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Article #92 (214 is last): From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.zmag Subject: Z*Magazine: 18-Jan-88 #89 Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Date: Wed Jul 21 09:20:22 1993 ====================================== SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE January 18, 1988 Issue #89 Volume 3, Number 3 ====================================== Editor Ron Kovacs Circulation Assistants Ken Kirchner Tony Santos ====================================== HEADQUARTERS FOR FIRST RELEASE OF ZMAG East Brunswick Bulletin Board Service Ascii System. International FidoNet ID# 107/323 300/1200/2400/9600 24 hours XBN Oasis BBS (617) 559-6844 ====================================== Xx INDEX 89 ______________________________________ From The Editor.............Ron Kovacs Zmag E-Mail.................Ron Kovacs XF551 Review...................Unknown Whatever Happened........Bruce Kennedy Zmag System Update...........Nut House Zmag Newswire............Bruce Kennedy Commentary-Reply.........Ralph Mariano CompuServe Update (Atarians).......CIS Programming in Basic.....Jackson Beebe ______________________________________ Xx FROM THE EDITOR ______________________________________ by Ron Kovacs Incase you are not aware of it, The ZMagazine BBS is no longer available. I have taken the system down for good because of commitments on my time, and for the fact that problems with the hardware have caused me to decide what my future plans dictate. I have moved the Headquarters to the EBBBS (which is local to ZMag) and the XBN BBS (which is another Oasis BBS). XBN has aquired ALL of the current passwords from ZMag. You can call there direct for immediate access. No callback required. Your password will be validated as it was on ZMag. I am looking for other carriers to be headquarter systems. I will select one from each area code and let you know shortly. If you decide to become a regional headquarter system, you will be asked to carry atleast 5-6 weeks worth of past issues. I am very sorry I could not let you all know before, the system crashed earlier today and the work required to once again restart it was too much for me right now. Perhaps at a later time this year, we will return to the telephone lines. But until then, I sincerely hope you will continue to support ZMagazine. (201) 968-8148 will become a voice line direct to ZMagazine. If you have questions on anything, feel free to call me. The voice line will become official Feb 1, 1988. Until then, a busy signal will be in effect. Changes are on the horizon, with the newly found freedom, I will be able to work on more things and will keep you all up to date. Zmag and ST-Report will continue to be found on CompuServe and GEnie. Thank you for your understanding. To those who know what it takes to run a BBS, know that it is a tough decision to make. ______________________________________ Xx ZMAGAZINE ELECTRONIC MAILBOX ______________________________________ Here are a few letters received over the past month from the ZMAG MAILBOX EasyPlex Date: 15-Dec-87 03:13 EST From: John Hoffman - BPForum [76703,1036] Subj: Happy Holidays HAPPY HOLIDAYS...AND WELCOME BACK TO THE FORUM !!! The BP Forum has been on the run....on the go...and on the move with many additions and improvements! New sections include RADIO/TV TALENT (section 5) for on-air personalities looking for placement and for potential employers to find you! The CATV/MMDS has been established to share information on Cable TV related programs, utilities, and current news. We now have a RADIO SALES area (section 16) for discussion of sales information and techniques. The BP Forum is ready to bring in the new year with a special section to deal with election coverage issues found under COVERAGE '88 section 15. This area will also be looking at OLYMPIC COVERAGE too! Jay Trachman's ONE TO ONE is now permenantly on line with the Forum. You'll find lot's of interesting information here for your on-air show with tid bits on the latest in the industry. So get yourself reaccquinted with us and enjoy the new services here in the forum for YOU! IT'S GOING TO BE A BUSY 1988 SO BE STAY HERE FOR THE LATEST (GO BPFORUM) Happy Holidays from the Staff of the BPForum - John H., Chris, Joe, John R., Jim, Chuck, Gerry, Ron, Steve B., Steve J. and Bob *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=* EasyPlex Date: 18-Dec-87 19:30 EST From: Charles Melichar [71270,2413] Subj: Zmag on My BBS Hello. As you can see, my name is Chas Melicar, and I run a BBS in Boise, Idaho, and I was interested in if it was possible to carry your magazine on my BBS. I don't believe anyone else carries it here, and I think that is a shame. Please leave me some information, I'd sure appreciate anything you can tell me about ZMAG. The BBS # here is (208)/342-5981. I'm using BBS Express!, the Xm-301 version. Run 24hrs. Thanx for your help and patience. Merry Christmas, Charles 71270,2413 *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=* EasyPlex Date: 04-Jan-88 20:17 EST From: Charles Melichar [71270,2413] Subj: Raves About ZMag! About Zmag... Ron: Sorry to bother you (you must be extremely busy), but thought you might want to hear.. with just the first issue, I've already had people saying "I actually Learned something" and "When is the next issue? You WILL get more, won't you?" Thanx alot, Ron, keep at it, you're doing an excellent job (and please pass it on to all of your helpers, editors, asciiingers, and so on! Oh, and before I forget, if you would like it, or if there is an opening, I would like to write a short article for ZMag... lemme know if you are interested. The best to you in '88, "The Loopy Year" -Chas *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= EasyPlex Date: 10-Jan-88 20:22 EST From: JERRY CROSS [75046,467] Subj: zmag Ron, you did it to me again. You left my bbs off your list! I left you a note once before and you said you would include it on future lists! PLLLLLEEEEZZZZZ put my name on your next one. I have been a faithfull Zmag bbs for over 1 1/2 years, and currently carry all of the issues back to August. FACTS 3/12/2400 313-736-3920 ______________________________________ Xx HARDWARE REVIEW ______________________________________ Author Unknown (captured from CompuServe) At a Federated store somewhere in California... I can actually hear the salesman's thoughts as I approach...
I notice that there are even more Atari specific products displayed, including the stack of XEP-80s and SX-212s. Even third party 8-bit products peek out at me from the racks. Not overwhelming, but the place is beginning to look like Atari does intend to sell 8-bit computer stuff there. My weekly (daily?) visit does not concern itself with what I can see though, the Question readies on my lips... "got any word on the new disk drive?" "Well, there is a truck waiting to be unloaded that just came from Atari.... I could look on the bill of lading." Sure, you go look at your paperwork. I'll just poke around in the displays until you give me the Bad News.... I didn't even ask him the price when he came back and said they shipped him ONE unit. I think I got home without breathing, watching for the Atari Patrol to confiscate my prize...."that unit was not for sale! It is a demo! The FCC has not approved the XF551, yet..." The Family is so well trained that they didn't notice the glaze over my eyes... no mention of the new, grey thingie on my console.... my mumbles sounded somewhat feverish, but within the limits of normality for me. I actually got an XF551, and it worked, and it runs all my software, and it is going to do Great Things! The Nature of the Beast... The XF551 is a half-height floppy drive that is somewhat smaller than the 1050 and Tramiel Grey in color. It will read and write SS/SD disks (810), SS/ED (1050), SS/DD (ICD Doubler or Percom, etc.), and DS/DD (360K!!). I have heard rumors that the built-in controller has a track buffer, but the performance of the unit that I have does not confirm that. The XF551 can transfer data on the SIO at twice the normal speed, if your DOS knows how to activate the feature. OSS has written ADOS for the new drive that will support all these formats, but it is not yet available. Luckily, SpartaDos, from ICD, does a great job on the XF551. Only the high speed SIO function is missing from my 3.2d version of SpartaDos and ICD has already announced the availability of an upgrade to remedy that. The drive can be addressed on the SIO buss as D1: thru D4:, just like the 1050, and acts like the previous device in almost all respects. Almost all respects..... The DOS 2.5 manual that comes with the early XF551 looks like a copy of the 1050 manual with all instances of the string "1050" replaced with "XF551" (heck, it IS a copy with all the references changed....). No mention is made of double-sided, double-density operation in the manual. It even lists the controller as a 6507/2793 combination, which it is certainly not! I would have to assume that we will see a proper manual when ADOS is released. As for operating quirks, the drive will normally post a "no DOS" message (or rather, SpartaDos posts the message) when you boot the first DS/DD disk. You have to re-boot to get it to load in, but only the first time. It seems that the device will only change density when it reads sector 1. This appears to solve the problems that crop up in protection schemes that rely on an 810 or 1050 to fail to read a DD sector stuck in a SD disk. I tried a number of commercial software packages that are known to croak on DD drives and found no problems. There MAY be a few out there, but I would guess not many. (very good news for those buying their first and only drive...) This new kid will also read SS/DD diskettes from ICD and such. Unlike the ST SS drive, the format of the DD drive does not write all the sectors on one head of a track and then switch to the other head and write those sectors before moving to the next track. By writing 36 DD sectors before moving the head, you get a higher transfer rate, but you lose SS compatability. This means that I can read the first 180K of my DS/DD disks on my ICD modified 1050 (a SS drive)! Much handier than having the ST style format, even if it is slower. So, this XF551 is quiet, fast and holds lots of data. Just what we wanted, right? Yeeesssssss.....but I kinda liked the idea of a 3.5 inch drive, too. And I'm kinda partial to the PBI on my 800XL, 1200XL and 130XE..... and ,,,,, Out Come The X-Ray Glasses... The best part of this drive is the part you never see, inside the covers. The power supply is an old standard 400/800/810/1050/1200XL transformer that should last forever and costs almost nothing. There is a single-chip microprocessor in there directing traffic, a couple of TTL ICs and a WD1772 floppy disk controller. The same controller as the ST. Exactly the same. The one that does 720K on a 3.5in drive..... Looking at the drive, it seems to be a bone-stock, IBM style, 360K drive. With a regular 34 pin interface cable. Just like the 720K, 3.5in ST drive.... Out comes the book, on goes the soldering iron, snip-snip, solder- solder. Using a 14 pin ST drive connector and a foot of 14 conductor flat cable, I soldered a cable to the XF551's 34 pin connector site that would plug into an SF314 drive. You have to pull the connector to the 5.25 drive in the XF551 since the controller will select both drives at once if they are both plugged in. Without any 3.5in disks to boot from, I had to boot from a 1050 with the XF551 set as D2:. Calling the XINIT program, I formatted a 3.5in disk as DS/DD, 80 tracks. 720K of available space!! Of course, it didn't really have 720K of space, since the XF551 ROM does not understand 80 tracks vs. 40 tracks. With the ROM in a nice socket, someone should be able to fix that (are you listening, Tom?). Regardless, the 3.5in drives work fine at 360K and promise to be even more useful in the future. Did I mention the drive select line on the WD1772? The one that tells which of the four drives on the 34 pin buss to pay attention? If one were to plug the SF314 into the buss, but use the D2: select line instead of the D1: line (the line that the 5.25 drive reponds to), one could run both drives from the one controller. No conflicts, no hassle. A second SF314 plugged into the back of the first SF314 (using a standard ST cable), would be D3:! It would require a new ROM to implement this configuration, but little else. Of course, if you were going to use the PIO to talk to the XF551, you wouldn't use the ROM anyway. Gee, the SF314 sits perfectly up there on top of the XF551. They make such a wonderful pair. And on such a wonderful machine. Made a little more wonderful by the addition of an XF551. ______________________________________ Xx WHATEVER HAPPENED TO.... ______________________________________ by Bruce Kennedy WARD CHRISTENSEN? The other day I was visiting the IBM forums on CIS, trying to get my new office portable to work, and I bumped into someone who helped our Keith Ledbetter along the way. Ward Christensen. I asked him what his experience with PERSONAL computers was, see below. Also where he worked and a quick summary of his claim to fame. If you're into telecomputing, you should know THE pioneer in modem protocol development, and BBS frontiers. ------ Ward Christensen --------- The messages below have been approved by Ward for publication. Fm: Ward Christensen 76703,302 To: Bruce Kennedy 72327,1500 (X) I'm in PC technical support for IBM. (though have worked for IBM for 20 years, and have been in everything from small card systems (back a few years) to mainframe databases. Been in PC's since '84. CIS work, its private - my IBM-ness is not why I'm here - I'm here because of my hobbyist stuff - and because I invented XMODEM and programmed the worlds first BBS, etc>?? from Kennedy: What computers do you tinker with in your private life, Ward? Do you harbour a C64 or an Atari in the closet? Nope - all those "other" machines came along quite a while AFTER I'd gotten into microcomputing - I had a disk system back in '75, 8080 CP/M based. All the other stuff seemed rather "toyish" compared to mine-since as early as '72 I decided the system HAD to be disk based. SO, I went from a 20K 8080 in '75, to the CP/M operating system in '77, had a hard disk (whopping 8M) in about 80 or so, with 1.2M 8" diskettes (need 1000 8" diskettes? ;-) - then a PC in '84. IF YOU APPRECIATE WARD'S WORK, PAY A VISIT AND THANK HIM FOR MAKING TELECOMPUTING ONE OF YOUR HOBBIES! GO IBMNEW Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode Island ACE :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ANALOG IS ALIVE!!!!! :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: The following message was posted on the Analog forum of Delphi In early January: For all who are interested... ANALOG is in the process of being bought out by a very large publishing company based in Los Angeles, California. The publishing company will provide printing, distribution and subscription services for ANALOG and ST/Log Magazines. For the most part, the editorial content will still be lead by Lee Pappas, Clayton Walnum and the assortment of contributing editors currently adding their prose to the magazine. The first issue of ANALOG and ST/Log that will be published under the new company will be the March, '88 issues. These issues will be on the news- stands in late January, '88. After the re-introduction, ANALOG and ST/Log magazines will be published monthly with approximately the same coverage and substance as was previously made available. Subscribers will continue to receive their issues as normal under this new arrangement. ANALOG will be installing an answering machine on their Worcester, Massachusetts phone number sometime this week. The machine will give more precise details regarding the publication dates and subscriber information. Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode Island ACE ______________________________________ Xx ZMAG SYSTEM UPDATE ______________________________________ Please add the following number to your ZMAGAZINE System Carrier Listing. (602)459-6896 The Nut House BBS Sierra Vista, Az. 300 only 8N1 7:00pm to 7:00am MST ______________________________________ Xx ZMAG NEWSWIRE ______________________________________ ANALOG IS ALIVE!!!!! The following message was posted on the Analog forum of Delphi in early January: For all who are interested... ANALOG is in the process of being bought out by a very large publishing company based in Los Angeles, California. The publishing company will provide printing, distribution and subscription services for ANALOG and ST/Log Magazines. For the most part, the editorial content will still be lead by Lee Pappas, Clayton Walnum and the assortment of contributing editors currently adding their prose to the magazine. The first issue of ANALOG and ST/Log that will be published under the new company will be the March, '88 issues. These issues will be on the news-stands in late January, '88. After the re-introduction, ANALOG and ST/Log magazines will be published monthly with approximately the same coverage and substance as was previously made available. Subscribers will continue to receive their issues as normal under this new arrangement. ANALOG will be installing an answering machine on their Worcester, Massachusetts phone number sometime this week. The machine will give more precise details regarding the publication dates and subscriber information. ELECTRONIC ONE Electronic One, the mail order house, has discontinued phone service effective January 14, 1987. They are only accepting mail communications. Has anyone had problems with service? Has anyone attempted to cancel credit card charges to avoid payment for merchandise not received or delivered later than promised????? Let us know?? Reported by Bruce Kennedy of Rhode Island ACE _______________________________________Xx COMMENTARY-REPLY ______________________________________ Two weeks ago Jack Lee commented on the lack of software for the 8-bits. This a reply to the article. REPLY What has been left unsaid by the article is the story about the glut of TRASH software foisted upon us by the same crummy software companies that are doing all crying about ATARI! Well, let them take notice..Gents keep an eye on FTL's Dungeon Master! It is gonna break every sales record you clods ever thought you could establish!!! The message is loud and clear.." Quit the crying and produce quality software, the Atari users are NOT the idiots your demographic "studies" or your pea-brained sales managers have said they are! It is quite evident that the software released for the 8 bit is partly to blame for the "widespread Piracy"...how? easy! It's a pleasure to pirate a crummy program to show as many folks out there how really bad it is...so they dont get suckered into buying it because of the enticing promotions. In short, take your accusations and stuff em! Release REAL software and see REAL profit!!! You say you wont produce for us anymore? Who Cares! Take ALL your MARBLES and run....when all the smoke clears, all the users (not just Atari) will know just how fickle you are. For every software publisher that thinks he is hurting us, let him be the first to pay attention to FTL sales in 1988...we, the users pledge full and unerring support to this fine company for it's outstanding efforts in producing a super quality product for the "so-called" Atari pirates. hahahaha!! What fools are those who think we will not spend for quality...just look at the hardware we use..The very very BEST....ATARI!!!!!! FTL [FASTER THAN LIGHT] support these folks! totally tired of crybabys, Ralph F. Mariano ______________________________________ Xx COMPUSERVE UPDATE (ATARIANS) ______________________________________ News from CIS's Atari Section Forum member Bill Fox will be hosting an informal Conference on Friday, January 22, 1987 at 8:00 PM EST in Conference ROOM 2 to discuss problems and cures for the Bulletin Board Construction Set (BBCS) software. All members are invited to attend! Type /TUN 2 to join in. INFORMAL CONFERENCES The ATARI 8-Bit Forum holds two weekly "informal" gatherings that all Forum members are invited to attend: * Technical/Programming CO -- All programmers and "technical minded" people are welcome to join us every Saturday night at 9:30 PM EST/6:30 PM PST. * Community Gab -- All Forum members are invited to "shoot the breeze" or discuss Atari with other members every Sunday night at 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST in conference room 18! STARDUST Software is offering our members a discount price on their "QuickCode Programmers Library." Be sure to take advantage of this special offer which is good through March 31st. Please see message # 202375 in the ATARI 8-Bit Forum for details! NEW UPLOADS The Data Library Bulletin is updated each Monday with a listing, complete with keywords and descriptions, of the files uploaded during the previous week. Instead of going to each Data Library and BROWSE/SCANNING, simply type B;4 at the main menu to find out what new files are available! The ATARI 16-Bit Forum (GO ATARI16) CONTEST WINNER! Please help us congratulate Richard Lawrence [71101,2272] who won a FREE month in ATARI16 for his correct solution to the "Christmas language puzzle." THIS YEAR IN ATARI16... In the coming days, we will be implementing some organizational changes in ATARI16. Foremost in the list will be the appointment of Section Leaders. The Section Leaders will be "experts" in particular section that they are designated leader of, and they will be assisting the SYSOPs in helping to keep message threads in the right sections and under clearer topic headings. ______________________________________ Xx LEARNING TO PROGRAM IN ATARI BASIC ...Part 3 of a continuing series... ______________________________________ Getting Started in Atari BASIC (C) Copyright 1986 by Jackson Beebe ------------------------------------- 9. TO RUN A PROGRAM: ------------------------------------- When you have a program typed in correctly, LIST it, and make sure it's right. Type RUN (no line number) and RETURN. Your program should begin executing, and produce output. It's STILL in memory, and you can LIST it, or RUN it again. You can usually stop a program with the BREAK key. The RUN command is used in IMMEDIATE Mode (no line number). When we use line numbers, we're in PROGRAMMING Mode. When we type commands in IMMEDIATE mode, we're talking directly to the computer. You can print in immediate mode. Try: PRINT "ZOWIE" It prints, but it's also gone, and not in memory. Try a LIST, and you'll notice it's not there. ------------------------------------- 10. SAVING A PROGRAM: ------------------------------------- DISK DRIVE: To save a program to disk, you think up an eight letter filename. It has to start with a letter, and can only be eight characters (letters and numbers). No spaces are allowed. If you wish, you can type a period, and add a three letter extension to label programs. It's usually used that way. For example GAME.BAS would be a game in BASIC. To save a program, type in a statement in the form that follows. The D refers to disk drive. If you use only D, it assumes D1 or drive #1. Use the proper number if you have multiple drives. SAVE "D:FILENAME" and hit RETURN. Your disk should spin, and save the program under the name you gave it. Think up good names, 'cause when you have hundreds of programs, you need to be able to identify them from their name alone. At this point the program is STILL in memory, AND a copy stored on the disk. You could remove the disk, and shut down the system, and your program will remain on the disk. CASSETTE: You must use an Atari tape recorder to save programs. Model 410 recorders are very inexpensive, and often available for loan from friends who have moved up to disk drives. Model 1010 recorders are newer. I would not consider buying a recorder new, but save my money toward a disk drive. To SAVE a program to cassette, rewind the tape to the beginning, or the place you want to record at. Type CSAVE and RETURN in Immediate mode. You will hear two beeps, to remind you to push two keys. Push down both the PLAY and RECORD buttons at the same time on the recorder. Now push RETURN again, to start the recording. When your program has been saved to tape, the tape will stop turning. Note the counter number for future reference. No filenames are possible with tapes. ------------------------------------- 11. DIRECTORY: ------------------------------------- To see a list of the files on your disk, you must go to DOS (Disk Operating System.) This is done by typing: DOS This is in immediate mode. When you get to the DOS menu, follow your DOS's instructions to look at your files. When finished, return to your BASIC cartridge, usually menu option B. If you are using a MEM.SAV file, your BASIC program will remain unchanged in memory. Without, when you return from DOS, your BASIC program will be gone into never never land, and lost. This is no problem if you remember to SAVE it before going to DOS. You can load it back in. You'll learn quickly after losing a few programs that you hadn't saved yet. Read your disk manual about this. ------------------------------------- 12. LOADING A PROGRAM: ------------------------------------- DISK DRIVE: To get that program back the next time you use your computer, install BASIC, turn on the disk drive, and printer. Insert the disk. Turn on computer. The disk should spin and give you READY prompt. You're in BASIC. To get back your old program, type: LOAD "D:FILENAME" Your disk should spin, load in the program, and say "READY". To see it, type L. or LIST. To run it, type RUN. To stop it, usually the BREAK key will do it. You can start again with RUN, or sometimes by typing CONT for continue. If you change your program, with line editing, or by adding to it, be sure to save a copy with the changes. I save my program often while writing, in case I screw it up totally, or there's a (GASP) power failure. Programs saved on disk survive. CASSETTE: To load from cassette, wind/rewind tape to beginning of program using counter. Type CLOAD and RETURN. You will hear one beep. Push down the PLAY key on the recorder. Now hit RETURN once again. The tape should beginning turning, and load in the program. Be patient, tape is a very slow process. You will hear bleeps as the tape loads in. Sooner or later, the tape will finish loading. Type LIST or RUN. Do not be alarmed if your program failed to load accurately. Simply rewind, and try again. Tape loads correctly most of the time. Keep your heads clean, and if all else fails, have your local hardware whiz realign your head. Tape is fussy. ------------------------------------- ------------------------------------- SAMPLE Problems: ------------------------------------- PROBLEM 0 (can be filenamed PROB0) Okay here we put it all together. Type in the following program EXACTLY as it appears below. 10 REM *** PROB0 *** 20 REM Your Name - Date 30 REM 40 PRINT CHR$(125) 50 PRINT "HELLO WORLD" 60 PRINT:PRINT:PRINT 70 PRINT "I am communicating with the world." 80 PRINT 90 PRINT " by Your Name" 100 END We introduced one new concept here. The PRINT CHR$(125). It "prints" the screen clear (clears the screen.) Handy statement to put up front in a program. Starts you off with a fresh screen. Type the program in. Save it to disk with SAVE "D1:PROB0". When it's done and a copy saved on the disk, run it by typing RUN. You should see output as follows: HELLO WORLD I am communicating with the world. by Your Name Try turning your computer off, rebooting, and loading this program back in. LIST it to see if it's there. Try running it again. If it works, then congratulate yourself. You have written a BASIC program. This program is for your own use. Do not upload this program to the BBS. ------------------------------------ PROB1 Write a program to produce the following output: ************* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ******* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ************* ------------------------------------ PROB1A Write a program to print: A TTTTT A RRRR I A A T A A R R I A A T A A R R I AAAAA T AAAAA RRRR I A A T A A R R I A A T A A R R I ------------------------------------ This concludes Part 3 of Lesson 1 of Learning to program in Atari BASIC. Be sure to read next week for Part 4 and the start of Lesson 2, which covers: LET statement, Numeric variables, String variables, READ statement, DATA statement, Math rules, END statement, INPUT statement We'll begin problem solving at the end of Lesson 2. Contact me at: Jackson Beebe Prairie Data Fields 807 W. Hill Street Urbana, IL 61801 or CompuServe 72550,317 ______________________________________ Xx POINT -Steve Godun ______________________________________ Subject: Jersey Atari Computer Group [Ed. I have decided to publish this article in both ZMagazine and ST- Report because it is news worthy in our local area. Some of you might find this interesting and others may not. My intention here is to show everyone what goes on behind the scenes of some of our User Groups across the nation. This article in NO WAY reflects the opinions of the Syndicate Publishing Company and any of the publications. There is Steve Godun statements, and then followed by David Noyes reply. David is the Editor of the JACG Monthly newsletter.] POINT--Steve Godun I was invited to join the JACG by Gary Gorski, JACG Advertising and Sales representative and JACG BBS Sysop, at about mid-June 1987. I joined the JACG at the July 1987 meeting thinking that there was enough activity and knowledge in the group to justify the $25 fee. I expected to receive a top- quality newsletter every month. I expected to see membership increase as Atari computers become more popular. I expected to see demos of new, productive, and entertaining software. I even expected to see the JACG hold an AtariFest in New Jersey, since every other major Atari user group in the U.S. has held one. I have since learned to expect nothing from the JACG, especially the above. The reason for this message: I received a call on Saturday, January 9th, 1988 (JACG meeting day) at around 10:00am from Doug Van Hook, JACG President. He told me that there were approximately 200 people waiting for the JACG's 130XE, of which I was in charge of because I am the JACG 8-Bit Vice President. I explained to him that I had the flu, and that there was no way for me to drive there on account of the fact that Piscataway doesn't believe in plowing the back roads; thus, I was snowed in. His reply was "Steve, you let us down." Let YOU down? In that case, I apologize for the existance of illness and snow. I'll bring it right up to God and have them eliminated immediately. I was told that I should have contacted him about this earlier. When I claimed that I tried to call from where I work at about 8pm the previous night, he told me he was home and got no call -- in essence, I was lying. Doug, you're a lost case. If you can't accept a legitimate reason and want to put the blame on another person, then you've got a lot of growing up to do. I thought about his reply after he hung up and I've come to this conclusion: How could I "let down" a user group that is about as active as a dead moose? The JACG has been around since December 1981/January 1982 and I have yet to see any kind of major contribution to its members since around 1984. At times there are helpful articles in the newsletter (always, of course, written by the same people every month), but that's about as far as the help extends. Unless you have a specific problem that someone in the meeting room is an expert on, forget it. You might get a few suggestions, but most likely everyone will be asleep from watching such thrilling demos such as a video taped 1/2 hour TV program that has nothing to do with Atari computers at all, or perhaps from watching a man page through about 12 pages of text on an old word processor without saying a word. Ever try to read text on that ancient projection TV of yours? More news for you -- it can't be done. Let's take this one step at a time. First, the newsletter. To begin, if you're going to do a newsletter, do it right. It takes a special kind of ignorance not to know that red body type on white paper is very hard on the eyes to most people. I have yet to see an issue where all the text is straight, the line spacing consistant, and the print centered on the page (usually it's off to the right or left to the point where it's almost - or is - cut off). Content? What content? I can see where product/service reviews can help. I can see where technical issues can help. I can even see where two pages per issue on nothing but desktop publishing is discussed. But that's it. Every issue, that's all you see. What about program type-ins? You can't claim they're not popular. Ever hear of Antic or Analog? Guess what? They have popular type-in programs! What about homemade hardware projects like that printer digitizer that was in Antic/Analog awhile back? I expect to get a response like "If nobody writes it, we can't put it in." In that case, you're telling me that there is no newsletter in the entire U.S. that has any such articles? I find that hard to believe. I also expect you never to hear of "cut-and-paste". It IS possible to xerox an article out of another newsletter and paste it into the JACG newsletter. Or is that "not JACG policy"? Next, I would like to know exactly what the best offering the JACG has for its members. It's not the meetings, it's not the newsletter, and it certainly isn't the lame JACG BBS. So, what is it? Exactly why hasn't the JACG had an AtariFest? I got a quote from a professional show manager a few months ago (I even told you about it, but you so conveniently brushed it off as "ignorance of one so young"). He told me that all you would need is about 10 volunteers and about $8,000 for a very large 3-day show. If the JACG can't hack that small amount, then it's in BIG trouble. There are more Atari users out there than you may think, so unless you schedule the show for Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day (which sounds like something the JACG would do), there would be many people in attendance. Unless, of course, the JACG comes up with some more brilliant advertising, such as putting 1"x1" ads in the bathrooms of New York subways (more JACG brilliance). Besides that, like someone said at the "executive meeting", a member pays $25 per year and gets nothing except a $2- per-month newsletter and a cheap blue card that entitles him/her to sacrifice more wallet space. For $1 less, a non-member can get the same "benefits" as a member can, along with room for another photo in the wallet. Oops, I almost forgot -- "members" get a big $1 off JACG software. Oooooohh...I'm really impressed. Wow. Thrilling. I have been in the JACG for six months and I have yet to see confirmed facts that membership has RISEN. If anything, it has dropped. I can recall a time in the past when a friend of mine was part of more than 500 members. Now it's at about 200 or so. Really impressive. You must have been up all night to think of some brilliant way to lose 300 people. I and many other people feel that the JACG offers nothing more than what you can get from any local BBS or just from friends. Thus, I resign from the position of 8-Bit JACG Vice President -- find some other sucker to take the position. I am tired of hearing about all of the so-called "plans to encourage participation and increase membership." And that's all I've been doing -- hearing about it. The JACG will get it's computer back as soon as I possibly can deliver it. I have offered more to the Atari community than most of JACG members combined. I have written more articles, established more contacts for people, and helped more users than most of the JACG members ever have and I'm sick and tired of it. I honestly didn't mind the hundreds of questions I got at each meeting and at computer stores. I also didn't mind the 1/2 hour drive to and from the meeting at 7am every month. I even didn't mind (for awhile) the fact that my name was misspelled on the newsletter mailing label. But when I started getting phone calls from members at 2am in the morning looking for help (no kidding -- one member called me at 2am to ask me how to format a disk), or getting JACG members calling my BBS and abusing the system then looking for more and more to take -- THAT'S when I draw the line. Now I finally realize why there was nobody else who wanted the position of 8-Bit VP. Now I finally realize what my fellow Atari non-JACG members were warning me about. Now is the time I end the seemingly endless span of useless members and worthless management. As far as I can tell, the JACG has been on a spiraling course for the past year and a half and there's nowhere to go except down. I've been a member for 6 months, and I have paid for a year. Thus, for my endless troubles I demand the sum of $12.50 be sent to my address in a check payable to me. A legal friend of mine (who, by the way, has fairly recently let his JACG membership run out on account of "nothing to offer") says that I have a right to have ALL of my money back, but I only want what's mine. The $2.08 per month is DEFINATELY not worth it. MAYBE 2 cents...That's about all. I have "let down" a group of 200 people for one day, while they have let ME down every day for the past 6 months. I think that's more than generous on my part. Doug, if you want to bitch to someone, bitch to them, not me. And a good look at yourself might do wonders. I am almost positive that this message will be deleted minutes after I post it on the JACG BBS. In any event, I am also uploading this as a file to other BBS's that I call so everyone will know how I feel. If you feel that I am totally in the wrong, put this message in the next issue of the newsletter. In any case, that's that. Good-bye, good luck, good riddence. -Steve Godun Liberated At Last ______________________________________ Xx COUNTER-POINT Dave Noyes ______________________________________ Sent on 01/17/88 at 09:14:44 From: David Noyes Ron....JACG intends to keep his message up on our board...so as far as I'm concerned...you can use it....I, and many others don't take issue with a lot of what he has to say...check my editorials for the last year or so, re. participation...et. al.---However, I take great issue with the delivery (diatribe/lack of maturity) method. Please understand...HIS failure to show up at the last meeting, or to make whatever effort was neccessary to get to ANYBODY on the board, left the membership sitting around on meeting morning with NO 8-bit machine, no cable...and therefore, no demos. As far as his comments re. the NEWSLETTER...it is a NEWSLETTER, not a competitor of ANALOG or ANTIC, it's staff of one, like you, is not compensated...holds a full-time job, and has family reponsibilities...and yet it has ALWAYS been issued on-time...the membership has NEVER been let down, and THEIR articles have always found their way into print. I intend to list ALL contributors of the last 12 months, indicating whether they are "first-time" or not & will print Steve Godun's article in full ...but with very crooked margins!!! (But not in red-ink, which, by the way, was NOT what I instructed the printer...I had asked for GREEN, but the scheme was reversed...I NEVER would have done the DECEMBER issue that way). Almost all ATARI user groups are declining in membership (as I have indicated in my editorials) it is symtomatic of not only a lack of participation common to all groups (fraternal, religious)...but also of the move (in ATARIDOM) from 8 to 16- Bit. Many 16 bit purchasers evidently do not feel the need to "join" a user group...possibly having bought an ST for specific purposes. You are therefore left with a club, shrinking naturally (attrition)...and in transition...8 to 16-Bit. I believe it an inevitable down-trend.... ....... ..Dave Noyes Any views on this are welcome! ______________________________________ (c)1988 Syndicate Publishing Company Issue #89 January 18, 1988 ______________________________________