Z*Magazine: 9-Mar-87 #42From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-Mar-87 #42 Date: Fri Jul 9 11:02:36 1993 ----------------------------------- Zmagazine March 9, 1987 Issue 42 ----------------------------------- Zmag Staff: Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza ----------------------------------- USER GROUP/BBS OF THE MONTH THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (808) 423-2754 ____________________________________ This Week in Zmag...... <*> XM301 MODEM FIXES <*> BUILDING A NEW POWER SUPPLY FOR THE ATARI 1030 MODEM <*> ATARI 1050 DISK DRIVE BLUES <*> ZOOMRACKS II FOR THE ATARI ST'S <*> NEW MACINTOSHES UNVEILED BY APPLE COMPUTER <*> SOFTWARE USER'S ASSOCIATION LOOKS FOR NEW MEMBERS All this and more in this weeks edition of Zmagazine..... ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG ATARI NEWSFILE ....Technical Tips................. ___________________________________ Reprinted From Michigan Atari Magazine by permission XM301 BUGS Lots of people have been having all kinds of strange problems since adding the ATARI XM301 modem to their system. Disk drives time out, printers won't print, some drives destroy directories, and some software won't work. The worst thing about it is that it isn't CONSISTENT, so it's hard to trace....but it is LIKELY to be the MODEM. The problem seems to be that it takes too much power off the serial line and that kills various things at various times. A FIX is proposed by the STATUS GROUP of Virginia Beach, VA: Get three 470 ohm resistors, as small as possible. Open the XM301 and locate the wires coming in from the cable that are labeled "3","9", and "13" on the circuit board. Some modems will have some sealant covering the wires, BE CAREFUL. Remove each wire (one at a time, if possible to avoid mixing them) and solder the resistor between the wire and the board. Carefully tape or shrink-tube the resistor-to-wire connection and reassemble the modem. That's it! Now the XM301 will use less power and should operate minus the annoying bugs. While you are inside that XM301, you might also want to graft another cable onto the one in it. It's worth sacrificing a normal I/O cable to get out of the "Will I use the printer or the modem dilemma" faced by many with a one-plug printer interface. Just remove one end of the I/O cable and attach it inside the modem to the existing cable. Be careful to match EVERY WIRE in the modem with the one you are attaching and be sure you attach the additional cable on the CABLE end of the resistors you added in the above modification, not on the MODEM end. Don't mix connections, or you may hurt something. 1030 MODEM POWER SUPPLY While on the subject of modems, the power supply on the ATARI 1030 modem seems to be both prone to failure and impossible to replace. It is a 9 volt AC supply, rather rare in the RADIO SHACK type supply house. So, get a "universal" type 9 volt DC supply, open it up (even if you have to get crude with the case) and simply solder a wire across the diodes, or remove the diodes altogether. Be careful if it has 4 diodes, then you had better remove them and reconnect the output wire from your "dead" supply right to the transformer in the new supply. Be sure to check the voltage before you try to use it. The modem will not complain as long as it gets 7-12 volts. XL/XE KEYBOARD REPAIRS Still having problems after doing some keyboard repairs? Maybe the little springs in the ribbon connector have given up. This happens after several removals and re-insertions of the keyboard ribbon. Check the ribbon itself to see if it has had any of the connections scratched through. If so, carefully trim 1/8 inch off the ribbon to allow contact on fresh connections. Also, make the ribbon THICKER for better contact with bent springs by adding one or several thicknesses of ordinary stic-on paper labels. It WORKS! 1050 DRIVE BLUES Get a SLOWWWW boot error, or sometimes just can't get the #"!%$thing to read? The most likely problem is NO DISK ROTATION. This can be due to belt problems, a loose flywheel, or insufficient SQUEEZE on the disk. Diagnosing the belt problem is easy once you open the drive. Just look at what is happening when the motor runs. Sometimes the belt is lying in the bottom of the drive. Sometimes, it looks OK but won't stay on anymore! New belts are hard to find so try buying a small 'O' ring that can replace the belt. If the flywheel center attaching screw is loose, that's another easy fix. The hard one to tell about is when the disk just isn't being squeezed enough by the turn-down handle mechanism to grip and turn the disk reliably. I put a few thicknesses of paper labels under the part that pushes down when the handle is moved to see if it would grip tighter. It worked so well, I haven't gone back into the drive to see if there is another way to increase the grip....but I suppose the paper will wear out someday. Until then............... Tips Compiled by John Nagy CHAOS BBS (517) 371-1106 _____________________________________ Xx ZMAG ST NEWSFILE ....Zoomracks II For the ST......... ____________________________________ This Review appeared in the February issue of the Atari Journal, (Jack Durre' 75046,476, Editor) Zoomracks II QuickView Systems 146 Main Street Los Altos, CA 94022 If you are looking for a Data Base system for your ST, but you don't have a lot of time to set it up and learn how to use it, then Zoomracks II may be just the program you have been looking for. Due to the unusual nature of Zoomracks, some explanation is required before you can really tell if it will fill your needs. Zoomracks arranges data at the highest level, into RACKS. A rack corresponds roughly with a data file. Within the racks are QUICKCARDS, which are similar to data records. The final item is the FIELDSCROLL which resembles the data field used by most data base systems. It's at the lowest level where the most major differences in Zoomracks is apparent. In most data base systems, you have to predefine the exact nature of your fields and exactly how large the field is. If at some future time you need to redefine this field, you will more than likely be facing a major conversion effort or even loss of your data. In the case of Zoomracks, a Fieldscroll can hold up to 250 lines of 80 characters per line. If you need to have more room in the fieldscroll, you simply enter the extra data and the definition of the Fieldscroll is updated throughout the Rack automatically. The next level up is the Quickcard. A Quickcard is best thought of as an index card, or a card in a Rolodex. The main difference is that a Rolodex can't hold nearly as much information. The Quickcard basically displays your Fieldscrolls to you. At the very top level is the Rack. The Rack is best described as an actual Rolodex or even a rack of time cards. You can have up to 9 Racks in memory at one time. They can be displayed or hidden as you see fit. The data in the Rack is by default sorted on the first line of the first Fieldscroll and is presented in a Rack view format. This means you see the first line of each Fieldscroll in the Rack (remember those timecards). You can if you wish, Zoom in on the rack and have the entire Quickcard displayed. The data in the racks can be Sorted, Copied, Moved from Rack to Rack, Edited, Marked, Cut and Pasted. This is one of the places where Zoomracks really shines. I have never seen a data base system that allowed such easy data manipulation. Well, that fairly well describes Zoomracks. Now to tackle just what makes Zoomracks II so much better than Zoomracks I. As I mentioned before, Zoomracks provides one of the most flexible data manipulation interfaces I have ever encountered. What it lacked was a good way to extract this data from the data base and present it in a usable form and a way to manipulate large amounts of data within a given data base. Also lacking was the ability to extract numerical or statistical information from your data base (for example, how many people in your data base have the name Jack Durre'). Fortunately for me (a long time user of Zoomracks I), along came Zoomracks II. I can once again put off really learning dBMan till some future date (sigh of relief). The first new feature is it's report generation capabilities. In the old Zoomracks, you had to rearrange your Fieldscrolls to fit your output format. If you didn't want to print everything, you had to create a new rack without the unwanted information. This was, to put it mildly, a royal pain. The new implementation allows you to define your output form in detail and print out only what you want. It also allows you to define fully free-form headers and footers for your reports (or labels). The next area of enhancement was in the Macro support that Zoomracks provides. Macros are built by simply selecting a letter, doing the operation you want the macro to do and then telling the program you are done. The operations you did are recorded in a special macro rack that can then be edited at a later time. The main improvements are additional commands that can be added to the macro to make it more effective. Some of the functions are: Delay,Show message (prompt),Goto Fieldscroll, Begin-Until loops, Loop till last Quickcard is read or the last line of a Fieldscroll is processed, Accept keyboard input, and Wait for input. These allow you to do things like select a subset of data and move it to another rack for additional processing (without risking the original data). The only rub here is that the documentation could be much better on how to construct a macro and how to edit an existing one. One hint, what you edit is the name of the fieldscroll (which is where they store the macro). It is an extremely powerful feature but expect to spend a couple of hours mastering it (with little help from the manual in this case). Some of the other new features are the built in calculation facility. It provides you with two registers which you can add, subtract, multiply and divide with each other. In addition, values can be loaded to and from a line or lines of a Fieldscroll or the entire Rack. The search capability now has a global option that allows you to effectively "mark" all Quickcards with a particular attribute for further processing. A great deal of effort has also been spent in the Zoomracks II user interface. It still uses an IBM like interface (very little use of GEM and the mouse), but the selections you can make are presented in a much cleaner way. You can even pick your own screen colors now. They have also provided a Quick reference card and a template for the function keys. The manual is very good and contains enough examples that a tutorial is hardly needed (though one is provided). The only place the manual fell short of my expectations was in the section on Macros. During the time I owned Zoomracks I, I received excellent support, update information and even a completely re-written manual. In conclusion, I must say that I was very pleased with Zoomracks II, and have converted all of my Zoomracks I applications over to it (easy to do), and intend to continue using it for my applications. Be warned though, you can't use Zoomracks to build a fully automated accounting and order entry system or other advanced systems of that type. For those, look to dBMan or Regent Base. If, on the other hand, you have membership lists, mailing lists, research notes or other masses of related data you want to keep organized without spending days setting it up, I think Zoomracks II will more than fit the bill. (c) Copyright 1987, by Dan Rhea ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG GENERAL NEWSFILE ....Apple Shows Its New Macs....... ___________________________________ TWO NEW MSDOS-COMPATIBLE MACINTOSHES UNVEILED BY APPLE (March 2) Hoping to make further inroads into the corporate marketplace, Apple Computer today introduced two more powerful Macintosh personal computers, the first Apple machines to offer compatibility with the IBM PC's MSDOS software. Apple made the announcements during a multimedia event at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. "The big message is that the beginning of the second generation of the personal computer industry has begun," said John Sculley, Apple chairman. The business press has said Apple's future rides on the success of the Macintosh line. The newest entries in that line, unveiled in conjunction with the annual AppleWorld convention in California, are: -:- The Macintosh II, built around Motorola's faster 32-bit, 68020 microprocessor, offering compatibility with both IBM PC/AT and UNIX systems with the purchase of a controller card. It features six expansion slots and starts at $3,899. -:- The Mac SE, built around a Motorola 68000 microprocessor, a color Mac that can offer PC compatibility with the addition of a controller card. The Mac SE comes in two configurations. One is a model with two built-in 800K disk drives that carries a suggested retail price of $2,899. The other model, with one 800K disk drive and an internal 20-megabyte hard disk, sells for $3,699. The IBM compatibility was made possible with add-on products produced by AST Research Inc. of Irvine, Calif., according to Apple. The new Macintosh machines were developed under the guidance of Jean-Louis Gassee, who two years ago stepped into Apple's restructuring and took over the Macintosh team co-founded by Steven Jobs, one of the creators of Apple 10 years ago. "Early on, they complained about Mac being closed," Gassee, vice president of product development, said during the presentation, which was sponsored online by CompuServe's Micronetworked Apple Users Groups (G MAUG). "With the SE we are finally able to do the product that was missing in the marketplace. "The MAC II Team developed the machine for everyone else who needs power and expandability. The Mac now allows the approach of more expandability than a PC/AT. The NuBus allows users to simply plug in a card and go and the system does all the rest. We chose NuBus because it allows mutliprocessor and many different designs to further enhance the MacII. For future generations of processors any card can be inserted in any slot and it configures itself." During a demonstration in Los Angeles, the SE drew pictures in three dimensions, rotated them and filled them in with color. The machine also showed three different applications on three monitors. "Software does not need to be designed to do this," Gassee said. "It comes standard with the system. The new machines offer digital sound, four voices and stereo for music and voice similar to compact disk quality." Also in the demonstration, the SE played the theme song to television's futuristic cartoon series, "The Jetsons," and displayed a fireworks show, with sound. The Mac SE is in mass production and was available in stores today. It is expected to have the biggest effect on the company's finances this fiscal year, which ends in September, and to become the staple of the Mac line, according to The Associated Press. Shipments of the higher-priced Mac II will begin in May, with full-scale production expected by the end of summer. --Daniel Janal Online Today ___________________________________ Xx ZMAG PANORAMA ....Software User's Association.... ___________________________________ The Software Users Summary Spring, 1987 The Software Users Association was created with you, the Atari user in mind. We have many new and innovative ideas aimed at increasing software quality, lowering prices, and getting review information to you faster than currently possible. We feel there are important changes to be made in the current system that will promote greater communication between software publishers and users. Without an organization to look out for your interests, the rules will continue to be determined by the software industry and you will have no voice in the matters that directly concern you. The time for us to act is NOW and the organization that has accepted the challenge is The Software Users Association. There are many benefits to having a nationwide users organization. Some advantages are access to a vast number of different viewpoints, the ability to utilize the expertise of a great number of users to enhance our programs and functions, and the "strength in numbers" concept which will allow us to inform the developers of what we want. In the following paragraphs, you will see how we plan to overcome the flaws in the current system and what we will do to enhance your ability to make a wise software purchase. Together we can make a difference! REVIEW PROGRAM Most copies of a software program sell in the first few months after their initial release. Unfortunately, most reviews are not published until well after that time, depriving you of a very important source of information. We feel that review information is necessary to make a wise software purchase. The current system makes it next to impossible to obtain a review when it will do you the most good. Ideally, a review should be published on or near the release date. We have the ability to make changes in the system that will speed things up dramatically. Our organization is working with developers to add another step to the development process. By simply allowing our organization access to a new software package before it is released to the public, we can review the package and have this information available closer to the release date. Software developers are not opposed to this plan. In talking with many of them, it became apparent that developers do not want disatisfied customers. They realize our disatisfaction has a direct effect on sales as well as their reputation. Software developers in general are willing to cooperate which makes our plan a viable one. Another issue we take very seriously is the quality of reviews. How many times have you read a review that sounded more like an advertisement than an unbiased evaluation? This tends to make the user shy away from from reviews entirely and base their purchases on word of mouth. The key to a wise software purchase should be honest, unbiased, and informative evaluations. Also, there is no standardized rating system for reviews. This makes it difficult for users to determine the validity of reviews. There are noticeable problems in the current system and we have the ability to change this system for the better. We have developed a software/hardware review rating system so reliable and innovative, we hope it will soon become the industry standard. Details of this highly accurate new rating system will be published in each issue of our exciting new publication. CounterPoint, the S.U.A. Quarterly PIRATING MUST GO! Of course, our goal of lower software prices will not be achieved without the user paying a price. When software is pirated, the developer must increase the price of their products to help offset their loss. Pirating increases prices, delays the release of new software, and sometimes even causes new releases to be canceled. With these obstacles in the way, it is difficult for the honest software user to get a good deal. We feel it is the users responsibility to help control the piracy problem. Why? Because developers should be left to concentrate on their job, producing great software for you. Individual users can help, but a nationwide users organization can have a substantial effect on this important issue. We are currrently negotiating with national Atari publications to help us launch a national public awareness campaign aimed at educating users about problems caused by pirating. Another associated problem we must address is the pirate bulletin board systems. We recognize the fact that their are many legally operated BBS systems and we encourage their use, however, there are many other boards that are operating illegally. The system operators must stop these unethical practices and this change will not take place by itself. Illegally operated BBS's are the biggest threat to the honest software user. These systems spread new software releases faster than the developers can get them in the stores. This doesn't create a sense of Good Will between software developers and users in general. This kind of relationship is volatile and damaging to the users credibility. It is everyones responsibility to help bring about change where this issue is concerned. With this in mind, our organization was prompted to begin monitoring BBS systems for evidence of continuing illegal activity. This program was designed to put a stop to this problem, not punish the system operators. We will gather evidence and act as our own enforcement agency. We will not alert the authorities unless the activity persists. Our organization was designed for you, the Atari user, with your interests in mind. This Anti-pirating campaign, though an unpopular stand, is necessary for the good of all of us. INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT Software developers and other interested parties are currently planning talks with Congress and other Federal agencies to take steps to make pirating an even more serious crime. There has been talk about regulating BBS systems in general. The time for you to voice your opinions is NOW, before the laws are passed. The S.U.A. will be involved in this process and will speak for its members. Every issue of CounterPoint will contain a reader survey. We will get your opinions from these surveys. Remember, if you don't help make the rules, you can't complain about the outcome! ABOUT THE STAFF As you have seen so far, there is a lot of work to be done. There are reviews to write, information to gather, a magazine to publish, and program testing to name just a few of our responsibilities. Who is going to do all this work? As a nonprofit organization we are counting on the support from users, just like you, from all over the country, to volunteer a small portion of their time to help us put together an organization we can all be proud of, an association that will always put the software user first. One of the interesting things built into the concept of a nationwide users organization such as this one, is its ability to tap from its vast membership, qualified, and enthusiastic users from all over the country to help us create a great magazine. Would you volunteer your time to write a review on a program within your particular field of interest? Many users will. The satisfaction of having your name printed in a national publication as the author of the review, as well as the great feeling of contributing your time for a good cause, makes it more than worthwhile. Our standardized review rating system makes it easy. We have kept our membership dues to an affordable level so that more users will get involved in our efforts. Your membership dues will be a great start. With your first edition of CounterPoint, you will be provided with all the information you will need concerning how to get further involved in this worthwhile project. Membership dues are $15.00 per year and there are no other dues or fees. Your membership includes a free 1-year subscription to CounterPoint, the S.U.A. Quarterly and entitles you to participate in all of our programs and functions. Presently, the S.U.A. supports only the Atari 8-bit and ST series computers. For further information or to obtain an original membership application and Users Summary, call (505)266-6234 or write today. To become a member, send check or money order to: The Software Users Association 25076 Perimeter Drive Albuquerque, New Mexico 87116 ------------------------------------ Zmagazine Issue #42 March 9, 1987 Please Contribute!!! ------------------------------------
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