Z*Magazine: 11-Apr-88 #101From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 11-Apr-88 #101 Date: Wed Jul 28 10:59:09 1993 ______________________________________ |////////////////////////////////////| |////////////////////////////////////| |//SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE Issue #101//| |//================================//| |//Publisher/Editor|April 11, 1988 //| |// Ron Kovacs |Vol 3, No. 2 //| |//================|===============//| |//Asst Publisher |Managing Editor//| |// Ken Kirchner | Keith Whitton //| |//================================//| |////////////////////////////////////| |////////////////////////////////////| |____________________________________| |SPC | |Post Office Box 74 | |Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0074 | |____________________________________| |BBS #1: Syndicate (201) 968-8148 | |BBS #2: Stairway (216) 784-0574 | |CompuServe SIG*Atari8 DL 11 | |____________________________________| |Contents | |____________________________________| |*|Editors Desk | |*|Compaction Programs Revisited | |*|SpringBoard Confrence Transcripts | |*|XF551 Revisited | |*|Different Look At ARC | |*|Computer Show Calender | |*|PC Pursuit Update | |*|Shareware Review DETERM850 | |_|__________________________________| ______________________________________ Editors Desk ______________________________________ by Ron Kovacs A few developments this week that will help some of our users out. We have been uploading past issues of ZMag along with support files and old articles to Data Library 11. We now have our own area for ZMagazine. You will also find Chicago issues of ZMag from 1986 and whenever we come across more recent issues. Files in DL 7 are supposed to be moved into DL 11 shortly, you will find all Zmag issues there. Updates on will be listed here and on CompuServe in future weeks. You will also start seeing some articles available there for reprinting. So, give us a call on CompuServe and check out ZMagazine. We are there everyday, so leave us a message and get involved. Official registration numbers are now required for ZMAG carriers. If you want to know yours, leave email on Compuserve or Syndicate BBS. For recognition and BBS advertising, you must have a registration number. You will use this number at a later date for special offers, which are currently being developed. ______________________________________ |FEATURE ARTICLE| |_______________| Compaction Programs Revisited ______________________________________ Three articles appear here, Marty Albert re-does his compaction test a rebuttle article by Jeff Kyle, and some commentary about compaction programs from Dominick Palance. -------------------------------------- A REVIEW OF FILE COMPACTION SYSTEMS A SECOND LOOK April 2, 1988 by Marty Albert This article may be freely reprinted so long as this notice remains intact and the document is unchanged. Copyright 1988 by Marty Albert. Well, today, in GEnie Mail, I had a note that was sent to me by Jeff Kyle for Bob Puff, the author of Disk Comm for the Atari 8-Bit computers. The basic gist of Bob's letter and the note that Jeff sent along was that the reasons that I had trouble with Disk Comm is that SpartaDOS "has too many bugs for me". Since I don't want to get into a DOS "war", nor is that the reason for these comparisons, I decided that I would repeat the tests with a more "standard" DOS, namely Atari DOS 2.5. The system used is a 256K 800XL with a single Atari 1050 drive with US Doubler chips. I used the standard 130XE RAMDisk set as D8: for a 499 sector RAM drive. The programs tested were SHRINK XE version 1.00, SCRUNCH 2 version 2.0, Disk Comm 3.2, and ARC/ARCX version 1.2. Since I used Atari DOS 2.5, bytes mean nothing. All the file sizes are in terms of single density sectors. The files used for testing were as follows: Binary load file ....... 65 sectors SAVEd BASIC file ....... 64 sectors Daisy-Dot *.NLQ file ... 15 sectors Atari font file ........ 09 sectors Text file .............. 60 sectors RLE picture file ....... 48 sectors Koala picture file ..... 27 sectors AMS song file .......... 52 sectors TOTAL SECTORS ......... 340 Note also that the % saved is in terms of the sectors used, which will of course be the same as the reduction in XModem blocks needed to transmit the file. The following table is a summary of the test results. PROGRAM TIME CRE. TIME REC. SIZE % CHANGE -------------------------------------------------------- SHRINK XE 1:25 0:50 331 -2.72% SCRUNCH 2 4:30 5:36 325 -4.62% DISK COMM 4:08 1:34 326 -4.29% ARC/ARCX 5:20 6:04 249 -36.55% So, there is the data. Now, for a few observations made while the test was going on.... SHRINK XE ========= This is a nice little program. I like it, as I have liked all the past versions of Shrink. It's fast, in fact, MUCH faster than anything else in the test. It's easy to use with a nice menu. It allows the verification of files without actually needing to recover them. All in all, SHRINK XE is a good option to use. The only problem that I see is that it does very little compaction. I guess you can't have everything, but I sure want it! SCRUNCH 2 ========= This is another good program, but it is a bit slow. In fact, Scrunch was not all that much faster than ARC, especially when you look at the compaction difference. But, Scrunch does seem to work flawlessly in operation. DISK COMM ========= Here we go again. No matter what I say, I'll get nailed for it. But, that's life! Disk Comm *is* good. It's faster than ARC, but slower than Shrink. It compacts better than Shrink, but no where near what ARC does. On this test, I had none of the problems loading Disk Comm that I did in the last test. First try I made, it ran like a champ. Bob also hinted at the idea that my copy of Disk Com was damaged because I had gotten it in ARC format. Well, the copy that I used for this test is the same copy as for the previous test. Sort of rules that out. Now, on to what I really like about Disk Comm... The menu and use has to be one of the best and most user friendly that I have ever seen, and I've been in this field for over 25 years now. It is, simply put, fantastic! Bob Puff has put a lot thought and energy and time into the design. It would be very easy to use with no documentation whatever. ARC/ARCX ======== OK, here it is again. ARC is the slowest but it also is the one that does the most compaction. The fact that CRC errors happen is real. Jeff, in his note, stated that the CRC errors do not happen because of XModem padding and that the file is, "..damaged in some way. It may not be easily noticable, but it's there." While that is, in strict terms, true, it still doesn't matter. If a text file has 10 characters on the end that are XModem padding, and the ARC/ARCX process changes one of them, the file has indeed been damaged. But, so what? Does it harm the way the file works? No. So long as a file is not OPERATIONALLY changed, who cares? Not me. Especially if I'm saving 35% of the time/money needed to download the file. IN CONCLUSION ============= So, it looks like the data is really unchanged, except that we now see that Shrink is now the fastest of the bunch. Bob meantioned that, "And the fact that CIS named Diskcomm their official boot disk standard tells me they have no problems with it either." I can't speak for what CIS does or doesn't do, nor can I really speak for what GEnie does or doesn't do. I have no contact with CIS at all. On GEnie, as I have said all along, whatever the RoundTable members want is what I will do. However, in the recent online survey on GEnie, it was shown that the members had the following preferences: ARC 53% Scrunch 2% Shrink 2% Diskcomm 7% SCOPY 1% Other 1% None 8% No pref. 25% While this only reflects the attitudes of the GEnie users that took the survey, it's all we have. As I said in my prior article, we do need something better than anything that's out there now. I just wish that I had the skill to write it! ...Marty... -------------------------------------- |Part 2| |______| View of File Compaction Systems: A Second Look A Rebuttal April 3, 1988 by Jeff Kyle First off, I'd like to thank you, Marty, for promptly redoing the compactors comparison, and taking a second look at DiskComm. However, I couldn't believe you liked Shrink XE so much, so I decided to load the old sucker up and test it against DiskComm. First: you should note that neither Shrink nor Scrunch can handle double density disks. This is a serious problem. I went through and compacted and uncompacted the "Awesome #1 Demo" disk using DiskComm 3.2 and Shrink XE 1.00. You say that SXE could compact the disk you used in 1:25. This is quite strange is you were using a normal disk without UltraSpeed, which by the way DiskComm 3.2 supports. So here are the times I got. Note that this included all the reading/writing time, and the compacted disk was in a DD RAMdisk. Therefore the "size" will be in double density. To find the single density size, just multiply by two. Also, the input and output disks were in UltraSpeed, speeding up reading/writing by approximately 3X. Program Time In Time Out Size ---------- -------- --------- ----- Shrink XE 1:57.5 0:48 176 DiskComm 0:58 0:52 152 Obviously DiskComm is faster, and creates smaller files. This, plus all the extra features, support of SD/dual/DD, plus "non-conforming" drives, should make DiskComm the clear winner. -------------------------------------- |Part 3| |______| Why I hate Compaction all together! by Dominick Palance 4/6/88 Now I'm no great programmer and I don't know assembly and I'm not totally perfect at Basic, but I'm an Atari user non-the-less. I feel its time for another totally different outlook on compaction. I started telecommunicating this past summer with my Atari XM301 and now use a SX212. That was the first time I saw ARC. I didn't know what it was at first, but now we all know that it is a program that makes files smaller and links them back. It saves downloading time and takes up less disk space to store on a BBS. BUT, you must UnARC the file to run. No problem, but it *does* take time. But better to spend the time off-line so not to run up a bill. I kind-of liked the idea at first and a lot of files are ARCed, so I got an unARCing program. At 300 baud a smaller file is great and is OK even at 1200 baud. "But where's the part about why I hate it?" you say. Well, hold on. I've seen many ARCed files and they've always run (well, 99% of the time) and I needed therefore to have an unARC program as I said. THEN, I started seeing "other" compactors and some files used them, but not nearly as many that used ARC. Some are ShrinkXE, DiskCOMM, and SCRunch. This kind of put a dent in things. I didn't want to spend my time downloading all these compactors/uncompactors let alone go to the trouble of seperating files into groups by which compactor they used. ONE compactor was fine for me, two tops if really needed. The second most popular I've seen is SCRunch. To make things worse, there seems to be more and more compactors coming out these days. I happen to like ARC because there are so many files using it and its so easy to use. SCRunch is faster, but doesn't seem to do as much compacting, so why use it? Whats the point? Plus, its not user-friendly and it totally wiped out one of my double density Sparta DOS disks. I've only gotten SCRunch to work with DOS 2.x. As for the others, I hardly see any files using them, so why not forget them? As for ARC, it will support my Sparta disks and does a lot of compacting. I don't mind the wait then. But still, I don't like going to the trouble of going through the process. You +have+ do download the entire file that may contain files you already have and you have to unARC them all. Plus, some files are called AUTORUN.SYS as if they are gonna be the only file on the disk. Thats not too bad. But when ARC ruins the file by adding a byte here and there (or so I hear) then thats not good. Sometimes, compaction is totally uncalled for and still its used and I have to go through a long slow and hard process. And the file is not always compacted too much. And with 2400 baud coming, you may not notice the time to a file not compacted. On larger systems with more memory, ok.. maybe compaction could help, but as for us 6502 users, not always. I downloaded a package of AMS files with a TV theme. I believe it was ARCed. When I looked at all the files seperated, I already had *1/2* of the files included! BIG waste! On one system I call, you can upload a group of files related in some way and put them all under one title in the directory. That way, you can either d/l the file, documentation, OR the source code or ALL. This only leaves a need for compaction to make the files and time to download smaller, but it does not always matter. Do I make sence or are you alseep already? I welcome ANY comments on this ect, thank you for your attention. ______________________________________ Confrence Transcript ______________________________________ SPRINGBOARD Conference Date: 03/31/88 Time: 22:56EST Springboard, makers of NEWSROOM <[Neil] NHARRIS> OK folks sorry for the delay. We had a couple of problems but we're all set now.. <[SysOp's-Asst] MARTY.A> Room is now listen-only. <Neil] NHARRIS> Our special guest tonight is Bob Mueffleman of Springboard. As you may have heard, within the past week or so, Newsroom was released for the Atari 8-bit computers! <yay!> Bob, please tell us a little about Springboard, ok? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> SPRINGBOARD PRODUCES EDUCATION AND HOME PRODUCTIVITY SOFTWARE. WE RELEASED THE NEWSROOM IN 1985 FOR APPLE COMPUTERS. UPON DEMAND WE DEVELOPED IT FOR ATARI 8 BIT AND NOW IT IS HERE! <[Neil] NHARRIS> Just so we're clear, Bob, what's your role at Springboard? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> SOFTWARE MANAGER [Neil] NHARRIS> Great. You mentioned that it was developed "upon demand" -- what kind of demand? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Antic magazine sponsored a write in letter campaign a few months ago that resulted in hundreds of letters from Atari users asking for the Newsroom. <[Neil] NHARRIS> Wow! So the letter campaign persuaded you to do the port? Great! Let's take some questions from the floor...please use the /RAI command to raise your hand and get in line... <[SysOp's-Asst] MARTY.A> J.Sliker, go ahead <J.SLIKER> JUST HOW HARD IS IT TO RE-WRITE A PROGRAM FORM SAY THE APPLE TO THE ATARI? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> There was a lot of common code... but the I/O and graphics routines had to be re-written. <[Neil] NHARRIS> How much time did that take? <[SysOp's-Asst] MARTY.A> <when you're done, please type "GA" for the next response> <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> 3-4 months in total... 2 to 3 programmers <ZAP> How much will Newsroom cost? Also,will it make any use of the 128K 130XE and will it take advantage of the XF551's extra powers over the 810 & 1050? Cost of Newsroom is $39.95 (direct from Springboard). There are additional saving for purchasing our ad-on clip-art disks. It does not use the extra memory in the 130XE. I have yet to see it work on a XF551... but will be intrested in the results. <[Neil] NHARRIS> Is Newsroom also sold through computer dealers? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Yes, it is being carried by a number of distributors. <[chuck] AJP82F> WIll it work with the SG-10 (star) printer <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> It works with many different printers. I don't know off hand if that's one of them. <T.CHAPPELL> Since alot of A-8's have some Print Shop icons, will Newsroom support them? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> I know there are some Start printers on the list. Star not start [Craig] C.S.THOM> OK. three parter: a> is Newsroom copy protected? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> We have 2600 pieces of clip-art available... we don't support the Print Shop art. [craig] C.S. THOM> b> does it use a custom DOS? c. does it use the extra RAM under the OS ROM? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> (please... slow down for a sec...!!_) Yes it is copy protected. It uses Atari DOS. Does not use extra RAM. [Craig] C.S.THOM> Darn. I was hoping to be able to use it from hard drive. Have you tested it with other DOSes? <[SysOp's-Asst] MARTY.A> Bob, with all the clip art out for the CBM machines and the Apples, will there be any coversion programs available? Or do we do those ourselves! (grin) <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Will not work on a hard drive... No current plans for any conversion program. sorry... <[chuck] AJP82F> will the new chipmuck program copy it even though it is copy protected? and what kind of art is it, 2 or 3 examples <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Clip Art Collection #1 is made up of 500 pieces of all art. Collection #2 is business art and #3 is 500 pieces of sports and recreation art. In addition, 600 pieces come with the main program. <[Neil] NHARRIS> Is it possible for users to create their own art for use with Newsroom, and if so, can they share it with each other? And is the format for the art proprietary? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> The program allows the user to create their own clip-art or modify the exsisting clip-art. We don't give out the format of the clip art.... <J.SLIKER> Okay, back to the XF551 for a sec...Will SpringBoard Consider putting the Prog out in a revised Dos form so I can Load at the fabled (but so far Unseen high speed of the Xf551? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> We do have plans to test the XF551 and see what it would take to support <[chuck] AJP82F> what is the quarantee on the newsroom? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> 30 day money back guarantee <[chuck] AJP82F> if I did order it which set of art colelection s would you suggest? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> What types of newsletter would you be writting?... Personal, Organizational, or Business? <[chuck] AJP82F> mabye a newsletter for Dungeons & Dragons that would be distrubutied throughout the reno area <ZAP> Ok..does the copy protection check for a Happy or rather in my case, for Double density and will it run on a Indus GT as to where the XF will by-pass this protection. Second, How many drives will it support? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Clipart Volume #1 sounds good...but for the low low price of $69.80...you can get the Newsroom, and all three clip-art collections.!! <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> It will work on one or two drive systems. <ZAP> and the Indus GT? Some stuff won't run on a DD drive.. <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> We have not done testing on the Indus. <TOWNS> I would just like to Thank Springboard for coming and talking with us. I would also like to ask if they have any plans for <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> send your name and address (via regular mail) if we need testers...we will contact you. <TOWNS> future Atari XE or ST products.. <[Craig] C.S.THOM> You mentioned earlier that the clip art format was proprietary. Will the clip art still be stored as a standard DOS file,... <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> We have no plan that we can discuss at this time... <[Craig] C.S.THOM> so that owners may share custom art work, say, through GEnie here, or local BBS's? <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> No... the clipart is not stored as a standard DOS file. <[Neil] NHARRIS> Thanks very much, Bob, for representing Springboard here today <[Craig] C.S.THOM> Thanks, Springboard, for stopping by. Hope to see you around in the future. <[chuck] AJP82F> whats the address of springboard? <[Neil] NHARRIS> and please make yourself at home in the 8-bit roundtable here! <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Thanks for inviting us...if you have others questions you can write us at SPRINGBOARD 7808 Creekridge Circle Bloomington, MN 55435 <TOWNS> Thanks for coming Springboard...We appreciate it! <[SPRINGBOARD] DMAY> Thanks Neil and Towns... Bye. Bye.... ______________________________________ XF551 Revisited ______________________________________ A Review of the XF-551 From a Programmer's point of view by Robert Puff 04/88 Atari's new XF-551 certainly has been quite a suprise to many. I have seen many comments concerning it, and thought I would offer some of mine as well. The drive is just about the same size as the 1050, but not quite as high. It uses a generic-type double-sided direct drive mechanism which is nice and quiet, compared to some 1050's I've heard. The drive uses the standard 9VAC power supplies used for the other 1050 and 810 drives. The back of the drive does get nice and hot, just like the 1050s, but that did not affect the drive's operation when I left it running for a month solid. The drive runs a little faster (300 RPM compared to the standard 288), but Atari adjusted for it by clocking the controller a little faster. So there is still the same amount of data in the same format on the disk. Now we get into compatability. Atari has done a fair job at making the drive compatible with the 810 and 1050. There is only one flaw I found. The missing sector bit in the status bytes does not reflect a missing sector correctly. This should have been simple enough to do, but they did not. Because of this, there ARE protected disks that will not load on a XF-551. I do not have the titles with me at the moment, but any program that looks for a missing sector status will probably not work. The next subject is double density. Finally, Atari has come out with a true double density drive, which will read other double density disks. However, there are some problems here also. To determine the density of a disk, normally you read sector 1, and then issue a status request. One of the status bytes will then tell you the density. This works fine for the XF-551 when it is in single or enhanced density, but not always for double. Instead, double density comes back with a status of enhanced. Once you use the set density commands, the drive may be set to double, and the status will be correct. Just don't go back into single, or you'll have to manually set the density again. To summarize: If you use single and double density disks, the drive will have a very hard time going into double. Since SpartaDOS has no way of forcing densities, this can be a real problem. The only way I've ever seen it do it automatically is when booting a double density disk. (Note: I did figure out a way to make the drive reconfigure: It is used in Diskcomm 3.2) The drive is capable of double-sided operation, giving you a possible 360K storage when using double density. (Of course, you must use MYDOS or SpartaDOS because the DOS 2.5 it comes with supports none of this.) I found it strange that it will not use double -sided operation in single or enhanced density. Also another thing to think about is it uses the index hole of your disks for timing. This means you cannot use those cheap hard-sectored disks anymore, and cannot write to the back side of the disk like you did with your 1050, 810, etc... Now this really dosen't matter if you use its double- sided capabilities; but if you want to make up a disk for your club or friend who has a 1050, and wish to use the back side, you are out of luck. The High-Speed disk I/O the drive boasts is very similar to Happy's 810 warp speed. Although not as fast as ICD's UltraSpeed, it is fast. The set-up is similar to UltraSpeed: You must format with a special sector skew for optimum speed, which will be slow when high-speed software is not used. Strangely enough, the drive only has a special sector skew for double density, even though the exact same command is used for single density. I have been able to read single density disks formatted with UltraSpeed sector skew quite nicely on the XF-551. As of now, the only programs I am aware of that make use of the high-speed capabilities is my Disk Communicator program version 3.2, and THE ULTRA SPEED + OS. Unfortunately, Atari did not make the drive for expansion. It uses a MCU chip that takes the place of many chips the 1050 used. Because of this, and because it's not 6502 based, I don't think you will see any products such as the Happy or Super Archiver available for a while. Well, I guess that's it. I have confirmed the bugs I found with later models, so it appears they haven't been fixed yet. Once Atari fixes these, it should be a very good drive at a nice price. ______________________________________ A Different Look At Arc ______________________________________ ARCronomicon, The Book of the Dead (files) by Jeff Kyle 04/03/88 OK. So you like ARC, eh? So you like saving time downloading, eh? So you like being able to get all the files in one nice package, eh? Think again. ARC is one of the programs that shall go into legend, but shouldn't go in a positive way. Believe it or not, that innocent program isn't so innocent. A program this potentially dangerous should never be released, much less into the public domain. (No, I'm not saying sell ARC.) You've probably noticed one of ARCs big problems in that it barely works with any DOSs. ARC will refuse to work in most DOSs, and when it does work, it acts differently in most. In some, it will print out more than in others, in some (MYDOS) it will somehow manage to lose characters in the directory. It's not easy to code something to work that bad. And once you get it working, be prepared to be bored out of your skull. Just enter the name, and WAIT. You can't get a directory, it doesn't like problems, and once you've finally got that darn file ARCed, that's it. You can't manipulate what's in it as you can in ARC on other machines. If you've closed the ARC, that's it, you can't change it. If you do want to change it, you have to start all over. If you get a huge ARCed file, but only want one file out of the middle, tough luck. You've got to wait and wait for it to slowly process all the other files that you don't need. But so far I've just mentioned "extras." Now for the bad part:yep, it's true, ARC does murder files. You've all seen the messages that say "you'll get CRC errors on this that and the other, but don't worry, they're fine." Well, they're NOT fine, they ARE damaged, and some files that don't get CRC errors are damaged also. Each time a file fails the CRC check, it's been damaged in some way. Pictures can have stray bytes in them, text files may get stray letters, binary files malfunction slightly. Anyone who's seen the ARCed "Digital Nosebleed/ Atari Wave" knows that ARC can easily do major damage to files. When a local person cleared out the bad bytes and reARCed the clean version of the program, it had the same problems. ARC tries to justify this by saying that it is removing "Xmodem block padding." Bull. The only time it ought to have this is at the end of files, but ARC happily changes bytes right in the middle of files. And why is it I've seen much more of the "xmodem padding" at the ends of text files that have been ARCed than haven't been? And of course this can cause many problems. Occasionally a machine language program may refuse to function. Demo programs may be almost unuseable, as in Digital Nosebleed. And what if you have an important text file, full of specific data? It would be easy for ARC to change one of those and very much mess up the file. So what are the alternatives? If you need to compact one file, use Squish. It is faster, and has about equal file compaction, and is easily modifiable to turn the screen off while working by anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Action!. If you have to put many files together, Library will accomplish that quite nicely. If you have to do many things and want them all together along with a DOS, etc, DiskComm will do compaction and put the whole disk together as a nice neat file that tells you if you have bad bytes in a file. So think about this next time you decide to use ARC. There are alternatives. Nothing is as good as it could be, but yes, that is being worked on. (Hint, hint!) So, go on. Go for it. Stop using ARC. Your programs will thank you for it. If you'd like to further discuss this matter, feel free to leave me E-Mail on GEnie for JEFF-KYLE. ______________________________________ Computer Show Calender ______________________________________ Courtesy of Gary Gorski Jersey Atari Computer Group (JACG) April 9 ======= Philadelphia Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Philadelphia Park - Philadelphia, PA April 21 ======== Business & Home Computer Fair Tri State Fairs Thursday 5-10PM Rt. 46 Eastbound Wayne, NJ Holiday Inn, Info call (201) 533-1991. Box 76 Livingston, NJ 07039 APRIL 23-24 =========== TRENTON COMPUTER FESTIVAL 850 VENDORS !!!! SAT/SUN For more info call (609) 771-2667 May 5-6 ======= The Nineteenth Annual Pittsburgh Conference on Modeling and Simulation - Sponsered by The School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh May 7 ===== Philadelphia Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Philadelphia Park - Philadelphia, PA May (To be announced) === Long Island (NY) Micro Show & Sale - 225 Tables Grand Royal Hotel - Clinton Ave. - Hempstead, NY June 4 ====== North Jersey Micro Show & Sale - 500+ Vendors Saturday 10 to 4 Fairleigh Dickinson University - Athletic Center Hackensack Ave. - off rte. 4 - Hackensack, NJ June 25 ======= Philadelphia Micro Show & Sale - 190 Tables Saturday 10 to 3 George Washington Conference Center - Willow Grove, PA Exit #27 of PA Turnpike - Left after Toll Booth August 20 ========= Cherry Hill Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Garden State Park - Cherry Hill, NJ September 10 ============ Cherry Hill Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Garden State Park - Cherry Hill, NJ October 22 ========== Cherry Hill Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Garden State Park - Cherry Hill, NJ November 12 =========== Cherry Hill Computer Swap Meet Saturday 10 to 5 Garden State Park - Cherry Hill, NJ For more information or current updated list call the JACG BBS (201) 298-0161. If you have a show that you would like added to this list, send to JACG BBS, c/o 313 Sheridan Ave. Roselle NJ 07203.. Thanks for your help, and enjoy. -Gary... ______________________________________ PC Pursuit Update ______________________________________ by Keith Whitton (Mr. Goodprobe) In case you might be wondering whatever happened to Pc Pursuit and its proposed upgrade to 2400 baud, you may have noticed..it STILL isn't working! Here's the low-down from PC Pursuit itself, and after that is a series of notices we have been receiving that serve to show you the roller-coaster ordeal they have been going through with their new modems. Good news is that there will be an additional 15 cities added to the prior list of new cities. Reach out and touch someone...oops...isn't that somebody elses line? "Dear PC Enthusiast: Since its introduction in 1985, Telenet's PC Pursuit Service has offered you a cost-effective alternative to long distance telephone service for PC communications nationwide. While the performance of PC Pursuit has traditionally been very good, we have recently encountered problems that have degraded the quality of the service and inconvenienced many of our users. We apologize for any difficulties you may have recently experienced using the service. We are currently taking the following steps to provide you the type of service that you expect and deserve. Outdial Modem Deployment: A large number of outdial modems were installed at the end of 1987 to expand the capacity of the service. Unfortunately, unexpected problems were encountered during the deployment of the modems, which caused the expansion To be delayed. These problems have recently been corrected by the modem manufacturer, and we are currently testing the modems to ensure their operation in the network. Additional Expansion: Plans for additional expansion continue in order to meet the growing demand for the service. In addition to the new outdial modems to be installed in the network after testing, we will expand the network to include even more outdial ports than originally planned. Enhanced Net Exchange: A new system is being designed for the Net Exchange Bulletin Board System. The system will allow the Net Exchange to handle four times the traffic it can currently accommodate. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this period of change for PC Pursuit Service. Over the next few months we will be contacting you again as the specific details and timetables regarding these expanded capabilities become finalized. As the new product manager, I look forward to working for you in the future to provide you the best possible service and support. Sincerely, Peter Naleszkiewicz PC Pursuit-Product Manager 03-29-88 Daytime usage bills have definitely started going out in the mail. Remember that problems should be addressed to BILLING DEPT in the BILLING conference area. The new PROMS are still scheduled for install tonight in DC. Give them a good workout! More expansion! We have tentative approval for 15 more cities (bringing the total to 48). I can't say yet which ones but I'll let you know as soon as possible. These too will be held up until the new modems are working - but watch out after that! We'll be expanding the size of the exisiting rotories too!!! Take a look at the file LETTER.TXT in the PURSUIT file area. It's a copy of a letter which is being sent to customers soon. 03-25-88 New version failed as well. All new modems to be removed from DC Saturday morning [that means that the 2400 bps service will not be operational through this weekend]. Another version is to be installed during the day on 3/29 so the 2400 bps service should be operational again Tuesday evening (in DC). If all goes well on that test, the modems will be released to Denver and Boston on 4/14. Further deployment to be announced as the modem status firms up. 03-25-88 New PROM version being tested in DC modems...results pending. Daytime usage bills for September to December should be mailed this week or next. 03-21-88 Even though the new modems passed their lab tests, they have been failing in the DC field tests. The vendor is aware of the problem and is working with us to resolve it. The problem includes the modem locking up (no response to ATZ) and failure to pass certain characters. 03-15-88 The new modems have finally passed all their lab tests!!! They're being field tested start today for 2 weeks in DC to make sure nothing was missed. That means that the 2400 baud rotory in DC should be available for use starting tonight. As long as the DC test goes well, the modems will be deployed to the rest of DC, Denver, and Boston for final testing which will also last 2 weeks. As soon as I have a schedule for the rest of the expansion work I will post it here. ______________________________________ Sharware Review ...DeTerm 850... ______________________________________ by John M. Urbansky III When Keith Ledbetter released the Express! series of public domain terminal programs for the Atari 8-bit computers, many said they were the best terminal programs available for any computer. Users of the Express! programs loved all the many fine features of them -- the scrolling menu, the Ascii/Atascii/Vidtex support, the automatic dialing,etc. The general ease-of-use of the whole series impressed -- and inspired -- a lot of people. Now there is a program in the public domain entitled De-Term 850 -- and it is every bit as good as Express! -- plus it's packed full of things that Express! doesn't offer -- such as the windowing system much like that used on the Atari ST computers, the LD and City codes and Identification, and the included mini version of Breakout that you can play while uploading, downloading or waiting for a connection AT THE SAME TIME! Whether this can be called true multitasking or not is beyond the scope of this review -- i'll let the experts figure that one out -- but it is equally impressive! But first let's look at some of the many fine aspects of DeTerm. Presently it is available only for the Avatex, Practical Peripherals, Atari SX212, or any other Hayes-Compatible modem connected via a suitable interface (Atari 850, ICD P:R:Connection), but i'm quite sure as this program gains popularity, like the original 850 Express! did, versions will be made for many different modems. I hope this is done soon -- DeTerm is far too good a program to be enjoyed by only those who have the required interface and modem(s), or the money to buy them. Setup: ====== DeTerm is very intelligent. After booting up your DOS and loading the correct RS232 handler (I had to use the SpartaDOS RS232.COM handler, since the handler included with DeTerm didn't seem to work with my P:R:Connection), load it in using whatever DOS you use. DeTerm works fine with Atari DOS 2.5 as well as SpartaDOS Version 3.2 -- which is the recommended DOS for this program. While loading it in the upper part of the screen shows the name, the author (James Dillow) and the copyright notice. DeTerm is copyrighted, but is a Share-Ware program -- like Express! That is, the program is free and in the public domain, but user-modified versions are not to be given away or sold without permission. You can make a donation if you like -- whatever the program is worth to you. After the program is loaded in, it will search for the files List.Bat and Modem.Bat. These are batch files that either load your phone list from disk or send commands to your modem. If DeTerm cannot find them it will let you know -- but still function correctly. These files are not required, they just make things easier for you. After that, the screen will be blank except for the top line, which will display several options you can select by moving the cursor keys. When your option is highlited, press [RETURN] and a window will appear below that option, with several choices of it's own. Again, move the cursor keys to the option you want and press [RETURN]. There are many options De-Term can handle -- and all are easily selectable by this method. I believe it is far simpler than memorizing cryptic command codes or having to refer to a manual. Features: ========= De-Term offers uploading and downloading using XModem protocol, as well as text capture. It doesn't support YModem yet, but future versions might include this. The versin number for the De-Term that is presently in the public domain is 1.00b -- the lowercase "b" meaning this is an experimental version. It also lets you force terminal mode with your modem, as in Express!, so that you can enter commands directly to your Hayes-Compatible. Some of the other features are less essential but show a thoughtful touch. The View option creates a text frame on the screen and lets you view a text file a page at a time (one page being about 18 lines or so). When you are finished reading this page, hit any key and the screen will scoll up another page and wait for you to hit another key. I found this very handy, and frequently boot De-Term just to read text files! Then there's the included mini- Breakout game -- something i've never seen in any terminal program for the 8-bit Atari's before. After dialing a number, you can press Control-G for the Breakout game (Control-F to resume a previous game) and play it until the modem connects with the other computer, information service, etc, and the screen will go to terminal mode and let you communicate. Now let's say there's a file you'd like -- but it's pretty large and would take more than a few minutes to download. Simply start the transfer, then press either Control-F or Control-G again -- and you can play Breakout while the transfer is taking place! (If you don't believe me -- try it and look at your modem's RD and SD indicators -- they will be flashing indicating data transfer!) When the transfer is complete De-Term returns you to terminal mode, and you can resume communicating. This also works for uploads. Overview: ========= All in all I like De-Term very much, and use it regularly instead of Express! I still use Express!, especially if i'm communicating with someone who is rather impatient (De-Term's transfer is a little slower checking blocks than Express!) but i'm not often in that situation. I love the windowing system -- better than the Express! scolling menu, and the screen buffer and City codes are nice, but let's face it -- I LOVE the game! No longer do I have to stare at a screenful of cryptic control characters while uploading or downloading! (C) John M. Urbansky III SysOp Discovery BBS 216-626-5187 ______________________________________ Syndicate ZMagazine April 11, 1988 Issue #101 (c)1988 SPC/Ron Kovacs ______________________________________
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