Z*Magazine: 9-Mar-87 #42

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/09/93-11:02:36 AM Z

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


        Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

          (808) 423-2754

This Week in Zmag......




      ATARI ST'S


   All this and more in this weeks
   edition of Zmagazine.....

....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

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 


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

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.


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 

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.

          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

....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

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

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

                (c) Copyright 1987,
                    by Dan Rhea

....Apple Shows Its New Macs.......

(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

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

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

....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!


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

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


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

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

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.


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!


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

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
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