Z*Magazine: 16-Oct-88 #127From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/12/93-05:21:52 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 16-Oct-88 #127 Date: Sun Sep 12 17:21:52 1993 ************************************************************************* Syndicate ZMagazine Issue #127 October 16, 1988 ************************************************************************* American Publishing Enterprises, Inc. Post Office Box 74 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0074 ************************************************************************* * Publisher: Ron Kovacs * Copyright (c) 1988 APEInc, SPC * * General Manager: Ralph Mariano * ------------------------------ * * ZMag Editor: John Deegan * ZMAGAZINE Available on these * * Assistant Editor: Carlos Hernandez * online services: CompuServe * * GEnie Rep/Features: John Nagy * GEnie, Delphi, The Source * ************************************************************************* EDITORS DESK by John Deegan ############################# As Comdex draws closer we all start to wonder what Atari will promise, offer, or display at the show. With the resignation of Neil Harris, Atari has developed a hole in the wall, as displayed in last weeks conference on Compuserve. It has been stated by a few in the community that (we) the reporters, shouldn't report the problems, rumors, and stay with the positive side of Atari. Especially after a few telephone conversations with a few this week, I am a little concerned about what these people want. Either we tell it like it is or report nothing at all. Atari is a public company, making statements and releasing information and not meeting the expected release dates. Are we expected to swallow this double talk week after week and project to the public that Atari is a wonderful company concerned about it's users?? Many of you know Rex Reade, the outspoken Editor of ST-Report. Although a fellow employee of APEInc, I am not writing this to inflate his ego. Rex has been instrumental in proding Atari for answers. If you read the various Atari related magazines around, you will notice the evident lack of outspokeness. You might remember a few weeks ago when Sam Tramiel released a public statement requesting that we gather together and help Atari by being positive about their products etc.. Why the abrupt 360 in attitude from Mr. Tramiel?? The only editor I can see reporting the real happenings is Rex Reade. Think about it this way, if all the so-called editors out there really wrote editorials like those produced in ST- Report, don't you think the users would see that there is something wrong? Time after time, when I state that I am with ST-Report or ZMagazine, the first thing that comes out is, "How is Rex doing", "How do you guys get all this information..", "I think Atari would be in big trouble if Rex wasn't around to watch..."... These comments tell you that the community at-large is interested in what Atari is doing, and they want the best for our machines. Whether they be 8 bit or 16 bit, we want Atari to be the best and it is up to ALL of us to make sure Atari keeps it's promises. We at Zmag especially on behalf of our 8 bit readers, look forward to seeing some relief to the dismal abiss presented as a future for the 8 bit systems by what Atari is expected to show at Comdex, certainly Atari will not let us down for a third year in a row. ************************************************************************* <---CONTENTS---> <*> Editors Desk.......John Deegan <*> Ron Luks Asks For.....John Nagy <*> AMS II Info......Robert Abrams <*> MAM The Replies......John Deegan <*> Toronto Atari Show Details (*) NeXT Computer Press Release ************************************************************************* ############################# Conference Update ############################# RON LUKS ASKS FOR APOLOGY by John Nagy Ron Luks, Manager of the the Atari Sigs on Compuserve, took personal exception to an item in last week's ZMAGAZINE and asked for a public apology. While this ISN'T exactly that, our resultant hour on the phone revealed a LOT of information that helps to explain just why the SAM TRAMEIL ATARI CONVENTION conference went as it did. I wrote my "reflections" on the conference, which followed the actual conference transcript in last week's ZMAGAZINE. After considerable discussion about how, in my opinion, there was zero information passed in the conference, I commented on the unexpectedly early end of the "Convention". In one paragraph I conjectured that by the end, the Compuserve Sysops were "perhaps... more concern[ed] over connection time fees that were to be lost than over the possible loss of information exchange". Ron Luks felt personally insulted by this, and says that the other Sysops at Compuserve felt the same. He called ZMAGAZINE's publisher Ron Kovacs, who suggested that I call Luks. I did, and we both learned something from it. First, Ron believes that neither he nor CompuServe consider the "lost revenues" issue to be real. Ron assumes that the typical user of telecom services will spend about the same amount of time online regardless of how or where. An hour or two spent on the conference is, in this mindset only time NOT spent elsewhere on the system. If so, my observation would be wrong. My original intentions in making the comment were only as a minor sidelight to the conference. I included it after several witnesses to the convention (myself included) independantly voiced nearly identical observations. In our extended discussion, Ron Luks admitted to be "very sensitive" on the costs issue due to the other services in competition with him. Ron went on to agree with me that the conference was awful, and even said that he wished he could make a refund to every person who felt it was a waste of their time and money. Ron went on to outline his concept of the convention (and indeed the entire ATARI SIG system) being a FORUM, and that it was not his role as moderator to attempt to control or prod the guest speaker. He thinks of the CompuServe role in these matters is to provide the place and time and technical matters, and content is up to the attendees. As such, Ron and CompuServe claim no responisbility for seeing that the speaker is co-operative or responsive to the questions. Ron has a good track record for advocating ATARI users' interest. He pulled a quick (and well attended) conference together that was instrumental in making WORD PERFECT at least temporarily rethink their withdrawal from the ATARI market. In an unexpected and pleasant move to make up for an embarrassing conference, Ron graciously left mail for all attendees of the convention. He apologised for the technical foulup that threw some callers out of the question que and offered to collect and forward all questions that might have been left unasked or unanswered. He promises to post ATARI's answer (or the lack of them) for all to see. Compuserve's ATARI area remains dedicated to offering the best services for the money, says Ron, and he has backed that offer up by extending his signup offer to anyone who reads ZMAGAZINE/ST-REPORT. From now until May 1, 1989, you can obtain a free introductory kit (including free registration on CompuServe and $15 of free online time) just by dropping a note requesting one to ZMAGAZINE, care of the post office box in our header. ------------------------------------- ADVANCED MUSIC SYSTEM II INFORMATION by Robert N. Abrams ------------------------------------- Within the past several months, there has been a rejuvenation of the "Advanced Music System II" (AMS II) in the Sound and Graphics Library. I am very excited about this to say the least. I have been receiving enquires about the AMS II. In response, I would like to help-out by providing some information. The AMS II program is available from: LOTSOFBYTES 15445 Ventura Blvd., Suite #10 Sherman Oaks, CA 91413 818-988-8366 ATTN: Robert Kymack The price of the program is $9.25 plus $2.50 for handling. (Add $.56 for California sales tax if you are a California resident.) One does not have to be able to play an instrument to use the editor. However, one does have to have a basic knowledge of music theory to be able to transcribe the notes from the sheet music into the editor. So, how does one learn basic music theory without being able to play an instrument? Phew, I thought you would never ask! For those of you who are toying with the idea of getting into the AMS editor, I would like to take this opportunity to point you in the right direction. I would first recommend that you obtain the following references to get you on your way. They should be available at your local music store. If not, ask the store to order them for you. You may try a regular book store as well. I suggest that you purchase the following publications: Roger Evans HOW TO READ MUSIC Elm Tree Books/EMI Publishing Selling agent: Hansen House 1870 West Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139 ISBN 0-241-89916-8 Dr. William F. Lee MUSIC THEORY DICTIONARY Hansen House Library of Congress Catalog No. 54-28888 David Carr Glover LEARN YOUR CHORDS AND HOW TO APPLY THEM Belwin Mills Publishing Corp. No. EL 03000 Now, since you are the lucky owner of the greatest 6502 computer in the world, aka the Atari 8 bit, I suggest that you go into Library No. 6, the Sound and Graphics Library and download a program entitled "The Music Major." The name of the file is "MUSMAJ.DCM." (As it has a "DCM" extender, you will need the "Disk Communicator" file to unpack MUSMAJ.DCM. GO into Library No. 3 and download "DISCOM.OBJ" and "DISCOM.DOC.") Load the "The Music Major" with BASIC. By the way, "MUSMAJ.DCM" contains 87680 bytes (about 685 sectors) so if you have a 1200 baud modem, pack a snack; if you have a 300 baud modem, pack a lunch! I also suggest that you write Antic Magazine, enclose a check for $5.00 and request the documentation from sections 2 and 8 of the Antic version of the "Pokey Player" program. (The Antic version of the Pokey Player diskette comes with the documentation for sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10. They didn't have enough room on the diskette for sections 2 and 8, which by the way is an excellent tutorial on music theory. The author of the Pokey Player, Craig Chamberlain, did a real nice job. I highly recommend that you get it.) However, if you are into BASIC programming, I highly recommend that you also purchase the Antic version of the Pokey Player program. The Antic Catalog number is APO 147. It is not readily seen in the Antic Catolog, so jot this number down! I saw it on sale a few months ago for about $10.00. I paid about $19.00 for my copy. (A note: there is a public domain version of the Pokey Player. It is available in the library under the file name "POKEPL.DCM." A word of caution, the documentation to this file is very poor at best compared to the Antic version of the Pokey Player.) If you are into BASIC, after you create a Pokey Player song file, you can have BASIC load and play the song while the BASIC program is running. To get create music with BASIC "ain't no walk in the park." On February 24th, I uploaded a music file entered in 100% Basic XE (BXE). The program is 40448 bytes large. When I got done, I almost committed myself into a mental institution. Anyway, if you have BXE, download "IJCAL.BXE" and see for yourself. For those of you who are already into AMS, Lee Actor, the author of the AMS, has written software for the new "MIDIMAX" midi interface module. The name of the software is the "Midi Music System" (MMS). The potential is unbelievable. With the MMS and a Yamaha FB-01 synthesizer, one can enter an 8 note chord compared to a 4 note chord of the AMS. In addition, this synthesizer allows for 90 preset sounds (instruments) per note. All one has to do is to connect the Midimax to one's disk drive, plug one end of the synthesizer into the Midimax and the other end into one's stereo receiver. Don't run out and buy that Amiga just yet! Well, that's it folks! Be sure you use your local music store as a resource for any music theory problems. If you need any help with entering music into the AMS II editor or if you need help understanding the documentation to the Pokey Player, drop me a message via E-MAIL or in the forum. You can write to me at the following address: Robert N. Abrams 5153 Kipp Way Carmichael, CA 95608 73547,1552 ############################# MICHIGAN ATARI MAGAZINE The Replies ############################# To close the subject, we are publishing the responses to ZMagazine from the editors of Michigan Atari Magazine. This has been a local event and covered by ZMagazine because we felt is was important for ALL user groups to know what is happening behind the scenes. Ron Kovacs requested answers to a few questions after the first response from MAM. In a voice conversation with Bill Rayl, he wanted to questions firmed up by a written response. What he received was an editorial reply and not the answers requested. Personally, we at ZMag DO NOT have any problems with MAM. We fell that it is a good production and worth the price. The part that bothers us the most is the avasive answers, unthruths passed on to us, and the seemingly disregard for the users of the groups it is courting. I am also under the impression that corrective measures are under way to get the user groups involved. We will update this story as required. Until then, let me state that it is NOT ZMag's intention to defame MAM. When we felt that there was injustice being served upon the members of the MAM group, we went after a story. What we received is printed below. Please make up your own minds and pass your input on to the editors of MAM. To the Editor (John Deegan), (Edited Transcript) I just happened to see ZMAG #122 on UseNet, and went back and found ZMAG #120 to see what it was you'd said about the "Michigan Atari Magazine." Note that I am not "officially" involved in the publication of the magazine other than as a somewhat regular contributor, and sometimes sorter of Zip-code sorted bundles of the magazine, so this cannot be considered an "official" reply. However, I felt that there were so many inaccuracies in your Editorial that I felt someone should speak up. It's obvious from much of what you said that you have NOT seen an actual copy of the magazine. If you would care to send me your address, I'll see that you're sent a copy of the latest issue so that you can see what it really looks like. I live here in the area, and I haven't heard any of the rumors you allude to. This makes me have to wonder where you may have gotten your "facts." (EDITOR) I have indeed copies of MAM and responded as I felt. Although the user groups are listed in the front, they are buried in the back and should be at the start of EACH issue. First of all, it is true that the price of the magazine has risen slightly. The people who publish the magazine have changed printers to produce a better publication for the readers. The paper used is of higher quality and the printer is able to get the magazine printed more quickly than the old printer, resulting in a faster "turnaround time." This allows more time to get the magazine mailed out to the user groups, so they can get the issues more quickly. One result of these changes is a slight increase in cost to the user groups. I'm not 100% sure what the increase was, but I believe it was on the order of a whole 10 cents. I truly doubt that ANYONE, even Jack Tramiel could create a "financial monster" out of 10 cents an issue. Secondly, I'm at a loss to explain what you meant when you said "the advertising isn't the best." In a review in ST-Report, your "sister publication," the national advertising was praised as being one of the high points, lending much credibility to the magazine. (EDITOR) ST-Report and ZMag have different editors and different opinions on topics. That point is not relevant here. Quoting from the masthead, on Page 2, "The Michigan Atari Magazine is a monthly magazine which also serves as the official newsletter of several independant Atari User Groups and is not affiliated with Atari Corp. in any way." The magazine is specifically organized to avoid the clutter that would result from simply stapling a bunch of different user group newsletters together. The "Feature Articles" from ALL the different club newsletters are put FIRST in the magazine, to make an "interesting to read" publication. Bob Retelle (EDITOR) I have removed most of the clutter and babbling performed by Bob Retelle because of 1) Previous publication, 2) Not the Editor of MAM. ZMAG/Ron Kovacs The editorial pertaining to the Michigan Atari Magazine which appeared in ZMAG #120 has recently come to our attention, and we are deeply concerned about what your editor, Mr. Deegan, has written. Mr. Deegan seems to be getting his information from a less than reputable, uninformed source. By now, you have also seen the reply to Mr. Deegan from Bob Retelle, a member of two of the nine User Groups participating in the magazine. Bob has, in our opinion, done a thorough job of answering most of Mr. Deegan's negative commentary. We ask that you print both Bob Retelle's reply (we've passed a copy along to you in case you somehow missed it) and this letter. Mr. Deegan first says that "User Group material is buried in the back of the issues." It is true that club news and minutes appear after all general-interest articles (excluding the Last Hacks humor column which appears on the last inside page of MAM). However, the club information is not "buried." MAM is organized such that feature articles appear first because those are of more general interest to all MAM readers, not all of which are members of participating clubs. Participating clubs are given credit on each article byline when such articles are written by a club member. We feel MAM is now much better organized than it was more than a year ago when club news and general articles were jumbled together. And, from what we've heard from all participating groups, the overwhelming majority of our readers agree. We are not "piling the main support of the magazine in the back" of each issue as Mr. Deegan claims. Nearly 100 percent of the articles in MAM come from the participating clubs. As Bob Retelle put it, "the User Group material IS the magazine." On another point, Mr. Deegan states "the price of the magazine has risen a few cents," and goes on to say that we are greedily "looking into the heavens and producing a financial monster." Again, your editor shows his lack of knowledge. (EDITOR) Please READ the following paragraph and see if you can make sense of it. Note the sentence marked with /*/. The magazine price will be increasing slightly to User Groups starting in October (Mr. Deegan's commentary appeared in August). How much is the magazine cost going up? Let's look at some figures. Participating User Group members, until October, receive MAM for 80 cents an issue. That cost will increase to 95 cents per issue. Printing cost for MAM at 36 pages including cover (the smallest the magazine has been since December, 1987) is 73 cents per issue. Mailing cost for each copy is 18.6 cents. Add that up and you get 91.6 cents. That's our minimum production cost as of August. The increased cost is due to higher postal rates and a change in printers. /*/ All this information, minus the exact price-per-issue details was presented to all participating club presidents in August. Since the increase to clubs isn't effective until October's issue, clubs were given over 60 days notice of the increase. Obviously, we are taking a loss of over 10 cents per issue to give clubs that 60 days notice. And that's at 36 pages. MAM generally runs 40 pages per issue and it looks as if the October issue will be at least 44 pages. It doesn't take a Wall Street Wizard to figure out that we aren't going to be quitting our "real" jobs to live off the profits from MAM. If we were in this for the money, we would have gotten out of it long ago! Finally, on the subject of "leaving the User Groups behind" Mr. Deegan accuses us of "no longer representing" our participating clubs and states that we "give the impression" that we don't care about those clubs. Being members of two of the participating clubs, and both of us having served as officers in these clubs, we take personal offense at Mr. Deegan's remarks. Has Mr. Deegan contacted a number of the clubs in Michigan to qualify him to print such comments? The phone numbers for these clubs are available in MAM, but it's highly questionable that Mr. Deegan has EVER read the magazine as he claims. If he had, he would know that we DO list participating clubs on the second page of the magazine, the Table of Contents, along with page numbers where each club's section begins. What is Mr. Deegan's basis for his comdemnation? He cites a recent decrease in size of User Group minutes and club news as proof that we are "leaving the User Groups behind." Nothing could be further from the truth. The decrease is due to the simple FACT that many of the participating clubs DO NOT meet during the summer months, and hence DO NOT send in much information. This is true of many user groups across the country, not just those participating in MAM. In our opinion, your editor's unprofessional commentary has greatly diminished ZMAG's reputation. If Mr. Deegan had a copy of Michigan Atari Magazine, why did he not call us to get answers to his questions? Our voice and BBS number is printed on the back cover and on the Editorial page. Had he contacted us, as any responsible editor would have, this could all have been avoided and none of us would have a "sour taste" in our mouths. Bill and Pattie Rayl Michigan Atari Magazine 3487 Braeburn Circle Ann Arbor, MI 48108 (313) 973-8825 voice (313) 973-9137 BBS TO: MAM FROM: Ron Kovacs As you see Mr. Deegan is still around and will continue to provide editorship of ZMag. I involved myself in this shortly after this reply and see that you are NOT sincere in your response. I have allowed disection of your editorial to prove our point that you are (as ST-Report editor Rex Reade would say..) double talking here and seemingly offended by a 2 paragraph statement 8 weeks ago. I sent you a few questions via Delphi and received the following as a response. You have NOT answered my questions directly and took it upon yourself not to do so. This alone tells us that you do not wish to respond honestly to our questions. We leave your response with any commentary as the final episode and wish you the best of luck. Please note that we will consider the matter closed unless moire information is received and we feel it is worthy of space. #1 7-OCT-1988 23:27:16 NEWMAIL From: BOS1B::UNICORNPUB To: RONKOVACS Subj: Reply to questions Ron, It is easiest to answer your questions in a few paragraphs, rather than one by one. Unicorn Publications, which produces the Michigan Atari Magazine (MAM), is a company and is not controlled by any outside organization. As stated in each issue of MAM, Michigan Atari Magazine is a monthly publication of Unicorn Publications which also serves as the official newsletter of the majority of Atari user groups in the state. Michigan Atari Magazine was first produced under the editorship of John Nagy with the help of the CHAOS user group in Lansing, Michigan. In August of 1987, John approached us about taking on production of the magazine. We personally contacted all the other participating clubs to hear what they wanted out of MAM and what they liked or disliked about the publication and the way it was produced in the past. Since taking over publication of MAM beginning with the December, 1987 issue, Unicorn Publications has regularly contacted officers of the participating clubs. In these conversations, the officers discuss with us any concerns they have about the magazine itself and their club's relationship with the publication. Publication of the Michigan Atari Magazine is our primary function, and it is very important to us that the clubs involved are happy with the magazine. At the same time, we must also produce a magazine that is attractive to advertisers and to readers outside of the participating groups. In essence, Unicorn Publications is committed to producing a viable magazine that is both affordable to the user groups and attractive to everyone. Michigan Atari Magazine provides the participating clubs with a means to share views and information. MAM also gives these clubs an opportunity to reach non-members, through non-club subscribers and sales of the magazine in an ever-increasing number of stores. As Unicorn Publications, we believe the approach we have taken in producing MAM is working to the satisfaction of most participants. In fact, only one club has "complained" about the "paper type" of the magazine's pages. Changing of printers was a necessity due to our previous printer closing up shop to pursue a career in printer brokering. Due to recent price increases in printing costs and increased postal rates, we were forced to look at a number of alternatives to cover these increases. The options of increasing advertising rates, club rates or a combination of these two were our only real alternatives (other than losing money month after month until the magazine simply died). We looked first at our ad rates. Unfortunately, we could not raise our ad rates and stay competitive on a per-person basis in the national market. We then contacted the clubs to inform them of the situation and that it looked as if there would be a cost increase of 15 cents per issue. We gave each participating user group's president at least two months to discuss the matter with their club. It seems that at least a few members of one participating club took issue with this and instead of contacting us, they decided to use your publication to voice their concerns. We have contacted the participating club presidents concerning Mr. Deegan's editorial comments. From our conversations with all the clubs, it is clear that the majority of clubs are quite happy with the magazine and with our production of it. We are committed to producing a viable magazine that all participating clubs can be proud of. Our goal is to publish a magazine that "pays its own bills," and, at the same time, is affordable to all who wish to be a part of MAM, especially the participating user groups. Our job at Unicorn Publications is to produce MAM in a way that keeps our participating clubs participating and happy. We consider this matter between Unicorn Publications/Michigan Atari Magazine and APEInc./ZMAG to be closed, pending publication of this reply in your on-line magazine. Bill Rayl & Pattie Snyder-Rayl Unicorn Publications ************************************ * The TORONTO ATARI FEDERATION * * Presents: ----- * * Sunday * * THE November 6th * * FIRST 10am to 6pm * * CANADIAN at the [YYZ] * * ATARI USERS Airport Hilton * * CONVENTION 5875 Airport Rd * * * * Software/Hardware Vendors, Atari * * Canada, PD Software, New Product * * Demonstrations, Seminars, Users' * * Groups, Developers and MORE!! * * * * $5.00 -Adults, $3.00 -Children. * * * * For more TAF information call: * * 235-0318 [BBS] 425-5357 [msg] * ************************************ ############################# NeXT Press Release ############################# NeXT Inc. introduces a new type of computer system aimed at higher education - NeXT Inc., of Palo Alto, Wednesday unveiled the NeXT Computer System, designed to meet the demanding and diverse needs of higher education. The system encompasses the best attributes of workstations and personal computers, adds features previously found only on mainframes and introduces entirely new innovations. "NeXT's mission is to collaborate with higher education to develop innovative, personal and affordable computer solutions for the next decade and beyond," said Steven P. Jobs, president and chief executive officer of NeXT. "We began our product design process at key higher education centers in this country, discovering what they wanted from a computer. Based on what we heard, we have created a revolutionary learning and research environment that represents what computing will be like in the 1990s. "Currently, there is a revolution in software development and use on college and university campuses, generating powerful concepts such as simulated environments for both research and learning. The problem is that higher education lacks a predictable computing target for software developers, which slows emergence of practical products. "NeXT intends to provide this target by raising the lowest common denominator for standard capabilities in academic computing. In this way, we will help spur the realization of some innovative and important software ideas," Jobs said. NeXT saw the need in higher education for a computer that combined qualities of workstations and personal computers, with cabilities far- exceeding either. Specifically, the company took the workstation concepts of built-in networking, large standard display screens, multitasking and a robust application development environment, and designed and packaged them in a one-foot cube with personal computer-like characteristics such as affordability, efficient manufacturability and cool, quiet and reliable use. At the same time, NeXT recognized that significant innovations were necessary to extend its computer system beyond a laundry list of impressive features. NeXT chose to innovate in four main areas: A mainframe on two chips: The architectures of both workstations and personal computers contain inherent bottlenecks to higher performance that cannot be resolved by faster processors alone. To manage the flow of information within the system to yield peak efficiency, NeXT designed the ICP and OSP, two proprietary VLSI (very large-scale integration) chips that endow the system with mainframe-like capabilities. NextStep: Although UNIX provides powerful capabilities and is the most prevalent operating system for higher education and research, the complexity of UNIX-based computers has put them beyond the reach of almost everyone except scientists and engineers. At the same time, developing graphical application software has traditionally extracted an inordinate amount of time and expertise. NeXT has addressed both these problems with NextStep, an object-oriented software environment. NextStep makes the power of UNIX accessible to all users, while it also significantly reduces the time, expertise and software code developers need to construct graphical, end-user applications. Personal Optical Storage and the Digital Library: The potential for desktop computers to open the world's knowledge to an individual has been restricted, in part, by inadequate mass storage and poor searching and indexing capabilities. To break through these restrictions, NeXT used a new storage technology called magneto-optics to create a removable, read/ write/erasable 256 Megabyte Optical Disk as the Computer System's standard mass storage device. The Optical Disk makes possible the concept of the "Digital Library," which can comprise on-line reference and literary works, musical scores or images of photographic quality. Included with every system is a powerful searching and indexing tool called the Digital Librarian and a "starter" Digital Library. Sound and Music: Sound is considered a vital communication medium. As a result, NeXT has made sound capabilities integral to its computer system: a microphone jack for input, CD-quality stereo output, a powerful 10 MIPS (million insructions per second) Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and a standard voice mail application. To encourage the development of applications that include sound, music and voice, the system also includes the SoundKit and MusicKit. The Sum is greater than the parts- "Many of the NeXT Computer System's individual components represent major technological breakthroughs," Jobs said. "Taken in sum, they generate capabilities and potential exceeding that of any existing category of computer system." The sytem's basic hardware configuration includes the computer, a one-foot cube that houses on a single board all the computer's highly integrated silicon chips; the 256 Megabyate Optical Disk for editable storage and retrieval of vast amounts of information; the 17-inch, extremely high- resolution MegaPixel Display; and the 400 dpi Laser Printer, which is the first affordable PostScript laser printer and the first low-cost laser printer to provide 400 dots per inch (dpi) resolution. Underlying all the system's capabilities is a small, powerful and efficient set of computer chips, all of which are standard and fit onto a single board. There are three high-performance processors in every system. The main processor is Motorola's top-of-the-line microprocessor, the 68030. Accompanying it is Motorola's 68882 Floating-Point Unit, for fast mathematical computations. Both these chips run at 25 megahertz. The third processor is a 10 MIPS Motorola 56001 Digital Signal Processor chip, for real-time sound and array processing. The board can also support up to 16 megabytes (MB) of main memory. Two proprietary VLSI chips, designed by NeXT, give the sytem its mainframe -like qualities. The Integrated Channel Processor (ICP) manages the flow of data among the central processing unit (the 68030), main memory and all peripheral devices. By offloading the 68030 and ensuring the efficient flow of data within the system, the ICP allows the 68030 to run at its full rated capacity of 5 MIPS. The ICP provides 12 dedicated DMA (direct memory access) channels, including channels for Ethernet networking and for disks, monitor, printer and other peripheral devices. The single ICP chip replaces several hundred chips performing similar functions on a mainframe computer, and it raises sustained system throughput to a level impossible with either personal computer or workstation architectures. The other VLSI chip, the Optical Storage Processor, controls the 256 Megabyte Optical Disk, making possible this new storage technology. The Optical Disk combines the vast storage capacities, removability and reliability of laser technology with the fast access and full read/write/ rase capabilities of Winchester (magnetic) technology. The Optical Disk provides unprecedented information storage, manipulation and retrieval. With the Optical Disk working in conjunction with the Digital Librarian, a specially designed searching and indexing tool, users can almost instantaneously locate any textual information, in any form, anywhere in the computer. They can also browse through the system to uncover information, ideas or connections between concepts. Software as Part of the System NeXT includes an unparalled amount of software in the price of every NeXT Computer System. The software starts with Mach, an advanced multitasking operating system compatible with 4.3BSD UNIX, which is the standard operating system in higher education communities. In addition, the NeXT Computer System includes NextStep, a complete software environment consisting of four components: the Window Server, the Workspace Manager, the Application Kit and the Interface Builder. The object-oriented environment was developed with the Objective-C programming language, from the Stepstone Corp. NextStep solves the two major problems with UNIX-based systems: They are too complex and difficult for most non-programmers to use, and they require developers to spend an inordinate amount of time and expertise creating graphical, end-user applications. For users, NextStep makes the power of UNIX available by substituting a window-based, graphical and intuitive interface for the traditional UNIX comand-line interface. For developers, NextStep includes the Application Kit, a set of interacting software "objects" for constructing applications. Also included in NextStep is Interface Builder, a completely new kind of software development tool. Interface Builder works graphically, letting the developer construct an application by choosing from a palette of available objects and using the mouse and keyboard to modify the objects as needed, define the layout and establish connections between objects. This process permits the rapid construction of graphical user interfaces and makes application development accessible to a much larger community. NextStep uses the Display PostScript system to ensure true WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) between the screen and the printer. The Display PostScript system includes a high-performance implementation of the Post Script language, the de facto imaging standard for printing. It simplifies the programming of graphical applications that support high- quality printing. To further aid developers, the NeXT Computer System includes the SoundKit, MusicKit, array processing routines, assemblers, compilers, debuggers and a terminal emulator. Standard with each system, on the 256 Megabyte Optical Disk, is a basic Digital Library. A Digital Library can contain complete reference works, books, images or musical scores. The bundled library includes the Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, including definitions, pronunciations and illustrations, not just spelling; Webster's Collegiate Thesaurus; the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations; the Oxford University Press edition of William Shakespeare; The Complete Works. NeXT technical references and other pertinent technical references. The NeXT Computer System also includes a rich set of bundled application software. These applications include WriteNow, a full-featured word processing program; Mathematica, a symbolic mathematics program; the powerful NeXT SQL Database Server, from Sybase; Allegro CL Common Lisp; Jot, a personal text database manager; and a graphical electronic mail application with integrated voice mail capabilities. NeXT has built its business plan and products to meet the needs of higher education. The company determined these needs through close collaboration with leaders at college and university campuses nationwide, uncovering the gaps between current and ideal computer technology for this marketplace. "Higher education is a huge market, certainly big enough in itself to grow NeXT to critical mass," said Dan'l Lewin, vice president of sales and marketing and NeXT. "Beyond that, higher education is the most demanding and diverse marketplace conceivable. It provides a real acid test. If we can do well here, were can do well anywhere. "The key is understanding and committing to a business model that works the way higher education does, both in its generic form and as it varies from campus to campus. That's where NeXT has the edge, because we are the only computer company that has amassed both the market knowledge and the technological ability to deliver the right computing tools," Lewin said. During 1988, NeXT will market its computer System directly to several dozen of the nation's top institutions and software developers. NeXT expects to appeal to higher education on the strength of its technology tools and through the personal business relationships the company has established with the higher education community. Price and Availability The standard NeXT Computer System configuration, which includes 8MB of main memory, the 256 Megabyte Optical Disk, the MegaPixel Display, keyboard, mouse and complete system software, will sell for $6,500. The 400 dpi Laser Printer will sell for $2,000. All prices quoted are for higher education. NeXT will ship systems to its key customers and developers starting this quarter, and expects to ship systems with final software by the second quarter of 1989 to a broader base of institutions and developers. Available options to the standard configuration include 4 MB RAM expansion modules (up to 16 MB total), 660 MB and 330 MB high-performance Winchester drives, an Ethernet kit, blank Optical Disks and printer toner cartridges. NeXT Inc., of Palo Alto, was founded in October 1985 by Steven P. Jobs, co-founder and former chairman of Apple Computer Inc., and five other individuals. The mission of the privately held company is to collaborate with higher education to develop innovative, personal and affordable computer solutions for the 1990s and beyond. ************************************************************************* SYNDICATE ZMAGAZINE Issue #127 October 16, 1988 (c)1988 APEInc *************************************************************************
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