Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/03/93-08:33:33 PM Z
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 15-Jul-86"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 2-Jul-86 #6"
- Return to Index: Sort by: [ date ] [ author ] [ thread ] [ subject ]
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 11-Jul-86 #7 Date: Sat Jul 3 20:33:33 1993 ___________________________________ Zmagazine July 11, 1986 Issue #7 Ron Kovacs Publisher/Editor Middlesex, New Jersey ___________________________________ In this issue we have packed ST news and ST Software reviews. In this issue: - XM301 Fix - Touch-Tablet Fix for RAMBRANT - ST Software Reviews - ST vs Amiga - ST Terminal Software Reviews - Zmag Systems - Future issues Before we get into ST news, We will briefly supply our 8 bit readers a few fixes recently found on CIS. Xx XM301 Fix The Following information was taken from Compuserve. NOTE: This fix is NOT an official Atari upgrade. If you attempt this modification, you do so at your own risk! To correct the booting problems experienced with some XM301/1050 configurations will require you to have three 470 ohm resistors, some solder, solder iron, wire cutters, and a phillips screwdriver. 1. Open the XM301 modem and remove the PCB assembly. 2. Locate the area where the cable is attached to the board. The wires will be labeled with numbers. Some modems will have these contacts coated with a sealant. Remove the sealant carefully with your fingers small knife or screwdriver. 3. De-solder the lines labelled 3, 9, & 13 and pull the wires through the board. Remember which wire goes into which hole. Better yet label them with a small piece of tape. 4. Install each of the 470 ohm resistors into each open hole. Push the resistors all the way in leaving them standing upward. 5. Trim the excess wire extending through the bottom of the board and solder the resistor in place. 6. Attach the designated wires close to the tops of the resistors, solder them in place and trim the excess wire off the resistor. 7. Be sure that none of the resistors or wires are touch each other. 8. Put the modem back together. Works fine!! NOTE: If you have no electronic experience DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS FIX. Xx Touch-Tablet Fix This fix was taken from Compuserve Here's a very simple modification to the Atari Touch Tablet which will allow the button on the pencil to work with the popular RAMBRANT from the ANTIC catalog. It will not effect the use of the tablet with any other program. It involves placing a small jumper wire between two pins on one of the plastic connectors inside the unit. 1. Remove the seven screws from the bottom of the tablet. 2. Lift the top of the tablet up and open it like a book from the cable end to the front of the unit. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO DAMAGE THE SURFACE OF THE TABLET OR THE RIBBON CABLE THAT CONNECTS TO IT. 3. Fold the tablet surface down and you will see the circuit board inside. On the circuit board, there are two small plastic connectors. One has four wires which go to the buttons, the other connector has seven wires. Its the one with seven wires that we will work with. On my tablet, the colors of the wires are (from left to right) VIOLET, WHITE, GREEN, GREY, BROWN, ORANGE and YELLOW. What we want to do is to place a jumper wire between the BROWN and the ORANGE wire. 4. Cut a small piece of 22 or 24 gauge buss wire about a half an inch long or you can cut a piece of wire from a resistor lead about the same size. 5. Now with the touch tablet facing you, count FROM THE RIGHT to the second and third pins (ORANGE and BROWN) wires. Bend the small piece of wire so that both ends will fit in the top of the connector. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to push down each end of the wire so that it fits snugly (snugly?) in place along side the pins in the connector. Thats all there is to it! What you've just done is place the pencil button in parallel with the left button, so whenever you press the pencil button, its the same as pressing the left button on the tablet. Now carefully close up the tablet. Be extra careful as you try to close the top cover. Don't force it shut. Make sure that the tablet surface is seated properly into the bottom of the tablet. The top should close and mate with the bottom easily. Also make sure that the jumper wire that you installed is not interfering with closing the top. Replace the screws that you removed from the back and you're all done. Remember to use joystick port #2 when using the tablet with RAMBRANT. Any Questions??? - Danny - he IBM PC. In fact, the manual you get only has instructions for booting the IBM version; the 520 ST boot instructions and errata are provided on a separate insert. The company is preparing an all-purpose manual but it wasn't ready in the early versions of the program. Unison World does promise to send a copy of the new manual to registered owners (so fill out your registration cards) as soon as it is ready. It doesn't really matter though, the manual provided is nice heavy paper stock, attractively printed, and easy to read. It will look very nice on your bookshelf where it will sit while you play with the program. Like The Print Shop, PrintMaster is so user- friendly you won't want or need to take much time reading instructions. The best part of this program is in the experience. At a time when it seems so many software companies are rushing to port over their best sellers to the 520 ST, many of them fail to make use of the GEM desktop or the mouse. As a result, we users are left to flounder with the same tired old function keys and control key combinations of someone else's system. True, we get a program proven in the marketplace and usually free of major bugs, but it's often not enough to compensate for the inconvenience we have to accept. Not PrintMaster, though. It was ported over, true enough, but Unison World at least had the grace to include the use of the mouse for function selection. It makes all the difference for someone who is a convert from the old school. The menu selections are sometimes too close together for broad movements but judicious use of the mouse will get you what you want. For those of you just dying to go back to the horse and buggy days, the arrow keys work too. No GEM desktop is provided but you don't really miss it because of the nice screen design of the program. The clip art in PrintMaster is generally a cut above what I've seen in similar graphic programs but it still doesn't matthe capabilities of the 520 ST in high resolution. But then neither do most printers. I liked the quality of the pictures, many of them were quite detailed and much more than simple outline drawings. The only complaint I have at all about the art is that the picture of the computer in the graphics library is the very image of an IBM PC instead of the more advanced Atari 520 ST! (Fortunately you can exercise this beastie with the graphic editor). The fonts which were included in the package were more than adequate for most needs (they each have three styles including an outline and 3D version) but I thought the borders were a little on the skimpy side. I suspect that will be corrected in future additions to this program. PrintMaster has a graphic editor more complete than most. You can edit any one of the more than 100 pieces of pre-designed art, flip it horizontally, or invert it black for white. The size of the canvass is small and you may have problems using the mouse here but the editor's commands are displayed along the right hand side and the x- y position of the cursor is displayed underneath so there's no need to flip back and forth between screens. Unfortunately, Printmaster won't accept graphics done in Degas or Neochrome format so you are limited to the pieces of art included on the disk or what is available in the optional Artgallery I ($29.95). The graphics included in PrintMaster aren't really clip art in the true sense of the word because they can only be put in certain specified places on the greeting cards and banners. That can be annoying if you can't fit your message around the preset placement options. It is here that the lack of graphic and layout flexibility of PrintMaster cannot rival the versatility of programs like Typesetter ST or Degas. The preset format of the PrintMaster options are sometimes restricting. Still, there seem to be enough options available for most situations and the practical limit will usually be defined by your own imagination anyway. One of the more pleasing additions to PrintMaster is the calendar option. In this option you can design your own personal monthly or weekly calendar with special days carrying your own message. Each page of the calendar can have its own graphics which highlight the season or some commemorated event. Great for refrigerator doors or family bulletin boards! There are also options which allow you to design and print your own letterhead stationery, make signs, or create banners about as long as your patience. In addition,PrintMaster has a preview feature which allows you to actually see how the finished product will look before you print. One of the problems with a program like PrintMaster is that it is completely useless unless you have a printer which is supported by the software. Playing with the editor and waiting for PrintMaster to go through its layout process can be more than a little frustrating if the program bombs when it comes time to print. In addition, close usually isn't good enough. An "Epson compatible" printer, for example, had better be very compatible or you'll find your greeting card slipping over the perforations of your fan-fold paper. Make sure before you buy that your printer is on the list of printer drivers. That, however, is one of the advantages of buying a program that has already been around the block a time or two. You aren't stuck with just one driver and a promise of more to follow. PrintMaster has more than a dozen printer drivers already built in. Unison World also provides a troubleshooting paper as another insert, suggesting printer drivers for printers not specifically listed. Also, I found the technical support personnel at Unison World very helpful when I found I had an incompatibility problem with the suggested printer driver for my NEC Pinwriter. There was also a curious slip of paper in the box which advertised a backup copy of PrintMaster for $5.00. As far as I can tell, the program isn't copy protected so I'll admit to being a little mystified at the offer. The bottom line: PrintMaster is a superior graphics program as long as you understand the purpose for which it was designed. It won't help you become a graphic artist in the manner of Degas and Neochrome, but within the constraints of the program it's very flexible and so easy to use you won't have to spend more than a few minutes with the manual. Compared to other graphic programs of its type, PrintMaster is superior and a very good value for the money. And it's fun -- and in the world of micro-computing that's usually what it's all about. ** ST Software Review REVIEW OF REGENTBASE BY MARK P. SEBAR JULY 1986 AFTER WAITING A YEAR FOR A DESCENT DATABASE TOO COME OUT, ONE THAT MAKES THE BEST USE OF GEM AND HAS MANY FULL FEATURES INCLUDING BEING A RELATIONAL DATABASE, I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO MEET WITH PROGRAMMER AUTHOR AND OWNER MR. FRANK COHEN OF REGENTWARE IN LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA. ON A HOT SUNNY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, I GOT TO SIT DOWN AND TAKE A CLOSE PEEK AT WHAT WAS SOON GOING TO BE RELEASED. I HAD THOUGHT OF ANOTHER FILE-MANAGER COMING OUT OF THIS. BOY, WAS I SURPRISED TOO SEE THIS PRODUCT, WITH GLOWING RED LETTERS "REGENT BASE" AGAINST A BLUE BACKGROUND. MANY MENU ITEMS COULD BE SEEN WITH PULL DOWN MENUS AND SUB DIRECTORIES. FRANK SAYS THAT HE HAD DECIDED NOT TO COPY PROTECT BECAUSE HE FEELS THAT THIS WILL BE A PRODUCT USED BY MANY FOR BUSINESS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. I COULDN'T AGREE MORE. THIS IS FULLY RELATIONAL, MEANING THAT YOU CAN INTERACT TWO FILES TOGETHER BY LINKING TWO TEMPLATES. THERE WERE A FEW THINGS MISSING FROM THE EARLY VERSION THAT FRANK WAS GOING TO HAVE READY WITHIN A COUPLE OF UPDATES. 1.) WAS A SIMPLE TO USE METHOD OF CREATING TEMPLATES AND THE OTHER 2.) WAS A SIMPLE REPORTS GENERATOR. IT TAKES A LITTLE BIT OF TYPING AND PROGRAMMING, HOWEVER SIMPLE, IN ORDER TOO ACHIEVE BOTH WITH THIS FIRST VERSION. AS FAR AS RECORDS GO, IT'S DISK BASED AND FRANK TOLD ME THAT THERE'S NO LIMIT TO THE FILE SIZE. AS LONG AS YOU HAVE DISK SPACE, YOU CAN EXPAND. ANOTHER FEATURE MISSING THAT WOULD BE ADDED IN THE NEXT UPDATE IS A HORIZONTAL SLIDE-BAR TO GO BELOW THE WINDOW. THIS WILL PERMIT A LARGE AMOUNT OF FIELDS TO BE ENTERED, AND ACCESSED, EASILY AND QUICKLY. WHAT ALL THIS IS GETTING TO IS THAT WITH THE FUTURE OPTION OF BEING ABLE TO ADD MODULES TO ENHANCE THE PACKAGE AND FUTURE UPDATES, GIVEN THE POPULAR REGENTWARE SUPPORT. THIS CAN WELL BECOME THE DATABASE THAT EVERYONE BUYS! OTHER UPDATES AND NEWS WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE ON "ATARI 16+32" ONLINE NEWSLETTER Xx 520 VS Amiga! A computer professional writes about the Atari 520ST vs. The AMIGA By John DeMar I'm sure you are a sane, rational person, so I'll continue I'm a software/hardware developer and an electronics engineer. I've seen and used computers from $50 - he$5 million and have designed VLSI chips for 6 years at GE until starting my own business last year. So, the following is said from technical expertise and not first- impression judgements from marketing "fluff". I own (or have owned) both the Atari 520ST and Amiga PC. I've given them both a good bit of work and inspection, including O/S design and hardware architecture. Here are some facts and my conclusion: The Amiga graphics IC's are very powerful in their own right and the I/O chip definitely gives nice synthesized music, but that's where the power stops dead. However, since people respond emotionally to sight and sound, the demonstrations can easily catch someone's eye. Inside the Amiga there is very little true support for the power of a 68000 cpu. In the low resolution mode, those fantastic graphics chips steal almost 70%(yes!) of the possible CPU time that the 68000 could be using to do real computer things like calculate, move/sort data, and plot graphics on your screen. Since the complicated screen data for the Amiga must come from the same RAM on the same BUS as the CPU, there are excessive wait- cycles imposed on the 68000. This, together with the CPU speed that is 10% or more slower than the Atari 520ST, the Amiga does not come close to the true power and useful capabilities of the ST. Inside the ST you will find MORE custom IC's than the Amiga and MORE powerful chips that are 'off the shelf' than the Amiga. This adds up to a real optimized, fast and versatile computer. First, there are a pair of chips working together to optimize data BUS and screen data access. The memory controller fetches 16-bit data directly for the 68000 and also places screen data onto a separate BUS for the screen refresh chip. This operation only steals 8 - 18% of the available true CPU time. Further into the hardware the 520 has three serial ports, rs-232, MIDI and keyboard. All of these are handled separately from the concern of the 68000 and all in hardware. The 520 has a 68901 interrupt controller that keeps track of the 16 separate events in the system with very little intervention of the CPU. (This chip is really a necessity in a true 68000's architecture and is missing in the Amiga.) Now, the best feature and performer in the ST design is the custom disk DMA controller, which transfers data to the RAM without using the CPU and does this at a rate of 1.3 megabytes per second! This IC also helps the Western Digital floppy controller, and makes for the fastest microcomputer disk access that I have ever seen. The ST brings in a 32K file in less than 4 seconds, including drive start up, directory search, etc. The Amiga takes almost 20 seconds! Maybe you like to wait, but I don't. Not to mention the optimized setup that the DMA chip has for adding low-cost, fast peripherals like hard drives and CD roms. The Amiga uses a non-standard disk configuration, and does much of the disk support in software(i.e. Slow). The drives have slightly more capacity than the ST's DS drives(880K to 720K) but this is at the expense of speed. The Amiga directory format (or lack of it) is done much like a C-64. In fact, to get a directory, the Amiga goes out and finds a program called DIR, loads it, and goes back searching! Now that I have started into the topic of software, I have some more bad news for you. Intuition is graphically and colorwise more advanced than GEM or the MAC, but fails to perform as a real user interface. The windows are poorly configured, and move with flicker. I rate the MAC slightly higher than GEM in usefulness, but GEM on the ST much faster and more predictable for the user. The Amiga OS is full of bugs and is clumsy to use after using GEM for 3 months. As far as real software goes, the ST already has many useful programs, and there are more developers working on ST projects than Amiga. As a programmer, I found the 520ST documentation to be well written and complete. And if something was unclear, Atari was very open and helpful. On the other hand the Amiga has a great deal of documentation, but things change every day. Worst of all, you have to be God or Electronic Arts to talk to anyone at Commodore. They simply are not professional people. To finish off I would like to add a couple of bad things about the ST. The case could be nicer, and they should have picked easier to find connectors for the monitor and drive ports. Besides that, I think(and over 50,000 others think) that the Atari 520ST is the most powerful and elegantly configured computer ever made. Also I feel that Atari will sell more computers than any other company has ever sold to date. This is not solely due to marketing hype (like the C64), but from true value and power that was never offered before. Save $1000.00 and take a vacation next summer..... buy an ST. Sincerely, John DeMar, QMI. Zmag BBS Systems ---------------- /Zmag Information Network\ New Jersey/New York California E.C.Syndicate-201-968-8148 New York City-718-604-3323 Backstage BBS-201-944-1196 W.C.Syndicate-415-825-2952 Elec.Shop BBS-212-547-4871 M.J.A.C. BBS-201-469-4474 Valhalla BBS -212-598-0243 E.B.B.B.S. -201-254-6449 Chicago Systems Windy City Atari-(312)775-2970 Runequest-(312)430-4234 Enchanted Castle-(312)525-0688 Centari-(312)668-0984 Blue Moon-(312)457-2219 C.L.A.U.G.-(312)889-1240 Skid Row-(312)439-5873 M-Club1-(312)730-1846 M-Club2-(312)349-8686 M-Club4-(312)458-8260 Generic-(312)275-2894 Software Plus-(312)520-1780 If you have a question about Zmag Windy City-Clinton Smith Runequest-Jim Dobleski,Rune Master Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith, Wizard Centari-Jim Dobleski Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid Claug-Clinton Smith M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith, Wizard Centari-Jim Dobleski Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid Claug-Clinton Smith M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski Skid Row-Jim Dobleski Generic-Wizard Software Plus-Jeff Williams East Coast Syndicate-Ron Kovacs Compuserve-Ron Kovacs,Tim Orosz New York City-Ron Kovacs,The Mayor Electronic Shop-Jim MJAC BBS-Steve Godun EBBBS-Ron Kovacs West Coast Syndicate-The Magician, Ron Kovacs Backstage BBS-The Director Valhalla BBS-Woden ----------------------------------- Xx Ahead in Zmag We have many contributions promised from local Zmag readers here in NJ. Hopefully you will find our future issues of interest. If you are interested in submitting info to Zmag for publication, please upload to the BBS you are reading or downloaded this issue from. If you got this issue from Compu- Serve and want to send me any article or information, please send me E-Mail. 71777,2140...... See you next week!! ___________________________________ Zmagazine July 11, 1986 Please Contribute!!! -----------------------------------
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 15-Jul-86"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 2-Jul-86 #6"
----------------------------------------- Return to message index