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Article #294 (730 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags From: aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: Atari Explorer Online: 129-Aug-92 #9212 Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys) Reply-To: aj434@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Date: Mon Aug 31 19:50:20 1992 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE MAGAZINE ------------------------------ Published and Copyright (c)1992, Atari Corporation 1972-1992 - 20 Years Of Service 1196 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale, California 94088 AEO STAFF ~ Editor In-Chief......................................Ron Kovacs ~ Contributing Editor...................................Ed Krimen ~ Contributing Editor..............................Ron Berinstein ~ Contributing Writer...................................Bob Smith ~ Contributing Writer.................................Stan Lowell GUEST COMMENTATORS - WRITERS ~ Commentary.........................................Gordie Meyer ~ Atari Explorer Column...........................John Jainschigg ~ Atari Explorer Column..........................Maura Fitzgerald EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD ~ President, Atari Corporation........................Sam Tramiel ~ VP Software Development.........................Leonard Tramiel ~ Developer Relations Manager........................Bill Rehbock ~ Director, Marketing Services.........................Don Thomas ~ Director of Communications...........................Bob Brodie ~ Corporate Director, International Music Markets....James Grunke ~ Atari Explorer Magazine............................Mike Lindsey Z*NET STAFF ~ Ron Kovacs ~ John Nagy ~ Jon Clarke ~ Stan Lowell ~ Bob Smith ~ Lisa Ruff ~ Mike Davis ~ Ed Krimen ~ Bill Whiteman ~ Dr. Paul Keith ~ Ron Berinstein *********************************************************************** Volume 1 Number 12 Issue #12 August 29, 1992 *********************************************************************** | | | TABLE OF CONTENTS | | | ||| Z*Net Newswire........................................ Latest Atari News and Industry Update ||| Dusseldorf Report............................John Nagy Story Courtesy of AtariUser Magazine ||| Network Flow Control.........................Ed Krimen Formerly Perusing GEnie, Line Noise.. NOW.... ||| Falcon Specifications................................. Facts, and prices! ||| Z*Net Global News Gateway...................Jon Clarke Request for discussion on New Newsgroup ||| Atari Classics...........................Press Release New 8-Bit Magazine offering ||| Lynx Game Reviews.....................Maura Fitzgerald Reviews from Atari Explorer Magazine ||| Gemulator Update.........................Press Release Software to be released 9-11-92! ||| Computers, Luck and Other Things.............Bob Smith 30 rules you may have forgotten! ||| GEnie ST Roundtable News..................John Hartman What's happening on GEnie! ||| Guest Commentary..........................Gordie Meyer Delphi SysOp, comments..... ||| Hyperlink Review...................................... From Atari Explorer Magazine ||| Edhak Reviewed.........................John Jainschigg Review from Atari Explorer Magazine ||| The Editors Desk............................Ron Kovacs Short commentary and update.... | | | Z*NET NEWSWIRE | | | Atari News and Industry Update | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- GLENDALE ATARIFEST UPDATE The show will be held Saturday and Sunday, September 12-13, 1992 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, 1041 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale, CA. Hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday. General Admission is $6.00 per person with a two day pass costing only $10.00. If you plan on attending and you live outside of Southern California you may get FREE admission by sending a self-address-stamped #10 envelope to H.A.C.K.S., 249 N. Brand Bl. #321, Glendale, CA 91203 and get a one day pass for two. SASE must be received by 9/4/92 to insure delivery. For those of you who will be needing lodging we have made arrangements with the Burbank Hilton. Regular rates are $119.00 per night but if you mention ATARI you will get a room for $65.00 per night, single or double occupancy. Executive suites are also available for a per night charge of $95.00. Reservations may be made by calling the Hilton at 800-643- 7400 (in California), 800-468-3576(inside the USA) or at 818-843-6000 (outside the USA). The guaranteed reservation cut-off date is August 20th. If you are quoted another rate ask for Roy Butler, Sales Manger. This year The Glendale Show will be holding Desk Top Publishing Classes. There will be a $25.00(US) fee for these hands-on classes. DMC (ISD) will be holding Beginners and Advanced classes for owners and prospective owners of Calamus SL. Classes will be held on Saturday and Sunday. Classroom size is limited. Make your reservations by sending a check for $25.00(US) payable to H.A.C.S.K., 249 Brand Bl. #321, Glendale, CA 91203. Be sure to state the preference of day and class level. A confirmation will be sent, ten days prior to the show, by return mail stating which class you will be enrolled in. Enrollment in the classroom will also entitle you to admission to the rest of the show for the day of your class. Registration must be postmarked by 9/1/92. Look for our full-page advertisements in upcoming issues of AtariUser and Atari Explorer magazines. If you have any questions send mail to H.A.C.K.S., 249 N. Brand Bl. #321, Glendale, CA 91203 or leave GEmail to John.King.T or call John King Tarpinian at 818-246-7276. List of the exhibitors and demonstrators for the THE GLENDALE SHOW ATARI CORPORATION THE COMPUTER NETWORK COMPUTER SAFARI OREGON RESEARCH ASSOCIATES FAIR DINKUM TECHNOLOGIES CLEAR THINKING D.A. BRUMLEVE SUDDEN INC. MICRO CREATIONS BRANCH ALWAYS MID-CITIES COMP-SOFT FREEZE DRIED SOFTWARE McDONALD & ASSOCIATES WINTERTREE SOFTWARE BEST ELECTRONICS JMG COMPO ICD S.D.S. CODEHEAD FAST TECHNOLOGIES LEXICOR MIGRAPH DRAGONWARE GENIE ISD/DMC BECKEMEYER BIO ILLUSTRATIONS GRIBNIF ST INFORMER MAGAZINE ATARI EXPLORER MAGAZINE Z*NET ATARIUSER MAGAZINE ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE Plus demonstrations by: BAREFOOT SOFTWARE STEINBERG/JONES DIGITAL F/X GOLDLEAF SOFT-LOGIK USER GROUP BOOTHS: A.C.A.O.C. SOUTH BAY A.C.E. NOCCC-ST SIG R.A.M. L.O.C.H. ACE H.A.C.K.S. (host club, no booth) GCR OWNERS REJOICE - MacSEE from Reeve Soft Will every GCR user who has had problems moving files between their ST and Mac-emulation partitions, please raise your hand. Just as I thought, there are lots of us. We move between the ST world and the Mac world and struggle to transport files easily and quickly between the two. Transverter is "okay", but it only works with MFS formatted disks and partitions ... and as you well know, EVERYTHING is in HFS format! But now you have an alternative! I was just given a pre-release copy of a new program for the Atari ST and TT systems. The program is called "MacSEE" and is created by Reeve Soft. Simply put, the program allows you to move files between your ST and a Macintosh (or GCR/Mac-emulated partitions) with complete ease and efficiency. MacSEE lets you -- * Read Macintosh (HFS & MFS) volumes with your Atari ST or TT * Write to Macintosh volumes with your Atari ST or TT * Read and write 800K Spectre-format disks & 1.44-megabyte disks PLUS, MacSEE supports -- * MacBinary and translated modes * Spectre format hard disk partitions * Macintosh format hard disk partitions And MacSEE can be used on a wide range of removable devices, including SyQuest hard disks. After using the program for a few hours, I found it to do everything it promised ... and flawlessly! It's completely GEM-drive, so all you do is "click" through the choices, select the file you want moved from a standard item selector window, and BOOM -- Done! No fuss, no strain, no pain ... just simple efficiency. And in comparison to Transverter, MacSEE is a speed demon! Hard drive partition to partition copying took no time at all. Partition to floppy was just as fast a copying a standard ST file. Distribution and technical support for MacSEE is being handled by: Compu-Seller West 220 1/2 West Main Street St. Charles, Il 60174 (708) 513-5220 To order your copy of MacSEE, or for more information, call CompuSeller West at 708-513-5220 and ask for Don Bahr. Tell him "Monochrome Steve" sent you! CHICAGO COMPUTERFEST '93 CANCELLED Chicago ComputerFest by Atari 1993, a continuation of the successful cooperative venture between the Lake County (Illinois) Atari Computer Enthusiasts and Atari Corporation, planned for May 15 and 16th 1993 at the Ramada Hotel O'Hare has been cancelled. Director of Communications, Bob Brodie, stated that he expected to only make show appearances for the remainder of 1992, for which Atari has already purchased non- refundable discount airline tickets for him. LCACE enjoyed the partnership with Atari to bring major Atari-oriented developers and vendors to the Midwest, and is disappointed that Atari is apparently unable to commit support of this event. LCACE is uncertain if they will organize a local-oriented show such as the two shows prior to the 1991 ComputerFest. KAO UNVEILS NEW BRANDED DISKETTE PACKAGING Kao has unveiled its new branded diskette packaging which is intended to enhance the company's strong and growing position in the branded diskette market. Kao's new tiered packaging approach clearly differentiates diskette capacity for the user. The double-density diskettes, in silver packaging, are designed for users requiring a standard-density product; the high-density diskettes, in gold, have twice the storage capacity of the standard-density diskettes. The new packaging features a "100 Percent Certified" seal, highlighting that each diskette is individually tested for error-free performance. Each diskette package also features a "Made in the USA" or "Made in Canada" logo emphasizing that the diskettes were produced locally. OS/2 2.0 SURPASSES ONE MILLION IBM announced that its new software product, OS/2 Version 2.0, has vaulted past the one million shipment mark. Historically popular with corporate users, early indications are that OS/2 is also gaining widespread acceptance in the end-user community as a result of its power, reliability and ease-of-use. To commemorate their on-going support and commitment to OS/2, Caterpillar was presented with the one millionth copy at the Windows & OS/2 Show at Boston's World Trade Center, August 18-21. Between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 1992, users who call the 1-800-3-IBM-OS2 phone number can purchase OS/2 for the following prices: Windows upgrade $79; DOS upgrade $99 and first time buyers $149. OS/2 is an advanced 32-bit operating system that supports DOS, Windows and OS/2 applications in a single package. ADOBE SHIPS 22 NEW TYPEFACE PACKAGES Adobe announced the availability of 22 new typeface software packages from the Adobe Type Library, including new packages from leading type foundries such as Linotype, Monotype and Berthold. All packages can be purchased from Adobe Authorized Dealers or through Font & Function, Adobe's type catalog. Customers interested in the Adobe Type Library should contact Adobe at 800-83-FONTS. NEW EPSON ACTIONPRINTER Epson has announced the ActionPrinter 2250, a 9-pin version of its ActionPrinter 3250. A unique feature is a covered printhead that keeps noise in while keeping dust, food or sticky fingers out. Operating at a quiet 50 decibels minimizes disruption to meetings and phone calls. At a suggested retail price of $199, it provides the sharpest possible near-letter-quality output at draft speeds of up to 240 characters per second. Users have a choice between Roman and Sans Serif fonts with graphics resolution of 240 x 144 dots per inch. Epson's industry- standard control language for 9-pin printing, ESC/P, ensures widespread compatibility with popular software. Information about the product, including reseller locations, can be obtained by calling 1-800-922-8911. NEW HP PLOTTER Hewlett-Packard has announced the HP DesignJet 600 plotter, a high- resolution monochrome inkjet plotter for fast output. The new plotter, which uses commonly available media offers better print quality, broader connectivity and greater functionality at a lower price than its predecessor. The HP DesignJet 600 plotter, which replaces the HP DesignJet plotter, is available in two models -- E size (36-in. wide) for $9,995 and D size (24-in. wide) for $8,495 (U.S. list). | | | DUSSELDORF REPORT | | | Story by John Nagy, Courtesy AtariUser Magazine | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- NOTE: This article may NOT be reprinted without written permission of Quill Publishing. Copyright (c)1992, AtariUser Magazine, John Nagy Atari's Newest Machine is introduced in German Atari Fair The floor of the world's largest annual Atari fair had "Falcons all over the floor of the show, in almost every booth," according to Nathan Potechin of DMC Publishing, Inc., who gave AtariUser eyewitness accounts during the show. Other estimates said that about 20 Falcons were roosting throughout the sprawling conference center. Many show-goers thought they were looking at regular 1040's since the Falcons on display were not black as originally thought. The Dusseldorf, Germany locale for Atari Messe was again inundated with Atari--the huge trade show spans roughly four football fields of floor space. Nathan reported that the show this year (August 21-23) is similar in size and attendance to last year's event, which brought 30,000 of the faithful to visit 180 vendors. The announcement of the Falcon 030 was the first order of business at Dusseldorf. The crowds knew what they were coming to see after months of nearly-accurate profiles of the coming machine were offered by most of the Atari media, and the excitement was high as they saw it firsthand. However, numerous reports have been made by developers and attendees that indicate that the Falcon is not quite ready to fly. While many existing software products are said to run flawlessly and swiftly, reports of spectacular crashes when running software already loaded on the demo units hard drives blemished the premier. In any case, many vendors at AtariMesse had new applications that exposed the power and features that are new on the Falcon 030. DMC Publishing (Calamus) again had the largest booth on the floor, spanning 4,000 square feet with about 40 people working in it alone. Other large booths included TMS, Matrix, 3K, and Maxxon. Many new products were shown, and AtariUser will report on them in detail in our next issue. Prices and Plans The "base" Falcon 030 will retail for $799 in the USA in a one-megabyte configuration. The next option up the scale will be a four-megabyte RAM Falcon with 65 megabyte hard drive at $1,399. Availability in the US is slated for "October" in limited quantities. The FCC type acceptance for domestic sales is not yet in hand, but is predicted to be a sure thing this time, due to extensive tests done in-house at Atari. Marketing plans for the new machine in the USA were also revealed in Germany. Sam Tramiel told dealers and developers at Atari Messe that the US launch will be via regional marketing build-ups. Individual regions of the USA will be targeted, one at a time, with major "dog and pony shows" to both woo and educate computer dealers. Significant co-op advertising money will be offered to dealers who join in the roll-out. Once enough regions are served by a new operating dealer network, Atari will launch a national advertising campaign. Industry observers suggest that this plan will make the most of Atari's cash and production resources. By serving a small but growing dealer network with product, on-board Falcon dealers can be more assured of delivery of product during the build-out stages of the plan. Dealers will help and be helped in promotional costs, enabling Atari to make a bigger splash in smaller ponds with less of their own money, and allowing Atari's resources to go towards increasing production of Falcon computers. As production and sales increase, so will revenues with which to attack new regions. Meanwhile, Falcon specific software will mature and present a solid base for the later national marketing efforts, to come in 1993. The Word on the Bird Atari's CEO Sam Tramiel made conference appearances on the GEnie and Delphi telecommunication networks the week before AtariMesse, giving the fans worldwide a chance to "talk" to him "live." Communicating via modem to the conferences, the audience could ask questions directly of Sam and the Atari technical team, and get answers in real time. The result was the best look we've had to date at the intention and potential of Atari and the new Falcon. The corporate view of the Falcon 030 is that it exceeds all of the multimedia expectations of the computer buying public, while being an exceptional value as a home computer system. Sam took fire on the conferences over the 1040 style case, which is seen by some as a curse. Sam reiterated the Atari position that the Falcon 030 is the consumer/ introductory unit of a new series of computers, and alluded to a 68040 to come, but would say no more. Conversely, Sam Tramiel said of sales and advertising of the current line of Atari computers: "We felt that the present ST/STE family was not strong enough to market in the US. We have been waiting for this new product, and we do plan to support it and market it in the US. It will be a hard battle, but we will put a good effort behind it." He added that the STe and especially the TT lines will continue to be produced and supported. More: ||| MultiTOS is a combination of rom and disk based software. Most well written applications seem to work fine. MultiTOS will be available as an upgrade for the TT030 and future 68030 and above machines. ||| Bundled software will be packaged with the Atari Falcon030 will include games written especially for the Atari Falcon030, including LandMines and a BreakOut kind of game. There will also be a Rolodex type of application called Cal/Apt, a calculator application called ProCalc, and a Talking Clock desk accessory. ||| New STe compatible analog joysticks will have 15 buttons, with three fire buttons and a 12 key keypad. ||| A true expansion bus via a direct processor slot with all of the necessary data and control lines to allow plugging in optional third party coprocessor boards. This will allow more complete PC and Mac emulators, for example. ||| According to Sam, there are some 30 new developers that are producing software for the Atari Falcon. Several of the developers are also NeXT developers. ||| Contrary to a few scare rumors, the MIDI and cartridge ports are still standard. However, there is no external floppy connector for a second disk drive, and no ACSI/DMA port for Atari brand hard drives and laser printers. Sam explains that Atari opted for the industry standard and faster SCSI II. Third party companies have developed converter boxes to allow the SLM printers to connect to the Atari Falcon 030. Memory Matters The Falcon 030 can have 1, 4 or 14 megabytes of RAM. The memory is addressed continuously, and any application or MultiTOS can see all the memory at once. Memory upgrades will be through a "Atari Falcon" ram board. There are no memory controllers on the board like on the TT, and Atari's pricing on the RAM will be "very competitive." The RAM in the Falcon is 32-bit wide, and the limited total RAM configurations allow faster memory access than other multiples. Why 14 instead of 16 or more megabytes? In order to maintain a high degree of compatibility with ST software, a 16 meg window was maintained despite the ability of the 68030 chip to "see" far more memory. The top two meg of the 16 meg a 68000 is capable of addressing are mapped as I/O device handling areas, so they are not used by the Falcon either. The result is a lot of RAM that is used just like ST memory instead of the switching scheme used in the TT. Sightings The Atari Falcon030 will work with any VGA, or Atari ST Color Monitor... SC1224 or SC1435. The 16 bit True Color (non-palette) mode will work in 640 x 480 interlaced on a TV or ST style monitor. A special cable will let you use an older ST monitor. True Color will also work in 320 x 480 on VGA monitors. The BLiTTER Chip has been sped up to 16 MHz to handle the extra bandwidth and does double duty for fast hard drive access. The Falcon 030 is easily "Genlockable" for multimedia and TV use; a cheap third-party external device is required to strip the sync from the external signal. | | | NETWORK FLOW CONTROL | | | Compiled by Ed Krimen | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- Some messages may have been edited for correct spelling, grammar, and irrelevant material. WHAT?! NO FLOPPY PORT ON THE FALCON? ------------------------------------- -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Falcon 030 Computer" topic (20) Message 35 Mon Aug 17, 1992 K.CAVAGHAN2 [OakSprings] at 00:38 EDT I am very excited about the Falcon and it's potential. I only have 1 question (of course). I'm hoping I am wrong but is the Falcon limited to just the internal floppy? I hope I read the spec's wrong but if so, may I ask why? Thanks, Kent ---------- Message 39 Mon Aug 17, 1992 OUTRIDER [Terry] at 11:04 EDT Kent, There is no external floppy port, but from what I understand you can hook up a high density floppy drive to the SCSI II port. - Terry - ---------- Message 40 Mon Aug 17, 1992 J.ALLEN27 [FAST TECH] at 12:14 EDT If you need an external floppy you can buy a SCSI unit. I think the strategy behind having only one floppy is that EVERY Falcon comes with a hard drive interface built in, and you can get a small Hdrive for the price of a second floppy, so that is what people would do, rather than investing in two floppies. With the early STs that wasn't the case, remember that it was many months before the SH204 was out in quantity, and back then a hard drive wasn't thought of as cheap enough to be affordable to anyone...20Meg IDE's are affordable to anyone who can afford the computer in the firstplace ;-) =================================== MORE NOTES ON THE FALCON FROM JIM ALLEN --------------------------------------- -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Falcon 030 Computer" topic (20) Message 17 Fri Aug 14, 1992 J.ALLEN27 [FAST TECH] at 22:54 EDT The internal expansion bus is very general, it can be used for anything ...386sx, acceleration, video, etc, etc. I look forward to making an accelerator for this unit, it is the best baseline we've ever had to start with!! Should be easy to make it quite peppy. The memory daughterboard is ALSO a good place for video expansions, the sky really is the limit on the neat things you can do down the road with this machine....of course it's gonna be a while before there are 1,000,000+ units out there. The only continued limitation on PC emulators will be the fact that although there is 640x480 mode it isn't done with the weird bank switching stuff the PC VGA cards are, making it tough to emulate VGA color, so much PC software goes right to the hardware on the VGA cards. But it may be possible to build a video/memory daughterboard that could really act like a VGA card to a PC emulator. We'll have to see. The Falcon has a SCSI II port, just like the Mac, but there is no more Atari ACSI port. 3rd party's are going to come out with a SCSI interface box for the SLM printers, to replace the original controller box....which is kinda neat, because from there all you need is a driver to be able to use the SLM on a fast Mac or PC with SCSI....hmmm. Of course a fairly inexpensive accelerator will be able to bring the Falcon up to the equivalent of a 486-100 ;-) With some hires mono video tossed in and a 19" Mac mono monitor would give you a KILLER DTP/ Graphics machine for about $2,500 in the Falcon. Add a BIG Hdisk and the Unix software and for $3,000 you've got a kickbutt lowend Unix workstation....just get NeXT Step ported to it...pleeeease ;-) =================================== FLOPTICAL DRIVES AVAILABLE FOR ST AND FALCON -------------------------------------------- -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Falcon 030 Computer" topic (20) Message 150 Mon Aug 24, 1992 MAG.SOFTWARE at 01:39 EDT For those interested in an external floppy drive for the Falcon, New Dimensions Computer Center sells a 20MB Floptical drive with 1 20MB disk for $459. With 'shoebox' case, 60 watt power supply and SCSI cable for $589. With 'shoebox' case, 60 watt power supply, ICD AdSCSI Host Adaptor, DMA cable and software for $659. This Floptical drive will read, write and format 720K and 1.44MB floppy disks as well as the 20MB disks. Floppies run TWICE as fast as a 'regular' floppy drive. Extra 20MB disks are ONLY $24.95. Contact: New Dimensions Computer Center 9026 W. National Ave West Allis, WI 53227 (414)327-3311 =================================== C++ FOR THE ST -------------- -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Falcon 030 Computer" topic (20) Message 71 Thu Aug 20, 1992 CBARRON at 01:38 EDT >Is anyone planning on implementing C++ on the atari platform? It is near completion. Comeau Computing (I think that is the name the vendor of Comeau C++ for unix anyway.) has an almost completed port of their software to the atari platform. It is AT&T 3.0 with templates, etc. compliant and very portable accross platforms. Reviewers in the unix segment of computers think very highly of this product. ---------- Message 72 Thu Aug 20, 1992 CHERRY.FONTS [Todd] at 02:04 EDT A fellow developer friend uses GNU C++ for all his commercial Atari software projects. It exists and is free (available here on GEnie I believe,) and is quite capable. ..Todd Cherry Fonts Member IAAD =================================== MAKING THE RIGHT THINGS HAPPEN ------------------------------ -=> In the "Flaming - Debating - Discussions - Rumors" category (18) -=> from "The Soapbox: Editorials about Atari" topic (2) Message 173 Fri Aug 21, 1992 LEXICOR [Lee] at 00:29 EDT I know it's hard to understand, and I am probably the last person to say so: "But" you should understand that there are a lot of honest, hard- working, devoted people working at ATARI doing their level best to make the "Right" things happen. I have met and had dinner with Sam T, Bill Rehbock, and others, and I believe that these two and all those who they work with are doing everything possible. You have to really be in this business before you can begin to understand how complex and how hard it is to get everything to happen when you want it to. Yes, I know I rant and rave sometimes, both here and elsewhere, but do understand I hope that what "I want" for LEXICOR and what ATARI "needs" is not always the same thing. They can no more drop everything and do for me than they can drop everything and just start pandering to the US market. I am not making excuses for ATARI; and I am not saying that "my view" of the ATARI market is any better than theirs is. What I am saying is that it is really quite pointless to challange Sam T. or, as I often do, challenge Bill Rehbock when I am frustrated. These men have many restrictions on what they can and cannot do. I would be willing to bet that no matter what choice they make on any given issue, business situation or who gets what and when, there will always be someone who will be unhappy. It is really quite unfair to expect any large company to be sensitive to each and every need of each patron. Even at LEXICOR we often have chronic problems. I could show you a file of small problems and nearly a thousand letters sent to me by customers who just wanted a little attention -- you know, just four or five questions. There is no way I can ever answer all these letters as much as I would like to. I have two telephone lines, one direct. I publish this one so that our customers can call and try to get problems solved directly. But even so, this does not always help. There is little I can do about some problems, albeit I have complete authority to do whatever I want! But I can't do anything to make disk deliveries speed up, or make UPS find a lost shipment. In many cases, I can only ask for help from this vendor or that vendor. In many cases, I have to shell out cash before I can order. Think what it is like to pay for all the "Bazillion" bits and pieces to build a computer, and how amazing that they even work at all! I hope these comments will be of some interest! Lee =================================== POSSIBLE 68040 UPGRADE FOR FALCON --------------------------------- -=> In the "Hardware" category (4) -=> from the "Turbo16-30 from Fast Technology" topic (11) Message 109 Sun Aug 16, 1992 J.RICE5 [Joe Rice] at 03:59 EDT Jim, I saw that Sam Tramiel indicated that the Falcon couldn't be upgraded to a 68040. I assume you know something he doesn't, right? Joe ---------- Message 110 Sun Aug 16, 1992 J.ALLEN27 [FAST TECH] at 12:48 EDT Yep, the design of the Falcon doesn't have any built in "gotcha's" that make using an 040 impossible... which IS the case with the ST(E) design. Also, the OS has been "fleshed out" in many ways by Atari, so that MultiTOS knows what to do with each of the possible processors it might end up running on. I've done a study of what's required and it will be possible to put a board in, although it may be in the $1,100 range. I've also scoped out the Tiny030 for the Falcon, and will provide swap- grades for Tiny030 owners in the future when they want to move to a Falcon. I'll probably yank out a design I have for a Mac monitor compatible high-res monochrome and slap that onto the Falcon Tiny030. Since the RAM system is 32bit on the Falcon -- not burst mode but 32bits wide -- the cache for it will be 32bit and I've got a really neat design done. It should be a serious screamer... 40 or 50Mhz 030, cache, and 1152x870 19" mono video circuit. ---------- Message 111 Sun Aug 16, 1992 AD-VANTAGE at 12:58 EDT Joe, I would read Sam Tramiel's statement to mean *ATARI* will not be offering a 68040 upgrade for the Falcon. With the processor direct connections, just about anything is possible in the way of Falcon upgrades with the help of 2nd party developers such as Fast Technology. -- Ron =================================== SO WHAT'S IT LIKE? ------------------ -=> In the "Flaming - Debating - Discussions - Rumors" category (18) -=> from the "Atari systems vs. Other systems" topic (22) Message 118 Fri Aug 14, 1992 D.D.MARTIN [Swampy] at 18:34 EDT Well, folks, I've had my PC for a little over 2 weeks and am here to tell you that I'm not overly impressed. Understand that it is a truly dedicated system. I run it only to do research for my business. What it does for me in this regard is worth the expense. The system I have is a 386-DX, 4 megs RAM, 3.5 and 5.25 high density floppies, 80 MEG h/d and a CD ROM player (the research data base is on CD disc), and super VGA monitor. My _first_ impression of this rig was geeezus, it's so BIG!! The CPU case turned out to be too big to put on my desk top so I moved it down under the desk. Besides, it's _ugly_. My sister (a programmer and systems anylist) put the system together for me and set everything up so that when I turn it on it goes straight to the research program. I don't think I could have gotten all the config.sys and autoexec.bat files done by myself. I don't _want_ to learn computing I just want to _use_ a computer! I never will forget setting up my first ST. It was so easy! Plug and play! I had the system up and running and was logged on to GEnie using FLASH within a half hour of getting home with my new computer. It took my sister 2 hours to get the PC set up and she _knows_ what she's doing! Pitty the poor soul who knows very little about computers that buys a PC at SAMS and faces the overwhelming task of getting it running. Hugs...Swampy ---------- Message 176 Sat Aug 22, 1992 C.HERBORTH [-Chris-] at 16:26 EDT BTW, a friend of mine just got a TT. We're planning to kill him so we can take it... We've also been playing with the LC II at the Future Shop and yes, it's slow as molasses. Yuck. Reminds me of when I had a C=64 and it took a half hour to load a game. The one guy who's a hardware guru said "_THIS_ is an 030?!?!?" Then there's my '486 at work. We've paid about $2000 for the software on it (only one pirate application! wow! NCR's pretty good about that) and are there any useful _tools_ on it? Nope. If I need to convert a picture from one format to another (since Word can't deal with most TIFF images we have, and PCX is a Bad Thing) I either have to bring it home for my ST to churn away on, or hack something together on the unix server. Have you ever tried programming with MicroSloth C?!? There's about 200 command switches you _need_ just to compile a simple hello.c program (ie, a program that prints "Hello!" and does nothing else)... Not to mention the fact that most software doesn't work properly on it, since I don't have a VGA monitor. We dropped > $3000 to put a 19" monochrome on it. Oh, so fast on that 8Mhz bus. I'm _very_ eagerly awaiting a Mega-style Falcon 030. If they don't fly in North America, I'll have to move on from my ST... Probably to an SST or TinyTurbo 030. DOS is the choice of the stupid generation (ie, people who don't know anything about computers and buy it for work; and business people who still think IBM is the safest business machines, despite the fact that they grab the cheapest klone they can find) and Macs are so over-priced that it's not funny. Mind you, if I won a lottery, I'd probably consider a Quadra 950... then I'd buy a NeXT. Didja ever notice how much PC owners/users talk about "compatibility"? How they pay an extra $100 or whatever to have that archaic 5.25" drive installed "just in case"? DESPITE THE FACT that they never pass data files around?!? And even when they do, they're doomed, since they don't have the same application, or the same _version_ of the application. -Chris- =================================== CAN YOU EVER HAVE TOO MUCH FALCON INFO? --------------------------------------- -=> In the "Flaming - Debating - Discussions - Rumors" category (18) -=> from the "Atari 'Falcon' Project' topic (20) Message 229 Sat Aug 15, 1992 J.ALLEN27 [FAST TECH] at 03:12 EDT The Falcon is a really really spiffy offspring of the STE and shares the same basic memory map. The top 1 Meg is used for IO devices, the next to top 1 Meg is used for Tos ROMs. That leaves 14 Megabytes out of the 16 Megabytes total address space. You can now use the full 14 Megs of address space as RAM, the RAM controller even does the work for you!! Yes, the 030 chip allows more than a 16 Megabyte address space, but NOT when you are trying to be as compatible as possible to the STE. Far too many ST applications, especially games, are not and never will be "32- bit clean". So Atari made the new machine so it didn't _require_ 32bit clean software, it will run the older non-32bit clean software...like Tempus the editor as an example, and Calamus 1.09N as another example. It's really a very nice compromise, and if you _need_ more the 14Megs it can be arranged, by slapping a memory expansion board in the CPU expansion slot, rigged up to act the way TT ram does now in the TT...and on the Turbo030 accelerator ;-) So you could add, hmmm, 8 16Megabyte SIMMs, or something equally rediculous. ;-) On the video, yes, by implementing the "interlaced" mode you can get most resolutions on the SC1224, making the transition for ST users much less costly to begin with. Neat. NTSC has 525 periods of information between vertical sync pulses, so there is the ability to put 525 lines worth of info on the screen. Oops, that's 525 lines between even vertical sync pulses. Each period of information is unique, so that's about as close to having 525 lines of resolution you're going to get on a TV. But because TV is "overscanned" on the tube, you actually only see about 480 of those lines, the rest are "off screen". If you could scrunch the vertical size down enough you could see them all. Overscanning is used so they don't have to be as precise in manufacturing the TVs about lining up the display on the tube, the whole tube face gets zapped, otherwise you'd have to precisely adjust the position of the display so it was located neatly on the screen. The Falcon will be "acceleratable" easily, 40 or 50 Mhz would be the target for an 030, if you're going to the trouble of speeding up, why stop at 33? ;-) Atari has been very sensible from the start on upgradability with the Falcon. If they can't meet the $35/Meg RAM price, I'm sure a 3rd party will. Since the 4 Megabyte size board would require 8 1Megx4 chips, a small PC board, and an inexpensive connector, it should be salable for around $159 retail, or $40/Meg and still make a profit for the developer and dealer. The internal IDE needs to be a 2.5" drive to fit, and I'm sure they'll leave the space there, ready to have a drive slapped in, no tricks, no hurdles, no crippling. There's been a real, fundamental, change in Atari's view toward 3rd party enhancements and user upgradability, and the Falcon will show it. The IDE and SCSI II ports are DMA'd ports. The Blitter chip is used as a generic DMA controller, not only drawing lines on the screen like lightning, but also reading/writing to disk. Something the Mac's lack and could REALLY use. ;-) The Falcon only knows about 14 Megs of RAM, CPU, blitter, DMA, etc. It is out of the box a 24bit machine...ie, only the first 24 bits of the 68030 address bus are connected to anything. This is REQUIRED in order to be thoroughly compatible with the ST software that is not "32-bit clean". Yes, a 3rd-party can add "TT RAM" since the OS continues to have all the appropriate support built in. I'd assume that will happen, as I said, this is a VERY EXPANDABLE machine; there are very few limitations. However, adding "TT RAM" type boards will change the system into a 32bit device and it will have then have some of the incompatibilities that the TT has. I'd suggest someone doing such a board include a "defeat" to allow return to 24bit-ness. ---------- Message 55 Sat Aug 22, 1992 D.ENGEL [Thunderbird] at 09:41 EDT Towns: Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions, minus the questions about advanced models and marketing strategies... Fire 1: Does the Falcon 030 come with MultiTOS. I mean, is it done and ready and shipping in Falcons, or will it be an 'upgrade'? Fire 2: Has GEM been tweaked up with nice multi-colored (aka more than 2) Icons and Gadgets? Maybe even 3-D like buttons, etc? Fire 3: In a 14 meg unit, where the 68030 doesn't "see" the last 2 megs, did you guys at least give the hardware access to it? Like, could it be used by the sound stuff, or the blitter? Is there possibly a way of "bank switching" a la 130XE, which lets me use the RAM for anything? (I mean my whole computer only has 2 megs now, so it seems like a waste to not have access to it) I don't suppose that the Falcon RAM card only has 14 megs populated? Opinion around here says that it has the full 16 on it. Fire 4: What is the difference about VGA monitors which won't let the Falcon do 16 bit color in 640x480 mode, yet it will work with a TV? I was always under the impression that TV was poor quality and that monitors were much better. Is it because of the interlacing? Fire 5: Will I be able to take advantage of the new resolutions on my SC1224? If so, will they suffer because the monitor is outdated? Fire 6: Does the BLiTTER and other hardware video features work in ALL resolutions? The BLiTTER seems to be set up for the 4 plane, 2 plane, and 1 plane modes of the ST. Have to new modes been designed to fit the Blitter, or the other way around? How about horizontal and vertical scrolling? Overscan? Fire 7: How much does it cost to become a Falcon Developer? What would one get from Atari if one were to register? Fire 8: Will MultiTOS really be able to run concurrently such existing programs like Pagestream, DynaCADD, Aladdin, etc? Or, will only special versions run with it? Also, is there a "I'm a bad program and I only run when I have the whole system" mode, which will allow poorly written programs to run? Fire 9: What portions of MultiTOS are on disk? Does this mean that perhaps periodic upgrades to the disk portions of MultiTOS will be available on the Official Online Service of Atari Corp? Why put it on disk in the first place? It's not a RAM hog like windoze, is it? Fire 10: Can you tell us about any potential uses for the DSP, other than the sound processing capabilities? Thanks for taking the time to read and consider these questions, which have been nagging at us all for so long. It seems like every answer spawns 10 more questions, but any information is truly appreciated. thanks. ---------- Message 56 Sat Aug 22, 1992 J.ALLEN27 [FAST TECH] at 11:12 EDT TBird, the 16Meg board will only allow 14Megs to be accessed. The ROMS have 1Meg of the memory map, and IO devices have another 1Meg. The Blitter needs to access the ROMS and the IO devices. SO nothing that could use the access will be able to, that's life. Why is it so hard to understand? If you take a Mac Plus or Classic, stuff a 68030 board in, and stuff 16 Megs on RAM on it, you will still only get access to 14Megs of it...for exactly the same reason. A 16Meg upgrade should be around $399 from 3rd parties, based on the price of 4Meg Drams these days. ---------- Message 60 Sat Aug 22, 1992 FIFTHCRUSADE at 16:52 EDT Thunderbird, I can answer some of these. #5 You'll be able to use your old monitor with an adapter, and it will work with any resolution with 200 horizontal lines. The number of colors doesn't matter. You'll want a new monitor for the higher resolutions. #9 Why put it on disk anyway? That's where a large complex operating system belongs. The main reason to have TOS in ROM is so you can use the system without a hard drive. You can't realistically run more than one application at a time unless you have a hard drive anyway, so Multi-TOS should be on the hard drive for upgrade purposes, and to save ROM space. #10 Lots of DSP uses. I hear rumblings of "realtime-raytracing". Ben White 5th Crusade Software ---------- Message 62 Sat Aug 22, 1992 TOWNS [John@Atari] at 17:25 EDT 1. To my knowledge, MultiTOS is NOT currently shipping with the Falcon030 machines in Germany. I don't know when that will happen, but we still have some work to do on MultiTOS. 2. The Falcon030 version of TOS (known as TOS 4.0) has numerous new features. They include support for DMA sound playback and record, DSP support, 3D objects (the windows from the desktop are 3D), sub-menus and popups built into the OS, and up to 256 color icons. 3. Currently, the extra 2 megabytes is not available for use in Falcon030. They do have the full 16 megabytes on the board. 4. True Color, 640x480 on a VGA monitor is too much bandwidth for the video hardware to handle. TV modes look okay, but I think the best route is an Atari color monitor (the same as the current Atari Color monitor). 5. Yes. And no.. the new modes look fine on a SC1224. 6. There is a re-designed BLiTTER in the video chip that runs at 16Mhz instead of 8Mhz and is used in all modes. Overscan is built-in and Hardware scrolling works the same as the STE. 7. The developer information has not changed. You should talk with Gail Bacani at Atari. 8. If you have a bad program, you should pressure the author of the program to fix it. However, if you run that program as the only program in the system, it will probably work. Besides, since current versions of MultiTOS are soft-loaded, you can disable MultiTOS when you boot up your system for those annoying programs. And yes, MultiTOS does run existing applications concurrently. There are some programs that don't work, but the major applications are running now or may require a small update. 9. MiNT and the new AES are on disk. The VDI and the lower level OS functions are used out of ROM. MultiTOS does use some RAM, how much I am not sure about. As for availability of MultiTOS, I have no idea when that will happen and how it will happen. 10. Well, it can be used for decompress of JPEG pictures. We are already doing that here at Atari. How about a modem? There are DSP modems out there that are just an adapter that plugs into the DSP port and processes the analog signals from the modem. If there is anything else.. or you would like me to expand on something, please feel free to jump in and ask. -- John Townsend, Atari Corp. Resolutions available on the Atari Falcon030 (c) 1992 Atari Corp. Written by John Townsend ========================================================================= This document may be re-printed again and again as long as the Atari copyright remains intact. ========================================================================= A couple of notes: Unlike previous machines, there are just too many resolutions to give each resolution a name. Therefore, I will do my best to describe what the resolution is and which monitor it is on. - NOTE: TV and a Color Monitor are the same.. by Color Monitor, I am talking about the standard SC1224. By VGA, I mean a standard VGA Monitor. 40 column modes ( "column" means the number of x pixels divided by 8) --------------- 4 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, TV: 320x200, true color 4 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, interlace, TV: 320x400, true color 4 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, VGA: 320x480, true color 4 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, true color 80 column modes --------------- 2 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 2 colors, 1 plane 4 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, TV: 640x200, true color 4 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, interlace, TV: 640x400, true color 2 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 2 colors, 1 plane 4 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 256 colors, 8 planes 4 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 256 colors, 8 planes and lastly.. there are compability modes for ST Low, ST Medium, and ST High on both VGA monitors and SC1224 monitors. (On a color monitor, ST High is achieved by using the interlace mode). Also, the ST Monochrome monitor (the SM124) will work with Falcon030 as well. However, it only supports one resolution: ST High Resolution. All modes on a TV can be overscanned. This means multiplying the X and Y resolution by 1.2. For example, modes with 320 pixels of horizontal resolution (X res) will become 384 pixels across, and modes with 640 pixels will become 768 across. Overscanning is done in the X and Y resolution. You can't do them independently. Special Note: On a VGA monitor, overscan is "faked".. since the video hardware doesn't have the capability to do overscan on a VGA monitor, we made it so that if a overscan mode is set on a VGA monitor, you still see the normal size screen, but the screen is a window onto the bigger overscanned image. Make sense? We did this for compatibility. This way if a game that has an overscanned starup picture can use the same pic on both the VGA monitor and the TV monitor. Pretty cool, eh?
BTW.. Overscan can NOT be set from the desktop. The AES and Desktop will work just fine with it, but because you can't see the parts of the screen, we thought that that option shouldn't be available from the desktop. We don't want to confuse people. However, Overscan can be set using a new XBIOS call (Vsetmode()).. so it is still available. I hope I haven't made any mistakes. I triple-checked this document in search of errors and I couldn't find any. If you do find some, send me Email on GEnie (to TOWNS) or CIS (70007,1135) and let me know. -- John Townsend, Atari Corp. PS. Anyone who would like to reprint this message, please do so! The smaller the number of times I have to type that message, the more my fingers with thank you! ;-) After looking at this one more time.. one point to clear up: By saying SC1224 Color Monitor, I mean any Color Monitor that Atari have manufactured for the ST/Mega/STE/MegaSTE computers. Clear as mud? ;-) =================================== FALCON VERSUS TT ---------------- -=> In the "Atari Corporation Online" category (14) -=> from the "Atari Falcon 030 Computer" topic (20) Message 153 Mon Aug 24, 1992 J.MEEHAN3 [>> Joe M << ] at 05:59 EDT Jason, What are your needs in a computer? The TT and the Falcon are two different manchines. Your needs should determine which you want. In general, I would say if you are into DTP or CAD, you will want the TT. If you run more towards MIDI and general use, the Falcon may be a better machine for you. It also might be interesting to see what add on hardware may be made available for the Falcon. From the talk I hear it may out speed the TT with a little help. >> Joe Meehan << ---------- Message 154 Mon Aug 24, 1992 S.WINICK at 07:46 EDT Jason, I really don't understand why so many folks are trying to compare the Falcon with the TT030 and are holding off purchasing a TT to wait to see the Falcon. I suspect it's because so far all most of you have been only able to see are written specs rather than the machines themselves. But the TT030 and the Falcon are so totally different machines, it's really not a logical comparison. It's kinda like going car shopping and trying to decide whether or not to buy a currently available mini-van that'll handle all your growing families current and anticipated future needs, or waiting to see what next years 2-seater convertables will look like. If you have a current need for the raw power the TT030 offers, the Falcon is simply not a viable alternative as it is simply NOT YET AVAILABLE in this country. If you need a large screen monitor for CAD or DTP work, the TT030 is ready NOW to meet you needs. If you need high resolution color graphics, VME boards for the TT030 are available NOW. If you need maximum processing speed for these type of demanding applications, the TT030 is already running along at a blazingly fast 32MHz, offers the ability to use extra fast TT-RAM, and the math coprocessor chip is standard equipment. If you need to run multiple peripherals such as scanners, plotters, modems, etc., the TT030 already has multiple serial and modem ports. Basically, the TT030 is part of currently available system 'solutions' for high-end professional applications. And its professional-style keyboard is no small item for anyone who needs to do a lot of typing. On the other hand, if your current computer is meeting all your current needs and you are in no rush to upgrade your home or personal computer needed primarily for a variety of personal applications, then waiting for the Falcon may be right for you. If you're a home user who wants maximum compatibility with computer games, the Falcon, provided of course that Atari can eventually deliver it with an FCC Class B certification, would be a better choice (the TT030 is a Class A Business machine). Of course, if you're currently using a 520/1040 series system and simply need a little more horsepower, built-in hard drive, and better keyboard, the MegaSTe may also be a good choice. As with any 'new' computer model, remember that it always takes a little time before the software can catch up to the hardware's potential. The potential the Falcon offers for direct to disk recording and true-color graphics are impressive. But until the software is developed to take advantage of those capabilities, you will have to wait to achieve that potential. Basically, determine your computer needs, and if at all possible, consult with a quality dealership who can make logical recommendations. I'm sure that once you make a list of your own needs and desires, the choice will become readily apparent. I'm sure that once Atari can provide their dealerships with at least a Falcon demo model, most people will have little trouble deciding which Atari model will be best for their individual needs. Now, if you still really feel the need to try to compare the Falcon to other models, why not try the new Apple machines or the Amiga? ;-] Sheldon (Computer STudio - Asheville, NC) =================================== | | | FALCON SPECIFICATIONS | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- Atari Falcon Specifications /// CPU: Motorola 68030 running at 16 Mhz - 32-bit Bus - Optional 68881 or 68882 FPU - RAM: 1,4, or 14 megs - Standard Atari Cartridge Port - Motorola 56001 DSP chip /// EXPANSION BUS: Internal direct processor slot for 386SX PC emulation, or other coprocessor /// GRAPHICS: - Super VGA graphics: 640x480 with 256 colors - True color 16 bit mode allowing a display of up to 65,536 colors - Accepts external video sync signal, allow high quality genlocking - Overlay mode for easy video titling and special effects - Overscan on TV's and ST Color monitors - 262,144 possible colors - Hardware-assisted horizontal fine scrolling - BLiTTER graphics co-processor /// SOUND FEATURES: - Eight 16 bit audio DMA record and playback channels - Stereo 16 bit digital DMA input - Stereo 16 bit DMA audio output - SDMA sound/DMA Coprocessor /// STANDARD PORTS: - SCSI II port with DMA - High speed LocalTalk compatible LAN - Connector for analog RGB color (ST or VGA) or composite video - RS232C serial port - Bidirectional parallel port - MIDI IN/MIDI OUT - Stereo microphone input, miniature stereo plug - Stereo audio out, miniature stereo plug - Two joystick connectors - Two enhanced digital/analog controller/light pen connectors /// DATA STORAGE: - 1.44 Mbyte floppy disk drive - Optional internal IDE Hard Disk /// SYSTEM SOFTWARE: - Pre-emptive Multitasking with adaptive prioritzation (MultiTOS) - Inter process communication - NewDesk desktop and eXtensible control panel - Multiple window user interface; number of windows limited only by memory or software in use. /// PRICING: - 1 Meg RAM base configuration: $799 US - 4 Meg RAM with 65 Meg internal hard drive: $1,399 US /// AVAILABILITY: - Shipping to begin in October, 1992, with limited US distribution pending FCC type acceptance. | | | Z*NET GLOBAL NEWS GATEWAY IN AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND | | | From Jon Clarke, Z*Net Pacific | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: RFD: alt.znet Followup-To: news.groups,alt.znet Request For Discussion (RFD): alt.znet Status: unmoderated This is an official Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of a Usenet newsgroup called alt.znet Charter: Comp.sys.atari.znet is for discussion of all aspects of the ASCII Magazines produced by Z*NET including feeds from Z*NET FNET (FoReM NeT, Gatewayed via The Z*NET Global News Gateway "status.gen.nz") also including discussion on all aspects of the following - Atari Explorer On-line - Z*NET PC - Z*NET Fido echo's (Zone 3) - Z*NET FNET Topics would include those current discussed in the Z*NET FNET echo, GEnie, Delphi, Compuserve, Bix, Fido and comp.sys.atari.st which cover Z*NET Topics - Letters to the Editor - Current issue feedback - Columnist's reply - Letters to the Z*NET Global Crew - Atari Explorer On-line - Z*NET PC - Z*NET FNET echo's - Z*NET Fido echo's (zone 3) - Z*NET Pacific - Z*NET Europe - Z*NET USA - Z*NET Canada Topics will also include an open forum to discuss topics of interest with the Director of Communications at Atari Inc, USA and will be open to all Atari based computers ie 8bit Series, ST Series, PC Series etc. Feedback will be gatewayed back to fido net and FNET thus allowing a great interaction of users across three networks. Discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups. As per the Guidelines, discussion that occurs there is the only discussion that counts. If your site does not carry news.groups, and you are interested in this discussion, get your administrator to carry the group. _ - Jon Clarke o( ) email@example.com / /\ The Z*NET Global News Gateway in Auckland, New Zealand | | | ATARI CLASSICS | | | Press Release | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- A New Magazine for the 8-Bit Enthusiast!!! Greetings Fellow Atari 8-Bit Users! My name is Ben Poehland, and I'm pleased to announce that I shall be serving as Managing Editor of Atari Classics (AC), a new magazine exclusively devoted to the Atari 8bit user. If you are among the thousands who have bemoaned the recent loss of nationally distributed magazines that once supported your beloved 8-bit, I'm here to add a long -overdue ray of hope to your 8bit future! The philosophical orientation of AC- incorporated in its Manifest is to be a magazine "of, by , and for the Atari 8bit user". Unlike previous 8bit periodicals, the content of AC will directly reflect the expressed desires of the user community, especially as recorded during the Mail-In Campaign conducted January 15- May 2, 1992. The magazine will be staffed by members of the user community, and its content will be drawn entirely from the user community. Unicorn Publications, already well-known for its outstanding Atari Interface Magazine (which covers both the ST and 8bit markets), has agreed to provide publishing services for AC. AC and AIM will be essentially independent publications, and the addition of AC to Unicorn's stable of products will not affect AIM's present subscribers. One of the many unique arrangements concerning AC is that its actual day-to-day operation will be largely in the hands of the user community rather than the publisher. Whatever "flavor" we decide to give it will be entirely our own. Atari Classics represents a unique experiment in the history of the Home Computer Revolution that began in the mid '70s. With Atari Corp.'s announcement of discontined support for all 8bit products in January 1992, an entire class of machines with a global installed user base numbering in the hundreds of thousands was abandoned along with the community of users who still use them. But for the first time, a rejected user community has marshalled its resources and declared its right to exist independent of Corporate America. We respond to Atari's challenge in a way that would make our forefathers proud: by rolling up our shirtsleeves and doing the job ourselves! This will be YOUR magazine. AC will succeed- or fail- on the number of subscription orders it receives. Although seed money to print the Premier Issue has been provided, the magazine will need 500 paid subscriptions to succeed. A limited production run of 800 issues is scheduled for October or November 1992. Most of these will be distributed- FREE OF CHARGE- to the roughly 600 people who sent in commitment cards during the Mail Campaign. That's right: if you sent in your card, YOU WILL GET TO READ THE FIRST ISSUE FOR FREE BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO BUY. (When was the last time you saw a deal like that??) Of course, there were some folks who got missed in the Mail Campaign. So we ordered up those few extra copies which will also be distributed for free. First come, first serve, please don't block the stampede! You can write to: Atari Classics 179 Sproul Rd./Rt. 352 Frazer, PA 19355 USA ATTN: B. Poehland, Managing Editor to have your name added to the list for a free copy of the Premier Issue. (No guarantees, and be sure to include your postal mailing address!) If you sent in your Campaign card it will NOT be necessary to request your free trial issue, as your name is ALREADY among the LUCKY 600! The basic subscription fee is $25/year in the USA, with higher fees for Canadian and other non-US subscriptions. Full details on subscriptions will appear in the Premier Issue and in future announcements. Beginning in 1993 the magazine will be distributed bimonthly (6 issues/year). A software disk bearing programs published in AC plus selected offerings from the Public Domain, will be availble separately for $9/year in the USA. The disk will be distributed independently but will be timed to appear with every other issue of the magazine (3 disks/year). Full details on disk subscriptions will also appear in the Premier Issue and in future announcements. The content of Atari Classics will initially lean toward user applications, hardware tutorials and modifications, programming, and software reviews. We plan to agressively recruit paid commercial advertising from scarce 8bit vendors, and to publish periodic lists of current 8bit supply sources. Best of all, PAID subscribers will be able to place FREE ads in AC to buy, sell or trade their personal 8bit treasures! (But of course, yah gotta SUBSCRIBE first!) And, we'll have a whole bunch of other stuff, contributed by some of the most talented writers and hackers in the Atari 8-bit world, authors whose names you've seen gracing the pages of ANTIC, ANALOG, Current Notes, and Atari Interface Magazine. (You'll notice not very many details there - we wanna pique your imagination!) As of this announcement (August 5, 1992) only a few of the Staff positions at AC have been filled. We are starting completely from scratch, but anticipate most of the administrative machinery for operating the magazine will be in place by the end of August and production begun on our Premier Issue. (We'll need a month to get used to working with each other in an environment of near-total chaos!) And when you see that first issue appear in your mailbox this autumn, IT WILL BE YOUR TURN TO DECIDE THE FUTURE OF YOUR MACHINE!! Please post/copy/distribute this announcement freely, and stay tuned for future announcements !!! | | | LYNX GAME REVIEWS | | | By Maura Fitzgerald | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE Manufactured by Atari Corporation Price: $39.99 Whoa, dude! Excellent game. Bill and Ted's most favored bodacious babes, Joanna and Elizabeth, have been kidnapped by the Grim Reaper and secreted in the fiery pits of Hell (all to keep you from completing your musical masterpiece). So it's up to you and your time travelling telephone booth to tour foreign lands and distant eras in search of clues to rescue these most abused and long suffering maids. Fortunately, the wily women in question have marked the winding way to Hell with musical notes and phone book pages, bearing crucial information. Your phone booth, caught in the whirling vortex of the winds of time, safely deposits you in the sands of Ancient Egypt. Then, it's on your laid back way, past guards, quicksand, giant scarab beetles and other bogus impediments, collecting musical notes, gold nuggets, color coded keys, and other objects; all of which can help you in your most heroic quest. Bill & Ted is not a fast)paced adventure, but requires perseverence and puzzling. Fortunately, the game is designed so that progress can be cumulative. In fact, you can take a break at any point in the game, just by writing down a password. Later, you can re-enter the password, and the game will pick up exactly where you left off. Play alone, or via ComLynx. When playing with a partner, Bill and Ted are both in action, and must cooperate. Either way, this is one most non-heinous game, with a funky Egyptian style soundtrack and great visual effects. And that Grim Reaper: Man! What an ugly dude! M.T.F. FIDELITY ULTIMATE CHESS CHALLENGE Manufactured by Telegames, P.O. Box 901 Lancaster, TX 75146 Stumped, stymied, struggling yet determined, I battle the overwhelming odds of woman against machine. This isn't just a game, it's the Ultimate Chess Challenge, brought to you by Fidelity Electronics, via Telegames. Fidelity are computer chess pioneers and developers of the only United States Chess Federation Master rated (2,325) program. And as far as I can tell, the Fidelity Chess Engine has lost little or nothing in its translation to the Lynx format. Battling the machine will certainly improve your game, if not salve your ego. Those who play chess only occasionally will wish to leave the machine at its lowest playing strength for a good long while, until they get the hang of playing against a mechanized opponent. For serious players, Fidelity Chess offers eight levels of time limited analysis, eight levels of depth limited analysis, and an "unlimited" mode (to be honest, we haven't dared try it, though we assume the machine will decide on a move some time before the heat death of the universe). Faithful to the aesthetics of this age old game as it enters the computer era, Fidelity's chessmen are classically shaped silver and gold. Viewed in orthagonal perspective against a red and white checkered board, this makes for a pleasing and easily deciphered display. For more abstract strategizing, a bird's eye view is also available. Additional play options permit moves to be withdrawn, hints granted, and game statistics to be viewed. The game (or rather, the virtual chessboard) can also be used by two human players, and will automatically rotate 180 degrees after each move, facilitating visualization from two player perspectives. M.T.F. TOURNAMENT CYBERBALL Manufactured by Atari Corporation Price: $39.99 Forget kinder and gentler. This is a leaner, meaner, more dangerous, robotic version of the game we all know and love. You know, the one with helmets and cheerleaders, touchdowns, tackling, and homecoming queens? It's 2072, and it might as well be the Roman Coliseum, because the crowd is hungry for blood. Fortunately, these are robots playing instead of people, because football has taken on a new and nasty twist. The ball has been replaced by an atomic Cyberball which gets closer to exploding with every play unless your team manages to defuse it! Choose your coach from among four snarling specimens (One of them, female!). Then select your team: Crush or Thunder, Machine, or Lightning. You control the key player, in silver. He's the one that catches the ball and makes his way up the field against all odds. Comlynx up to four players and your team)mate will pick a second player to control. As you line up for each play, statistics will appear on the screen, informing you of yardage gained, and of how many yards you need to gain in order to defuse the Cyberball. Whether you're on defense or offense, you call the play. On offense, Run, Option, and Pass strategies are available; on defense, Short, Medium and Long. And you can choose which player to control. Play is intense and exciting. There's not much margin for error when the ball is approaching critical. Scoring is along old-fashioned 20th century lines, but points are rewarded with dollars. And the more money you earn, the better players you can afford. So buy yourself a more powerful cyberbot at the next timeout, or bide your time until you can afford an even stronger and faster one. Hike! M.T.F. AWESOME GOLF Manufactured by Atari Corporation Price: $34.99 Sand traps along the fairway, or ponds on the edge of the green. These are the natural (if manicured) hazards that confront you in this realistic golf simulation. Three enormously challenging international golf courses are at your disposal. So shoe up and practice a few holes by yourself, or Comlynx several players for a tour of 9 or 18 holes. Start by choosing what country you want to play in, the U.S., U.K. or Japan. Then proceed to the clubhouse to set up your game options. Let the Lynx know what type of player you are -- male or female, blond or brunette -- and what your handicap is. Will you play on a mildly breezy day or a windy day? And with how many players? Finally, you're ready to tee off! Zoom in and out to study the layout of each hole on a realistic map, then select your club from among the full set offered. Now that you're finally up at bat (so to speak), you'll find that the programmers have come up with a remarkable device to make hitting (or missing) the ball as realistic as possible. In the course of any long stroke, you must hit button A three times, in quick succession: once to start (placing your club by the ball); twice for power (the backswing); and a third time, to indicate direction. Strength and direction are indicated by a moving Power Bar to the right of your screen, and it takes some practice to improve your form! Putting is a little simpler, but still realistic, with on screen indicators helping your aim, and showing you the lie of the green. Course details are realistically depicted, and water hazards, rough, bunkers, and other obstacles function pretty much like their real world equivalents. Score cards can be accessed at any time during the game -- but you won't really need them. Chipper, your announcer, will let you know exactly how you're doing with commentary ranging from high praise to derisive laughter. And even if you turn his voice off there are fun icons that appear to encourage you along the way, such as Bogies. M.T.F. QIX Manufactured by Atari Corporation Price: $39.95 Imagine a nice harmless Etch-a-Sketch. You're turning the knobs to create enclosed areas, large and small. And every time you complete one, it magically fills up with a colorful pattern and becomes your territory. At the same time, there's a deceptively pretty, spinning helix roaming randomly around the screen; trying to crash into you and fragment you into a gazillion splinters. Oh, and don't forget: you're also being chased by Sparx, that travel along the edges of the playfield and up the lines you're drawing, mercilessly hunting you down. And should you stop for a moment to let danger pass you by, the lines of the box you're drawing ("stix" in Qix parlance) will ignite and become a deadly fuse, very difficult to outrun. Qix is one of those incredibly fun, incredibly exasperating games that will have you hooked in no time -- a classic blend of action and strategy. Long a favorite of ours on the Atari 8 bit, it's great to see the game released now for the Lynx. The graphics of the original game translate beautifully to the small screen, and have even been enhanced. It's very gratifying to see the playing area fill up with your very own colorfully patterned boxes (even if the plaid patterns do boggle the eyes a bit and make playing more challenging. And the sound effects are as fun as they are telling. As you progress through increasingly difficult levels, you must "capture" a larger and larger percentage of the playfield. Additional and more excitable Qix's will plague you. And for added challenge (and double points), you can voluntarily slow your own progress across the screen, by pressing the fire button. M.T.F. S.T.U.N. RUNNER Manufactured by Atari Corporation Price: $39.99 It's the ultimate sport of the future, but you're not just playing to retain your title as S.T.U.N. Runner. As you steer through harrowing courses at heart stopping speeds, you must also fend off ruthless challengers and indestructible droids who feel no piddling constraints to play it fair. Your vehicle is a cross between a DeLorean and a frictionless bobsled, capable of speeds over 900 miles per hour. Fully capable of steering along the sides of a tunnel, it's also outfitted with lasers to shoot down your enemies. Gain time and pick up firepower along the way by driving over stars and shockwaves. Defensively, you're outfitted with six protective shields which are lost be hitting walls, rails, and, of course, your enemies. Bang-ups will also slow you down. But completing a level successfully will earn you an extra shield. Strategy and timing are crucial. You only have a limited time to get through each course to the next level. But you can't simply accelerate. Speed is controlled automatically, dependent on such variables as terrain, how nimbly you're handling your S.T.U.N. craft, and most importantly, on the number of power boost pads you drive over. Boosts can max your speed, win you points, and earn you temporary invincibility. And on the downside, you can't even complete some of the levels fast enough to win, unless you pick up speed from boosters along the way. Additional "challenge" levels provide even more action! The graphics of this game are very satisfyingly futuristic; and gameplay is enhanced by great sound effects and by such details as a reassuring computer generated female voice, delivering instructions. I love the way the S.T.U.N. craft glides up and around the walls of the tunnels, and the appropriately metallic echo of the laser blasts in the tunnel environment. All in all, a beautifully executed rollercoaster of a game! M.T.F. | | | GEMULATOR UPDATE | | | Press Release and Annoucement | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- DOS compatible computer runs Atari ST software! GEMULATOR A REALITY Yes, it's true! Gemulator allows users to run Atari ST software on 386/ 486 DOS compatible computers. And it's ready to be shipped on September 12, 1992. Gemulator, which is produced by Branch Always Software, is now distributed world-wide exclusively by PMC (Purple Mountain Computers). The retail price has been reduced from $499.95 to $299.95. How were we able to do this? The Gemulator software is being offered as shareware, with a nominal shareware fee. For the $299.95 users receive the Gemulator hardware board, TOS 2.06 ROMs pre-installed, and the shareware Gemulator software. GEMULATOR FEATURES Gemulator offers the following: ||| ability to install up to four versions of TOS 1.0 to 2.06 at once (great for developers testing software compatibility) ||| access to the STE 4096 color palette ||| use of all three ST screen resolutions (on one VGA monitor) ||| total compatibility, runs most major software such as: ~ Calamus ~ PageStream ~ Degas ~ Sierra graphic adventures ~ Flash ~ Sim City ~ GDOS/G+Plus ~ Tempus 2 ~ HotWire ~ Warp 9 ~ LDW Power ~ Word Writer ||| printing from any ST program (including Calamus or PageStream) ||| access to all ST disks (including TOS 1.0 and Twisted disks) ||| access to hard drives ||| in fact, you'll be able to share your PC's disk drives, hard drives, printer, monitor... there's no need for having duplicate equipment if you don't need it ||| Windows compatible ||| easy installation, all you need is a screwdriver All of Gemulator's incredible features will be demoed by Gemulator creator Darek Mihocka at the Glendale Atarifest (September 12th and 13th). GEMULATOR TESTED Gemulator has been thoroughly tested on a variety of equipment including 386 machines, laptops (portable ST's are now a reality, even though Atari has stopped production of the ST portable Stacy), large screen monitors, 486 33 and 50 MHz machines, and with hundreds of software titles. The minimum requirement is a 386 DOS compatible with 4 megabytes. On 486 machines Gemulator will emulate an ST at full speed (equal to the speed of a standard stock 1040 ST) or faster (our test computer -- a 486 33 MHz with VRAM II Ergo video card ran approximately 30% quicker than a standard 1040). On 386 machines Gemulator will emulate an ST slower than full speed; however, Warp 9 may be used to significantly boost performance. We are in the process of acquiring a 66 MHz machine for testing, but we anticipate at minimum a speed quicker than the Mega STe. OUR GOAL Is there a reason why we're doing this? Aside from profit, which because of our price reduction is a moot point, we do have a primary reason for offering Gemulator: to expand the Atari market. When Darek first came to us, we saw this as a perfect opportunity. We don't have to wait for Atari do their thing (advertise, expand, etc.) Now you, the user, have that power. By giving DOS clone users the opportunity to run ST software (and invest money into ST manufacturers), the ST market will expand. Money is the most powerful tool (money talks) and it'll be telling ST developers that the market is growing, they'll make more software, and then things will finally take off for ST users. So help us achieve our goal to expand the market, buy a Gemulator board, and get others to buy one too. SPECIAL OFFER If you send in your order with payment (MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO PMC) postmarked by September 14, 1992, you'll receive a special price of $199.95. You can also FAX your order with Visa/MasterCard number and expiration date. Either way, add $15 for Insured UPS 2nd Day Air shipping/handling (if you reside outside of the USA, call for shipping price). This price is a special offered to the hundreds of people that have already pre-ordered and has been made in dedication to their tremendous support. This special discount will also be available to users at the Glendale Atari show. After September 14, 1992, Gemulator will be available directly from PMC and at finer computer dealers near you for $299.95. Demonstration videos are available for $10, and information brochures are free. For further information contact: Purple Mountain Computers, Inc. 15600 NE 8th St. Ste. A3-412 Bellevue, WA 98008 206.747.1519: voice/fax PMC.INC : GEnie 72567,302: CompuServe Comments From Darek Mihocka I've done a lot of optimization work on the software. The executable file is now well under 3 meg in size, so it takes up less disk space and memory. The speed is also improved. I'll be uploading the software to GEnie on 9/11/92, so you can just download it and use it with the Gemulator boards you already have. If you need one or two more boards drop by at the Glendale or WAACE shows to talk to me and I'll give you some. The shareware price will be about $50-$70, and those users will then receive updates. I've already got a version of Gemulator that emulates 4 meg and 8 meg STs, as well as a 486 version which runs faster than the regular 386/486 version. So, here's hoping it sells well. I had moderate success with shareware before (Quick ST and ST Xformer) so I'm going to give it one more try. The feedback I received from users at the recent Atari shows I demoed Gemulator at was that $199 was a price they liked, but $499 wasn't. So by breaking it up into two products (the $199 board and ROMs, and a $50 shareware program) the average user can make his PC into an ST for $199 or $249 with all the bells and whistles. | | | COMPUTERS, LUCK AND OTHER THINGS | | | By Bob Smith | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- In the years that I have become addicted to those all consuming and at the same time wonderful Atari computers, little changes have taken place. These changes include a: growing stoop shouldered, b: turning very pale, c: adramatic increase of my clumsiness, etc. With that, I set out to find out why. I quickly came to the conclusion that there were outside forces at work and while most of the changes in my life were attributable to a: poor seating at the computer console, b: no sunlight, the third reason completely escaped my extensive detection. My clumsiness was a very real symptom and I just had to find out why. One day, I was talking to several computer engineer friends of mine and the discussion was concerning this mutual affliction that we all seem to have. It amazed me that clumsiness was so wide spread amoung the computer fraternity and there seemed to be no explanation. From those discussions, I started to feel that outside influences were at work here and perhaps they were governed by a separate set of rules and laws. I decided to proceed along that direction and see if I could uncover these "laws" or at the very minimum find a cause to my problem. At this point, let me relate a typical instance.... I could be in the middle of using my favorite Atari word processor and be merrily tooling along, writing this very lengthy paper and be well into it and suddenly everything goes blank. Normally, you would chalk this up to a onetime occurrence and let it go at that. Now in my situation, this has happened on several occasions. Another instance might be when I have had floppies to move from one side of the table to the other. Normally, I wait to move several at a time, but I have waited until the pile was fairly large and sure enough, as soon as I had picked up those 3 1/2 plastic jacketed floppies, away they went in all directions. There had to be a connection between these and other unnatural happenings. What could it be? About the time that I was considering this, a friend Of mine, who is a locally recognized Sysop, happened to mention that he had suffered from a "Murphy's Law". Suddenly in my mind, the lights went on, trumpets sounded and an angelic look swept over my face. I politely said thank you to him and proceeded to hurry home. The answer was in front of me all of the time and I didn't see it. I proceeded to get into some very heavy research to the exclusion of almost everything else,not counting my computers of course, but many other things. Anyway, this research did not resolve the problems, but did provide me with the 'Laws' as to why these occurrences were happening. I will share these 'Laws' with you so that you too won't stay awake nights wondering why these things are happening. The all important 'Laws' are laid out in no particular order and you will have to real all of them to find your specific 'Law'. 1- No good deed goes unpunished. 2- Leakproof seals - will. 3- Self starters will not. 4- Interchangable parts - won't. 5- There is always one more bug. 6- Nature is a Mother. 7- If you're feeling good, don't worry, you'll get over it. 8- All warranties expire upon payment of the invoice. 9- Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit. 10- If you try and please everybody, nobody will like it. 11- A short cut is the longest distance between two points. 12- You will always find something in the last place you look. 13- Anything that can go wrong will. (Most famous one) 14- Every solution breeds new problems. 15- It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious. 16- An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance. 17- You will remember that you forgot to take out the trash when the garbage truck is two doors away. 18- When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate. 19- Nature always sides with the hidden flaw. 20- Murphy was an optimist. 21- A bird in hand is safer than one overhead. 22- To know yourself is the ultimate form of aggression. 23- Anthing you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought. 24- If you fool around with a thing for very long you will screw it up. 25- A $500 computer will protect a .10 fuse by blowing first. 26- If it jams - force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway. 27- Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center. 28- The repairman will never have seen a computer quite like yours before. 29- When a broken computer is demonstated for the repairman, it will work perfectly. 30- If everything seems to be going well, you obviously don't know what is going on. My research has produced more 'Laws' but the previous list should give you a fairly good place to start your own research. Now if I can only figure out a way to stop spilling my coffee on the keyboard. | | | GENIE ST ROUNDTABLE NEWS | | | Compiled by John Hartman | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- = DARLAH'S TREAT OF THE MONTH = Last week for this month's "Darlah's Treat of the Month" on page 475, Option #9. This month's file is MONOCHROME ONLY. This demo version of INVISION Elite contains many new features not included in the first demo. Also included are sample pictures, ordering information, and the INVISION Elite RTC transcript. INVISION Elite. The ultimate black and white imagining package. New from Power Thought Software. For more info and support, see Category 7, Topic 6 ("Invision Elite") in the Bulletin Board. File: INVDEMO3.LZH is 366720 bytes. Remember.......this file is FREE........yes........FREE. -*Last month's TREAT was accessed 863 times. A hit indeed!!*- = REALTIME CONFERENCE = Scheduled Wednesday RTC Guests = Have an idea for an Realtime Conference? Wish to promote a product, show or service? Atari Roundtable Realtime Conference provides an excellent platform for announcements and discussions. Contact RTC$, Jeff Williams [JEFF.W] for requirements and information on holding formal RTCs. Jeff also captures and edits the formal conferences and uploads them into the Atari RT's Library. = Monday Realtime Conference = Stop in for Monday's Desktop Publishing Realtime Conferences. Hosted by Lou Rocha with regular guests dealing with all aspects of DTP and associated topics. All conferences begin at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time = Atari ST Help Desk = Atari ST Roundtable holds a Sunday Help Desk to answer your questions on GEnie, Atari ST Roundtable and the line of Atari computers. Stop in and ask questions or just visit the Atari RT staff and users. The Help Desk starts at 7:00 pm EST Sunday on page 475;2. For Realtime Conference inquires and comments contact: RTC$ = LIBRARY = Last Week's Top Downloaded Programs/Utilities: ---------------------------------------------- 25390 MPLAY_13.LZH X A.DOLORICO 920822 27776 149 29 25389 PAULA20.LZH X OUTRIDER 920822 61056 130 29 25388 ZOO214.LZH X W.PIKE 920822 81408 112 40 25394 SPC-3375.LZH X J.PIERCE5 920822 13696 103 2 25287 HZ_FLIP.LZH X GRMEYER 920815 2432 74 2 25355 GOGOST50.LZH X M.CAWTHON1 920817 51712 69 2 ---------------------------------------------- Last Week's New Demos: ---------------------------------------------- 25376 GIGADEMO.ASC X D.PETERS18 920820 1280 17 10 25374 SHADOW.LZH X S.KIPKER 920820 303232 30 10 25284 F_DEMO.LZH X C.THORPE5 920815 447744 60 10 ---------------------------------------------- | | | COMMENTARY | | | By Gordie Meyer | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- This text file is written by Gordie Meyer. Gordie is a sysop on the ST Advantage area of Delphi, known to Delphi members as BIBLINSKI. This file was made available from the databases of the Atari ST Advantage SIG on Delphi. The only change that has been made to the file is the addition of this text to identify Gordie Meyer as the author, and to include DELPHI sign up information at the end. The following is an opinion. Specifically, my opinion. It doesn't necessarily reflect the views of the management of this SIG, nor the management of this service. But, it is a result of much consideration on my part, and I have not arrived at it frivolously. I've been an observer of the Atari community for about a decade now. In all those years, I have heard much discussion about how Atari has failed to properly support its users. It seems to arrive in waves, with blame being cast on everyone from an allegedly unscrupulous local dealer to the highest levels of Atari management. Yet, in all those years, I can remember only a very few instances where all that discussion has led to any positive change. But, I remember many instances of hard feelings and escalated conflict, that did little to make the life of the average Atari owner any better. As in most 'Atari vs. the User' situations, I find myself a little confused. While we all have a right to have an opinion about how any company does business, the reality of it is that a company does business in the way it sees fit to do so. I seem to always find myself translating things into terms that I'm more comfortable with, and once again, I'm going to do just that. I operate a restaurant, and deal with customers on a face-to-face basis almost every hour I work. And, while I'm aware that the customer is the focus for my business, without whom I wouldn't have a job, I am also aware that there are some people who I don't really care to have as customers. I have no responsibility to cater to every whim of every person who walks through my door. I have a product to sell, one I'm proud of. But, if it isn't what a person wants, I can live with the knowledge that there is someone out there who doesn't like what I sell. It doesn't make sense for me to alter my product, just to please one person, who may or may not return. While the customer is the focus, profits are the motivation. I've had customers come up and tell me I should do this or do that to improve my business. While I appreciate their suggestions, and listen to them, I am the only one who can decide whether my busine ss needs improvement or not. Most people outside the restaurant business have little concept of the costs involved in operating a restaurant, and so, aren't always in a position to intelligently make suggestions about how things should be done. Often, what they think would be an improvement would prove to be a major expense, with little return. Anything I add must be weighed pro against con. And if it fits with the concept, and it would physically fit somewhere, and would provide enough income to pay its way, and wouldn't detract from the existing products, then maybe, if I can afford it and the promotion it would need to be introduced, I'll add something. But, as a small business owner, I can't afford to take risks with either my proven products or my finances. Any changes must be looked at long and hard before being made. I would assume similar decisions are made at Atari, with the same careful consideration. That little feature that some user thinks would be a wonderful addition to the STe might only add $5 to the production cost of a machine. A pittance! But, when you're building 50,000 or 500,000 machines, that little $5 starts to add up to real money. And unless it can increase the usefulness of the machine to the majority of the users, can it really be justified? Bells and whistles are nice, but add little real value to a machine. And, with Atari's small size, value is more important than geegaws. That concept of value has a major impact on upcoming Atari products. The Falcon is intended as a mass market, low end machine. It has improved graphics and sound, which are important to finding a place in the multi-media market that seems to be on the horizon. To sell a product in that market, certain concessions to economy must be made. One complaint about the announced configuration of the Falcon is that it will reside in the old 1040 case, wit h its built-in keyboard. That's the kind of concession that keeps the Falcon's price within the range it needs to be, to sell as a mass market, low end machine. Designing and producing a new case is expensive. Dave Small estimated that the molds for the 1040 case must have run in excess of $100,000, based on his experience with the case for the Spectre GCR. That might not be a lot of money to IBM or Apple, but it represents a major sum to Atari. One that couldn't be justified for the Falcon. Atari isn't a large company. And in the current economy, it has had to get leaner than it might have wanted to. Some services have suffered, but Atari is still in business, making computers that provide a great deal of power at an affordable price, while still being friendly to use. Maybe some of us have forgotten why we bought our Atari's in the first place. Our computers are some of the finest tools available, without being expensive. Just as they were intended to be. Nobody at Atari ever promised me that I'd be buying the only computer I'd ever need. They didn't say I'd be able to easily upgrade my computer with every new generation of technology. They didn't lead me to believe that my computer was the fastest, or the most powerful, or even the best. They simply sold me a machine that would perform the things I needed a computer for, and perform them well, without making me take out a second mortgage on my house to afford. And it has done just that. As our computing experience grows, so do our computing needs. While I was perfectly happy with my old desktop publishing program when I started, I outgrew its capabilities. So I got a new program, which has served me well. Now, I find I need more speed from my machine, and will most likely be getting something to accelerate it. But, that's a result of my growing needs and expectations, not the fault of the computer. Many of us started with some old beater car, and found down the road that we needed , or wanted, something a little nicer, a little faster, and unfortunately, a little more expensive. The same thing happens with our computers. I didn't fault Buick when my '67 LeSabre just didn't cut it any more, and I don't fault Atari that my 1040STe isn't as fast as I'd like it to be. I bought my machine for the set of needs I had at the time. Now, those needs have changed. There isn't any blame to lay at anyone's feet, only reality setting in. Reality reared its ugly head to the Director of Communications at Atari Computer Corp. recently, as well. It is easy to get caught up in one aspect of the Atari community, especially when it's as engaging and active as telecomputing is. But, as important as being online seems to be, in reality it is only a small part of the overall Atari experience. According to a survey done by STart magazine back in 1990, less than 43% of their subscribers used one of the national online services. Less than 27% listed telecommunications as one of the first 3 most frequent uses for their computers. That's hardly a major concern. But, Bob Brodie has been taken to task for not spending even more time online. What's the point here? Is it fair to expect a corporate Director of Communications to devote a disproportionate amount of his limited time on something that represents a minor concern for most Atari owners? I don't think so. And evidently neither does the management at Atari. Some online representation should be available, but it needs to be done with the proper perspective. For the most part, the online regulars are a bit more experienced, more knowledgable, and have higher expectations of their systems. Perhaps online support should be provided by more technically oriented Atari staffers regularly, with occasional visits by the Director of Communications. Whether Atari has any tech people who have the time to provide such support is another matter. Given the restructuring of the company, uncommitted time must be limited, and is probably spent carefully. Perhaps online support will be seen as a valid expenditure of that time. There will certainly be those who will view what I've written here as an attempt to excuse Atari's less-than-sparkling performance of late. That is not the intent, however. Too often, we find ourselves caught up looking at trees without being aware of the forest. Taking a few steps back, and trying to get a larger view of the whole situation sometimes brings better understanding of the smaller events that occur. Finding a more effective means of reaching a greater number of users should be seen as a positive step in bettering overall customer relations, instead of a slap at the relatively small number who are currently being reached. After all, shouldn't as many users as possible have access to Atari personnel, as directly as possible? Don't get me wrong. I have questions about what Atari did in the past. The purposeful non-conformity of many Atari system components seems to have been counterproductive to my eyes. Why wasn't a standard graphics bus adopted? There is a huge number of existing graphics boards available, with a range of resolutions and palettes that we can only dream of having without spending much more than our computers cost. Why develop an entire font standard of their own? PostScript compatibility would have made life much easier, and provided a whole range of existing products to draw from. Why not design the motherboard to utilize as fast a CPU as might be available, without crippling it with slower support chips? In all these cases, the user has been limited in his or her choices about what kind of machine they want to have. Perhaps the sophistication of the user was underestimated, and it was assumed that such choices wouldn't be desired. But, a base model could have been developed, with the built-in ability for upgrade by owners who so desired, without detracting from the salability of the product. Some effort to do just that was made in the STe, so maybe that closed-end concept that plagued the early mass market STs has changed. But, all of those are things I have come up with after gaining a certain level of expertise. They weren't part of my original decision at all. So, while I wonder why things weren't done differently, I don't blame Atari for not doing them that way. Hopefully, they will consider that many of their users grow more sophisticated with time, finding they have a need or desire to improve their computers after putting them through their paces for a while. And build a machine that can grow with their users. But, that's something for the future. The Falcon hasn't been released, so whether the evolution of the Atari computer has continued or taken a step back is yet to be seen. We can only hope the tentative steps of the STe haven't turned into stumbles. **** To get your own DELPHI account and join in on the many activities sponsored by the ST Advantage and the Atari Advantage on DELPHI, use your modem to dial up DELPHI at 1-800-365-4636. Press once or twice to get a connection, then at Password:, type in IP26 then press again. Basic sign-up is free! | | | HYPERLINK VERSION 1.52 | | | Hypermedia Application Development System | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- Hyperlink v. 1.52 System: Atari ST/STe/TT Manufacturer: JMG Software International, Inc. 892 Upper James Street Hamilton, Ontario Canada L9C 3A5 (416) 575-3201 Price: $199.00 The concept of hypermedia has been around since the mid-1970s. Emerging first as hypertext ("database documents" containing trigger words or phrases that when selected, reveal additional information), it wasn't long before the developing power of personal computers prompted visionaries to extend the concept to include graphics, sound, and other media. Easy to use hypermedia development systems, such as HyperCard, have become popular on several current platforms enabling normal users to create highly interactive custom programs for personal and commercial use. Now JMG's Hyperlink brings hypermedia development to the Atari ST. When you first install and run Hyperlink, it brings you to its main work screen. A menu stretches across the top of the screen, and a box to the left holds icons that represent loaded Hyperlink applications. Sample applications, such as a Baseball Card Tracker, Telephone Message Pad, and Address book, are included with the package. Using a Hyperlink application is quite simple. Load the application, using one of the menu selections. The application's icon will appear in the box on the left side of the screen. There after, clicking on this icon will make the application active, putting its input form on the display. Multiple applications can be loaded at once, and their forms displayed simultaneously, much as with desk accessories. Hyperlink applications work by calling ("linking") program modules supplied with the system: a text editor, database, graphics display, and other modules are presently supported, and additional modules are promised soon for handling sound and even speech! The linking mechanism is extremely flexible: links can be established that tie together input forms, buttons, and other "objects" with one another, with underlying module "engines," and even between Hyperlink applications, coordinating their activities. For example, the sample Telephone Message Pad and Address Book applications are linked in such a way that clicking on the name of a caller on the Message Pad will activate the Address Book to find a matching record, revealing the caller's phone number and address. Modules can access external graphics, text, andother files, meaning that standard graphics, DTP, and other software can be used to develop materials for presentation by Hyperlink apps. The Baseball Card Index, for example, offers a "Stats" button that loads the editor module to display an external text file containing statistical information about each player. A similar "Camera" button employs the graphics module to display scanned player images. Hyperlink even permits words in external text files to be linked with modules and objects, so that these "hot spots" can elicit responses from the system, a la hypertext. Rolling your Own Hyperlink applications are composed using the Builder module, which works somewhat like a GEM Resource Construction Set. The Builder screen contains a blank work area" and a set of icons representing the different objects that can be incorporated in an application's input form. The palette of object types includes Text, Database Field, Button, Box, and Icon, and more complex meta objects, such as sets of "radio buttons," can be built from these. Like an RCS, Hyperlink's Builder lets you design a Hyperlink input form by dragging objects into its work area. Once objects have been placed, they can be moved around or sized with the mouse. Each object may then be named, and parameters set to control its appearance and reaction to mouse moves and clicks. Finally, its links to Hyperlink modules and external files are specified. Once all objects have been defined, further parameters are set to define characteristics of the application's display window, and to refine further object and file linkages. Bumpy Ride Ahead Hyperlink shows enormous promise, though version 1.52 still has a few rough spots. For example, though you can define a hypertext link in an external text form inside the Editor module, editing that link requires leaving the Editor, loading the Text Link module, and modifying an entry in its database. When designing an application that employs a custom database, Hyperlink will not let you modify the format of that database after definition (though modification is possible using dBman IV, whose file format is compatible with Hyperlink's). Nor does Hyperlink offer any kind of report builder (though again, you can use dBman's). There is a print command in the pop up menu for applications, but it is apparently not yet functional. Worst of all, though, is the complete inadequacy of the manual. Not only is it poorly)organized, but fails to adequately cover many of the most difficult aspects of Hyperlink, leaving you to experiment and study the sample applications. The manual lacks a reference section, and even the walk-through of a sample application doesn't work -- the examples don't match the screen shots. This is true of some of the explanations as well. George Geczy is hard at work, and even as this was being written, version 1.6 was being rushed to completion. Speech and Sound are to be added almost immediately, and some of the more difficult to use items in the Builder module are being cleaned up. A scripting language is due to be added as well,(version 2.0) allowing programmers to specify symbolically how each object in a form should respond, instead of being "limited" to just creating links. Version 2.0 will also feature a completely rewritten manual. | | | EDHAK | | | By John Jainschigg | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- Like most long time ST users, I have an "ACC" folder on the root directory of my hard disk that contains the "acc" umulated fruits of many years of DA collecting. Why do ST and TT users find Desk Accessories so fascinating? Because the best DA's are remarkable displays of programming, combining a high degree of GEM compliance with all around good engineering. And because DA's can be wonderful tools for increasing productivity. EdHak, now in version 2.25 from Clear Thinking Software, is a winner on both counts: beautifully designed and easy to use, this accessory text editor will find a favored spot on the root directory of your boot disk in no time. Installation "No time" is just about what it takes to get up and running with EdHak. Just copy EDHAK225.ACC from the distribution disk to the root directory of your boot disk, and reboot to install the program in your Desk menu. (If you prefer, you can run EdHak as a regular GEM application, by changing the extension to .PRG.) EdHak defaults to a 10K buffer (user) alterable, and because it occupies only about 77K of RAM when installed, should run transparently on all but minimal configuration STs. If you're suffering a real memory crunch, however, don't despair! Clear Thinking has thoughtfully included a stripped)down "freeware" version of EdHak (called DIARY20S.ACC) that occupies only 38K! Clicking on the EdHak entry causes the half screen window to appear. The window can be increased to full*screen size by clicking on the "fuller" button at the upper rightcorner. In Text mode, EdHak functions as a swift, stripped down text editor for ASCII files. Unlike many conventional text*editors, however, EdHak offers adjustable margins and tabbing; word wrap; fluid, mouse based cut and paste; full search and replace (for text 2 and 3 decimal or hexadecimal byte patterns); automatic date insertion; macros; and other convenience features all accessed from a nifty little menu built into its window's move bar, or via Function and other key combinations. The EdHak text editor is ideal for programming, but doesn't fall short as an all around utility for correspondence and general writing. Full printing features make it ideal for quick jobs such as envelope addressing. And its ability to output text on command to the serial port makes it an ideal "helper" for use in combination with GEM based telecommunications programs. Hacking Features But text editing isn't the only trick EdHak knows how to do! In Hacking mode, EdHak can display the contents of RAM directly, either in response to a search command (for text string or byte\sequence) or to entry of a start address. The contents of RAM are displayed as characters in EdHak's window (one byte per character), and can be edited freely and written back to RAM in any location. As an additional aid, the hex equivalent for the character presently under the cursor is displayed in EdHak's menu bar. But that's not all. EdHack also lets you load, edit, and rewrite disk sectors directly, again, either in response to a search, or starting from a specific sector number. Though the feature is potentially destructive if used carelessly (Full Hacking is disabled in the program's default configuration), I was able to put it to good use, immediately, eliminating a viral advertisement placed in my boot sector by FastCopy Pro ("I am your personal Boot Sector Guardian," indeed!) EdHak's documentation isn't disappointing, either. Its little manual, though a bit "home made" looking, explains each of the program's many features clearly and completely; and even includes a bound in keyboard command summary. All in all, and particularly at the low price of $18.95, I think EdHak is a great buy! System: Any Atari ST, STe, or TT, mono or color Price: $18.95 Manufacturer: Clear Thinking, P.O. Box 715, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 | | | THE EDITORS DESK | | | By Ron Kovacs | | | ---------------------------------------------------------------- We have returned from a brief summer vacation, and during our hiatis, the Dusseldorf Atari Messe Show has taken place, Sam Tramiel appeared on GEnie and Delphi with Falcon information, and we have "improved" Atari Explorer Online Magazine. Also, a few personal changes have taken place that I am not comfortable going into details about, but have played a part with the "forced vacation" of this publication and the other Z*Net offerings. Without going into great detail, I have seperated from my wife and processing a divorce. It has been a difficult time and the reason for the sparse support and release schedule. I want to thank a few people for their support over the last six weeks: John Nagy, Bob Brodie, Bob Smith, and Stan Lowell. Almost two months have passed and things are on the positive side of the cycle. Anyone who has gone through this type of problem knows the effect it plays on your emotional state. It also adjusts your priorities dramatically. However, life does go on and things are looking brighter. The reason I am sharing this with you is because there are a few who have known, probably more than I would want to know, and people do talk. The best way to squelch a rumor is to address it. So, everyone knows, and hopefully this will be a dead issue. Thanks for reading! We have returned to weekly release. All future releases will be available after 9pm each Saturday. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for GEnie service call (with modem) (800) 638-8369. Upon connection type HHH and hit . Wait for the U#= prompt and type XTX99436,GEnie and hit . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To sign up for CompuServe service call (with phone) (800) 848-8199. Ask for operator #198. You will be promptly sent a $15.00 free membership kit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You can subscribe to the bi-monthly hard copy Atari Explorer Magazine for $14.95 for 6 issues, $39.95 for 18 issues. Canadian subscribers should add $5.00 per 6 issues,foreign subscribers should add $10.00 per 6 issues. Checks must be drawn in US funds on a US bank. Send orders to Atari Explorer, Post Office Box 6488, Duluth, MN 55806. VISA and MasterCard orders, call (218) 723-9202. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Reprints from the GEnie ST Roundtable are Copyright (c)1992, Atari Corporation and the GEnie ST RT. Reprints from CompuServe's AtariArts, AtariPro, AtariVen, or Aportfolio Forums are Copyright (c)1992, CIS. Reprints from AtariUser Magazine are Copyright(c)1992, Quill Publishing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This edition of AEO was put together on an Atari TT030 using WordWriter and WordPerfect. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Atari Explorer Online Magazine is a weekly publication covering the Atari computer community. Material published in this edition may NOT be reprinted without written permission, unless otherwise noted in the article. Opinions presented herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. Atari Explorer Online Magazine is Copyright (c)1992, Atari Corporation. The Z*Net Newswire is an independent column and organization not affiliated with Atari Corp. and is Copyright (c)1992,Z*Net News Service/Ron Kovacs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*Net News Service - Post Office Box 59, Middlesex, New Jersey 08846- 0059. BBS - (908) 968-8148. Voice - (908) 968-2024. Fnet Node 593, AtariNet Node 51:1/13.0. You can contact Atari direct via Fnet Nodes - 706 or 319 or via AtariNet 51:1/10.0. Z*Net South Pacific - Fnet - 693. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Atari Explorer Online Magazine "The Official Atari Online Journal" Copyright (c)1992, Atari Computer Corporation ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~