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 #69 (214 is last):
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag
Subject: Z*Magazine: 15-Aug-87 #66
Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Date: Sat Jul 17 08:28:18 1993


//////////////////////////////////////
ZMAGAZINE 66//////////////////////////
//////////////////////////////////////
August 15, 1987  (c)1987 Syndicate
______________________________________
Publisher/Editor in Chief-Ron Kovacs
Assistant Publishers-Ken Kirchner
                     Susan Perry,
                     Rich Decowski

    ZMAGAZINE INFORMATION NETWORK
    201-968-8148    300/1200 BAUD
______________________________________
Xx ZMAG INDEX 66
______________________________________
<*> FCC DEADLINE
    ...By:Ron Kovacs...

<*> THE WIZARD
    ...By:Leo Newman...

<*> ZMAG INTERVIEW--[HDUG's MR.Z]
    ...By:Ron Kovacs...

<*> MAKE A FORTUNE OFF YOUR BBS
    ...By:Brian Bowman...

<*> ZMAG SOFTWARE REVIEW--New Express
    ...By:Keith Ledbetter...

<*> CONTEST INFORMATION
<*> MACHINE LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING #1
______________________________________
Xx FCC DEADLINE
______________________________________
According to published reports I have
received, the deadline for responding
to the proposed FCC decision is August
24, 1987.

I have created a file that will help
you grasp exactly what is going on.
On CompuServe, There are a few files
available to just this. FCCLTR and 
FCCPROP. Also, there is ZMAGFCC which
goes into some more details.  We need
your help!!!  Please write your
Congressman, Senator, and or the FCC
Commissioners, explaining why you dont
want the extra access charges imposed!

Dont sit back and wait for your
friends to do it!!  If you dont want
to pay more for the use of PCP,
CompuServe, GEnie, Telenet, Tymnet,
and other information services!! Act
today and get your letter in the mail.

CompuServe is now offering
Congressgrams to it's users. For $.50,
you can send a letter to your local
government representative.

August 24, 1987 is just around the
corner, time is running out.
______________________________________
Xx THE WIZARD
______________________________________
This week has been kind of slow in the
question department so I will explain
one featue of the Oasis BBS message
base editor.  One thing I have never
liked to do is edit a message after
entry to correct a misspelled word. It
usually envolves listing the message
out or using a /G command to goto a
particular line to edit. When this
type editing is used you must retype
the entire line to edit one single
word.

Oasis has a search and replace
function which makes this type editing
relatively fast and simple. There is
no need to list he message or to
retype an entire line.  An example
follows:

This wold be an example of text entry
and search and replace function.

/c/wold/would/

The /c/wold/would/ entry would search
for the "wold" and replace it with
"would".  In a short message such as
this it would not have been hard to
edit in either method but in a long
message of 1 or 2K of text the search
and replace would be very fast and
simple.

On another note as you can imagine I
get a lot of questions directed at me
as to why would Oasis be better than
brand X.  Well I have to be honest
regardless of the fact that I am part
of Oasis BBS systems, ALL BBS programs
that are being sold right now are of
outstanding quality.

As to which is the best BBS program,
that would be a tough question to
answer.  Todamis, Amis, FoReM,
Express!, Carina, Nitelite and Oasis
are all good programs.  Each one of
this list has it's strong points and
it's weak points.  I have to say that
I have never seen the perfect BBS
program.  None are perfect, and as
such you as a SysOp must make a
decision as to which has the
particular features you want.  If I
were a SysOp looking for a new program
to run, I would be no different than
the rest of you.  I would hate to have
to make a choice, I like some of this
one and some of that one etc.. Tough!

But I am going to be brave and tell
you which is the BEST BBS program.

"All of them!"

That is it for this week, and if you
have any questions about the Oasis BBS
you can call (316)-683-7514, 3/12/2400
baud and leave a message to SysOp or
write to:

Leo Newman
3900 N Woodlawn #17 Chisholm
Wichita, KS 67220

Until next week, happy BBSing...
______________________________________
Xx ZMAG INTERVIEW
______________________________________
This is an interview with Chuck
Leazott of the Hard Disk Users Group
and the NETWORK: Atari BBS in San
Antonio Texas.  The interview was
conducted on August 13, 1987.

RON:  Good day Sir, Please tell our
readers about the HDUG, and why you
started this User Group?

MRZ:  OK, (DEEP BREATH).  HDUG (HARD
DISK USER GROUP) IS DESIGNED AROUND
SYSOPS THAT HAVE THE YEARNING TO
OPERATE A HARD DRIVE WITH THE ATARI
COMPUTERS.

IT'S REALLY FOR EVERYONE WISHING TO
RUN A HD, BUT ARE AFRAID TO START DUE
TO A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

WE STARTED THE GROUP AS A RESULT OF A
CONVERSATION WITH TOM HARKER AT ICD.
SINCE THEY ARE NOW SUPPORTING HD'S, WE
NEEDED A PLACE TO COORDINATE ALL THE
HD ACTIVITY.  THUS, HDUG WAS BORN.  I
HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS
DUE, AND IT WAS REALLY TOM'S IDEA.
SINCE HE DIDN'T REALLY HAVE THE TIME,
I TOOK IT UPON MYSELF TO GOPHER IT.

RON:  Were you running a BBS system
before HDUG existed?

MRZ:  YES, I HAD A SIMPLE SYSTEM
(STARTED WITH AMIS, OF ALL THINGS).

AFTER TALKING TO TOM, I BOUGHT A HD.

I'VE BEEN INTO BBS'N SINCE 1982, AND
STARTED WITH A SINGLE 1050 (AND "NO"
RAMDISK).  USING ATARI DOS 3.0 DIDN'T
REALLY TICKLE ME.

RON:  I know what you mean!!!  What
would a perspective HD user get out of
joining this user group?

MRZ:  WELL, IT DEPENDS ON A LOT OF
THINGS.  THE NEWSLETTER IDEA IS A
DEVICE SETUP TO SPREAD NEWS ON HD
SYSTEMS, AND THE HOW'S, WHERE'S, AND
EVEN WHY'S OF USING A HARD DRIVE
RATHER THAN A FLOPPY/RAMDISK
COMBINATION.

YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THAT IN THE FIRST
PLACE, YOU HAVE TO HAVE $$$ TO GET THE
HD, BUT IT DOESN'T HURT FOR TOO LONG.

RON:  Sounds interesting, How about
some membership instructions.

MRZ:  SURE...  WE CHOSE A VERY LOW
COST FOR MEMBERSHIP.  IT TAKES QUITE A
BIT OF TIME TO GET THE DATA TOGETHER
FOR THE NEWSLETTER (YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT
THAT PART), AND PRINTING COSTS ARE NO
PICNIC.  SO, $18 FOR A 1 YEAR
SUBSCRIPTION TO THE NL SOUNDED
REASONABLE.  THE NL IS CURRENTLY A
QUARTERLY, AND SEEMS TO BE GETTING OFF
ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

FOLKS CAN JOIN HDUG BY WRITING TO:

           NETWORK: HDUG
           5831 SUN BAY
          SAN ANTONIO, TX
                  78244

WE ASK THAT YOU PLEASE INCLUDE ANY
DATA THAT YOU WISH TO HAVE INSERTED IN
THE NL.  THINGS LIKE LOCAL BBS'S AND
USER GROUPS.  ALSO, IF YOU HAVE A HARD
DRIVE SETUP, WE WOULD REALLY LIKE TO
KNOW WHAT COMPONENTS IT CONSISTS OF.

RON:  Talking about componets, Do you
include both 8 and 16-bit in your
group?

MRZ:  YES.  IF YOU SUPPORT ATARI, WE
SUPPORT YOU.  ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
THAT ATARI EQUIPMENT CAN HANDLE IN THE
HARD DISK INDUSTRY WE WANT TO KNOW
ABOUT.  ALL INPUTS COME FROM THE
MEMBERS OF THE GROUP.  IF YOU DON'T
TELL US, WE DON'T KNOW.....YET.

RON:  What other offers are available to members?

MRZ:  OH, THERE ARE MANY DISCOUNTS ON
PRODUCTS FROM LOTS OF FOLKS.  ONCE WE
ESTABLISH "RELATIONSHIPS" WITH
COMPANIES, WE USUALLY CAN GET SOME
FORM OF DISCOUNT ON HARDWARE AND
SOFTWARE FOR THE HD SYSTEMS.  FOR
EXAMPLE, THERE ARE 2 NEW "BACKUP"
UTILITIES DESIGNED TO HELP THE HARD
CORE USERS BACKUP THEIR SYSTEMS TO
FLOPPY AND HD.

FLASHBACK! AND HARDBACK (FROM ICD AND
ORION MICRO SYSTEMS, RESPECTIVELY) ARE
OFFERED TO MEMBERS WITH AT A
SUBSTANTIAL DISCOUNT.  ALSO, HARWARE
IS OFFERD AT A DISCOUNT.

RON:  I have read a few messages on
the Zmag BBS about users looking for
hard disk information and repair. Does
your group assist with helping members
or offering members repair information
or a service?

MRZ:  WELL, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
THAT THE HARD DISK USER GROUP IS
UNIQUE IN THE RESPECT THAT IT'S
TOTALLY A "MAIL-ORDER" USER GROUP.

ANY CORRESPONDENCE IS ON MODEMS AND
BBS'S THAT HELP SUPPORT US...LIKE YOUR
SYSTEM.  SO, WHEN A MEMBER HAS
PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS, WE CAN LEAD
THEM TO THE RIGHT PLACE (AND CHEAPEST)
TO GET THE PROBLEM SOLVED.

SOME THINGS WE CAN HANDLE IN THE
MESSAGE BASES BUT OTHERS, OF COURSE,
HAVE TO BE REFERED.

RON:  What would you suggest (Hard
Disks) for new hard disk buyers?

MRZ:  HMMM...THAT'S TOUCHY, SINCE I
DEAL WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES
AND DON'T LIKE PLAYING FAVORITES (EVEN
THOUGH I HAVE SOME).  BUT, LET'S
SEE...ICD IS ONE COMPANY THAT WILL
RESEARCH PROBLEMS WITH SYSTEMS THEY
SELL, AND OTHER SYSTEMS THAT YOU HAVE.
LURIE AND ASSOCIATES HANDLE THEIR NEW
"BTL" HD SYSTEMS, AND OF COURSE
THERE'S ALWAYS SEAGATE, INC., WHICH
REALLY KNOWS THE IN'S AND OUT'S OF THE
"THEORY" BEHIND HD SYSTEMS.

RON:  Sounds like a lot of work for a
new hard disk buyer.

I suppose you would suggest an MIO to
your future HD buyers, are there any
other interfaces available to Atari
users?

MRZ:  WELL, AGAIN...I HAVE MY
FAVORITES, BUT THERE ARE NUMEROUS
SYSTEMS TO USE.  SUPRA HAS AN
INTERFACE DESIGNED FOR BOTH ATARI 8/16
BIT SYSTEMS.  THE BTL IS USEFUL, AND
IS QUITE SIMILAR TO ICD'S MIO
INTERFACE.  SINCE I HAVE AN MIO, I
HAVE TO SAY THAT IT'S PERFECT FOR MY
NEEDS.

I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE DRIVE SPEC
CAPACITY IS ON THE OTHER COMPANIES'
INTERFACES, BUT USING SPARTADOS AND
THE MIO WILL ALLOW A PERSON TO RUN A
WHOPPING 128 MEGABYTES ON A $59.95
8-BIT ATARI COMPUTER WITHOUT A BIT OF
TROUBLE.  I RUN 120 MEGS.

RON:  Before we terminate this
interview, what features are available
on the Network Atari BBS and what are
the future plans for HDUG?

MRZ:  WELL, WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A
CONFLICT HERE AT NETWORK...  WE HAVE
TO MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY, WHICH IS OUR
BUSINESS, BUT TRYING TO FIND THE BEST
BBS PROGRAM TO LET US USE ALL 120 MEGS
ON-LINE IS A CHORE.  CURRENTLY, LIKE
YOURSELF, WE RUN THE OASIS BBS (SORRY
KEITH AND EVERYONE ELSE).

THIS ALLOWS US TO HAVE ALL OUR D/L'S
ON-LINE AT ONCE.  KEITH LEDBETTER WILL
SOON BE RELEASING A NEW VERSION OF THE
850 EXPRESS! BBS, AND WE ARE SLATED TO
DO THE BETA TESTING SHORTLY.  AS A
MATTER OF FACT, I'LL BE DOING AN
INDEPTH INTERVIEW WITH KEITH THIS
COMING SATURDAY ABOUT THIS NEW SYSTEM.

WE'LL KNOW MORE AT THAT TIME.  NOT TO
DRAG ON, BUT I LIKE TO BE SURE THAT
EVERYONE KNOWS THAT I SUPPORT "ANY"
BBS THAT SUPPORTS ATARI.  IN THE NEXT
ISSUE OF THE HDUG NEWSLETTER WE'LL
HAVE A COMPLETE REVIEW OF MOST OF THE
POPULAR BBS'S, AND PIT THEM TOGETHER.
YOU DECIDE WHICH SYSTEM SUITS YOU
BEST.

RON:  (Last question)

Do you have information about ICD news
for the months ahead, and expectations
on the user group?

MRZ:  WELL, I CAN SAY THAT AFTER
SPEAKING WITH THE CREW AT ICD, THEY
EXPECT TO RELEASE ALL THE NEW PRODUCTS
IN A MAD RUSH.  I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT IT
WILL BE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, BUT DON'T
TAKE THAT WRONG.  I ASKED TOM IF THEY
WERE WAITING FOR THE XMAS RUSH, AND HE
SORTA CHUCKLED AND SAID ABSOLUTELY
NOT.  ONE OF THE SLATED PRODUCTS,
SPARTADOS 4 ELITE, HAS BEEN CANCELLED,
BUT THEY WILL TAKE ALL THOSE FILES AND
PROBABLY INCLUDE THEM INTO THE "TOOLS"
DISK.

THIS SOUNDS TERRIFIC, AND I'VE SEEN
SOME OF THOSE TOOLS IN ACTION AT THE
ICD OFFICE.  WE CAN EXPECT TO BE
TREATED WITH AN ARMLOAD OF THINGS THAT
WE'VE ALL BEEN PATIENTLY WAITING FOR.

AS FOR THE HARD DISK USER GROUP, I'M
WORKING ON SOME "TOOLS" MYSELF, AND
HAVE ENLISTED THE PROGRAMMING EFFORTS
OF ONE OF THE "SLEEPER" PROGRAMMERS IN
THE 8-BIT COMMUNITY.  DON PEASLEY IS
HIS NAME, AND YOU CAN ALL REST ASSURED
THAT YOU'LL BE HEARING MANY EXCITING
THINGS FROM HIM.

RON:  Ok... Please give us your
Network: Atari BBS Number and address
again for those who probably read on
past it.

MRZ:  SURE..

           NETWORK: ATARI
           5831 SUN BAY
           SAN ANTONIO, TX.
               78244

VOICE: 512-662-9764
MODEM: 512-662-9765 (ANY TIME/BAUD)

NOTE:  TO ALL YOUR READERS...  PLEASE
DON'T CALL MY VOICE NUMBER AT 3AM
THINKING IT'S THE BBS.  HEH.

RON:  Ok Chuck, I want to thank you
for this interview.  I hope we have
covered a few of the important aspects
and will be calling on you after the
release of your next newsletter.

MRZ:  WELL THANX A MEG, AND I'D LIKE
TO RAMBLE TO YER READERS FOR JUST A
SEC.  DO YOU MIND?

RON:  Not at all!!!!

MRZ:  OK, LET'S ME SAY THAT STARTING A
HARD DISK SYSTEM FOR THE ATARI
SYSTEMS, OR ANY SYSTEMS, CAN BE A
TRYING THING.  IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT
IS DONE EASILY, BUT ONCE YOU GET INTO
IT IT'S REALLY PHUN!  DON'T BE
INFLUENCED BY OTHERS THAT HAVE HAD
"TROUBLE" WITH THEIR SYSTEMS.  GET THE
FACTS.

DO IT SMART.  GET ALL THE DETAILS
"BEFORE" YOU BUY YOUR PRODUCTS.
BECAUSE, ONCE YOU'VE INVESTED "MEGGA"
BUCKS IN YOUR SYSTEM, YOU ARE STUCK
WITH IT.  LOOK AROUND.  SHOP.  SEE
WHAT ALL THE RUCKUS IS ABOUT.  DON'T
BE HASTY IN THE PRODUCTS YOU PURCHASE.
FIND A DEPENDABLE COMPANY THAT WILL
REALLY "SUPPORT" YOUR HARD EARNED
MONEY.

LASTLY, CALL ME...  I'LL FIX YOU UP
WITH ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO
HAVE.

THANKS FOR THE TIME, AND A TIP OF THE
HAT TO ANYONE THE BUYS ATARI!!

RON:  Chuck, Thanks again.  Good luck with the group.

MRZ:  THANK YOU RON, HOPE ALL THE HDUG
EFFORTS DON'T CRASH!!  CHOW.
______________________________________
Xx MAKE A FORTUNE OFF YOUR BBS
   ....By Brian Bowman....
______________________________________
Please feel free to reprint/copy as
long as no changes are made and this 
header is left attached. AXE*** BBS
at 314-696-3506

               AXE***
       Small Fortune Tutorial
-------------------------------------
Following is a short tutorial on the
different ways to make a small fortune
running your very own BBS.

First, start with a Public Domain BBS
program.  These are available for
about $10 and are easy to set up and
manage. Of course, you'll only need
one floppy drive...... no, make that
two.

Now that 300 baud modem your using is
a little archaic, better spend some
bucks ($$$.cc) and get a 1200 baud
modem.  Of course you might as well
spend a little bit more and make it
Haye's compatible. You never know when
some big football player by the name
of Hayes is going to visit, and you
don't want him mad!!!

Well, with two drives you have just
enough room for your message bases and
some interesting tutorials (like this
one) but darn it, there just isn't
enough space for uploads and
downloads.  So you purchase another
floppy drive.

After about a month you begin to hear
rumors.

You know, people making fun of how
your message editor works or
belittling the slow response of the
board. Nothing is ever said directly,
friends  smile weakly and profess
confidence that your BBS will be a
success. But you know (deep down
inside) that everyones making fun of
you for running a BBS based on a
Public Domain program.

Yech!! 
     Icky!!
       GROW UP!

Better get a "real" BBS set up soon or
the computer police will raid the
joint and confiscate and burn your
antique 8-bit and assorted "games".

(Computers are for work, remember?
Never admit that your computer has
great graphics and sound. It will be
called a "game" computer and you will
never be allowed to use your word
processor again).

Sorry I got sidetracked, anyway, you
plunk down $50-$80 and get a "manly"
BBS program and occupy the better part
of a month with much cursing and
swearing and get the new beast to
work.

         AHHHH!!!

        You can relax!!!

          Nirvana!!!

Ok..don't fall asleep yet!!! We're
almost to the end, so pay ATTENTION.

Dagnabit all to heck!!  Your still
using wimpy floppy drives. People with
big blue computers are starting to
think....nay, believe that their fuddy
duddy 2000 dollar computer is better
than you eight bit system.

Why??????
   Why??????
      Why?????

Why of course, because they have a
hard drive. Eveyone must have a hard
drive if they expect to do any "real"
work. (remember, computers are for
work!!!).

A spread sheet just isn't a spread
sheet unless it takes up 400k of
space! So send $500 off to a P.O. Box
in New Jersey and equip the board with
a hard drive. Might as well get
another 1200 baud modem so you can
copy interesting software off of other
boards (while running up your phone
bill). What good is a hard drive if
you dont fill it up immediately???

There!!!!   You've done it!!!! You
made a small fortune with your BBS!!

You started with a large fortune and
made a small one!!!

Written by Brian Bowman Sysop of the
AXE*** Board at 314-696-3506 Please
feel free to reprint, but dont
alter!!!

______________________________________
Xx ZMAG SOFTWARE REVIEW
     ..The NEW Express BBS..
______________________________________
By: Keith Ledbetter

   -< BBS Express! Professional >-

Since everyone seems to be asking me
all the time what the new version of
BBS Express! is going to be like, I
thought I'd throw together a little
overview of the new system. 

First, let's talk about the upgrade.
This upgrade is for the *850 VERSION*
of the BBS first, and is being called
'BBS Express! Professional'. This
version is targeted at the serious,
big-system SysOp. Also, this upgrade
will ONLY run on SpartaDOS 3.2x or
greater. TDLINE and ZHAND must be
installed. 

This means that the RTime 8 is fully
supported (along with SpartaDOS's
'internal' software clock if you don't
have an RTime 8 cartridge). 

What do I mean by 'big-system'? Well,
the MOST important thing with BBS
Express! professional is that you have
a RAMDISK, since every command (and I
mean *EVERY* command -- even ASCII/
ATASCII toggle!) is an 'external
command', and must be loaded from a
disk. Without a RAMdisk or a Hard Disk
to load these commands from, the BBS
is going to be painfully slow (you
might be able to survive with a US
Doubler'ed 1050 in high speed). With a
ramdisk or Hard Disk, all commands
load almost instantaneously. Now,
don't get me wrong -- you don't HAVE
to have a large ramdisk or a Hard Disk
to run BBS Express! Pro, but it is
highly recommended because of slow
floppy disk access times.

BBS Express! Pro is written in 100%
machine language. The main 'shell' of
the BBS sits in memory from $3000 -
$6000. This shell contains common
routines that are accessed a lot by
the external, chained programs (such
as the routines to display strings to
the modem, get input from the modem,
view text files, etc). Also, there are
system vectors that you machine-
language-programming sysops can use to
access these shell commands to easily
and quickly write your own commands!

All of the 'external commands' (such
as the message base processor, the
call-for-sysop command, the browse
downloads command, etc) are loaded
into memory at $6000 when they are
needed. The beauty in this type of a
system is that we are now no longer
limited by the machine's memory space.
Each external command can be up to 16K
in length (larger than just about any
DOS you'll ever run!). 

The BBS is currently about 1 month
(maybe) away from going into full BETA
test, (the primary Beta Test site will
be MOUSE BBS 219-674-9288) and
hopefully a long BETA-test period will
not be needed... (you haven't really
lived until you write a fully threaded
message base processor in machine
language! yuk!). Another nice feature
of the 'modularized layout' is that if
there happens to be a bug in one of
the external commands, only THAT
command has to be changed. This sure
makes it convenient for putting
updated or modified commands in the
download section of the support BBS. 

OK, enough of this garbage, you say?
You want to know what it CAN DO!?!?
Well, here's a list of the currently
in and proposed functions. Don't hold
me to all of these; like I said, some
are currently in, and others in this 
list are pure blue-sky and may not be
out in the INITIAL release. But, then
again, they can easily be written
later as modules, put on the support
BBS, and be downloaded by you. You
would then just add the letter of the
command to invoke the new module to
your 'command table definition', and
you now have a new command! 

The ones marked below with an '*' will
DEFINITELY be in the initial release.
Those marked with an '-' are planned
to be initially released or be
available for download sometime after
the initial release.

* 40 and 80 column support, along with
  seperate ATASCII/ASCII menu file
  areas. 

* 300/1200/2400/9600 baud support. The
  9600 is really sort of a fluke, but
  it's there anyway. If ANYONE ever
  tells you that their 8-bit Atari
  program can support full 9600 baud,
  you tell them that I said they are
  full of....well, never mind.

* Fully threaded message bases (see
  replies, reply, follow thread,etc). 

* You can edit messages you previously
  posted. 

- Certain messages can be 'locked' by
  the SysOp so that they will not be
  deleted by the 'automatic deletion'
  portion of the message base
  processor. 

* Up to 32 different message bases,
  each one having up to 250 4000-byte
  messages.

* File browsing by the mask you enter
  (such as '*.*' or '*.COM', etc).
  Identical to the ST version of the
  BBS.

* More download files??? How about
  516,128 possible download files?
  That should make even Mr. Z happy!
  The BBS has 32 possible 'file SIG
  areas', each one allowing up to
  16,129 files!! 

* Download files now use the entire 8
  character name and 3 char extender.

* Full file descriptions on each
  download file. Each file can have a
  description of up to 240 characters. 
* Standard XModem, CRC XModem, and
  YModem support. 

* FULL on-line user editor that can be
  accessed either from on-line or from
  the 'waiting for call' screen.

* Each user has 320 'security flags'
  that you can turn on or off to
  control virtually every action they
  can take. These flags control such
  things as:

'Which message bases can this user
READ' 'Which message bases can this
user POST on' 'Which file areas can
this user access' 

Incredibly easy to set up a user to
have full sysop levels on one message
base, but absolutely NO power on any
other. Great for assigning co-sysops
to different areas of your BBS. 

- Up to 32 trackable surveys, each one
  having an unlimited (only by disk
  space) number of questions.

* Fully functional 'DOS Command' area
  that allows the following commands
  (available from on-line or waiting-
  for-call screen):

 DIR - disk directory
 ERASE - erase file(s)
 CHAT - turn chat mode on/off
 CREDIR - create a subdirectory
 DELDIR - delete a subdirectory
 CWD - change working directory
 LOCK - lock a diskette 
 UNLOCK - unlock a diskette
 PROTECT - protect a file
 UNPROTECT - unprotect a file
 AINIT - initialize a diskette
 CHKDSK - display disk statistics
          (free space, etc)
 TYPE - view a text file 
 ?DIR - display current default
        subdirectory
 UPLOADS - browse/validate new upload
           files 
 COPY - copy file(s)
 RENAME - rename file(s)
 TIME - set time
 DATE - set date 

- The following available from the
  'Waiting for Call' screen: 

 * Full user editor
 * Enter DOS commands
 * Browse / Validate new Upload Files
 * Toggle chat mode on/off
 * 5 different 'logon' modes 
 * Exit to DOS
 - Display today's call log
 - Print / Delete today's call log
 - Terminal program
 - Change SYSDATA file definitions 

There are probably tons more things
that I can't remember right now. I'm
really excited about this version of
the BBS because it is EXPANDABLE.
Probably the best comparison I can
think of is SpartaDOS; almost every
command there is external. If you want
a new command, you just put a new .COM
file on your disk, right? Well, that's
basically it with BBS Express! Pro,
too. You put the new .CMD file on the
drive, change your Command Table
Definition to say something like 'key
'Z' will invoke the command file
ADVENTUR.CMD', and that's all there is
to it (there can be up to 35 different
commands invoked from the main
Command: prompt). 

Also, since there is no PROMPT.OBJ
file in BBS Express! Pro, most of the
source code for the external BBS
commands will provided on the disk (in
MAC/65 format). Should be no problem
for you (or someone you know) to
customize prompts to your liking.

Have you got some other ideas you'd
like to see included? Well, logon to
Midnight Express! and leave a message
in the 'registered owners' section and
I'll be sure to put them on the
'wish-list'. 

Now, about the time-tables...when??
Well, that's really hard to say. This
BBS version is a MAJOR undertaking,
and you all know how I feel about
letting products out the door too soon
(not to mention that it's being
written only in my 'spare' time,
whatever that is). There's nothing I
hate more than a program being
released with bugs in it. I think a
reasonable date to shoot for would be
around the first of next year. So,
those of you who are getting a little
upset with some of the limits of the
current version (especially the
limited number of download files) --
stay with us just a little bit longer.

On a closing note I'd like to say
'thanks' to all of you who have
supported both myself and Orion Micro
Systems in the past by purchasing our
BBS program. You have helped us prove
that there is STILL some money to be
made on the 8 bit Atari if you put out
good products at fair prices. 

Take care, 
Keith Ledbetter 

Stay tuned on MOUSE BBS
(219-674-9288) for full Beta Testing
of this great program.  This is where
you will see it all take place and we
will keep you updated on the progress
and future release dates.

               Jerry Burke - SysOp
______________________________________
Xx CONTEST INFORMATION
______________________________________
On Saturday, August 22, HYBRID ARTS,
LOGICAL CHOICE, and H.A.C.K.S. will be
sponsoring the first MIDIMAZE
tournament, in conjunction with the
release of MIDIMAZE.  There will be
two rounds.  The first will be for any
and all players.  The second round
will be for REGISTERED OWNERS OF
MIDIMAZE ONLY.

The top prize will be a Casio
keyboard.  Many other prizes will be
awarded also.

MIDIMAZE will be on sale at Logical
Choice For Computers the day before
the tournament, and on the day of the
tournament.  For more details, contact
the store at 6116 Lankershim Blvd.,
North Hollywood, CA, or call them at
(818) 760-0738
______________________________________
Xx MACHINE LANGUAGE PROGRAMMING PART1
from Fuji Facts, newsetter of ACEC
Atari Computer Enthusiasts of
Columbus. (c)1987 Fuji Facts
______________________________________
Machine Language:  Where Do I Begin?

by Dr. Warren G. Lieuallen

As many people already know, beginning
to understand and program in machine
or assembly language is not an easy
task.  The instruction set for the
6502 microprocessor is much more
primitive (much more basic!) than
BASIC; many tasks which were
automatically performed for the user
become responsibilities which must now
be directly and properly controlled,
such as:  specific input/output
control, allotting precise memory
space for variables, counters and
flags, and many more.

But perhaps the most bothersome of
these extra "housekeeping chores" is
deciding just where to store the
actual code which makes up the
program.  This must be done before the
program itself can even be written.

While using BASIC, program lines are
simply typed in, one after the other.
The use of line numbers instructs the
computer in which order the commands
are to be executed, and additional
lines may be added into the program
at any point be using an intervening
line number (this explains the common
practice of numbering lines with
multiples of ten--plenty of space is
left for any modifications.).

Very rarely is any thought even given
to where within the computer's memory
the BASIC program will reside; the
computer figures that much out for
itself!  The line numbers simply
indicate the order of the program
statements, not their location.
However, with machine language, this
luxury is not provided.

Every "program statement" in a machine
language program is simply a number
from 0 to 255 (that's the maximum
range of numbers which can be
expressed in one byte in the
hexadecimal system [00 to FF]). This
number is then placed into a specific
memory location, perhaps by means of
the POKE command. After the
appropriate numbers have been entered,
the computer simply executes the
commands represented by the numbers it
finds in its memory, one right after
the other.  The order of execution is
the order that the commands are
encountered in sequential memory
locations, one right after the other
(there are exceptions, of course--as
in the BASIC "GOTO" command, branches
are allowed in assembly language via
"JUMP" commands.).  One consequence of
this is that it is much more difficult
to modify a machine language program,
because there is no "line-skipping" as
in BASIC.

So, the first consideration in writing
a machine language program is which
memory locations to use.  There must
be a contiguous stretch of available
memory locations large enough to
accommodate the entire machine code,
and these locations must not interfere
with the specific "hardware" locations
used by the computer in its
functioning.

Probably the best, and easiest place
to store machine language code is on
"page six".  This refers to memory
locations 1536 to 1791 (it's called
page six because the memory locations
in hexadecimal are 0600 to 06FF.).
This area of memory, 256 bytes in
length, has been set aside for just
such a use; only rarely will the Atari
require any of this space (for a
response to an "INPUT" statement of
more than 130 characters in length,
some of these locations are used.).

If your machine code is more than 256
bytes in length, then you must find
another location to use for storage of
at least the excess code, if not the
entire program.  If this is the case,
you're probably a better assembly
language programmer than I am, and
don't need me to tell you how to
handle this problem!

Another consideration is how to store
your machine code.  The method with
which most people are probably
familiar is to store the program as a
"binary" disk file.  This is done by
using the "Binary Save" option of DOS;
these files are subsequently loaded
again with the "Binary Load" option.
This form of saving creates a special
file on the disk which indicates to
the computer that the following data
file is to be placed into particular
memory locations, which the user has
specified.  Many programs use this
method, which is relatively fast,
especially for larger programs.
However, it is more difficult to
access the code directly, and
understand or modify it as you see
fit.

A second approach is to write a BASIC
program which will "POKE" the
necessary values into the proper
memory locations, and then run the
machine language via a "USR" command.
This approach has the advantage of
allowing access to the code, which
usually consists of decimal
representations of the hexadecimal
codes in DATA statements. However,
these numbers must be reconverted back
into hexadecimal, and then looked up
in a table to "disassemble" the code,
unless a disassembler program which
can read BASIC DATA statements is
available.  Also, the code must be
typed in as decimal numbers, which
means they probably had to be
converted from hexadecimal in the
first place! Another disadvantage is
that this method is much slower to
load into the computer, so that longer
programs will entail a significant
delay.

The best approach is also one of the
more limited.  If the machine language
code is in a form known as
"relocatable", which means that it has
no restrictions on absolute memory
addresses (many programs do), then the
numbers making up the code can be
converted into their ASCII
equivalents, and written as the
characters of a string variable! This
can be done easily to machine language
programs in a different form by a
BASIC program which reads each number,
and then assigns the proper location
within the string to the corresponding
ASCII character.  Then, the routine
may be called from BASIC by using this
command:

X=USR(ADR(ML$)), where X is a dummy
variable, and ML$ is the string
containing the machine code.  This
method is one of my favorites in that
it loads almost instantaneously, and
can be easily used from within a BASIC
program.  However, it is limited to
relocatable code, which has proven to
be quite a limitation, indeed.

I hope this introduction to machine
language and its uses has been both
interesting and valuable to you.
Perhaps you, too, will find
programming in machine or assembly
language as challenging and rewarding
as I do.

[Ed. Look for PART 2 of this 5 part
series next week in Zmag.]
_______________________________________
Zmagazine 66  August 14, 1987 (c)1987
______________________________________




Visit Atarimax Store