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Article #90 (730 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags
From: gl8f@bessel.acc.virginia.edu (Greg Lindahl)
Subject: Z*Net: 26-Oct-90  #543
Date: Thu Nov  1 22:20:21 1990


        
        
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                                Z*NET ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE
                                     October 26, 1990
                                        Issue #543
         
                              Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs
                              Assistant Editor  : John Nagy
         
         Z*Net New Zealand: Jon Clarke            Z*Net Canada: Terry Schreiber
        
         
                                         CONTENTS
        
         EDITORS DESK.................................Ron Kovacs/Terry Schreiber
         Z*NET NEWSWIRE.........................................................
         EDUCATIONAL TECH EXPO 1990 REPORT............................Mike Brown
         THE IDYLLIC LIFE OF A REVIEWER............................David Plotkin
         GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWS................................Jim Pierson-Perry
         PHANTOM OF THE LASER......................................Press Release
         TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES..............................Press Release
         Z*NET NEW ZEALAND............................................Jon Clarke
         
         
         
         EDITORS DESK
         ============
         by Ron Kovacs
         
         
         Guest Commentary by Terry Schreiber
         -----------------------------------
         We have received many enquiries into the effect that the low cost
         MacIntosh will have on the Atari market.  How it will effect Atari
         sales?
         
         My personal attitude to the Mac and the new IBM model is still Atari
         wins hands down for ease of use.  If, and indeed I believe these other
         models were slated for the home computer market, they lack one important
         thing - a user friendly interface.  Recently Radio Shack has made great
         strides into the home market with their built in user friendly operating
         system for MS-DOS compatibles.  "Yes, Mr. Developer Mom and Pop from the
         pre-baby boom era would like to use the system as well."  A good clean
         user interface is a must for the home computer market.
         
         Atari in my opinion wins hands down with the built-in GEM operating
         system.  The point and click is very simple to operate and to teach even
         the computer illiterate.  Most people learn to grasp the Atari Desktop
         in less than an hour - a far cry from the DOS environment.
        
         For the advanced users there are many desktop alternatives as well as
         menu programs, accessory loaders, macro editors and enhanced files
         selectors that make operations even easier once installed.
        
         Getting back on topic I believe that if Atari felt threatened by these
         late arrivals the response would be immediate by Atari Corporate.  After
         all the "POWER WITHOUT THE PRICE" and "TECHNOLOGY SO ADVANCED IT'S
         AFFORDABLE" is what Atari built it's reputation on.
         
         ERRATA
         
         Last week we referenced an update to Publisher ST as version 2.01 and
         it should have read 1.01.  We referenced Word writer. 
        
         FALL BACK
         
         This weekend turn your clocks back one hour.  
          
         
         
         
         Z*NET NEWSWIRE
         ==============
                                                                ATARI NEWS FIRST
                                      Compiled by Ron Kovacs and Terry Schreiber
         
         
         TT SHIPPED IN CANADA
         The long awaited Atari TT machine will be shipped to Canadian Authorized
         dealers following the unveiling at the Toronto Computer Show.  Due to a
         limited supply dealers will be shipped one sample unit per store for
         demonstration and evaluation purposes.  Units for sale will become
         available about the end of November for a suggested retail of $3995.00.
         Atari will handle two monitors for the TT, a Dual-Sync color (PTC1426)
         at $895.00 and a Phillips monochrome (TT194) 1280x960 at $1495.00.  The
         Phillips is indeed the large screen full page monitor we had previously
         heard rumours about similar to the Moniterms.
         
        
         PORTFOLIO BLITZ
         Atari Canada announced a major advertising campaign starting next week
         on the Portfolio computer.  Advertising is slated for most major
         newspapers and magazines across the country as well as a new pricing
         structure designed to make the palm-top affordable to almost all users.
        
        
         SECOND "SIMPSONS" GAME
         Acclaim announced this week that it will release its "Bartman: Avenger
         of Evil" hand-held in November.  Under an exclusive licensing agreement
         with 20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising Corporation, Acclaim is
         publishing Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy video games as
         well as SuperPlay hand-helds based on the "Simpsons".  "Bartman: Avenger
         of Evil" is expected to retail for approximately $19.95.
         
        
        
         
         NORTH CENTRAL REGION EDUCATIONAL
         LABORATORY'S TECH EXPO 1990 REPORT
         ===================================
         by Mike Brown
         
         
         One of the things that we, as Atari owners, are told should be done to
         assure the survival of Atari computers in the US, is to get Atari
         computers into the schools.  Recently, I was invited to attend and
         participate in a very large educational "Tech Expo" sponsored by the
         North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, The Urban Education
         Network, The Office of Educational Research and Improvement (US
         Department of Education), Chicago Public Schools, and Illinois Institute
         of Technology.
         
         This show and conference was attended by representatives of the 13
         largest urban school districts in the Midwest along with the State
         Departments of Education for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
         Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Doesn't this sound like a
         crowd that should be exposed to "Power without the price"?
        
         My ticket into this exclusive gathering of educators and school system
         policy makers was my volunteer work with a Chicago Public Schools funded
         project to develop a "...conference conduit for users of all ages and
         background with any type of computer to share ideas. (the system) will
         erase the boundaries between schools and the greater community and
         provide support for classroom teachers...".  If you guessed that this
         sounds like a multi-line BBS system, you win the star prize!  Our BBS
         system currently has eight concurrent lines (with multi-channel CHAT
         capability) on a UNIX minicomputer provided by Unisys.  The system
         (which has just celebrated it's first birthday) is called the EIES 
         (Electronic Information Exchange System) of the Chicago Public Schools.
         Give us a try at (312) 890-8512 1200/2400 and (312) 890-7828 9600.
         Visitors welcome!
        
         NCREL asked me if I'd be available the opening day of the show to staff
         a booth with other technical volunteers, I offered (sneakily) to work
         Saturday if I could use equipment and software that I was already
         familiar with.  The organizers said "no problem, you can bring in what
         you want to demo the system on".  A neighbor, good friend, and LCACE
         guiding light, Dwight (J.J.) Johnson volunteered his new STacy for use
         at the show, this would be the hot show setup in a world of dull MS-DOS
         and Apple systems.
        
         The gleaming new STacy was the star of the EIES booth- I drew a large
         number of comments from attendees about the STacy, and made some
         contacts with educators who use 8-bit Atari systems (most notably with
         LOGO) in classroom situations.  A group of students (helping in the huge
         5000 sq ft Apple "School of the Future" exhibit) stopped by to play with
         the STacy and had very favorable comments.  Near the end of the day, the
         EIES sysop regretted the fact that I had chosen to set up so near the
         aisle, as the STacy could have drawn people "into" the booth (yes, but
         it was more visible at the end!).
        
         At the show, I was surprised by the large outlay that IBM and Apple 
         Computer made in equipment, staff, hospitality and outside exhibitors.
         Their presentations were easily as elaborate as what you might see at a
         COMDEX show.  Zenith, Tandy and Pioneer America had more modest (but 
         interesting) booths.  While developers such as Advanced Voice
         Technologies, Inc., Computer Curriculum Corporation, The ERIC
         Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Ed Tech, Encyclopedia Britannica, and
         TI-IN Network each had "one table" booths swarming with interested
         educators.  Over 60 different sessions were presented during the 3-day
         conference.  These sessions were held by exhibitors, software vendors,
         as well as educators themselves.  There were ongoing sessions in the
         Faculty Club room sponsored by Apple, and IBM had constructed a
         "Decision Support Center" to privately hawk their multimedia products.
         
         It was a very revealing experience shmoozing with educators and
         administrators, soft pedaling the Atari Advantage.  One of the more
         frightening revelations of the conference, was the stranglehold that
         Apple Computer has on the US educational market, and the mind set of the
         educators.  I constantly heard educators referring to computer labs as
         "Apple Labs".  This seemed to make as much sense as calling Driver's Ed,
         "Chevrolet Training" or Home Economics, "Kraft Class".  Before I was
         even in the show proper, an educator asked me "Is this the place where
         the Apple Expo is?"; my reply is not suited for a publication read by
         young persons, so it will remain unreported.
        
         Anyway, thank you to Carole S. Fine, Dennis Tokoph, NCREL, and all of
         the others that made it possible for STacy and Myself to play a small
         part in the shaping of solutions to educational problems in urban
         schools.
        
         For more information on future Tech Expos, or general information on
         High-Tech, High-Touch and High-Teach resources for your local schools,
         please contact NCREL at 295 Emroy Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126 (708) 941-
         7677.
         
        
        
         THE IDYLLIC LIFE OF A REVIEWER
         ==============================
                       by David Plotkin
         
         This feature is a reprint from the OCTOBER/NOVEMBER ST-JOURNAL MAGAZINE,
         presented here by permission.  THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE REPRINTED IN ANY
         OTHER PUBLICATION OR NEWSLETTER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM ST-
         JOURNAL, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723, 818-332-0372.
         
         
         I've been involved with Atari computers for a long time - longer than
         most.  I got into them strictly by accident when I attended the SF
         Computer Faire in 1980 and was fascinated by the many Apple II's.  What
         really caught my eye were the games - I'd never seen anything like them
         except in the arcades, but I couldn't afford the humongous number of
         quarters that arcade machines were designed to gobble.  Also, I couldn't
         afford to pay over $2,000 for an Apple II and a disk drive.  A local
         computer dealer sold Ataris (yes, they really did in those days), and
         so, in May 1980, I plunked down $800 for an Atari 400 with 32K of memory
         and a tape drive.  The dealer later admitted that he really made me a
         better deal than he should have!
        
         I also bought Star Raiders which, to this day, remains one of the
         premier computer games of all times.  About a month later, when I came
         up for air, I started looking around for something else to play.  There
         was very little.  I had violated the prime rule for computer purchase -
         buy the machine that will run the software you want to use.  I decided
         to attack this problem in two ways.  The first was to learn to program.
         The results of that effort were not very satisfactory because I was
         using the Atari Basic graphics, etc.  The results ran but were so slow
         as to be useless.
        
         Magazine connection
         
         The second line of attack was to start buying magazines.  In those days,
         there were two magazines that covered the Atari: Compute! and Softside.
         These were similar - each had a section devoted to the multiple machines
         they covered.  Type-in listings were featured, along with tutorials, and
         I read these avidly, painfully, learning the tricks of programming, as I
         went along, and playing the games that I had laboriously typed in.
         There were also advertisements for quite an assortment of software on
         tape-cassettes.  I was in heaven - I quickly ordered a large selection
         of the more interesting looking stuff and soon discovered two things.
         The first was that most of this software was abysmal - slow, not much
         fun, and, after only a very short time, boring.  It needed to be
         reviewed so that people didn't buy "blind" based on frequently
         misleading ads.  The second thing I learned was that software (whether
         good, bad, or indifferent) is expensive.  I couldn't possibly afford
         everything I wanted.  So how was I to get all I wanted without having to
         pay for it?
        
         Writers wanted
         
         Being a relatively honest sort, stealing it didn't appeal to me.  What I
         did was set myself up in the reviewing business.  I phoned the editors
         of the magazines and explained that I could review software.  All they
         had to do was send it to me - or I would be willing to phone the
         software company and ask for it to be sent to me directly on the
         strength of the assignment.  Believe it or not, the editors were
         delighted.  Finding someone who was at all familiar with computers and
         also who could write was a rarity.  (I'm told that it still is to some
         extent.)
        
         In all the years I've been writing, I'm proud to say that I've never
         missed a deadline - and there have been some pretty tough ones.  Editors
         love that.  Running a magazine is tough, and knowing that they have
         people they can count on is priceless.  I have had calls asking for some
         major piece of software to be reviewed - with a deadline only a week
         away - and have pulled it off.  This policy of being dependable has
         served me well down through the years with Analog, ST Log, Antic, START,
         Video Games, and now ST Journal.
        
         A lot of people have seen me getting all this wondrous software free and
         have become convinced that I have it made.  Well, it is pretty nice -
         especially since I get paid for the reviews, as well.  But it's also a
         lot of work and carries a fair burden of responsibility.  You see, along
         with all the good stuff like WordUp and Touch-Up, LDW Power and Dungeon
         Master, there is some really awful stuff - the kind you wouldn't waste
         your time with; you'd either reject it, after a short trial in the
         store, return it to get your money back, or just reformat the disk and
         kiss your investment goodbye.  I can't do that.  I've been assigned to
         review it and that's my job, as unpleasant as it sometimes can be.  A
         good example is my currently working review of STEVE, the ST Event
         Editor.  This is integrated software; word processor, database, desktop
         publishing, and a few other things all put together into one huge
         package with a 600 page manual.  The software isn't bad, just huge and
         not particularly interesting.  But I can't just put it aside for some
         other time - I've got to get a review out on deadline.  If I don't, my
         credibility suffers.
        
         Responsibility enters the picture because I am relatively well known.
         It has been a long time since I have called a software or hardware
         manufacturer to request a review copy and they haven't known who I am.
         When I write a review, people listen and make buying decisions based on
         what they read.  Since ST Log folded, my review may be the only one they
         see.  What this means is that a lot of care must be put into evaluating
         the product.  If, at first glance, it appears really awful, I must keep
         digging and evaluating to make sure I don't say it's awful without
         giving the software every chance to prove itself.  One product (an
         alternate desktop) completely defeated me.  I couldn't even get it
         installed.  The files that I was supposed to work with weren't on the
         disk, and others that were not mentioned in the manual were present.
         After struggling with it interminable, I finally gave up.  But I really
         tried far harder than if the software had been for my own use.  Had I
         purchased it for myself, I would have simply mailed it back and gotten a
         refund.  (Always buy software with your credit card because you can get
         your money back if it turns out to be unsuitable.)
        
         But I must remember that people are going to read what I say and factor
         this into their decisions.  It's sort of daunting to realize that my
         single article may influence a substantial part of the income of a
         software or hardware vendor.  So I have to be fair and impartial and do
         a thorough job with each review, and, on top of that, write well and
         provide interesting material for my readers.
        
         So much for the idyllic life of a reviewer!  As you can see, it's hard
         work and carries a lot of responsibility.  See you next month. - DP
        
         
        
        
         GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWS
         ======================
           by Jim Pierson-Perry
         
         
         The accompanying text file contains a summary of guidelines I prepared
         for STart magazine to (hopefully) give some direction to writers for
         accurate, comprehensive and ethical product reviews.  By their nature,
         product reviews are factually base and should be written/judged
         accordingly, as opposed to opinion or editorial articles which would
         require some different criteria.
        
         I personally believe the quality of published product reviews is a valid
         guide to the maturity and quality of the parent computer platform.
         Hobbyist computers tend to spawn hobbyist/amateur writing styles and
         foibles.  Products for pro computers usually get much more in depth and
         polished efforts (more writers competing for limited magazine space and
         readership).  The above is a gross generality but if you look at
         comparative reviews of word processors, printers, hard drives, CAD
         packages, etc in mainstream Mac or PC mags I think you'll get my point.
        
         Anyway, I offer my guidelines as a starting attempt to put some thought
         behind what should go into a review, the mechanics of it, and some
         ethical issues that ought to be considered.  I welcome all constructive
         criticism and hope we can upgrade the guidelines to reflect the best
         thinking from our BBS (and others) community on what is important to
         readers in the product reviews they write.
        
         Thanks for your interest. If you'd rather just drop me a private note
         instead of joining the public discussion, my GEnie address is REMO.
        
        
         Here are some of my thoughts on general guidelines for preparing product
         reviews.  I've included some concrete examples from published reviews
         (left anonymous) to illustrate some points.  It is very important that
         we try to do a good and thorough job with our reviews.  There are
         precious few avenues where US Atari users can turn for "second
         opinions", unlike the Mac and PC users with their plethora of magazines.
         My comments begin on review writing in general, then go into specific
         phases of evaluation/writing.  Take them for what they are worth -
         guidelines only, not strictures.
        
         General Points
        
         1.  Reviews should not be authored by beta-testers or others similarly
             related to the product (manual authors, distributors, ...).  Even
             with the best of intentions, it is hard to keep objectivity and
             there will be a conflict of interest (real or perceived) in the
             readers' minds.
        
         2.  Reviews must be fact checked by the author with the developer prior
             to final submission.  This is a reviewer responsibility - you cannot
             complete a piece unless you know that what you have written is
             accurate.  Developers should not use this opportunity to sway
             reviewer opinion, just make sure the piece is factually correct.
        
         3.  In line with point 2 above, be sure to report promptly any bugs you
             find during product evaluation to the developer.  They might not be
             bugs at all but errors on your part or corrupted files on the review
             disk (both have happened to me more than once).  Clear these up at
             once - don't wait for the final fact check and to find out you've
             got a major rewrite on your hands.
         
         4.  Make heavy use of user groups and on-line bulletin boards to
             research the product.  You are not likely to be the first user and
             can often pick up on good/bad points that others have encountered.
             This also lets you evaluate the developer's customer support and
             response time.
        
         Overall Writing Style
        
         1.  Be direct and positive in your comments, avoid negative praise.
             Example: "I am pleased with program XXX..." rather than "I do not
             hesitate to assert how good program XXX is...".
         
         2.  Do not write "table of contents" reviews - stepping through each
             program feature and how to use it.  Focus instead on reasons why 
             particular design choices were made and their consequences, what
             features are lacking, ease of use, etc.  Would you buy this product
             in view of similar offerings?  Why?
         
         3.  If the product is a bit esoteric, consider using sidebars to supply
             background information.  This will bring novices up to speed without
             slowing down the main review for more the experienced ones.
         
         4.  Avoid pretentious grammar, vocabulary, and thesaurus abuse.  It
             reads poorly, makes you sound like a pompous ninny, and is a general
             pain for editors to correct.  Another example: "In writing this
             evaluation, therefore, I have compared program XXX with both earlier
             versions of itself and other popular YYY applications for the Atari
             ST."
        
         5.  Break up the review into sections corresponding to major product
             functionalities.  This lets readers jump about to sections of
             primary interest to them instead of tracking through text swamps.
        
         6.  Humor has its place in writing but don't overdo it!  Anecdotal
             speech may be fine with user groups or friends but translates poorly
             into cold print.  Humor is only good when natural, not forced.  If
             you are deliberately trying to be funny in your text, it won't be.
             Same goes for stream of consciousness writing, as practiced (poorly)
             by some columnists.
        
         7.  Use constructive, not destructive criticism. Destructive: "The
             search and replace function in XXX is a poorly designed afterthought
             that is hard to use and slower than any other such program I have
             ever used."  Reworked into a constructive sense might give: "The
             search and replace function in XXX is about twice as slow as in
             similar word processors.  Part of the problem is its needless
             scrolling of the entire text file on screen, even when doing a
             global replace operation."
        
         8.  Comparative reviews with head-to-head feature tables are very
             popular and useful.  Be careful to explain all terms and symbols in
             your summary tables.  A recent comparison of replacement desktop
             programs had the cryptic entries "toggle fast bit", "time ledger",
             and "enhanced windows" that were never explained and probably not
             understood by most readers.
         
         9.  Stress major design, interface environment, real world performance
             issues, hardware requirements, etc.  Cover the main points
             adequately and don't waste time/space trying to cram in coverage of
             every last persnickety detail.
        
         10. How well does the product integrate into the existing Atari
             environment?  Example: word processors that build on GDOS and
             Ultrascript, rather than requiring users to invest in new font
             collections.
        
         11. Write in the active voice!  Example: "The program quickly redraws 
             screens" rather than "Screen redraws are handled quickly by the
             program."
        
         12. Supply several illustrative screen shots (DEGAS capture utilities
             are useful here) and captions with your review text.  Don't leave
             the captions up to editorial discretion or imagination.
        
         13. Watch your grammar and always spell check your review before
             submitting it.  Editors question factual accuracy if the writing
             mechanics are sloppy.
         
         14. Clearly describe the hardware configuration you used for the review.
             Where appropriate (and possible) use several types of peripherals to
             fully challenge the product.  Example: if you are reviewing a word
             processor, check performance with a 9 pin dot matrix as well as a
             laser printer.
        
         15. Make sure to mention the program version you reviewed (dumb mistake,
             but I've seen it missing in the past).
        
         16. Budget enough time for the review.  Compromising the accuracy of the
             review, or your writing ability, in order to meet a deadline does no
             one any good.  The developer will (rightly) take you to task and you
             will lose credibility with readers (and editors).  The review you
             finished after 16 hours straight typing may read as Pulitzer
             material at 2 am, but be cat box liner on second reading after a
             good night's sleep.  After you finish a review leave it for a day or
             so, then come back for the final edit.
        
         Evaluating The Product Manual
        
         1.  Are there a table of contents and an index (reasonable and complete
             entries)?  What about sufficient screen shots throughout the text to
             illustrate operations/features?
         
         2.  How up to date is the manual?  Is it several versions out of synch
             with the current program and patched by a series of "README" files
             on the disk?
        
         3.  How does the manual look visually? Look for consistent formatting,
             overall typography (no tiny text), spelling or other errors, and
             writing style (easy to read or too dense).
        
         4.  Do the installation instructions match actual product usage?  Are
             all hardware and software requirements fully spelled out?
        
         5.  Are tutorials provided, with corresponding example files (as
             appropriate)?
        
         6.  Are keyboard command equivalents summarized in an easily accessed
             appendix?  What about other appropriate summaries - must you hunt
             through the text for them?
        
         Setting Up
        
         1.  What are the hardware and software requirements?  Does the program
             come on double-sided disks but still claim compatibility with a
             standard 520 ST?
        
         2.  How compatible is the product with standard desk accessories,
             autoload programs, alternate desktops and TOS versions?  BBS reports
             are helpful for these problems.  What about support for big screen
             displays (Moniterm)?
        
         3.  Is product installation required and, if so, is it manual or
             automatic?  If GDOS-based, is the installation routine smart enough
             not to trample an existing ASSIGN.SYS file?  Can the program be put
             in a directory of your choice or must it go in the root directory,
             etc.?
        
         4.  How easy and intelligent is the automatic installation process (if
             used) - number of disk swaps, recognize both A: and B: drives, check
             available hard disk space before starting, etc?
        
         Program Operation Evaluation
        
         1.  Exercise all program features - the one you miss will be the one
             that readers call up to complain or question about.
        
         2.  Create and use your own examples, do not blindly rely on canned
             tutorial or example files provided with the product.  This really
             becomes painfully obvious when all reviews of a product have the
             same screen shots - just how thoroughly did the reviewers test the
             program?
        
         3.  Include objective performance criteria such as speed of search and
             replace, memory consumed, printing time, scrolling speed, etc.
        
         4.  Especially with printer related programs, check the extremes (dot
             matrix, laser printer).  Don't base your entire review on a single 
             platform - quality and speed can vary dramatically (and not
             necessarily in the same fashion) between printer types.
        
         5.  Does the program include on-line help (hopefully triggered through
             the HELP key)?
         
         6.  Are keyboard command equivalents provided for mouse/menu commands?
             Are any program functions available only through the keyboard or
             mouse exclusively?
        
         7.  How is the overall response time? Where are the bottlenecks - any
             obvious ways to circumvent them? Any suggestions for improvement to
             offer the developer?
        
         8.  How intuitive is the user interface?  Does it follow "standard"
             Atari programming conventions?  Are common operations implemented in
             a straightforward fashion with a minimum of steps?  Is the program
             easy to learn?  By the way, despite how some writers have
             bastardized the concept of a learning curve, a "flattened learning
             curve" means hard as hell to learn while a "steep" one is a snap.
        
         9.  What safeguards protect the user from errors - his own or the
             program's?  Things to look for: format disks from within the
             program, show remaining memory, autobackup of files, sense when the
             printer is not on-line, warn before overwriting an existing file,
             etc.
        
         10. What user customization/convenience features are provided?  Example
             are: assignable directories, save global parameters (page size, font
             list, printer driver,...), file utilities (delete, rename, query
             free disk space, ...), no copy-protection, etc.
        
         Extras
        
         1.  Try to get a feel for customer support, both through phone calls and
             BBS.
        
         2.  Are any freeware/shareware programs included on the product disk?
             What about templates for DTP or spreadsheet programs and similar
             aids?
        
         3.  Are there any useful auxiliary programs that can add to the
             product's utility which readers ought to be told about?  Example:
             Word Up only imports IMG, GEM and DEGAS pictures but the shareware
             program CONV2IMG converts many other graphic file formats into IMG
             files which can be then used.
        
         4.  Is there a demo version of the program - how to get to it?  What
             about foreign language versions (not all of your readers will be
             from the US)?
        
         5.  Does the developer provide additional support products that would
             enhance the value of the product under review?  Examples: MIDI
             hardware interface for MIDI software, alternative printer drivers
             for word processors, file format conversion programs, training
             manuals, etc.
        
         6.  Is there any third-party support for the product?  Examples are
             fonts, clip art, NeoDesk icons, Printmaster graphic collections,
             etc.
        
         Summary Statements
        
         1.  How does the product compare with similar ST offerings - why should
             readers by this particular one over the competition?
        
         2.  Any features present or lacking versus similar applications on other
             computer platforms (Mac, PC)?
        
         3.  Is the developer willing to share plans for upcoming revisions or
             new features?  Vaporware is taboo but feel free to briefly comment
             on near-term goals (the focus is on what is for sale today, we're
             not selling futures here).
        
         4.  What is your feeling on the product's overall value for the money,
             time, and effort required to buy and use it?
        
        
         
        
         PHANTOM OF THE LASER
         ====================                                      Press Release
         
         
         ATARI SLM804? OWNERS!
         ANNOUNCING: "PHANTOM OF THE LASER?"
         
         * Frustrated by the requirement that the laser printer MUST be on to use
           your computer?!
         
         * Tired of the fan noise, heat, & power consumption?
         
         * Worried about the internal heat buildup when you use the "backdoor"
           shutoff "FIX"?!
         
                THE PHANTOM OF THE LASER?  SOLVES ALL THESE PROBLEMS!!
         
         The SLM804 remains off till you really need it to print!
         
         The "PHANTOM" is installed inside the SLMC804? interface box
         permanently.  A 12 volt power cube supplies the "Phantom's"
         requirements.  Built with computer grade components.
         
         "BULLETPROOF" Design!
         
         Total system compatibility!
         
         No more unplugging the interface cable just to play games!
         
         $40.00 US  Installed at our facility.
         
         WIDGETS BY DECKER*
         2399 SW Palisades Crest Drive
         Lake Oswego, OR. 97034 USA
         Telephone  503-638-3940
        
         *(Innovation through frustration!)
         
         Please note that the quoted phone number in the November issue of
         Current Notes is WRONG!  The correct number is listed here!
         
         
        
        
         TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - THE GAME
         =======================================                   Press Release
         
         
         Coming Soon...
        
         Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Game
         
         Those heroes in a half shell are coming out of the sewers and into your
         ST!  This game has all of your favourite characters: Leonardo - Leader
         of the Turtles, Raphael - Master of the Sai, Michaelangelo - His
         Nunchakus are deadly, and last Donatello - The mechanic himself.  And of
         course the enemies: The Foot Clan, Rocksteady, Bebop, Krang, and
         Shredder.  This is an all new adventure through the streets and sewers
         of New York City.  Watch for the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The
         Game'.  Coming this Christmas.
        
         ** NOTICE **
        
         This game has not been cleared with Mirage Studios or Archie Comics.
         This game is subject to be cancelled without notice of any kind.  Dark
         Angel Systems acknowledges that 'TMNT', 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles',
         'Leonardo', 'Michaelangelo', 'Raphael', 'Donatello', 'Foot Clan', and
         'Shredder' are registered to Mirage Studios.
        
         TMNT (c)1990 Mirage Studios - All Rights Reserved
         TMNT - The Game  1990 Dark Angel Systems - All Rights Reserved
        
        
        
                         (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)
                             _                            _
                           o( )    Z*Net New Zealand     ( )o
                          /  /\      By Jon Clarke       /\  \
        
                                 News from around the Nets
                                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
                   From Usenet postings this week in comp.sys.atari.st
         
         
          (*)(*)(*) New British Magazine (*)(*)(*)
         
         Path: grahamt!syma!icdoc!ukc!mcsun!uunet!lll-winken!ames!uhccux!virtue!
               comp.vuw.ac.nz!am.dsir.govt.nz!dsiramd!marcamd!mercury!kcbbs
         From: grahamt@syma.sussex.ac.uk (Graham Thomas)
         Newsgroups: comp.sys.atari.st
         Subject: New applications-oriented ST mag to appear in UK
         Message-ID: <3593@syma.sussex.ac.uk>
         Date: 9 Oct 90 10:59:19 GMT
         Organization: SPRU, Univ. of Sussex, Brighton, UK
         
         Someone recently asked about ST journals & mags with an applications and
         programming bias.  There was some discussion on the demise of the UK mag
         ST World.  (Sorry, demise is not correct - the mag has gone quarterly
         and now consists mainly of comparative reviews and 'buyers guides'.)
         Well, the gap may be about to be filled by a new publication: ST
         Applications.  It's being launched by Paul Glover, who runs the 'ST
         Club' (newsletter, disk mag and PD software library) and who has
         recently become the UK correspondent for Z*Net mag.
         
         The ST Club newsletter is due to turn into ST Applications in November.
         The exact format is not yet fixed, and potential contributors are
         currently being solicited for their views & ideas, but the intention is
         to have a mix of reviews and articles on all sorts of application areas,
         as well as coverage of the ST scene worldwide.  While the aim is to
         produce a more professional magazine, Paul & co (David Smith, design;
         Niki Wilson, admin) don't want to lose the 'user-driven' feel of the ST
         Club newsletter.  They're after ideas for submissions.  Authors will be
         paid, though not extravagantly.
         
         The first print run will be around 12,000 copies, and the magazine will
         have at least 45 pages of editorial material.  Further information can
         be obtained from Paul Glover, ST Club, 49 Stoney Street, Nottingham,
         NG1 1LX, UK.  Tel: +44 602 410241.
         
         Graham Thomas (just an ST Club member)
        
         (*)(*)(*) New Atari ST Emulator for the Amiga (*)(*)(*)
         
         Path: icsu8053!ming!dali.cs.montana.edu!uakari.primate.wisc.edu!samsung!
               munnari.oz.au!comp.vuw.ac.nz!am.dsir.govt.nz!dsiramd!marcamd
               !mercury!kcbbs
         From: icsu8053@ming.cs.montana.edu (Craig Pratt)
         Newsgroups: comp.sys.atari.st
         Subject: Re: We've been EMULATED.
         Message-ID: <2669@dali>
         Date: 14 Oct 90 09:23:23 GMT
         Organization: Montana State University, Dept. of Computer Science, Bozeman
         In article <90285.225011CXS128@psuvm.psu.edu> CXS128@psuvm.psu.edu writes:
         >
         >   I don't know how many of you follow comp.sys.amiga but one of the
         >   topics over there is an ST emulator that works!  It seems that this
         >   program contains a copy of TOS and GEM in it.  I don't think this
         >   is completely legal.  For anyone interested in knowing the site with
         >   this program it is abcfd20.larc.nasa gov directory incoming/amiga
         >    program name atari1.
         >
         >                                           John T.
         
         I was invited/challenged to come over to a friends  the other day to try
         out some of my software on Atari1 on his Amiga 500.  Here are the
         results:
         
          Degas (original):  -Can't flip between screens
                             -Have to reboot to exit
          UniTerm 2.0e:      -You can't flip back to term screen
                             -Doesn't talk to the modem
                              -Eventually bombs
          Opus 2.23:         -Works just fine! (REAL slow scrolling
                             -Actually printed out a graph!
          Cool Tetris:       -BOOM!!
          Battle Zone:       -BIG boom! (Had to turn off the Amiga)
          Drachen:           -Loads title screen, then wierd garbage
                             -Had to reset
          Joust:             -Atomic blast (Had to power cycle)
          Star Raiders:      -Ditto
          Unix Windows:      -Woudn't talk to the modem
        
         I was truly amazed that it ran Opus at all considering that it uses
         GDOS.  It didn't load desk accessories at all.  Everything was very
         slow, especially the disk accesses.  It took about two minutes to load
         the GDOS fonts.  The color resolutions were VERY flakey.  Mono was
         better but the whole screen was stretched vertically and was about 1.5"
         too low.  It was very difficult to read any fine, horizontal lines due
         to interlacing.
         
         I can't possibly believe that this thing is legal.  It would be quite a
         trick to reverse-engineer all of TOS GEM and the ADI and have it work.
         It simply looked like a hacked version of TOS 1.2 (1040 TOS).  Many of
         the dialog boxes for the desktop were just loaded with different text.
         It would seem that the serial port and sound are not supported in any
         fashion. The printer seems to work, though.  Also, Atari1 takes over the
         whole machine.  You have to reboot to get out.
         
         All in all, I don't think I'd call Atari1 an emulator - not even close
         to the level of the Mac emulators.  It's just an interesting/illegal
         hack job.  More novelty than utility.  Oh well, at least Amiga users can
         run Opus now, at half speed.  (No, I didn't give him a copy) BTW, George
         Harrison, are we going to see a new version of Opus soon?
         
         Craig Pratt                          / icsu8053@caesar.cs.montana.edu
         Montana State University, Bozeman MT / Craig.Pratt@msu3.oscs.montana.edu
         Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup collides with ham "
                     Special Agent Cooper, _TWIN PEAKS_
         
         (*)(*)(*) Replies to new Atari ST Emulator (*)(*)(*)
         
         Path: apratt!atari!portal!apple!sun-barr!cs.utexas.edu!samsung!munnari.oz
               au!uhccux!waikato!comp.vuw.ac.nz!am.dsir.govt.nz!dsiramd!marcamd
               !mercury!kcbbs
         From: apratt@atari.UUCP (Allan Pratt)
         Newsgroups: comp.sys.atari.st
         Subject: Atari ST emulator for the Amiga: Atari's position
         Message-ID: <2709@atari.UUCP>
         Date: 16 Oct 90 21:34:04 GMT
         Organization: Atari Corp., Sunnyvale CA
         
         Some people have expressed confusion over the legality of the "Atari
         emulator" now floating around the net for the Amiga.  I understand that
         Atari's position is that it is a grave and flagrant violation of Atari's
         copyright, and we are asking everybody, especially archive sites and
         BBSes, to stop distributing it and remove all copies they have.  I don't
         know why people think this *could* be legal: it's a derivative work from
         Atari's copyrighted material, and Atari intends to protect its
         copyrights.
         
         Some people have expressed dismay that their favorite archive or BBS
         might get in trouble.  In my *personal* opinion, the operators of these
         sites bring doom upon themselves by making uploads immediately available
         for downloading, with no checks on the content of the uploads.  I
         believe that only a Common Carrier, such as the phone company or an
         airline, can legally be blind to the content of the information or goods
         they transport and distribute.  Everybody else is responsible for
         exercising due diligence to ensure that no illegal activity is going on
         using their equipment or service.  Since this program is prima facie a
         copyright violation, a duly diligent sysop would not have made it
         available for downloads.
         
         Finally, some people have expressed the opinion that Atari should be a
         "good guy" and take no action concerning this.  That's nonsense.  If you
         don't vigorously protect your copyrights, you lose them.  Ignoring this
         could mean relinquishing all rights to protect TOS from copying and
         modification.
         
         This message represents my opinions and things I believe to be true, but
         it is not to be considered a legal opinion from Atari's legal department
         or anybody else but me.
         
            -- Allan Pratt
               Systems Software Engineer
               Atari Computer Corp.
               ...ames!atari!apratt
        
         -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
        
         Visiting and age old tradition.
         ===============================
         by Jon Clarke
         
         
         Over the last week I have been wandering around the country on a short
         vacation.  What mixed with thunder storms and earthquakes I thought I
         had picked the wrong week to journey to lower reaches of the North
         Island.
         
         Last Saturday we were up at 4:30am and ready for the first leg of our
         trip to Palmerston North some 300 miles south of us here in Auckland and
         to visit with the users of the Manawatu Atari Users Group.  We jumped in
         the trustly little Toyota and ended up in Ohakea the southern most Air
         Force Base in the North Island at 10:00am an met with Tony Lewis the
         Editor of the WAUG user Group.
         
         Dropping all our gear at the his place we make haste to Palmerston North
         some 25 miles away.  Our timing was great as everyone had just started
         to arrive.  So we unpacked all the computers out of the car and set them
         up in the hall.  This is where I discovered this was not going to be the
         normal User Group meeting that I had seen.
         
         You see everyone was bringing their Atari's to the meeting.  There were
         old 520ST's with the boot disk, STe's and the most amazing ST I have
         ever seen.  This ST was a wooden cased 520ST.  Now forget the old jokes
         as I used them too, "Wooden case and Wooden go!"  I was really taken
         back when I saw what Chris had done to his ST's keyboard.  Imagine if
         you will an old revision 'c' 520ST with a detached keyboard similar to
         Mega keyboard, however encased in the most beautifully dark stained and
         french polished wooded case.
         
         "This has to be a first for the ST" I thought. I have seen many
         variations to the ST and have even done the same myself but have never
         seen anything like this at all.  Looking at this ST it conjured up
         thoughts of stately ballrooms and the likes.  By noon there were no less
         than thirteen ST's and STe's set up all doing different things from
         games play, programming, demonstrating new software they had written and
         modifications to their ST's.
         
         So I spent the next four hours looking, playing, and being pleasantly
         surprised by the quality of the locally produced software.  Several chaps
         in MAUG have started to produce a monthly disk for ST users in the User
         Group and for users around the country.  It is called STUNZ and stands
         for ST Users in New Zealand.  The man behind this disk based magazine is
         Chris Hocking.  Chris is stationed at the Army base and has been one of
         the few people lucky enough to have spent a lot of time with the top
         German ST programers while he was stationed in Germany, and is the
         author of "STicker" and "STicker III".  I must confess after seeing disk
         based magazines from all around the world the 'STUNZ' disk ranks up in
         the top 5 in my opinion.   Here in an overview of the STUNZ diskette..
         
         [1] Will run in colour or Mono.
         [2] Is designed to run on a 520ST or a 1040 ST as well as the STe.
         [3] Uses Gdos or Amgdos (The PD GDos)
         [4] Several PD programs.
         [5] Hints, tips and secretes of GFA basics programing.
         [6] Just click and select an icon to run an option.
         
         Not only did I see some brilliant local programing I lucky enough to see
         some of the latest European demos by the "Lost Boys" called the "Lost
         Boys Demo".  By now I guess most of you have seen the TCB "Care Bears
         demo" and this is been held the beST demonstration of what a ST can do. 
         Well the "Lost Boys demo" goes beyond the bounds of description.  I
         spent 3 hours on Sunday looking at the 20 demos it includes and then I
         did not see it all.  These guys writing demos in Europe are sure using
         all the tricks possible to get the ST to do these demos.
         
         After the meeting some of us went out for tea and then met up with
         several of MAUG members at their home and was taken on an extensive
         tour of the local BBS's.  It was funny both during the meeting and
         after, the comments passed about the PC I am writing this article on.
         
         You see when I travel I have my little "T1200" with me and a null modem
         cable.  So when I hook this up to a ST via the cable or take a disk out
         of my "T1200" and put it in a ST, many of the younger users look in
         amazement and the point finally comes home that the ST is more
         compatible to the IBM than they first thought.
         
         From Palmerston North I travelled to Wellington the capital of NZ and to
         see what was going on in the WACE user group.  I missed the meeting by
         one week however I did have the opportunity to visit with the Sysop of
         their BBS called Harbour Board BBS.  Chris Thorpe the Sysop has just
         completed a major face lift to the BBS and it is now humming along at a
         great rate.  It is funny when sysops get together there is always
         similar stories and items of interest that seem to happen no matter
         where your BBS is located.  We sat down to few amber ales and I was
         taken on a flying tour of the FoReM based BBS.  Hmm then came all the
         stats and the old rivalry of FoReM and MBBS boards.  Needless to say
         WACE are doing a good job with their BBS and are lucky to have a "IBM
         AS400" operator being their Sysop of Harbour Board.  As an aside here,
         it is funny how sysops seem to parallel each other in some cases as in
         this case Chris and I work of different Banks, run different software on
         our BBS's and live in the two largest cities in NZ.
         
         So much for the travels, as a brighter note I did manage to buy an old
         IBM XT for $NZ200 so the PC Speed may not be used as much [grin].
        
        
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
         Z*NET  Atari Online Magazine is a weekly publication covering the  Atari 
         and related computer community.   Material contained in this edition may 
         be  reprinted  without  permission  except  where  noted,  unedited  and 
         containing the issue number, name and author included at the top of each 
         article  reprinted.   Opinions  presented are those  of  the  individual 
         author  and  does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the  staff  of 
         Z*Net   Online.    This  publication  is  not  affiliated   with   Atari 
         Corporation.   Z*Net,  Z*Net  Atari  Online and Z*Net News  Service  are 
         copyright (c)1990,  Rovac Industries Incorporated,  Post Office Box  59, 
         Middlesex,  New Jersey 08846-0059.  Voice (908) 968-2024, BBS (908) 968-
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         at PPN 71777,2140 and on GEnie at address: Z-Net
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                               Z*NET Atari Online Magazine
                        Copyright (c)1990, Rovac Industries, Inc..
         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        
        





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