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Article #205 (214 is last): From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag Subject: Z*Magazine: 12-Jan-92 #201 Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Date: Sat Oct 9 16:21:13 1993 ======================================================================= Z*NET ATARI 8-BIT ONLINE MAGAZINE "Z*Magazine" - The Original Atari Online Magazine ======================================================================= Issue #201 January 12, 1992 ======================================================================= Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs Assistant Editor : Stan Lowell Contributing Editor: Bob Smith ----------------------------------------------------------------------- CompuServe: 75300,1642 GEnie: Z-NET Z*NET BBS: (908) 968-8148 BLANK PAGE BBS: (908) 805-3967 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c)1992, Rovac Industries, Inc. CONTENTS * The Editors Desk...............................Ron Kovacs * Z*Net Newswire...................Ron Kovacs and John Nagy * The 8-Bit State............................Chuck Steinman * Carolyn's Corner...........................Carolyn Hoglin * Living With An 8-Bit........................Jim Brozovich * Structured Programming - Part 3.............Michael Stomp * Z*Net: PC Online Magazine Issue #21.................Index ======================================================================= * THE EDITORS DESK by Ron Kovacs ======================================================================= It has been JUST ONE WEEK since we published an Issue of Z*Magazine!! The bi-weekly concept however will sooner or later take effect in a few weeks. Until that time however, look for regular releases with the latest Atari news and 8-bit articles. In the next edition, we will cover the Atari 8-Bit FoReM Fnet system and take a look at what is available. Also, the JACG BBS in New Jersey has returned, look for information next week. ======================================================================= * Z*NET NEWSWIRE ======================================================================= ST-INFORMER BREAKUP: NEW MAGAZINE TO DEBUT The editorial staff of ST-INFORMER, a popular monthly Atari tabloid- format publication, walked off the job on Monday, January 6, 1992, and plan to create their own rival Atari magazine. According to Mike Lindsay, Oregon-based editor for ST-INFORMER since its inception nearly four years ago, the breakup is the result of a long-standing disagreement over ownership of the magazine. Publisher Rod McDonald has asserted sole ownership, while Mike and others had believed that the magazine was a three-way partnership. Rather than prolong the dispute, Mike, Darren Meers (layout), and many of the staff writers have decided to leave ST-INFORMER and create their own new Atari magazine. Plans are far from complete at this time, but Lindsay says that they may have a premier issue as soon as February. Mike also indicated that although he has no evidence that ST-INFORMER will not continue to publish, his new magazine will voluntarily honor all ST-INFORMER subscriptions in the event that McDonald does not choose to stay in the Atari marketplace. Of concern to many in the Atari community is the question of whether the fragile developer and dealer base can sustain yet another competitor for their limited advertising dollars during recessionary times. Subscribers, writers, and advertisers are asked to be patient while things settle. Z*Net will have more on this story next week. ATARI PRESIDENT PRATT RESIGNS! Greg Pratt has left as President of Atari Corporation (U.S.) for a new position with Creative Labs, Inc., makers of the "Sound Blaster" series of sound cards for MS-DOS computers. After seven years with Atari and even more years before that with the Tramiel family at Commodore, Greg Pratt will leave the president and general manager responsibilities to a group of people within Atari including Sam Tramiel and Augie Ligouri, and there are no immediate plans to replace him. Greg was chief financial officer for many years at Atari, and was named President in November 1990 after the departure of Elie Kenan of France. Pratt gave a rousing talk on the future of Atari at the Chicago Computerfest by Atari in November, 1991 (reprinted in Z*NET issue #9151), in which he indicated personal enthusiasm for the company. The agenda and goals outlined in his talk will continue uninterrupted, according to other Atari officials. Those close to Pratt inside Atari are both saddened by his decision to leave the company as well as personally happy for Greg, as the opportunity offered by his new position is very attractive and challenging. This move had been planned for "some time" according to Atari sources, and corporate direction and planning remain unchanged. Vice President of Sales Don Mandell will continue to supervise the sales organization, with marketing by Bill Rehbock, James Grunke, and Art Morgan under the direction of Sam Tramiel. A consolidation of the Atari U.S. accounting with Atari corporate accounting has been made, returning to the way the company operated in 1985. Pratt assisted in this change before his departure. An official press release from Atari Corporation on the entire matter is expected soon. ATARI ANNOUNCES NEW PURCHASE PLANS Atari Canada this week released details on the new purchase plans. The packages which include an educational institute, registered company employee purchase programs and non-profit agencies. The pricing structure, options and flexible payment plan ensures that a computer is within the budget of anyone even in these economically troubled times. Financing is underwritten by Commcorp Financial Services Inc, formerly Norex. CIBC Leasing Inc is owned in part by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Structuring is done on a lease plan with 24, 36 or 42 months with payments made by automatic bank withdrawal. On completion of all lease payments you own the equipment for $10.00. You may buy out the lease anytime before expiration for the discounted payment stream (balance of payments less unearned interest), plus applicable PST and GST, with no additional fees. In a conference call with Atari Canada's Geoff Earl (General Manager) and Murray Brown (Western Canada Sales and Marketing Rep) we learn the plan has met with favour by dealers. Dealers can only profit from the program. The sale of several hundred units are possible just from one contact. The idea is to have one key person in the company or organization involved as an administrator to handle the transactions. This person would receive as an incentive, a Portfolio for any sales above $15,000.00. With most companies realizing the advantage of computers in the workplace, some are offering incentive plans. A major westcoast city is offering a $500.00 rebate towards a computer system for any municipal employee. A west coast telephone company is offering a $300.00 rebate to its workers on any DOS compatable system. School boards are also the latest to jump on the bandwagon and realize that the workplace is not the only place that computers belong. The students of today have better equipment at home than most schools and probably know more than the teacher about computers. Atari Canada has assembled some very good promo material available for this plan. Flip charts and brochures are available and your local representitive will be pleased to help you with your presentations. For more information please contact Geoff Earl at Atari Canada (416) 479-1266 or your local Atari dealer. In a similar move, Atari US will shortly announce an arrangement with Business Credit Leasing Corp to provide "Atari Financial Services" to companies and individuals. The plan is to be available through dealers, who can call 1-800-328-5371 for more information. ATARI CORP SALE RUMOR QUASHED The backstreets of the Atari community were abuzz with the word that Atari Corp was being, in fact had already been sold by the Tramiel family. However, official comment this week from Sunnyvale (after the Pratt announcement) is "Absolutely not." While recent stock position, debt/asset adjustments, and personnel changes may have triggered the rumor, we have been assured that Atari is moving ahead, not for other parties to see, but to advance the company for the current ownership. Long range planning and medium range projects are continuing at full speed, further reducing the likelihood of any change of ownership at Atari. NEW ST BOOK ANNOUNCED - Press Release CONTACT: TAYLOR RIDGE BOOKS (203) 643-9673. FIRST THERE WAS C-MANSHIP COMPLETE. NOW THERE'S THE ST ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE WORKSHOP! Taylor Ridge Books has announced the release of The ST Assembly Language Workshop, Volume 1, a novice's guide to assembly language programming on the Atari ST line of computers. Written by Clayton Walnum, the author of C-manship Complete, The ST Assembly Language Workshop, Volume 1 teaches the basics of assembly language programming, starting with assembly language theory and building up to full-length programs. Covered in the 260-page book are the most-used 68000 assembly instructions, programming style and technique, file handling, printer output, system clocks, color palettes, screen flipping, loading pictures, and more. A complete 68000 instruction reference is also included. When it's released later this year, Volume 2 of the series will cover GEM programming, with Volume 3 tackling various advanced topics. After studying all three volumes, readers will have developed the skills needed to write virtually any type of program on an ST. Even after reading only volume 1, the novice assembly language programmer will be able to write full-featured TOS programs. The ST Assembly Language Workshop, Volume 1 comes with a disk containing all sample programs and assorted additional files. It is priced at $24.95, plus $3 shipping and handling and can be ordered at the address or phone number above. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. ATARI SELLS MILLIONTH LYNX GAME CARTRIDGE Atari Corp announced it has sold it's one millionth game cartridge at the Las Vegas Winter CES Show, for the Lynx video game system. The Lynx, which is the leading color portable and the only system priced less than $100, has a library of 40 games. Atari's Entertainment Division President Larry Siegel said, "Consumers have responded to the value presented by the system and the games. With 75 titles available by the end of the year, we'll sell a million more." Atari's top selling title for the year was the award winning Ninja Gaiden, followed by Warbirds and Blue Lightning. Blue Lightning, an aerial combat game, expirienced a surge of sales during the Persian Gulf War. Warbirds, a World War I dogfight game, is the first Lynx title to be in the top five games on the Software Publisher's Association listing of best selling games. By year end, 75 games will be available for the Lynx, including: Super Skweek, Lemmings, NFL Football, Baseball Heroes, Basketbrawl, Pit Fighter, Vindicators and Hockey. LATEST LYNX UPDATE In 1992, the largest color portable software library will get even bigger with traditional role playing, classic arcade and more original titles for the Lynx. Third party developers continue to contribute great games to Lynx players. Telegames, Inc. has reached an agreement with arcade giant Tradewest Inc. to publish Double Dragon and Super Off- Road, two number one arcade games. This new long-term relationship brings Lynx players the best of Tradewest and the best of the arcades. In addition, several other third party developers have contracted to program titles which will be brought out under the Atari name. These companies include: Loriciel, US Gold and Color Dreams, Inc. TELEGAMES BREWS UP STORM Following up smash hits Qix and The Fidelity Ultimate Chess Challenge, Telegames will bring out The Guardians: Storm Over Doria, and Krazy Ace Minature Golf. Up to four players can ComLynx in The Guardians, due in March. The Guardians, legendary heroes each with a unique set of attributes, must locate the Master of Mystical Arts, Quellin, who has kidnapped Doria's Prince Creshin and stolen hia crown - the crown that controls the weather. As a Guardian you will have to travel across and under Doria to find and defeat Quellin through mystical and physical combat before Doria is doomed to eternal winter. There are 15 different monsters, 30 magical spells and an internal clock that will vary responses and activities based on time of day and day of week. In Guardians, you can talk to anyone on the streets and use a command menu to perform functions such as get, open, break, talk, etc... The Guardians will be available in March and has a suggested retail price of $44.95. DOUBLE DRAGON/SUPER OFF ROAD Double Dragon, a two-player game due in July, is regarded as one of the greatest fighting games of all time. The twin brothers in Double Dragon, masters of the material arts, must fight their way through the streets and outskirts of the city to defeat the Black Warriors and the evil Shadow Boss. In Super Off-Road, a four-player mud-flinging dirt circuit race, there are 8 different stadium tracks and 16 configurations to race on. Super Off-Road will be available in August. Both have a suggsted retail price of $39.95. SHADOWSOFT JOUSTS FOR SUPERHERO STATUS Shadowsoft Inc, which recently brought out the classic Robotron with Williams/Bally, will put Joust on store shelves in April or May and will introduce two original titles; a puzzle game and a superhero title. Dave Dies, President of Shadowsoft commented that the Lynx is a great system to write games for. "We expect to release 3-4 games for the Lynx and expect them to do very well. This is a great system to work with because it has excellent hardware scaling and rotation and we plan to write games for it as long as possible." According to Dies, the company is looking to license several other titles for the Lynx. NEW ATARI 14" FLAT SCREEN ST MONO MONITOR To premier at the National Association of Music Merchandisers show (January 17-19), the SM147 will be a 14" paperwhite monitor with a flat screen. About the same dimensions or even a bit smaller overall than the long-standard 12" SM124, the new bigger screen monochrome monitor will feature a tilt/swivel base and retail for $259.95 (suggested). The new monitor will not have a speaker. The SM124 will probably be discontinued, with the SM147 becoming the standard high resolution monitor for the STe series. ======================================================================= * THE 8-BIT STATE by Chuck Steinman ======================================================================= The following article is reprinted in Z*Net by permission of AtariUser magazine and Quill Publishing. It MAY NOT be further reprinted without specific permission of Quill. AtariUser is a monthly Atari magazine, available by subscription for $19.95 a year. For more information on AtariUser, call 818-332-0372. 8_BIT column for November 1991 AtariUser (#7) 8-BIT ALERT: Two years in the making, version 2.0x of AtariLink BBS has been recently released. Written in Atari BASIC, it works best when used with SPARTADOS but also will work with DOS 2 and others. Supports ramdisks, MIO interfaces, hard drives, etc. Contact Pab Sungenis at the CCBBS, phone number 609-451-7475, or his own BBS at 609-696-0475 for more information. THE 8-BIT STATE: Getting the Big Picture on the Classic Atari The visual images presented by computer systems play a significant role in how well a particular computer is accepted. The Atari 8-bit systems provide graphics capabilities which are both easy to master and enjoy. There are a wide range of graphics applications and utilities available to simplify the task of producing and displaying images. The video portion of the Atari 8-bit system is maintained by two integrated circuits called ANTIC and GTIA (or CTIA in very old systems, without support of graphic modes 9-11). Unique features of the 8-bit are not only 15 different graphics modes, but the ability to have any mix of graphics modes on the screen at one time. Through manipulation of the "display list", the full palette of 256 colors can be displayed at once. Eight graphics modes are best known, while three more were added via GTIA, and still others are combinations of the 8: Gr. Mode Colors Mode Type Resolution ------ --------- ---------- ---------- 0 2 Text 40 x 24 1 5 Text 20 x 24 2 5 Text 20 x 12 3 4 Bitmapped 40 x 24 4 2 Bitmapped 80 x 48 5 4 Bitmapped 80 x 48 6 2 Bitmapped 160 x 96 7 4 Bitmapped 160 x 96 8 2 Bitmapped 320 x 192 9 16 Bitmapped 80 x 192 10 9 Bitmapped 80 x 192 11 16 Bitmapped 80 x 192 Graphics 9 gives 16 levels of a single color; Gr. 10 has 9 colors; Gr. 11 has 16 colors of a single intensity. Each of these extra modes are bitmapped 80 x 192 pixels. More information on ANTIC, GTIA, and display list programming is available by consulting the Atari Personal Computer System Hardware Manual (Atari part number CO16555), and Do Re Atari, both of which are available from Best Electronics and B&C ComputerVisions. One of the easiest to use graphics programs I have seen is the Atari Artist package, from Atari. This kit included a full-featured graphics program in a ROM cartridge, a decent sized graphics tablet, and a stylus to draw with. (Fun Hint: put the pointer on the ATARI symbol on the main menu of Atari Artist, and click the buttons - a hidden tune will play!) A similar package was produced for many different computer platforms including Atari by Koala Technologies Corp., although it had a smaller tablet. The program would save and load both compressed and bitmapped images. KOALA-to-ST starts graphics there Chalkboard Inc. released a tablet called the PowerPad for several systems, including the Atari 8-bit line. I ran across several of these tablets in a clearance table at one of the local computer stores, and just had to pick up a few. The tablet size is a full 12 inches square, and digitally encoded for better repeatability. Unfortunately, very little software was ever released for the Atari so it never became that popular. There are two small programs (including source) on GEnie which allow programmers to use the PowerPad as an input device for their applications (one was in BASIC and the other in 6502 assembly). No conversation of graphics on the 8-bit would be complete without Jeff Potter's name being mentioned. Several separate graphics oriented programs for the Atari have been written by Jeff, including some which extend the capabilities of the machine to a new level. All of these programs have been released as shareware, so if you use them, don't forget to make the requested contribution! One of Mr. Potter's most popular programs is APACVIEW. APAC stands for "Any Point Any Color" which means a pixel on the screen can be any one of the 256 available colors. The original APAC resolution was 80 (horizontal) by 96 (vertical), and an interlaced version with double the vertical resolution was added in a later release. The APAC program will load and display GIF (graphics interface format) pictures, which are readily available since it is a hardware independent format. Another program called COLORVIEW, will allow up to 4096 colors to be displayed at one time on the screen. This is done by a complex series of vertical blank and display list interrupts, and multiple images in memory. The resolution is the same as interlaced APAC, but the technology used to produce the image is totally different to achieve the extended palette. Because the Amiga is a graphics oriented machine, with an abundance of graphics files on the various services and bulletin boards, Jeff wrote the ILBMREAD program to convert such pictures to a form usable on the Atari 8-bit system. Of course the Atari ST is also well known for its graphics, so Jeff wrote a program which would allow Degas, or Degas Elite picture files to be viewed on the 8-bit. Of course, people which have other computer systems will enjoy GIFNCODE, a utility to convert many of the Atari 8-bit picture files to the universal GIF format. Jeff Potter can be reached on GEnie at username JDPOTTER, or Compuserve ID: 74030,2020. BIO: Chuck Steinman is one of the more outspoken promoters of the 8-bit cause. In addition to writing for several Atari related magazines, he also helps SysOp the 8-bit section on GEnie, and develops products sold by DataQue. He can be contacted on GEnie and Delphi at username DATAQUE, or Compuserve PPN: 71777,3223. ======================================================================= * CAROLYN'S CORNER by Carolyn Hoglin, Orlando, Florida ======================================================================= Reprinted from the Mid-Florida Atari Computer Club Newsletter, 3/91 Q--> How can I prepare a document with AtariWriter Plus that will be compatible with WordStar or another word processing program on a 16-bit computer? A--> We have two problems here: The textfile itself (the Atari document) and the medium (the Atari disk). Both are essentially incompatible with a 16-bit computer. This is not to say that the job cannot be done. It just takes a little doing. Begin by typing your document into AtariWriter Plus as usual, but DO NOT use any internal formatting commands, such as for centering, expanded print, underlining, etc. It doesn't matter how the formatting is set up on the Global Format screen because these instructions won't be used anyway. When you have proofread your text, and everything is A-OK, save the file as usual. Now go back to the edit screen. From the top-of-file, press [START]-S. When prompted for your search string, hold down the [SHIFT] key and hit [ESC] twice, followed by a [RETURN]. Then press [START]-R and enter the replace string as [CTRL]-M [CTRL]-J followed by the usual [RETURN]. The string will look like a stylized "MJ" and in ASCII it translates to a carriage return and a line feed. Now for the magic: press [OPTION]-G and all those Atari return symbols (ASCII 155) will be replaced by ASCII 13 and 10. This modified file must be saved from the AtariWriter Plus menu by pressing [CTRL]-S to SAVE ASCII. Give the file the extender of ".ASC" so that you will not get it mixed up with the first saved file. It's a good idea to keep both files, because if you want to edit the text later, it will be much easier to work from the first file - and then do the global-replace bit and ASCII SAVE again - than to work in the ASCII file itself. (The latter appears to be one huge paragraph when viewed in AtariWriter Plus.) Well, now we have solved our first problem. We have a file that, byte for byte, will be compatible with most word processing programs on 16- bit computers. But this file is still on our Atari-formatted disk (single, enhanced, or double density) which will not be readable by a 16-bit computer. There are several ways to handle this: 1) If you have both computers yourself and also a null modem, you can boot each computer with its own terminal program and send the Atari ASCII file to the 16-bit (Atari, IBM, or what-have-you) computer. 2) If you have both computers, but do not have a null modem, you can upload the ASCII file from your Atari to a BBS that features F-Mail. Then call the BBS back with your 16-bit computer and download the same file. Be sure to erase the file from the BBS once you have downloaded it. 3) If the converted file is for someone other than yourself, you can either contact your friend directly via modem; or you can upload the file to a BBS, where he or she can download it to the 16-bit computer. Finally, you'll have a 16-bit file on a 16-bit disk, which can be loaded into any word processor and formatted to suit your needs. If you have any questions concerning word processing in general or AtariWriter Plus in particular, send them to the editor of the MFACC Bulletin. We'll try to publish the answers promptly. ======================================================================= * LIVING WITH AN 8-BIT by Jim Brozovich ======================================================================= Reprint from Michigan Atari Magazine If you are like me, you purchased your Atari system years ago when only the Fortune 500 could afford an IBM system. The trusty old Atari has been much help in family budgeting, income tax preparation (via Antic Syncalc spreadsheets), and helped immensely in my recent job search. But at work, IBM was king, and I became a power user of Lotus 1-2-3, Javelin Plus, and custom built decision support models. This lead to a desire to upgrade to a "real" machine and relegate the trusty old Atari to a kid's game machine. Being the frugal sort, I always resisted this temptation by making my Atari a more robust machine with every conceivable upgrade possible, ranging from the Newell 256KXL memory upgrade including the Ramrod XL operating system with 80 Column upgrade and to two US Doubler equipped 1050s. But no matter whether I added extra memory or 80 columns in Atariwriter Plus+ or double density drives, I still did not have IBM compatibility. As the price of IBM clones dropped, more and more co-workers were buying their first PCs or scraping their C64s for the new clones. Eventually, I became the outcast and was looked upon as being the strange one for not being able to take work home. Once again, I was faced with the prospect of scrapping an investment of over $2500 in hardware and software and years of accumulated knowledge about the intricacies of applying the 8bit Atari to productivity applications. I was almost ready to make the plunge to the IBM world when I noticed an ad in Antic Magazine for the Happy 7.1 Upgrade and software claiming that it gave IBM file compatibility to the 8bit Atari without resorting to null modem cables or telephone hook-ups. Also, Happy dropped their price from $249.95 to $99.95 (does this say something about the life cycle of 8bit products?) which made the decision easier. I promptly called up my friendly mail order house because no local merchants stocked the product. By the way, it's getting harder to find any 8bit products on store shelves in the Detroit area. Anyway, less then a week later the man in the "Big Brown Truck," UPS to those of you without kids, delivered my Happy 1050 Upgrade, Happy Disk Controller, and Version 7.1 software. Being a hardware hacker made installation a simple matter for me, no soldering or desoldering required. But if you can't tell the difference between a Phillips screwdriver and and a floppy disk, you might want to find someone to do the installation for you. After printing out the documentation, I was eager to translate an Atari file into IBM format so that I could take it to work to and see if this thing really worked. Much to my chagrin, I discovered the Happy cannot Format IBM disks so the test had to wait. Formatting disks for use with the Happy 1050 must be done from the MS-DOS machine using the Format A:/1 command because the 1050 is single- sided and the IBMs, except some early PCs are double-sided. After formatting a supply of disks on the IBM machine, I proceeded to make copies of files from the Atari to the IBM and visa versa. My objective in this whole process was to be able to transfer numeric data between Syncalc and Lotus 1-2-3 and textual data from Atariwriter Plus to IBM readable ASCII text files. The later proved easy once I learned to use the Save ASC option from Atariwriter Plus and use the Text Translation = Yes Option in the IBMXFR program supplied by Happy. The resulting text files on the IBM had none of the the text formatting options they had in Atariwriter Plus. My IBM word processor, Volkswriter, was able to load the files with only one problem. That is, any imbedded print characters in the files such as Cntl U for underlining caused the data within the print codes to be garbled in the translation. Removing all of the embedded characters with Atariwriter Plus before saving the files in ASC format solved the problem but it does make compatibility a little less complete because the necessary formatting commands must then be reentered in the IBM file. The Syncalc translation process proved to be much more complicated. My first attempts were with DIF files created by Lotus 1-2-3 version 2.01. The Happy IBMFXR program translated them OK, but when I tried to load them into Syncalc using the Load-Data Option, weird things happened -- only part of the file came through and some of it was garbled. Going from a Syncalc DIF to Lotus 1-2-3 was OK but I couldn't go from 1-2-3 to Syncalc. A little bit of research turned up the fact that with Version 2.01 of 1-2-3, Lotus made some changes in the way the program's Translate Utility creates DIF files. To be more explicit, in version 2.01 of Lotus, the Translate Utility ignores all non-needed blank cells when creating a DIF file. This is different from the previous versions of Lotus and other programs that account for all the cells in a range including the blank cells when creating the DIF file. Anyway, a way around this problem was suggested in the June 1987 issue of Lotus magazine on page 132. To create an old style DIF file in Lotus 2.01 use the following procedure from within 1-2-3: 1) Retrieve the file to be translated. 2) Put a label-prefix apostrophe in cell A1-type an Apostrophe hit Enter. 3) Copy A1 to the entire relevant portion of the spreadsheet as follows: /C From A1 Push Return -To A1..(Type period) Push End Key, Push Home Key. 4) The file will look erased but you will notice that a label-prefix apostrophe has been placed in each cell of the relevant portion of the spreadsheet. 5) Re-load the original file using the File Combine, Copy, Entire File method. 6) Re-save the file under a new name. This yields a file with no non- blank cells for the Translate Utility to ignore. 7) Translate this new file to DIF using the Lotus Translate Utility and your single sided Atari readable disks. The new file will load into Syncalc with no problems. One point that must be made is that spreadsheets transferred in this way will not work from one program to another ie. Syncalc spreadsheets will not run in Lotus 1-2-3 and visa versa. The documentation supplied with the Happy 7.1 Software makes this clear. Using the DIF files described above is only a way of transferring data between programs and not a way of transferring models between programs. As far as program compatibility goes, it may be possible to move Visicalc models from the IBM to the Atari and use Syncalc's translate utility to get them into the Atari. This of course assumes that there are people still out there using Visicalc on the IBM PC. In general, if you are really looking for complete compatibility between your work based IBM and your Atari 8bit, the Happy 7.1 Upgrade will not serve your needs. You'll have to go out and buy a clone or an ST to get full program compatibility. This limited compatibility didn't hinder me from getting utility out of the program because the applications I was attempting to coordinate between the two machines involved only the exchange of data and not the transfer of models. In other words, if you want to be able write a memo on your Atari at home over the weekend and then take the disk in to work and print it out and distribute on your IBM on Monday, then the Happy 7.1 Upgrade is for you. If, on the other hand, you are developing a capacity planning model in Lotus 1-2-3 and want to be able to see your kids before they go to bed, your choices are more limited, either buy the clone or ST or learn to work late. My own applications point up a limitation that you have on the Atari 8bit, for productivity programs, that you don't have on more robust machines like the IBM. Namely, what I do is go on-line with Dow Jones News Retrieval and download stock prices and news headlines about a certain group of companies. This data is entered into a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet that does some calculations on the data and serves as a base for editing the news headlines and then finally is used to print out a report. In Lotus, I can import my downloaded ASCII data directly into the spreadsheet which I can't do with Syncalc. In Syncalc, I must type in the numeric portion of the data directly into a spreadsheet model, then I Print the file to disk as a print file. This file can be loaded into Atariwriter Plus and then merged with the rest of downloaded file which Atariwriter Plus can load and edit. This resulting file can then be converted into IBM format for distribution. It would be nice if Syncalc would allow you to import ASCII text files into a spreadsheet thus saving an extra step that is not required on the IBM PC. If anyone knows of any utilities that can translate ASCII text files into DIF, Syncalc, or Visicalc format, I would like to here from you. One other feature of the Happy 7.1 Upgrade you might want to consider before you purchase it, is its obvious ability to make backup copies of your protected software. If you are like me, all of the productivity programs that I use regularly are copy protected and in many cases the manufactures are going out of business, merging or simply not distributing there products locally anymore. This means it is becoming increasing important to have backups of your software because if you destroy your original disk, it might be next to impossible to easily replace it in these days of sparse 8bit software availability. The Happy 7.1 Upgrade performs this task admirably even on the Synapse software where it has to use PDF files to make copies that only run on a Happy equipped drive. Even with these limitations, it nice to know I now have backups for my protected disks. In conclusion, now that you are aware of the limitations of this product, if it still looks like something that will fill your needs for limited IBM file compatibility, then I heartily recommend you buy the Happy Version 7.1 Upgrade. After all, $99.95 is still a lot cheaper than the $999.00 needed to get into an acceptable XT clone machine that is also being made obsolete by the boys from Big Blue. ======================================================================= * ADVENTURES IN STRUCTURED PROGRAMMING - Part 3 by Michael Stomp ======================================================================= III. OTHER DIRECTIONS My last article prompted some reader feadback. To wit: that they had been fed top-down design in a programming class and found it to be indigestible. They were told, as is so often the case in programming classes, that Top-Down was THE WAY. Thus, they abandoned structured programming altogether, and sought their own way. Not necessary; in the world of programming there are many mansions; top-down is but one. Perhaps I should have been a bit more systematic in my presentation before. I'll try to correct that now, and sketch the many different methods a programmer can follow, and when each is applicable. And, equally important, when not applicable. (This characterization of methods follows that of P.J. Plauger in a series of articles in Computer Language magazine.) TOP-DOWN DESIGN In this method, you design a program by decomposing it into successively less abstract modules; when you get to the level of the atomic statements of the language, like INPUT or PRINT, you are done. That's the purist's view of top-down. Some even set rigid limits, such as "no module should take more than one page to list the source code", or "no module should contain more than seven statements", and similiar. In practice, you usually run into problems well before reaching the atomic level, and find some modules that stubbornly resist further factoring. Areas with lots of branches and loops are usually handled better other ways. And trying to design recursive routines by this method will drive you mad! Also, you will usually find that your modules are not usable as subroutines that can be called from many places in the program. There are a couple of benchmarks you can use to judge when top-down decomposition has become unfruitful; coupling and cohesion. Coupling is a qualitative measure of the degree to which two modules interact. The higher the coupling between two modules, the more you have to keep the innards of one in mind when you write the other. If you find you are passing an inordinate amount of parameters from one to another -- especially status flags -- your modules are too coupled, and probably shouldn't have been separated in the first place. Cohesion is a qualitative measure of the degree a module stays intact as you go about debugging and/or enhancing the program. The lower the cohesion the more likely you will find the need to break it up into multiple modules as you make changes in the whole program. On the other hand, a module with high cohesion can (relatively) easily be picked up out of one program and dropped into another, with little or no changes. All in all, top-down design is a good way to start out designing a program. Just be alert for the point in the decompositon when it stops working for you, and consider other methods at that point. BOTTOM-UP DESIGN As its name implies, in bottom-up design you begin with low-level routines and build up a supply of useful tools. Build enough of them and you can see how to write fancier routines that call on the ones you wrote earlier. If you guess right, eventually you will be able to write a main routine that calls on your library of lower level stuff to do all the hard work. This is very much like writing your own language, with all the same problems. The operative word above is "guess", for if you don't start with a clear idea of the program as a whole (or lots of experience) your low-level routines may turn out to be ill-defined, and will need to be rewritten, and rewritten,... Better to begin with another method of design, and keep your eyes open for candidates for your low-level library. Ones that will have low coupling and high cohesion. (Those benchmarks generally apply to many methods of design.) I must confess to a weakness for bottom-up design myself, especially when I start playing around with a new language. I want to amass a good library of utilities -- whether I really have a need for them or not. The danger in this, I have found, is that it is very easy to spend all one's time building tools, and never get around to building anything with them! INSIDE-OUT DESIGN The name of this method suggests that you are working from the middle of a program (the processing of data) out to the edges (the I/O interface), and the edges are relatively less important. This method focuses on the actual expression of a module, typically as you labor to capture an algorithm in executable code. The outward sign of a module ripe for inside-out design is one heavy with tests and branches; lots of logic and loops. (Cases where the previous two methods run into trouble.) This method involves you in the full complexity of the program at the most detailed level, and is the only method used by most spaghetti coders. It is better to use other methods to reduce the program to a set of functionally cohesive modules before applying this method. To do otherwise is to invite confusion and disaster! RIGHT-TO-LEFT DESIGN In this method, you focus on the structure of the output data being generated by the module. The name derives from the convention of drawing data flow diagrams with input on the left and output on the right. The premise is that the structure of a program should closely model that of the data generated, be it data in memory, printed output, or screen display. Two examples of cases where this method is applicable are printing reports from some kind of database, and the XModem/YModem send routines in BBS programs. Right-to-left design works this way: look at the data the module is to generate. Described its structure in terms of a few basic primitive forms, recursively applied. Then write your program to reflect closely the structure you imposed on the data. The primitive forms you need are: 1) Sequence - one thing after another; 2) Repetition - zero or more instances of the same sort of thing, with the count determined by some test; 3) Alternation - exactly one of a choice of alternatives, the choice being determined by some test. (Information theorists claim to have proved that +any+ data structure can be composed from these three primitives. I wouldn't know; I haven't seen the proof myself. But I'm willing to accept the idea.) Now the way to turn this data structure into structured code is simple; use a sequence of statements to generate a sequence of data; use a loop -- WHILE-WEND, REPEAT-UNTIL, DO-EXIT-LOOP, or FOR-NEXT -- to generate a repetition of data, and an IF-ELSE to generate an alternation of data. Once you have determined the data structure, you have practically written the code! Right-to-left design is an effective organizing principle only if the structure of the output dominates the problem. If the output is trivial, particularly compared to the calculations involved or the structure of the input data, this approach is not fruitful. If input data structure is dominant, you should consider: LEFT-TO-RIGHT DESIGN As you might expect, this method focuses on the structure of the input data to a module. It is very similiar to right-to-left design in many ways, with some possible complications unique to itself. As described above, you consider the input structure as made up of three primitive types -- sequence, repetition, and alternation -- and structure your code accordingly. The main difference this time is, your program does not have complete control over the structure, and you have to be prepared to handle invalid or incomplete data, and possibly an arbitrary ordering of the primitive types. This can often mean "looking ahead" at the next bit of data to determine what to do with the current bit. But first, let us consider an example in which the structure is pretty well fixed: reading a disk directory. The structure, broadly speaking, is: 1) a repetition of zero or more fixed-length records, one for each file; 2) a sequence of one record giving the number of free sectors, and 3) an End-Of-File indication. (We won't consider the structure of each record in this example.) This suggests a loop structure, with possibly a singular "sequence of expressions": OPEN #1,6,0,"D:*.*" REPEAT INPUT #1, A$ PRINT A$ UNTIL A$(3)<"A" CLOSE #1 (I've omitted the DIMensioning of A$.) This just reads each record and prints it, including the count of free sectors. The loop is terminated when the third character of a record is a numeral where one would usually get the first character of the file name; that record must be the free sector count. If you wanted to treat that record different from the rest, you would have to make a change so as to "look ahead", as: OPEN #1,6,0,"D:*.*" INPUT #1, A$ WHILE A$(3) >= "A"
INPUT #1, A$ WEND CLOSE #1 In both cases we don't worry about the End-Of-File since we use the record with the free sector count for our termination test. With a looser input data structure, we would need to use the End-Of-File to terminate the loop. In Basic, by setting a TRAP right before the INPUT statements to take us out of the loop. Other languages have other ways to handle this, that could be put right in the test condition in the WHILE or UNTIL statements. When the input data structure is not so strictly controlled as this, the logic can be much more complicated. What you have to do then is "parse" the input, similiar to a language processor. In that case, instead of a data structure one considers a "grammar" of allowed input, and what action should follow each input type. You may not have consider it as such, but the simple menu program in Part II is an example of such a "parser". The logic determines what to do for every input record (keypress), including illegal ones. (In that case, the "grammar" was simple enough that no "look ahead" was needed.) In general though, parsing can become quite complicated, and whole books have been written on the subject. Left-to-right design is an effective organizing principle only if the structure of the input dominates the problem. If the output structure is non-trivial as well, this approach is not fruitful. You may then have to consider outside-in design -- to be discussed next time. ======================================================================= * Z*NET: PC ONLINE MAGAZINE ISSUE #21 Index ======================================================================= >> This Week In... Z*NET PC INTERNATIONAL ONLINE MAGAZINE January 8, 1992 Volume 2, Number 1 Issue #21 * The Editors Desk............................Ron Kovacs * Z*Net Newswire........................................ * Year In Review: 1991......................Mike Mezaros * Telecommuncations Act of 1991..............Kalob Axlon * The Graphical Edge........................Mike Mezaros * Sound And Music On The PC...................Mike Davis * Midi Interfaces...............................Jim Maki * Survey Results..............................Ron Kovacs * Image Alchemy...............................Mike Davis * Top 100 Portfolio Downloads.................Ron Kovacs * Format Of ZIP Files - Part 1....................PKWARE * Intel Announces SysOp Offer........................... * Modem Noise Killer.......................Mike McCauley OUR FIRST WEEKLY RELEASE! Now you can read Z*Net PC each and every week! Stay current with Z*Net PC, the NUMBER ONE PC-related electronic magazine! Z*Net PC is a free, WEEKLY magazine in electronic (ASCII) format that features news, reviews, commentary, and other information of interest to users of IBM PC and compatible computers. This is merely a comprehensive table of contents. The complete Z*Net PC Issue #21, featuring all of the articles outlined in this file, is available on... COMPUSERVE: In the IBM Applications Forum (GO IBMAPP) as ZPC21.ZIP. ^^^^^^^^^^ The latest Z*Net PC issues are placed in "New Uploads" (library #0) in the IBMAPP forum for several weeks. After that, they are moved to "Demo/Misc" (library #8). ALL BACK ISSUES OF Z*NET PC ARE AVAILABLE ON COMPUSERVE, so now you can easily complete your library of our issues! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> !!!! Z*NET PC : YOUR NUMBER #1 ONLINE INFORMATION SOURCE !!!! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< IT COSTS LESS THAN 50 CENTS* TO DOWNLOAD THE AVERAGE Z*NET PC ISSUE FROM COMPUSERVE AT 2400 BAUD. LOOK HOW MUCH MUCH YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY WITH Z*NET PC! THE PRINT MAGAZINES, AT $3 TO $4 A POP, WITH OUTDATED NEWS, SIMPLY CAN'T COMPARE! Not today, not tomorrow -- not ever! * - Z*Net PC is free. Normal connect charges apply while downloading. >>>Z*NET NEWSWIRE, PC EDITION...............................Z*Net Staff The Latest Industry News and Events. Why Wait Weeks for the Print Magazines to Bring You The News That Z*Net PC Offers Today?? *>WINDOWS 3.1 TO RUN 32-BIT APPS *>DIGITAL RESEARCH FIXES DR-DOS 6.0 BUGS *>LAN MANAGER DEAD? *>IBM RELEASES OS/2 2.0 "LA" ON TIME *>ERGO TO INTRODUCE 486 LAPTOP *>QUARKXPRESS FOR WINDOWS IN DEVELOPMENT *>AMIGA UPGRADE FOR C-64 OWNERS, STUDENTS *>HEWLETT-PACKARD EMPLOYS PRESENTATION DESIGNED BY SYSTEMAX *>IBM EXPANDS PERSONAL SYSTEMS GROUP *>IBM SUPPORTS NEC'S PC *>NEUROCOMPUTER DEVELOPED *>PEN-BASED DOS IN JAPAN *>COMPAQ REDUCES STAKES IN CONNER *>WINDOWS NT ON DEC-STATIONS *>INTEL'S SPEEDY C COMPILER *>JAMES BURKE TO KEYNOTE WINDOWS & OS/2 CONFERENCE *>DELL ANNOUNCES NEW 486'S *>MS WINDOWS VISUAL BASIC SDK *>MAJOR PIRACY CASE SETTLED OUT OF COURT *>FORD DRIVING SIMULATOR *>WASHINGTON D.C. VERSUS VIRII *>LOTUS NOTES READY TO SHIP *>1000 APPS FOR ADLIB GOLD CARD *>VIRUAL REALITY GAMES *>WORDPERFECT TRADEUP *>HP DESKJET RE-INKING KIT *>THE PORTFOLIO "PORT-A-THON" ON COMPUSERVE *>FOX COMPUTER BREAKS ALL THE RULES *>TOSHIBA DROPS PRICES *>HARVARD GRAPHICS FOR WINDOWS *>WINGRASP INTERFACE *>WORDPERFECT 5.0 FOR SILICON GRAPHICS *>Z*MAGAZINE RETURNS *>Z*NET USENET/INTERNET ACCESS *>IBM STOCK PLUMMETS *>CANDLE INTRODUCES NEW VERSION *>PC MAGAZINE SELECTS GENERIC CADD *>HP, NOVELL ANNOUNCE RELATIONSHIP *>WANG INTERFACE UNIT *>COGNOS DESKTOP SOFTWARE DIVISION *>TV ON YOUR WINDOWS DESKTOP *>SMITH CORONA EXPANDS *>NEW NETWARE FOR OS/2 2.0 *>MITSUBISHI TO IMPORT U.S.-MADE CHIPS *>CHANGE YOUR WINDOWS CURSOR *>486/25 NOTEBOOK FROM TOSHIBA *>GENIE SERVICE AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA *>DELL REPORTS RECORD INCOME >>>1991: THE PC YEAR IN REVIEW...........................by Mike Mezaros Take a look back and see what the world had in store for us in 1991. We examine the events that changed the way we compute, and in a few cases, changed the way we viewed the world. The technical innovation that allowed CNN to broadcast live from the Gulf War, the ACE consortium, the IBM-Apple alliance, Microsoft's FTC investigation, the game that predicted the Soviet coup, and SO MUCH MORE. >>>OPPOSING THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1991.............by Kaleb Axon A new bill before congress may allow phone companies to charge BBS operators COMMERCIAL rates -- here are the important details, and what you need to do if you oppose this legislation! >>>THE GRAPHICAL EDGE....................................by Mike Mezaros Is Microsoft getting a bum rap? Digital Research doesn't think so -- they're claiming that Microsoft won't give them the help they need to ensure that Windows 3.1 works properly with DR-DOS! But is there more to the story? Plus - How do the IBM-Apple agreements relate to the fall of the Soviet empire? Is the "Purple Alliance" doomed to failure? >>>SOUND & MUSIC ON THE PC.................................by Mike Davis Part 3 of our examination of modern PC audio! Covered in this issue: the SoundBlaster VOC and ROL formats, Microsoft's Multimedia Windows WAV format, the Amiga's MOD format, and the Mac's SND format. What are they? How can you play them, edit them, and convert them on the PC? Get some new insight into the PC sound connection and the new age of mulitmedia that we are stepping into. >>>MIDI INTERFACES FOR THE PC................................by Jim Maki What can you do with MIDI, the music standard musicians demand? How to choose a MIDI interface and MIDI-compatible software, and which options are currently available! The perfect guide to MIDI for those interested in the musical capabilities that only MIDI can add to the PC. >>>Z*NET SURVEY RESULTS................................................. How many of our readers are using true-blue IBM's? How many are using a clone, a Mac, an ST? Which online services do our readers call, and which do they prefer? How many are running Windows? Which hard copy magazines do they value the most? How long have they been involved with computing? The answers to these questions and MORE are presented here in the results of our first-ever Z*Net PC Reader Survey! >>>IMAGE ALCHEMY 1.51 REVIEWED.............................by Mike Davis Mike Davis examines Image Alchemy, the shareware image conversion, manipulation, and compression package from Handmade Software. Is it worth downloading? Find out about Image Alchemy's features, strengths, and weaknesses in this thorough and insightful review. >>>TOP 100 DOWNLOADS FROM CIS PORTFOLIO FORUM........................... Owners of Atari's DOS-command compatible palmtop PC: find out what your fellow Portfolio users have been accomplishing with their machines! This list is compiled from the CompuServe Atari Portfolio forum (GO APORTFOLIO) and lists the top 100 downloads during 1991! >>>THE FORMAT OF ZIP FILES..................................Ctsy. PKWare Find out what makes PKZip tick! Part one of a three part series. >>>INTEL ANNOUNCES SPECIAL SYSOP OFFER......................News Release Intel now offers special low 9600 baud modem prices for qualified BBS system operators - as low as $299. Here are the details and the order form you need to take advantage of this special offer. >>>THE MODEM NOISE KILLER...............................by Mike McCauley How to build you own line noise filter for around $10! If line noise is making your telecommunications too noisy for comfort, this article is a MUST READ! ~ Publisher/Editor...........................................Ron Kovacs ~ Assistant Editor...........................................Mike Davis ~ Contributing Editor......................................Mike Mezaros ~ Contributing Editor....................................Bruce Hansford ~ Columnist...................................................Jim Manda ~ Z*Net New Zealand Managing Editor, Asst Publisher..........Jon Clarke ~ Z*Net Canada, Assistant Editor........................Terry Schreiber ~ Assistant News Editor.......................................John Nagy ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for DELPHI service, call (with modem) (800) 695-4002. Upon connection, hit once or twice. 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