280   Accesses: 3

[73270,1117]
MIRROR.COM/binary
        14-Jun-89 11392   Accesses: 19

QUEST.COM/binary
        14-Jun-89 19328   Accesses: 16

[73537,3573]
MIOQUC.ARC/binary
        14-Jun-89 7168    Accesses: 9

                    


        
        |SUPERDOS RIGHT MARGIN|
        
           
           |by Frank Walters|
           

           T.A.C.O. BELL BBS


SuperDOS is a nice DOS but I have found
a problem with the binary load function
when I tried using it with BobTerm.
Others have noticed the problem with
the menu in SpeedScript or Textpro.

SuperDOS SDUP.SYS menu sets the right
margin to 37.  If you binary load a
file, the margin remains at 37 unless
the program changes it.  There are two
solutions to this problem:

You could rename your binary file to
AUTORUN.SYS and boot it.  SDUP.SYS will
not load and set the margin at 37.

Or you can extract this short BASIC
listing and ENTER it into your Atari
with BASIC on.  When you RUN the file
it will create a machine language file
on drive 1, with the name RM.

10 REM D:RM for SuperDOS
20 REM Sets right margin to 39 for
30 REM binary load.  Do NOT hit RETURN
40 REM for menu, or margin will reset
50 REM to 37 again.
60 CLOSE #1:OPEN #1,8,0,"D:RM"
70 FOR I=1 TO 27:READ X:PUT #1,X
80 NEXT I:? "DONE":END 
100 DATA 255,255,0,6,14,6,169,39,133
110 DATA 83,169,128,141,198,2,169,12
120 DATA 141,197,2,96,226,2,227,2,0,6

When you binary load the file RM from
the DOS menu in SuperDOS, it will set
the right margin to 39, and set screen
color to dark blue.  Do NOT hit RETURN
when it is loaded, or the menu will
print and reset the margin back to 37.
Use L to binary load your new program.

                    


              
              |TECH TIPS|
              
           
           |by W.K. Whitton|
           

Reprinted in part from ST-ZMagazine #25


             
             |HARD DRIVES|
             

This week I'd like to do something a
bit different, and trust that some of
you will benefit greatly from this
information.

Many of you have decided to piece
together your own "home-brew" hard
drive system.  Much of the time it
takes to put the system together is not
concerned with the actual construction,
but rather in shopping for the best
prices.  Here are some great hard drive
mechanism prices I located earlier this
week.  I am not able to verify the
quality of service these companies
provide, or if indeed the items are in
stock.  These prices are the lowest I
have seen on each mechanism and hope
you'll find one that suits your needs.


 Item:            Capacity:
   
   Supplier:              Phone #:
     
     Price:
     

 Seagate ST-157N  48 Meg 3 1/2"
   Group One Electronics  818-993-4575
     Price: $260

 Seagate ST-277R  65 Meg 5 1/4"
   Group One Electronics  818-993-4575
     Price: $300

 Seagate ST-225   20 Meg 5 1/4"
   COM*PUT*Rs             800-637-4832
     Price: $135

 Seagate ST-125   20 Meg 3 1/2"
   Computer Parts Outlet  407-265-1265
     Price: $139

 Micropolis       170 Meg 5 1/4"
   Int. Materials         617-254-1700
     Price: $799

 Miniscribe 3438  30 Meg 3 1/2"
   COM*PUT*Rs             800-637-4832
     Price: $150

 Seagate ST-238   30 Meg 5 1/4"
   BCS Inc.               201-670-0505
     Price: $179

 Micropolis 1578-15 382 Meg Full
   Epoch Research    508-452-6000
     Price: $1695

 Fuji FK309-39R   30 Meg 3 1/2"
   Computer Parts Inc.    407-265-1265
     Price: $129
 
 Lapine 3532      30 Meg 3 1/2"
   Computer Parts Inc.    407-265-1265
     Price: $125

 NEC 2246         85 Meg Full
   Manco Inds.            818-718-0484
     Price: $299

                    


     
     |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION|
     
           
           |by Harold Brewer|
           


  Supra Corporation has acknowledged
     the transfer of its 8-bit hard
     drive interface rights to
     K-Products and Bob Klaas.  Users
     interested in developing their
     own 8-bit hard drive system
     may do well to look into this
     product.  Look to ZMagazine #161
     for ordering details.


  From ST-ZMagazine comes this Z*Net
     Newswire update by Ron Kovacs:

"World of Atari Update:  ST*ZMAG/ZNET
will be at the show live providing
online news updates and manning a booth
near the CHAOS user group booth.  If
you are attending the show, please stop
by.  GEnie will be at the show also
reporting.  Atari area spans nine
booths and an aisle.  Included:  8-bit
products, SX Express, MidiMaze, STacy,
Portfolio, software included:  Word
Flair, Flash, DynaCadd, General Store
and more.


  While user groups are sitting down
     to write Atari's new User Group
     Coordinator, try to take the time
     and drop a line to your favorite
     hard copy magazine which includes
     Atari 8-bit information (Antic,
     Analog, Computer Shopper, etc.).

     You may want to tell them how you
     enjoy their coverage of the 8-bit
     scene, and that you patronize 
     their advertisers due to said
     8-bit information.  Anything we
     can do to keep the 8-bit well from
     drying up will be worth what
     little trouble we take.


  The very successful SpartaDOS X
     cartridge from ICD is up to
     version 4.21.  And once again, ICD
     has made available the one file
     (ATARIDOS.SYS) which changes
     version 4.20 into 4.21--for free!

     Starting with the free X.COM
     (to change v4.19 into 4.20) which
     is available on ICD's bbs and on
     the pay services, and continuing
     with ATARIDOS.SYS, owners of
     SpartaDOS X v4.19 (like me) can't
     help but to smile...

                    


 
 |   Rovac Industries, Incorporated  |
 | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846  |
 |          (201) 968-8148           |
 |Copyright 1989  All Rights Reserved|
 

        CompuServe: 71777,2140
             GEnie: ZMAGAZINE
            Source: BDG793

    ZMagazine Editor:  Harold Brewer   

     ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes:     
      Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046
                     (618)451-0165
          Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106
       Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566
 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574
            The Pub--(716)826-5733




Visit Atarimax Store