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Article #20 (44 is last): From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.nwsltr Subject: Atari SIG: 17-Jun-90 #101 Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Date: Wed May 25 12:30:17 1994 - / \ / \ / \ / \ ___________/ \__________ \ / \ June 17, 1990 Vol.I No.1 / \ / ______________________________________________|______________ /________________ __________-_____________/ /___|_|_|_________ CLEVELAND FREE-NET _________| |___________/ /____|_|_|_________ ________| |_________/ /____/__|__\________ ATARI SIG ________| |________/ /____/___|___\_______ ______| | | |_____/ /____________________________________________________________/ / / \ \ / / \ \ / / \ \ -___________________________________________________________- // ______ _______ \\ // / \ / \ \\ () /________\ ON-LINE NEWSLETTER /_________\ () /|| | ______ | | _______ | ||\ //_________||ATARI ||_________________________|| ATARI ||____________\\ -\|| || ST || || XE || ||/- \| ||______|| Supporting the ||_______|| |/ |\ /|________|\ /|_________| _/| ||\_ /____________\ Atari XE, ST, | / || || \__| /|\ ___ | | |\___/| / || || _|____________| Portfolio, & | ___________ ____ || || | \| ///////// | | __ | || || \ ____________ _ Lynx systems |___________| | __ | || || |/////////// | \ |______/////| | __ | || |LLLLLLLL LLL| _ |LLLLLLLLLLL| | __ | |LLLLLLLL LLL||'| |LLLLLLLLLLL| |____| |_[____]_____| - |__[_____]__| \_-/ (aka C.A.I.N. - Cleveland Atari Information Network) __________________________________________________________________________ 216/368-3888 | 300/1200/2400 bps | type 'Go Atari' at any menu __________________________________________________________________________ Atari SIG, P.O. Box 21815, Cleveland, Ohio, 44121 ___________________________________________________________________ Contents Words from the Editor...........................Len Stys What to do About Atari..........................Kevin Steele The Atari Portfolio (Review)....................Tony Thomas The "Atari Advantage" is a real advantage.......Len Stys Free-Net Online Magazines and Z*Net............. Sparta DOS X (Review)...........................Doug Wokoun Police Quest II (Review & Hints)................Robert Stys Alpha Music Utilties (3 Reviews)................Michael & George Polly What is new in the Cleveland Atari World?.......Mark Leair Free Registration and Membership Offer.......... New Sierra Games for the Atari ST............... Lynx and new Lynx game cards.................... About the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG.......... ______________________________________________________________________ Accessing Free-Net by Internet- IP address: "freenet-in-a.cwru.edu". ____________________________________________________________________ Sending Atari SIG e-mail from Compuserve or other systems through Internet: >INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org __________________________________________________________________________ Sending Atari SIG e-mail from BITNET systems usually found in colleges: xx004%cleveland.freenet.edu@cunyvm ______________________________________ Words from the Editor Happy Father's Day and welcome to the first issue of the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG's On-Line Newsletter. WE hope you enjoy it and will continue to bring you news, reviews, and articles every other month. It may seem a little ironic that we would start a newsletter at probably one of the most depressing times in almost every Atarian's life but that is exactly why we started one. In this newsletter, we will not concentrate on what Atari is doing wrong but instead we would like to concentrate on what great things there are for your computer and how you can better use your Atari. The Lynx is out and it is being advertised by Atari and just in time. It seems as if Nintendo, NEC, and Sega are all bringing out new portable game systems. Each of these new portable systems will be able to run games from their existing home system - something I'm sure Atari didn't think they would do. But Atari has a chance if they get in a lot of America's homes by this Christmas. The Stacy's hard disk drive problem is being fixed and already the Stacy is said to be the ultimate MIDI tool not to mention an ultimate Mac Portable! Rumor has it that the "Atari Advantage" package will be out by Fall in the U.S. and will consist of the STe (hopefully!) and a bundle of software to be sold in K-Mart type stores. A few rumors have it that a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to promote the STe and Stacy computers in the U.S. has indeed been signed. Of course, I cannot guarantee that all of this is true but is seems as though it is about time that rumors like these start becomming true. The last bit of hope that I can give you is from Sam Tramiel himself. I received a letter from him about two weeks ago that said, "Please keep the faith strong in Atari" and "you won't be disappointed at year's end." I believe I won't. Hmmm. What do we have for you in our very first issue? Everything. We formally introduce the Portfolio by giving you a review on it. A review for probably the most powerful product for the Atari 8-bits that brings you past MS-DOS is SpartaDOX X. SpartaDOS X as you will find out is why 8-bitters are still 8-bitters- it is probably the best kept secret. We bring you tons of reviews of software and products for the Atari ST. We bring you an article on what to do about Atari. What new titles are coming out from Sierra for the Atari ST. And much much much more! Len Stys What to do about Atari? by Kevin Steele Recently, with the continuing slide of Atari's US market share, there have been a large number of angry voices crying out, demanding that Atari get its act together and release all those wonderful new machines it has been promising for the last two years. Many have threatened to sell their equipment and get Macs or clones if the new computers aren't out in this month or that month. For those of you bemoaning the current status of the ST market in the United States, I'd like to propose a little experiment: 1. First, sit down in front of your ST. Okay, are you seated? 2. Next, say these words directly at the monitor: "Atari has abandoned the US market!" 3. Observe any reaction from your ST. Did your machine stop working? Did it evaporate before your eyes? Did it run screaming from the room, spewing floppy disks? I thought not. Point is, odds are your ST neither knows nor cares what the current state of the U.S. ST market is--no matter what kind of strangeness goes on down in Sunnyvale, odds are your ST will continue to do what it has always done, unperturbed by rumors or vaporware, undaunted by the now-famous Atari 'revolving door' employee policy. You have to ask yourself one very important question: "Does my current computer meet my current computing needs?" If it does, then there is no reason for you to panic every time a new computer is a couple of months or years late. Why be panic-stricken that the STe, Stacy, TT, or whatever is late when you really aren't going to buy one right away anyhow? I don't know about you, but my current system more than meets my needs, and I'm not going to start worrying about which computer to buy until such time as I see a genuine need to buy a new computer. My ST system has more than enough muscle for my needs, and my needs are pretty big. As a freelance technical writer, I spend eight hours or more a day in front of my ST, churning out page after page of manuals, diagrams, invoices, and such. I've gotten nothing but positive remarks on the quality of the work I've created with my Atari ST, and as long as I can continue to produce professional-quality work in an expedient manner with this system, I see no reason to waste time worrying about what my next type of computer will be. However, don't interpret any of the above as any sort of 'glossing-over' of the current status of Atari and their US policy -- my personal views of Atari's management style really aren't that positive. However, unlike many notable ST owners, I've made a conscious decision to stay out of the pulpit when it comes to the ever-popular "Atari-Bashing" sermon. If you've owned an ST for more than a month, you're bound to have heard it -- that endless diatribe on the evils underfoot in Sunnyvale, about the doom that each of us faces if Atari doesn't tow the line and submit to our wishes. Why do I avoid "Atari-Bashing" when I share the same negative views? Well, think of it as a cost/benefit analysis: what will bashing cost me, and in what way will I (and others) benefit from it? In my opinion, bashing tends to simply make one look like a whiner, especially since it really doesn't yield any tangible benefits. If you're not a member of Atari Corp., you're powerless to instigate changes, and all of your angry Atari-Bashing screaming is just so much hot air in the wind. You'll save yourself (and others) an ulcer by avoiding this practice. Owning an Atari computer these days is discouraging enough with the scarcity of dealers and support--there's no need to add to the doom and gloom with endless tirades on the evils of Atari Corp. The ST user community would be greatly enhanced if everyone who is currently spending their evenings "flaming" about Atari on local BBS's would instead upload a PD program, send in a shareware payment, participate in a user group, or spend a minute or two with another user who needs some help with their system. Take things in stride -- if your ST isn't affected by the current antics at Atari, then you shouldn't be either! Kevin Steele The Atari Portfolio (Review) by Tony Thomas If you were to tell me a few years ago that there would be a full-function, 8088-based computer that you could hold in the palm of your hand, I wouldn't have believed it. Yet, I'm writing this article on just such a marvel of computer technology - the Atari Portfolio. The Portfolio redefines the word "portable". When I bought my first portable computer - a CP/M-based Kaypro 2X - over five years ago, it weighed in at a hefty 25 pounds! Soon thereafter, I picked up another "portable" - a NEC 8201 (similar to Tandy Model 100) - which was a vast improvement, weighing in at about 5 pounds. The Portfolio, by contrast, tips the scales at just over a pound! In fact, I was even able to weigh it myself on a tiny Pelouze postal scale!! Now, the obvious question is: Just how powerful is it? While the Portfolio won't do away with the desktop computer, it is the perfect portable supplement to it. Since it fits into a coat pocket and runs for more than fifty hours on a single set of batteries, the Portfolio is the perfect traveling companion that will be at home on a plane, in a hotel room or even at the beach. Files can be transferred to and from the Portfolio to your desktop computer via the optional serial interface or to an IBM-PC or compatible via the optional Smart Parallel interface. Long term storage is also available via memory cards - an expensive medium (about $2-3 per Kilobyte) - limiting the Portfolio's usefulness as a stand-alone computer. How compatible is the Portfolio with a PC? First of all, its internal memory is only 128K, making it only possible to run the most miniscule PC applications. Secondly, its operating system - DIP DOS - is similar to MS-DOS 2.11 in nearly every respect, except in the area of graphics. Since it does not permit direct screen calls and since the screen is only 40 characters by 8 lines), only simple programs that address the screen through DOS can be used. They mostly fall into the category of simple utilities. The Portfolio, however, does contain some very useful application programs which replicate some of the more powerful mega-programs. The word processor is a simple ASCII editor with basic cursor movement and search and replace functions. It is adequate for routine tasks or for material that will be later edited and formatted on a desktop computer (though the Portfolio does offer some print formatting options allowing material to be printed directly from that machine). The spreadsheet emulates the basic functions of Lotus 1...2...3 Release 1A. Lotus spreadsheets (memory permitting) can be loaded into the Portfolio and vice-versa. The other applications (Address Book, Diary, Calculator) are similarly straightforward and simple to use. Is the Portfolio worth it? If you need desktop power in a tiny package, the answer is a resounding yes! While not as powerful as laptops like the Toshiba T1000, the Portfolio stands head and shoulders above PIMs (Pocket Information Managers like the Sharp Wizard and the Casio Boss) which are an electronic replacement to a Day Runner - address book/notepad/dairy. The Portfolio is a palmtop powerhouse that will enable you to untether the capabilities of your desktop computer and take it with you. Tony Thomas The "Atari Advantage" is a real advantage by Len Stys In the beginning of this year, I wrote Sam Tramiel, President of Atari a letter. In this letter I stressed the fact that the "Power Pack" as it was then called was a great idea. The "Power Pack" now called the "Atari Advantage" was to consist of a 520STfm with a bundle of software to be sold at K-Mart type stores. What???! Put the precious Atari ST in K-Mart stores to make it a game computer? What about dealers? What about beig a serious business computer? How could I dare to even condone such a thing? Calm down and I will explain my reasoning. Let's face it folks, Atari has no more than two dozen dealers in the U.S. and almost half of them rip us off because we have no one else to turn to. Need a TOS 1.4 chip installed? Sure, that will be $150 please. Or how about a 512k memory upgrade for your fm? That will be $250 please. I have never purchased hardware from my dealer that wasn't at retail price. The small number of Atari dealers may also explain why we don't see national commercials or magazine ads for the ST computer. Everyone is yelling, WHEN IS ATARI GOING TO ADVERTISE! What I would like to know is- how does Atari suppose to make any money when they advertise and their dealers only have a handful of computers on hand! They would not make enough money to pay back for the advertisements let alone make a profit. If Atari advertises in a city and there are one hundred people who want the computer and there is only one dealer with ten computers on hand, Atari will be losing out. They must have enough computers in a city to meet the demand when the advertisements create it. This brings up another question: why doesn't Atari just recruit more dealers? They have been trying but a lot of dealers would rather play it safe and stay with IBM and compatibles. The big cry about the Atari Advantage package is that faithful dealers will get hurt by it. I do not see the logic in this whatsoever. I believe that Atari dealers will make out the best out of this deal. It is safe to say that these discount stores will not sell all the extras involving the ST line of computers. Even if they do sell floppy drives, printers, and color monitors, they probably will not sell removable hard disks, hard drives, modems, laser printers, and monochrome monitors. As a new Atari Advantage user wants to expand his or her new system, they will go to Atari dealers to do it. So in this case, the Atari Advantage is really an advantage for dealers. Professional users who are into Desk Top Publishing or MIDI will no doubt go to Atari dealers for professional advise and help. This is where dealers will be able to sell the Mega ST professional computer system not to mention the Portfolio and hopefully new TT computer. As for the ST becomming a serious business computer- you can forget it- or at least in large corporations. The new IBM and Macintosh computers have past the ST up in technology not to mention the new Amiga 3000. Why would a business purchase an Atari ST when they can buy faster and better computers from well known business computer companies? The TT will have to attack this market alone. What about becomming a game computer? This is probably not a bad idea. Atari has equipped the new STe with 6 joystick ports, 4,096 colors, stereo sound, and better scrolling. I believe Atari will be trying to drive out the kiddies from Nintendo to the ST computers. Have you noticed? There are NO home/personal computers on the market? Remember what happened a few years ago? The video game market crashed and everyone who owned a video game system flocked to home computers. With the ST looking so attractive to children as a possible video game system and parents seeing the ST as taking their kids out of video games and into serious computers, Atari may have something hot here. The ST may be another C64 or even another Nintendo in the personal computer world but without competition for now. The Atari Advantage package may be a way of getting some desperately needed users in the Atari world. With more users, there is more software, with more software, there is more users. I for one am willing to give up my ST as a professional system with only a few users to talk to in exchange for a personal/home system with thousands of users to talk to. I have seen user groups dwindle in size, I have seen Atari magazines go out of business, I have seen bulletin board systems close up due to lack of users, I have seen it all and I am getting tired of it. It is time Atari gets the ST out of its prototype stage and into America's homes. The only thing that I was concerned about was the fact that the "Power Pack" was to introduce the 520STfm into the package. This would leave users with 512k even though most software being produced now requires 1 meg. This would actually put Atari back a step when they have the 1040STe ready to go. The STe would be perfect in the Atari Advantage package for it can be expanded easily in memory and has tons of nice features. I am glad to say that I am now hearing that the STe will be in the package instead and to me this was a great move by Atari. The final question is when will this Atari Advantage be out? It should be out this Fall. The only thing holding it up is contracts with software manufacturers that Atari wants to include the STe with. Rumor has it that Atari has signed many major stores to carry the Atari Advantage already. A rumor also has it that a multi-million dollar advertising campaign has also been given the OK for the STe, Megas, and Stacys. So you may want to consider saving up your money for this new package by Atari and get it for yourself, your children, or for me- it looks as if it will be a hit. The Atari Advantage package should retail for around $400 and will include a disk drive, and tons of software. Len Stys ____________ T ||ATARI | h || ON-LINE | e || MAGAZINES| A ||-----------| ut C || | t a l || | | | | h r Free- || | | | | on- i v || | | | | r Net || | | | | line l S || / | \ | magazine Atari || / | \ | e n g || | dealer d ||1990 - ????| ||___________| Cleveland Free-Net with Z*Net Several weeks ago, the Cleveland Free-Net became a proud official carrier of Z*Net Online Magazine as well as having an article about Free-Net published in Z*Net. Z*Net is one of the nation's best resources for recent news about Atari. ======================================================================= ////// // // ////// ////// Z*Net Atari Online Magazine // / /// // // // --------------------------- // /// // // // ////// // APRIL 06, 1990 // / // /// // // --------------------------- ////// // // /////// // Issue #514 ======================================================================= (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc. Post Office Box 59 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846 Z*Net Online BBS: (201) 968-8148 ======================================================================= Available on: * CompuServe * GEnie * Cleveland Free-Net * ======================================================================= ^ | We also carry ST Report Online magazines as well as any other publication when they become available. They can be found in the On-Line Magazine section in the Atari Library. The SpartaDOS X cartridge a review by Doug Wokoun The SpartaDOS X cartridge is the latest incantation of SpartaDOS for the 8-bit Atari and very possibly the most powerful Disk Operating System available for any 8-bit computer. The SpartaDOS X cartridge consists of 64K of ROM, with 48K (or 6 cartridge banks) formatted into a ROM-disk, and the remaining 16K used as the main DOS core. The ROM-disk contains files and drivers used by the system and SpartaDOS X versions of several utilities found in the SpartaDOS ToolKit. It also contains a very versatile ARC utility package. Some of the new features of SpartaDOS X (referred to as SDX): o built in, memory resident FORMAT utility. Old versions of SpartaDOS could only initialize Atari format disks using 'AINIT'. To initialize a SpartaDOS disk required the loading of a program called 'XINIT'. Now, any time an XIO #254 call is made, the SDX format menu is brought up. With this, you can select a variety of disk densities and types. It will also allow "1-second" formatting by simply rewriting the root directory on a formatted disk. o High speed disk I/O with U.S. Doubler, Atari XF551, and Indus GT disk drives. o New file loader supporting relocatable files (certain disk based commands can be held in memory and later removed) and symbol linking. o Probably the lowest MEMLO of any DOS. The DOS can load drivers under OS-RAM, into extended memory on an XE or at MEMLO on an 800. o Environment variables: user definable PROMPTs, search PATHs, parameter passing on batch files, and a CARtridge or BASIC memory save capability will retain programs even if the machine is shut off. o The ability to go from a cartridge to internal BASIC without rebooting. The CAR command enters the external cartridge, "BASIC" enters internal BASIC. You can go from Turbo BASIC XL to Atari BASIC to BASIC XE without rebooting! (with some provisions) o Support of up to 1 Meg internal memory as a RAMDisk. o "Persistent" batch files. Continued batch file processing even after loading binary programs. o Fast, powerful, versatile ARC utilities. Supports ALF files. With these, you can Add files to an ARChive, Move (delete after Adding), Freshen (update files by date), Update (Freshen with Add capability), Delete files from an ARChive, View files in ARC, eXtract files, and Print ARC'd files to screen. The ARC utilities also support password encryption and can function with the screen off to increase speed. Also, all files are sorted in alphabetical order when added to the ARChive. o A new MENU program very similar to the MS-DOS XTREE.EXE program. This program allows multi-file operations and displays the entire directory tree, so files anywhere on a disk can be accessed easily. o Command compatible with MS-DOS. Directory commands have several aliases. CWD from disk based SpartaDOS can also be accessed as CHDIR, or CD from SDX. o Drives can be referred to by letter or number. o Drives can be remapped. D1: can be SWAPped with D2:, etc. and from that point on, any referrences to D1: will be sent to D2: and vice versa. SDX can be configured to take advantage of different hardware. A file placed on D1: called CONFIG.SYS is used for this, or the default configuration can be used. SDX can be configured to use OSRAM, or an extended bank of memory for its drivers. With the right setup, MEMLO can be pushed to below memory location $1000! SDX uses a series of drivers to control most disk functions. SPARTA.SYS is the main driver and must be installed. 'DEVICE SPARTA' is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to do this. The number of sector buffers and file buffers can be control by passing parameters to this driver. Another driver is ATARIDOS.SYS used to read Atari DOS 2.x disks. Not installing this driver saves memory, but then Atari DOS disks cannot be read. The SDX cart also contains a RAMDisk driver which can be used to install up to 3 RAMDisks of any size. An INDUS.SYS driver is used to program the INDUS GT to operate at high speed. There are also two clock drivers, used depending on whether or not you have an R-Time 8 cartridge. A major change with the X cart is the way devices are addressed. Since ICD wanted drives to be addressed by letter or number, conflicts would have occured with existing devices. Also, ICD wanted SDX to be more similar to MS-DOS, so those conventions were adopted. E: has become CON:, P: has become PRN:, and D1: D2: and D3: are A: B: and C:. Switching between an IBM machine and SpartaDOS X is much easier with these changes. Another feature of SDX is its I/O redirection. With this, you can send the output of a program to another device. Ex: DIR >>PRN: would do a directory, but the results would be sent to the printer. Also, you can use a file to "feed" a program with input redirection. Ex: BASIC <
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