Z*Magazine: 29-Oct-89 #179From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 29-Oct-89 #179 Date: Sat Oct 2 15:24:58 1993 | ZMAGAZINE ISSUE #: 179 ||| --------------------------------------------- ||||| Volume 3, Number 42 October 29, 1989 ||||||| --------------------------------------------- ||||||||| Editor: Ron Kovacs ||||||||||| --------------------------------------------- ||||||||||||| HOT Atari News and Reviews ||| ||| --------------------------------------------- ||| ZMAGAZINE ||| COMPUSERVE: 71777,2140 GO ATARI8 LIBRARY 1 ||| ||| --------------------------------------------- ||||||||||||| GEnie: ZMAGAZINE ATARI8 ROUNDTABLE (Atari8) ||||||||||| --------------------------------------------- ||||||||| Copyright 1989, Rovac Industries, Inc. ||||||| Post Office Box 59 ||||| Middlesex, New Jersey 08846-0059 ||| BBS: (201) 968-8148 VOICE: (201) 968-2024 | --------------------------------------------- CONTENTS ======== <*> Editors Desk.........Ron Kovacs <*> Ratty's Rap............Mat*Rat <*> California Earthquake.....GEnie <*> The Revolution.......D. Thomas <*> The Archive Bit......Ron Kovacs <*> Pacmania Reviewed............. <*> 130XE/1200XL Video Modification <*> Atari Ad Reprint.............. <*> John Anderson Dies in Quake THE EDITORS DESK ================ by Ron Kovacs In case you haven't noticed, ZMagazine is being released in a bi-weekly format. The news we cover has occured within the two weeks of the previous edition and may be old to some readers. This issue contains articles on the California earthquake which occured just a few days after we released the last edition. Since the articles I have selected give the reader a good feeling of exactly what happen, they have been included here. Our regular ZNet column (Ratty's Rap) appears this week covering, Atari's new products, Analog's last issue coming, and more. You will notice a BBS number at the top of this issue, it is NOT available yet and calls will bring you an answer machine. The system should be up by the time we release the next edition. RATTY's RAP =========== by Matthew Ratcliff NEW ATARI PRODUCT, DELIVERED The Portfolio is now shipping. This IBM PC compatible computer is about the size of a video cassette tape. It is incredibly light, small, runs about 30 hours on a set of AA batteries, and is extremely nifty. However, it has two significant limitations due to the cost/performance tradeoffs that Atari made. Its display isn't anywhere near 80 columns by 24 lines. The simple LCD display is a "window" into a virtual 80x24 display. It will be a nightmare for word processing on the go. The other problem is no disk storage. It remembers everything when it's powered down, much like the long popular Tandy Model 102 - the first true laptop computer. There is a 60+ pin connector on the Portfolio. I suspect it is virtually identical to an IBM PC 8 bit bus connector, logically speaking. With a special adapter cable and chassis, the Portfolio might be hooked up to an external box capable of holding floppy disks, hard drive, video adapters and more. That makes about as much sense as adding a megabyte of ram to a Sinclair ZX80, however. Likely candidates for this connector will be RS232 adapter cables, to connect to a desktop PC for data and program exchange. An external floppy drive, possibly a 2 and 1/2 inch unit like that used in some of the digital still cameras that are all the rage, that runs on a couple of batteries and fits in one's shirt pocket, is another potential expansion. Right now the Portfolio can be ordered direct from Atari, over a toll free line, at the FULL list price of $399.95. Traditional Atari dealers should be able to get the Portfolio ("50 have been allocated to each Atari dealer", according to one source, although none have seen the product yet). There appears to be a great deal of interest in the Portfolio outside of traditional Atari markets. There are other hand held PCs coming to market, such as the Poquet, with far more capabilities - most noteably integral disk storage and a full 80x25 line screen. However, the competitors' prices begin at about $1000. Comparing the cost, the limitations of the Portfilio may be quite tolerable. Atari is now pondering who it will let sell the Portfolio. If they do allow non-Atari dealers (such as Business Land) to sell it, will Atari attempt to force them to push the ST as well? Atari is considering that, but any "forceful" sales tactics on the part of Atari would make about as much sense as trying to rid yourself of an in-grown toe nail with a .357 magnum. Atari should follow Commodore's lead. Get their PC products into the non-Atari channels. Let them sell for a while, and let Atari prove it is a reputable computer producer once again. This will grease the skids for the introduction of the ST and future Atari products. For example, Sears has been marketing Commodore PC compatibles for a couple of years now. In the latest Sears catalog you will now find Amiga computers too. If Commodore had attempted to "force" Sears to sell the Amiga along side their Colt PC's, from the outset, they would have never gotten their foot in the door - they'd just have blown it off. The WAACE (Washington D.C. Area Atari Computer Enthusiasts) show was a big success. (See their ad in the October/November Antic on page 12.) Bob Brodie of Atari, the latest (and one of the greatest, in my opinion) user group coordinator, was there. He helped demonstrate Stacy, production model #2. I suspect that serial #1 is in the hands of Mr. Leonard Tramiel, his pride and joy. A point was made of showing off the Stacy with the Spectre 128 installed, the under $2000 Macintosh portable computer. (The Macintosh portable costs more than your basic Hyundai automobile.) Once the Stacy hits the market in force, I suspect Apple will suddenly notice that Atari exists and will work hard at putting the "Gadgets by Small" out of business. Since losing their battle with Microsoft and Hewlett Packard over the "Windows thing", I suspect Apple's lawyers are hungry for a new victim. (The latest joke has it that Apple Computer is trying to sue the Washington State Apple Grower's Association for infringing on their corporate logo.) Where is the Stacy? Since RAMs are now plentiful, the standard answer is "the machine is being held up in FCC certification testing". I'm eager to see the Stacy, but am skeptical that it will appear before Christmas. A LOT of products have been promised in time for the shopping season, from Atari, but nothing new has come out since "Air Ball" early this year, and the Portfolio (which has yet to reach many, if any, distribution channels). Production of the Stacy is supposedly ramping up now, in either Korea or Taiwan. According to a reliable Atari source, Commando for the XEGS should hit dealer's shelves in mid November. Most of us won't see the Atari Lynx portable game system this year. Atari will produce them in time for Christmas, but they will be marketed in mass in the New York area. Why? Atari thought it better to have plentiful supply in one area, than a few machines in short supply spread widely across the US. In other words, they are "test marketing" in New York. Nintendo used this same approach when introducing the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). They sold 300,000 units in a couple of weeks, and the rest is history. Atari has been advertising regularly in the New York Times, and other prominent newspapers in the area. If the Lynx does well here, with a great deal of press coverage and hot sales, it is much more likely to sell well across the US, by starting a trend and developing demand for the product before it is in wide release, thus opening new distribution channels to department store chains. I don't like waiting for my Lynx, but the marketing approach does seem sound, if only because Nintendo has done it before. ATARI ASSEMBLER EDITOR NOTE I mentioned on Gateway BBS recently that I had written an "Atari Assembler Editor Reference Guide" for Analog computing. I didn't know it all however, as John McGowan pointed out an Assembler Editor bug that I never knew about. The Atari Assembler Editor's debugger has a bug of its own. When single stepping a program it will get stuck at a CPY #xx instruction, where 'xx' is any number between 0 and 255. Any immediate compare of the Y register with a numeric value confuses the debugger. It gets stuck at that line of code and keeps re-executing it, each time you attempt to 'S'tep over it. If you 'G'oto that line of code, it executes and continues properly - but that defeats the purpose of your single stepping the code. However, you can patch your code for debugging purposes. Instead of this: BEGIN LDY #5 HOLD DEY CPY #2 BNE HOLD Use this: LDY #2 STY $F0 ;OR SOME OTHER SAFE MEMORY LOCATION BEGIN LDY #5 HOLD DEY CPY $F0 BNE HOLD VIDEO GAME WARS The battle for your Christmas video game dollar has begun. At the top of the heap is Nintendo, of course. However, you can find the NEC Home Electronics' offering of the TurboGrafix-16. Don't let the "16" fool you, it is still an 8 bit machine (a 6502 screaming along at 8MHz - the Atari's 6502 runs at about 1.2MHz). NEC never claimed the TurboGrafix- 16 was a 16 bit machine; however the name seems to imply this. The next contender, on the Toys 'R' Us store shelves now, is the Sega Genesis 16, a true 16bit game machine. This box contains a Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the same breed found inside the Atari ST computers. So, how does the competition stack up? Both of these "16" machines sell for nearly $200, while the basic Nintendo is being discounted to below $90. Do the new machines appear to be more than twice as good as the Nintendo? All of the game systems were running side by side at the local Toys 'R' Us. Each was connected to a Commodore 1802 monitor, so video quality comparisons were made with the same "measuring stick". Was the Nintendo "blown away", visually, by the new kids on the block? Surprisingly not. They do look better, but the difference doesn't seem to justify the hefty price tag. It is too early to call, but I think consumers are more inclined to purchase the Nintendo, even those who understand the "high tech" meaning of the number 16 in the new systems. There is simply far more software available for the Nintendo. The best part of all this confusion is that it promotes healthy competition, and the outrageous $50 (and more) prices of the Nintendo game cartridges will begin to tumble. One industry insider says that the TurboGrafix-16 is dead, virtually no sales at all. The Sega Genesis is starting to pick up in sales, because of its installed base of Sega users, certain joystick and peripheral compatibility, and a promised "adapter" that will allow it to play older Sega cartridges. The Nintendo Game Boy, according to some, isn't selling well at all - and won't until its price is slashed by at least half. But those are just insider opinions, and we won't know for sure until after the cash registers have rung in the new year. Where does Atari fit into all of this? About the same place as one of Jose Canseco's home runs, somewhere outside of the ball park. Toys 'R' Us, and other similar toy chains, continue to offer the Atari 2600 and 7800 systems. Often their Atari game selection is much smaller than it could be, simply because so much shelf space is dedicated to the Nintendo. Toys 'R' Us continues to offer the Atari XEGS, at $99.95, while Children's Palace and Kay Bee Toy and Hobby seem to have dropped it all together. Little or no software for the XEGS is found at Toys 'R' Us (usually on the 'flip side' of the Commodore 64 software they continue to sell). The only real contender Atari has in all this is the Lynx, the LCD color portable game system. It knocks the bits off the Nintendo Game Boy. However, the Game Boy is on the toy store shelves now (at a hefty $89), but the Lynx doesn't even exist in the eyes of the consumers. Reliable sources indicate that working models of the Lynx are difficult to come by for Atari shows, so, as of mid October 1989, they don't seem to be in full production. Of the many advanced features reported for the Lynx, a very special one has been overlooked. The production model of the Lynx was to sport an RF modulator, if the size and cost could be kept low enough. This feature would allow the Lynx to be easily attached to any television set, when the eyestrain of color LCD game playing gets to you. The RF modulator makes the Lynx a powerful home entertainment game system, in addition to its portable game playing power. The RF modulator idea has been dropped, however, because the 160x102 (not 160x192 as has been reported before) just doesn't look good on a TV. The marketing decision was to keep the RF modulator out, keep the price down, and concentrate on the portable game play features. All the hype over Atari's new products is fruitless with no advertising, nor product delivery to back it up. I'm assured it is coming, eventually, soon, in time for Christmas for sure. I wonder what new excuses we'll hear when Christmas has come and gone? I hope I'm wrong, and Atari hits the market full force with the Lynx, Stacy, Portfolio, and PC-5 (Atari's awesome economy IBM PC compatible '386 powerhouse) before the Thanksgiving holiday. I've made nearly a dozen phone calls to Atarian's in the know and everything still appears to be slated for delivery before Christmas, although it is most likely to be concentrated in the New York area. EARTHQUAKE UPDATE As all of you know by now, San Francisco and Oakland California were hit hard by an earthquake on Tuesday, October 17th. Antic Publishing is located in San Francisco. I am pleased to report that Antic is back in business, as of Friday, October 20th. The offices were without power for two days, but no major damage was inflicted to the offices by the quake. Unfortunately, some of Antic's employees lived in the Marina area of San Francisco. Your prayers and charitable contributions to the Red Cross and other relief efforts will help our friends at Antic get back on their feet once again soon. Long faithful Atarians may remember Creative Computing, one of the earliest supporters of the Atari 400/800 computers with regular columns and software. John Anderson, once an associate editor for the now defunct Creative Computing, was killed during the earth quake on the highway 880 collapse. He is best known to Atarians for his innovative "Outpost:Atari" column. John held a senior position on the editorial staff of MacUser at the time of his death. John leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Anderson of Cresskill, NJ, and his wife, Lauren Hallquist, and two children, Peter, 4, and Kate, 1, of Boulder Creek, CA. Friends and fans who wish to send condolences to his family may do so c/o Atari Explorer, 7 Hilltop Rd., Mendham, NJ 07945. (Excerpted from CompuServe, reported by Betsy Staples.) Have you ever noticed who still staunchly support the 8bit Atari computers, continue to advertise in Antic and Analog, and WHERE they are located? American Techna-Vision (415-352-3787) is in San Leandro, just southeast of Oakland. B&C Computer Visions (408-749-1003) is located in Santa Clara, about half way between San Francisco and Santa Cruz (the epicenter of the quake). San Jose Computer (408-224-8575) is just south of Santa Clara. These businesses and more (such as Epyx and Broderbund) were adversely affected by the quake, to one degree or another. If you have benifited from their support, please give them a call and offer your support in return. I doubt any of them had earthquake insurance; the costs for it are astronomical in California. You might make a good deal on damaged equipment, while providing them with needed cash to get back in business; or simply offer an outright donation. Are any of your favorite Atari dealers, or mail order houses located in the damage radius of the earth quake? Give them a call and see if they're ok. Show your community spirit, show that you care, and, if nothing else, satisfy your urge for a new toy and order something. FAREWELL TO FRIENDS Many people are concerned about Antic magazine, and for good reason. It has gone from a healthy 88 page monthly magazine to an anemic 43 page bimonthly newsprint publication in just the last year. Antic truly reflects the 8bit market, since they depend primarily on subscriptions and advertising dollars for their profit. Many subscribers were displeased that they were "forced" into a disk subscription. However, the disk subscription is more profitable (and the price to you for the disk/magazine combo is lower besides). Advertising continues to dwindle. As a result of the earthquake it may well drop off to virtually nothing (B&C, American Techna-Vision, and San Jose computer account for 80% or more of Antic's advertising now). But I have been assured that so long as Antic turns a profit, it will remain in print; even if it is a shadow of its once robust self. Buy it off the newsstand, or take a chance and subscribe. If you don't, you will miss this dear old friend when it's gone. Buy the December 1989 issue of Analog. It will be a collector's item! Why? Because, sadly, it will be the LAST issue. As of November, 1989, Analog absorbed ST-Log. Since ST-Log is no longer an independent publication, it seems that you can kiss this baby goodbye too. I just got the fatal news, and don't know all the details. However, it seems that LFP (that's Larry Flynt Publications) has decided that Analog is not profitable (or not profitable enough?) and will discontinue it after December 1989. This deeply saddens me, since I have been closely tied with Analog for nearly six years (and well over 60 publications of my work). I'm very close to selling all the Atari equipment I own, I'm so upset. WRITE! Talk me out of it. Actually, this might be the best time to bid my Atari computers a fond fairwell. My pursuit of a Master's degree is very demanding of my time, and next month I will be teaching part time. My Atari work may become more of a grudging, annoying, distracting demand of rare time, than the dear friend it has been all these years. I suspect I will keep at least the good old 800XL and the game collection. It will become a relic, someday. FINAL NOTES Please note that many of the mistakes in my "Asm/Ed Reference Manual" article in the November and December issues of Analog are not mine. Most of them are typesetting errors. Clay Walnum, my editor, caught them and turned in change requests; but, being on opposite coasts, they didn't get in before going to press. The spacing is wrong in many of the printer listing format examples, however the explanation in the text is correct. Also, many of the equal signs in the text should be preceeded by an asterisk. Somehow they all got misplaced at press time. Apparently, the asterisk character is problematic for typesetters, since similar problems occured in an article of mine in the current issue of Antic. Think of Ratty's Rap as your 8bit technical forum, and the Atari news and rumor clearing house. I will be glad to assist you with questions on Assembly, Action, C, and BASIC programming problems. (Rumors and news are welcome events too.) The author can be reached on GEnie (MAT.RAT) or Delphi (MATRAT), or write to me at: 32 S. Hartnett Ave, St. Louis, MO 63135. (No calls please, I don't have the time.) SAN FRANSISCO EARTHQUAKE - CTSY GENIE ----------------------------------------------------------------------- (Editors Note: The following messages are reprinted with permission of GEnie. They are reprinted here to give everyone a feeling of what happened in California by the persons living there. Most of the messages have been deleted from the reprint and can be read online in the ST RT on GEnie, Catagory 14 Topic 13. Topic 13 Tue Oct 17, 1989 GORDON at 23:33 EDT Sub: EARTHQUAKE Message 2 Wed Oct 18, 1989 by TOWNS at 00:25 EDT Well, I am at home now in Fremont.. For those that don't know, Fremont is on the East side of the bay approximately 10 miles north of San Jose and 18 Miles from Sunnyvale. The latest word is that the quake was centered in Hollister about 20 miles south of San Jose and measured between 6.5 and 7.0 on the Richter Scale. We are getting after-shocks measuring between 3.0 and 5.0 about every half hour. There is major damage in San Francisco..Wow! Another small Aftershock as I type this... anyway, there is major damage in SF and MAJOR damage in Oakland. Part of the Bay Bridge fell down (a 50 foot section) and a 1.5 mile section of the double-decker Highway 80 near Oakland/Berkeley fell down COMPLETELY and is nothing but rubble. They estimate that 40- 50 people were crushed in this freeway when it fell. The emergency rooms around the Bay Area are packed with people, SF is without water and power as well as most of the North Bay is in the same situation. Things are a MAJOR MESS here right now. I have been watching news coverage on TV for about four hours now. We are still seeing major loss of property and injuries around the Bay Area. This is the scariest thing I have ever seen. As for Atari, I didn't go to work today (Thank God! Atari is ONE scary place to be during an Earthquake..) and I spoke with some people at Atari. They are saying that Atari came though the Quake fairly well. If communications with Atari are a little harder than usual, please bear with us. I think things are going to be alittle on the abnormal side for the next couple of days. Anyway, Pray for those of us in the Bay Area and I hope that all of your loved ones in the Bay Area are safe! We will keep you posted on what is happening as we know more. -- John PS. The Quake hit at 5:04pm.. at the height of rush hour <sigh> Message 12 Wed Oct 18, 1989 by TOWNS at 14:23 EDT Well, it's the morning and things are looking alittle better. Here in Fremont, its business as usual. Most schools and businesses are open, we have power, gas, water, and even Cable TV. I guess the phones are easing up alittle. I just got two calls from out-of-state this morning around 5am. Oakland and San Francisco are still a mess. The Marina area is a complete disaster and most of the city is still without power. There are grave fears about the condition of Santa Cruz where the Quake was centered. Not much news is coming out of that area. The last aftershock I felt was this morning around 3:30am. I think it was in the same range as the 3.0 - 4.0's we have been having since the original quake. They are estimating that the Bay Bridge will be out of commission for at least 3 weeks. The Cypress Structure (the freeway that collapsed on approx. 250 people, crushing them to death) is said to be beyond recovery and they are afraid at the moment that is will fall even further if the aftershocks continue. It seems that large parts of the South Bay have survived the Quake with no major problems. It's San Francisco and Oakland that are having the major problems at this point. Anyway, enough for now.. -- JOhn Message 13 Wed Oct 18, 1989 by BOB-BRODIE at 14:23 EDT For those of you concerned, let me say that the building is OK. One of the warehouses apparently lost very little stuff, the other has some problems. I was at Atari when the quake hit, sending e-mail on GEnie. Although I tend to use humor to playdown the severity of the problems at Atari, this is one time I will **not**! The headquarters at Atari rocked, and after we all got outside, the smell of either gas or sewage was evident. We stood in the parking lot for about 20 minutes, then we were allowed inside again to get our things. I managed to get a quick phone call off to my family (still living in the LA area, I haven't moved them up here yet) to let them know I was OK. Today, there is pretty much a skelton crew here. The word is that the Tramiels homes sustained substansial damage during the quake. Lots of folk have stayed home due to the schools being closed. Water conservation measures have been instituted. I drive to work everyday on I-880, the freeway that was buckled and pancaked down on as many as 200 people. Although I do not pass on that particular stretch of the I-880, it is still scary. Cal-Trans was out on the parts that I do travel today, building caffolds/supports for the overpasses. Although I have not visited the R & D and tech support areas yet, I am told that there is some damage to hardware there that was thrown around during the quake. All of my stuff seems to have come through ok. I did manage to re-boot and park the HD heads while dialing the wife. Of course, I have only talked with a few of the people here at Atari. Elizabeth Shook actually lives in San Francisco. Although her home was undamaged, they did not have power until after 1:00AM. The Power Company could have turned it on, but was afraid to, as more fires might have resulted from possible gas leaks. I was in Whittier during the big quake there a couple of years ago, and the one thing that I have a deadly fear of is the aftershocks. The Whittier quake was on Friday morning. Sunday, at around 1:00AM we had a real big shock, 5.5! I don't relish the thought of the ground moving like that again. Right now, just hearing a door slaming shut scares me. Bob Brodie Message 19 Wed Oct 18, 1989 by FB [Fred Beckman] at 23:31 EDT After being knocked off GEnie yesterday at 5:04PM because the house was rocking and my three year old's were screaming as we dove for the doorway in the center of the house. The little boys kept pleading with me to make it stop shaking Daddy and all I could do is hold on to them and pray that my wife in a large electronic plant and my daughters at choir practice would not be hurt. After what seemed like an hour (really 20 to 40 seconds by most accounts) it stopped moving too much. Trees swayed for another couple of minutes and the light in the dining room was swinging 5 minutes (I checked my watch). The power was off and there was no way to contact anyone to find out about the rest of the family. The girls showed up about 20 minutes later. They had been playing tag when the ground started to move outside where they were playing. My wife called about 15 minutes after that and said that she would be home soon. Since it is 3 miles to where she work I thought it would be sooner than the 45 minutes it took. All the lights were out with power lines on the ground. Cooking dinner outside was fun for one meal but to do it any more than I wanted to do. Luckly for us the power was back in the middle of the night. The other 400,000 folks that are still without have my prayers that the power company will get it back soon. Everything looked so normal this morning until you noticed the cars parked in the driveways while the everyone swept up the glass and mess that fell in the garages. Everyone also had very tired looking eyes as most of us spent most of the night comforting your little ones that it would not come back, and that mommy and daddy would be there for them. When we moved from room to room there was always a crowd with us. I am very lucky and my heart felt grieve goes out to those that are not as fortunate as I am. Fred THE REVOLUTION ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Comments by Ron Kovacs Handbook by Donald A. Thomas Jr. ZMagazine and associated publications are officially endorsing the Revolution and we are committing space throughout 1990 to remind the Atari user base each week. Starting this week through the end of the year, we will reprint the actual Revolution article in weekly installments, and stay one week ahead of the proposals discussed. The file Revolt.Arc already discussed earlier in the Public Domain Shelf by Alice Amore, (in ST*ZMAGAZINE Issue #43), is an excellent idea and amusing too. It will surely keep the Atari user busy with interesting tasks through December 1990. If any of the proposals suggested work, it alone will spread the word about Atari and this Revolution. The REVOLUTION(tm) HANDBOOK by Donald A. Thomas, Jr. is =1989 ARTISAN SOFTWARE and all rights are reserved. INTRODUCTION There is a war going on in the United States and, if you are an Atari computer user, you are a part of it. The allies are the manufacturers, publishers and users of Atari computers. They are the front line people doing what they can to see that the system survives. They, as you, are the people who face the ridicule from the universe of IBM, Amiga and Macintosh proponents to support a conviction in the really best computer value available. To proclaim a war, there must be a cause... essential basic values worth fighting for. In this case, these values hinge on the need to expand our family of Atari owners and users. We must face the reality that our family of Atari users is not growing in the United States... it's shrinking. This fact should be disturbing to you. The passion you have for your computer will likely crumple to disgruntled aggravation as fewer companies support your investment and more and more users switch to a more popular system. Many of us have been waiting for Atari to fight this war for us. We have listened to commitments to run advertising and support users' groups and trade shows. We have also been exposed to Jack Tramiel's philosophy that "Business Is War". In many instances, Atari has made admiral efforts to strengthen their domestic position. For instance, over $67 million dollars was poured into a chain of retail electronics stores known as the Federated Group. The theory was that by owning a significant retail outlet, they could dictate the amount of shelf space and customer assistance dedicated to Atari computers and games. While the theory was sound, they were not prepared to invest the added millions of dollars it would take to salvage the risk. Atari has also supported the user shows with their presence and dealer support by loaning equipment for the show and providing seminars. Atari's dilemma is that the return on invested dollars is best paying off overseas right now. Prices are higher there, piracy is a lesser threat, and the consumer can view the Atari line of computers without a tainted prejudice for another system which is not as well established. Yes, it appears Atari can not get a fix on what needs to be done for the U.S., but there is already enough work keeping up with European demand. "Business Is War" means exactly that and Jack Tramiel is going to fight for businesses' primal need... PROFITABILITY. Looking into the crystal ball, Atari will certainly find some success with the Portfolio and other attempts to approach the PC market. They may see their domestic cash flow swell when they do. As a result, an increasing PC consumer base will be supporting the Atari name which will drown out our cries for support with our XL, XE, ST and MEGA machines. Already, the Atari magazines have covered the Portfolio. Artisan Software believes that there is a hidden army of Atari users who realize that, if anyone is going to fight this war, we must do it ourselves. Since Atari Corp. and third party developers are simply profit machines, they are always going to spend as little as possible to sell their products. After all, that's what business is all about. Yet, if someone were to mastermind an ultimate attack to enhance United States sales of Atari computers, Atari would support its' success. Artisan Software is asking you to join in on the ultimate user-based campaign to attract an expanding universe of Atari owners and users. You may participate as intensely as you wish, but your every effort will go a long way by reading this material and doing whatever you can. The campaign is called "THE REVOLUTION". It will be in effect throughout 1990 and scheduled to continue through the 90's. The premise will be to optimize the power of "word-of-mouth" advertising. This form of advertising is the least expensive and the most effective. Concentration will be on a calendar of projects which will strike targets in cumulative force. You will find participation fun and easy. No one appears to have a firm idea how many Atari users there are in the U.S., many say there about 100,000 ST compatible machines out there, but that can not be verified. Atari, understandably, keeps this a secret so they do not scare away potential developers. Regardless how many there are of us, we have the potential to exercise a lot of power. If united, we can not be ignored. The benefits you reap from this project are plentiful. First of all, you will see Atari users ban together as a nation for the very first time. You will witness significant news coverage and experience the growth of new companies emerging to support your system. You will also discover it increasingly easier to find friends and colleagues using an Atari computer. Best of all, you will have fun. Respectfully, Donald A. Thomas, Jr. President, Artisan Software QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Below are some questions and answers regarding "The REVOLUTION". You may be able to satisfy any inquiries you have by reviewing this material. Q. WHAT IS "THE REVOLUTION"? A. "The REVOLUTION" is a structured user-based campaign design to enhance Atari computer sales in the United States by primary use of "word-of-mouth" advertising. It is made up of users and companies across the nation who wish to support the cause. Q. WHAT IS "WORD-OF-MOUTH" ADVERTISING? A. "Word-Of-Mouth" Advertising is the most valued form of advertising for any reputable business. While paid advertising boosts public awareness, it is often by someone's recommendation that high ticket purchases are made. In basic terms, word-of-mouth advertising is the act of voicing your opinion about a product or service in a favorable way. In addition, "The REVOLUTION" campaign is designed so that all our voices are focused toward specific targets at any one given time. Q. WHO IS COORDINATING "THE REVOLUTION"? A. ARTISAN SOFTWARE President, Donald A. Thomas, Jr., plans to coordinate the campaign. Q. WHAT IS ARTISAN SOFTWARE? A. Artisan Software is a California based software publisher dedicated to the Atari ST and MEGA computers. Q. WHY IS ARTISAN SOFTWARE DOING THIS? A. Artisan Software currently offers three products for the ST computer. This is not the place to talk about them, but you will find separate ASCII text files in later weeks about them. While Atari users support their products, it has become disenchanting to realize that the Atari user base is not large enough to keep sales at a profitable pace. Rather than diverting attention to non-Atari computers, it has been Artisan Software's decision to expand the Atari computer user base. Q. WHAT SPECIFIC ATARI COMPUTERS ARE REPRESENTED? A. Although Artisan Software publishes only ST/MEGA compatible titles, it is recognized that the 8-bit community has just as much to be proud of over their systems too. Atari video game systems, cartridges and PC compatible products are not represented here. Q. WHAT DOES ARTISAN SOFTWARE HAVE TO GAIN BY COORDINATING "THE REVOLUTION"? A. Frankly, a lot. First, Artisan Software will expand its exposure of it's products to the existing base of Atari users. Secondly, this base will grow and, therefore, so will sales. Q. WILL IT COST ME MONEY TO PARTICIPATE? A. Not necessarily. As an individual, you are asked to become a registered participant by making a minimum pledge of $15 to help initiate the cause for the first year. Pledges for more than that amount is encouraged, but you are not required to pay any amount at all to participate. Part of your pledge will cover the costs of distributing "The REVOLUTION HANDBOOK" and other costs such as phone use and coordinating costs. Corporate pledges are also invited if you wish to show your company's support and benefit from the campaign. Other costs to you depend on the projects you voluntarily elect to work on. In most cases, it is simply a few letters and postage stamps per week. It is important to register your participation regardless of the size of your pledge. Your registration becomes an integral necessity to provide a statistical analysis as to the size of the movement, the primary use of the computers and estimated growth patterns. It is also important that you register individually. Individual and group registrations are maintained by separate accounting methods to insure the integrity of individual participation statistics. Q. OK, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO SPECIFICALLY? A. Your participation is needed on four levels. First, read this HANDBOOK and fill out the form included. Send the form to Artisan Software today. Secondly, go out of your way to discuss "The REVOLUTION" with your user group or other Atari users. Provide them copies of this HANDBOOK. Verbally encourage them to participate. Also, approach your local dealers. Encourage them to distribute copies of this HANDBOOK to their customers. Permission is granted to copy and distribute this HANDBOOK if the copyright and authorship is acknowledged when you do. Exceptions to this include professional duplication in a bound and covered book to be sold for profit. The distinction should be clear, but contact Artisan Software if you have any questions. Your active involvement to spread the word about this campaign is a critical component to its' success. Third, write your favorite Atari magazine and ask them to provide consistent coverage of this campaign. Finally, follow this HANDBOOK as completely as you are willing and able. Q. WHERE DO I SEND MY REGISTRATION? A. Send all correspondence, including registrations to: "THE REVOLUTION" c/o ARTISAN SOFTWARE, P.O. Box 849, Manteca, CA 95336. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- This is a large undertaking and will be interesting. Each week until completion, we will reprint the entire article and re-run them through- out 1990. More details on ZMAG's involvement in the coming weeks. Every week, the following form will be included for your conveince. PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION PLEASE COMPLETE THIS FORM AND MAIL WITH YOUR CHOSEN PLEDGE TO: ARTISAN SOFTWARE P.O. BOX 849 MANTECA, CA 95336 PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY! ___ YES, I understand the campaign entitled: "The REVOLUTION" and agree that a unified national effort to enhance Atari computer sales may be a fun project and one that will better protect my investment in the future. I acknowledge that the campaign HANDBOOK makes suggestions only. I am not obligated to do any or all of them if I choose not to. (Make checks payable to Artisan Software.) PLEDGE ENCLOSED $_________________ (NOT REQUIRED) SIGNATURE _______________________________ DATE ____________ NAME _______________________AGE ___ PHONE (_____) _________ COMPANY OR USER GROUP REPRESENTED (if applicable): COMPANY NAME ___________________________________ ADDRESS ________________________________________ CITY __________________ STATE _____ ZIP ________ COMPANY PHONE NUMBER (_______) _________________ DEALER ___ DISTRIBUTOR ___ PUBLISHER ___ MFG___ OTHER _________________________________________ PERSONAL ADDRESS __________________________________________ CITY ___________________ STATE _____ ZIP _________ OCCUPATION ________________________ PHONE (_____) _________ COMPUTER(S) OWNED _________________________________________ MY USER GROUP MEMBERSHIP IS AT ____________________________ ___________________________________________________________ I USE THE COMPUTER PRIMARILY FOR __________________________ ___________________________________________________________ PLEASE ADD COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS ON THE REVERSE SIDE. (to be continued....) THE ARCHIVE BIT --------------- by Ron Kovacs From the ZMagazine Archives 1 YEAR AGO - NOVEMBER 1988 ========================== Atari reported they will be giving credit for purchasing Atari cartridges, they are sold presently at a cost of $10 to $30 each. Atari will give prizes and a two week vacation. If this expirement works, they will continue this promotion as a way of luring more people to purchase Atari products. The first Atari Canadian Users Convention takes place in Toronto Canada. On display were all of Atari's products including the 260ST. New products talked about included the 68030 chip-based ST scheduled for shipment in early 1989 with enhanced resolution, stereo chip, more colors and the NEW TOS. Other products discussed included the laptop ST, an ST based game machine, and a new ST light light guns with games cable of utilizing it. One of the games announced was "Crossbow". On November 17th, 1988 ZMagazine and ST-Report editors Ron Kovacs and Ralph Mariano spilt an organized publication because of controversy surrounding editor Mariano. In January, STZMAG surfaced as a replacement to ST-Report Magazine. An Anti-Virus law was proposed by Michigan state lawmakers that would impose penalties against anyone convicted of creating or spreading computer viruses. This proposal came to light based on the virus attack earlier this month on military and research computers linked by ARPANET and other computer networks. Luckily, this virus did not cause any damage other than down time to all involved. Atari's Holiday Promotion was unveiled that offers free game cartridges to buyers of Atari video game systems and software. The "Atari Holiday Bonus Software Program" lets consumers who purchase an Atari 2600 or 7800 game system between November 21 and December 31 receive a bonus of two free game cartridges direct from Atari. Through December 31, Atari offered a $50 consumer rebate on the purchase of the Atari XE. GFA Systemtechnik informed MichTron that they intended to begin marketing all their products, world wide, by themselves. GFA was going to start a new company in the USA called GFA U.S.A. Hearing this, HiSoft approached MichTron about publishing their products in the United States. Atari attends the 10th Comdex showing UltrScript which was said to be ready in early 1989. DTP processors onhand included PageStream, Publisher ST, DeskSet, and Calamus. The PC4 and PC5 were on display with no word on US shipping dates. At the same show Commodore announced the Amiga 2000HD. 2 YEARS AGO - NOVEMBER 1987 =========================== Atari showcases the ABAQ at Comdex. The Abaq, based on a "transputer" chip, runs more than 10 times faster than a PC/AT technology and more than 5 times faster than the 68020 with math processor. Atari unveiled its new CD player capable of reading CD-ROM disks and of playing musical CD disks. The CD-ROM is supported by a Mega and ST-compatible DMA interface, and would retail in early 1988 for under $600. Also at Comdex, the Mega's SLM804 Laser printer, Deskset, WordPerfect, and Microsoft Write. Atari's IBM compatibles were shown, the PC2 (XT Compatible) and PC4 (AT Compatible), PC3 (VGA Graphics Operation), which join the PC1 already available at $799. Sam Tramiel states "I can see Atari Mega computers with laser printers as desktop publishing stations exchanging data with a satellite group of PC1's as LAN stations. An entire office environment can be created. The PC, the Macintosh, and the Atari computers co-exist. Each can do the things they do best." Atari announced "Moses PromiseLAN," a local area network that can connect up to 17 PCs using off-the-shelf telephone wire. They will also be developing Moses PromiseLAN adaptors for its Mega and ST computers. Thus, the Mega and Atari laser printer will be able to share data with PCs and Apple Macintoshes. 3 YEARS AGO - NOVEMBER 1986 =========================== Commodore's bankers renew a credit line of 140 million to keep things rolling. Earlier in the year they defaulted on loans while banks held off calling in the bucks. The Max Headroon Show gains popularity as Max appears in Conference on CompuServe. Max Headroom was best known for his witty, off-the-wall comments made while interviewing rock groups and other pop artists. Newsweek dubbed Max the "the TV talk show host of 1986 -- no, make that the year 2000." The Software Publishers Association announced it was offering a $100 reward to anyone turning in information about computer bulletin board systems that distribute copyrighted software. As reported in Zmag, in order to collect the bounty, tipsters HAD TO provide the name, telephone number and log-on information of a pirate BBS, as well as the street address and name of the sysop, a disk containing copyrighted materials downloaded from it and a printout of other copyrighted material posted there. $500.00 was paid out to date. Antic Online a CompuServe Forum was unable to reach a mutually acceptable contract with CompuServe, and found it necessary to discontinue ANTIC ONLINE. They would later kiss and make up. Supra Corp notified owners of it's 30MB Hard Drives manufactured by NEC that the drives may develop encoding problems. In a message sent to users of the Atari Developers Forum on CompuServe, Supra said that some disk drives manufactured between August 15 and October 15, 1986, have been known to fail after extended use. Encoding problems can lead to scrambling of the disk directory and subsequent loss of data. To determine if your Supra 30MB drive was manufactured during the suspected problem period, check the identification plate on the bottom of the drive. The manufacturing date shown is in the format of MDDYY or MMDDYY. Users who suspect a problem with their drive should contact: Supra Tech Support (503)967-9081. ZMagazine makes it's debut in Sweden on atleast three BBS systems. Sorman nformation eXchange, SIX. It runs on a Mac+, and carry general computer news and sections for Mac, Atari 8-bit, and Atari ST. The number is +46-470-22183. Atari entertains the masses at the 1986 Comdex show with Publishing Partner from Softlogik, and 8-bit products like the XEP80, SX212, and the long awaited BLiTTer chip promised for early 1987 for $120. Sam Tramiel states "Atari is bringing its philosophy of "Power Without the Price" to the wider peripheral market." PACMANIA REVIEWED ================= by Marc Ingle, S*P*A*C*E Reprinted from the Puget Sound Atari News Okay, I admit it, I'm a Pac-Man addict. I've played almost every form of the game including Ms Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, and Pac-Man Plus, but it wasn't until recently that I had played PacMania. Unlike previous versions of Pac-Man this version is played within a 3D maze! The object is the same... gobble pellets to rack up points while avoiding (or in some cases, gobbling) the dreaded ghost monsters. A few special objects will appear in the center of the maze from time to time. Some type of fruit will most frequently appear. If you gobble the fruit before it disappears you will be rewarded with some extra points. Every once in a while a large green or red pill will appear. If you are lucky enough to gobble the green pill you will be able to make Pac-Man move at double his normal speed. In this way you could clear the screen of pellets in a shorter than normal amount of time. If you manage to devour the red pill you will be rewarded with double points for each item that you eat. Both the red and green pill's effects will wear off in a short period of time so they should be used as wisely as possible. This game has four different levels of difficulty. Each level has a different name and different look, but the overall pattern of the maze does not change. The names of the levels are "Block Town", "Pac-Man's Park", "Sandbox Land", and "Jungley Steps" with "Block Town" being for beginners and "Jungley Steps" for the more advanced players. The ghost monsters are Pac-Man's only threat to gobbling up all of the pellets. The game starts out with five ghost monsters in the maze, but as you advance to higher levels more and more ghost monsters will appear. There are two distinctive ghost monsters that show up during the game. One is faster than the other ghost monsters and can be easily recognized because he looks as if he is "ticked off." Another distinctive feature of this particular ghost monster is the fact that he multiplies in the higher levels of play. The other distinctive ghost monster is of the color pink and has the unique ability to jump up and down. While playing the game I discovered that with the press of the fire button I could cause Pac-Man to jump over ghost monsters to get him out of hazardous situations. The only ghost monster I learned to avoid jumping over was the pink one, mainly because he can jump too. Overall I found PacMania to be a very entertaining game. My only complaint being that Pac-Man moves too slow in the lower levels. If you enjoy playing Pac-Man type games then I highly suggest that you get this one. Pac-Man is produced by Grandslam Entertainment LTD of London England. It runs on either a ST or Mega ST with a color monitor. A joystick is recommend, but is not required as there are keyboard controls too. The game also comes with a PacMania poster, several stickers, and a small instruction manual. The copy of PacMania that I used for this review was loaned to me by Ron Butler of Butler's Computer Service in Federal Way. He normally sells this game for $35.95, but like most computer stores, prices may vary. 130XE/1200XL VIDEO MODIFICATION =============================== by Rich Gratzer, S*P*A*C*E Reprinted from the Puget Sound Atari News Here's a quick modification for dedicated 8-Bit Users who would like to improve the video output from their 130XE or 1200XL computers. The reason for excluding the other 8-Bit machines is that I've not had the opportunity to modify any of them for use with a Commodore Monitor. This modification is intended for use with those monitors only; results will vary on other monitors. Unlike other 8-Bit video modifications, this one will not disable the RF-Modulated output so you can still use your machine on a regular Television. Again, the resulting picture quality may vary with different TV-sets. (All the computers I've altered so far, have looked much better on my monitor and SONY-TV if that helps to instill any confidence.) This modification is a job for experienced people only. Therefore, it will not be presented in a step by step fashion. Seek the help of a qualified friend, a local repair Technician, or come to the S*P*A*C*E Hardware Workshop and you can get the help you need. THE PROBLEM Shadows! Shadows everywhere, especially if you have a 1200XL! These poor machines, along with the 5200 Game Systems, had the worst video output of any Atari ever produced. Text characters cast black shadows looking similar to numbers on the side of a Navy vessel. It was a real mess. The problem originates in the luminance-signal which is generated by the Atari. It can be easily distinguished by pulling the Chroma signal from the back of the Commodore monitor. At this point you will be viewing only the luminance-signal and the shadow effect should be very apparent. Shadowing effects can also be caused by color gun mis- alignment, phase errors in the color-signal or within the monitor, and so on... Therefore, It's probably a good idea to disconnect the Chroma lead to verify that the shadow effect on your monitor is really coming from the luminance signal. If you have determined this to be a problem with your computer but do not wish to modify your equipment, you can partially mask the shadowing by turning up the briteness adjustment and increasing the amount of color on any monitor or TV set. TV's and monitors with low bandwidths may be less susceptible to the problem. Adjusting Contrast or Soft/Sharp controls may also help. The amount of shadowing in the luminance-signal varies from one model of Atari to another and I've found it to be relatively consistent for each model. Since the shadows appeared on both my monitor and TV, I assumed that the problem lied within the Atari. I located the troublesome spot in the video circuitry by touching the component leads with my fingers and watching the screen to see if I could alter the shadowing effect. I found the luminance circuit to be the culprit here. The following modifications are the result of my efforts. (In all honesty, I can't state with certainty the reason for this shadowing effect. There are several likely possibilities, but I don't have the test equipment required to properly evaluate the circuit. However, I can tell you what the circuit changes will do. The modification provides signal stability at the base (input) lead of the luminance driver-transistor, allows for briteness and contrast optimization, attenuates some of the hi-frequency output, and provides you with the cleanest looking picture that you will ever see from an 8-Bit Atari (on a Commodore monitor). It's that simple! THE FIX Here's a short 'remove and replace' list. Do these first and then move on to the additional steps. Model Remove Replace 1200XL R21 2.2K ohm L15 56 pf. C115 jumper R187 --NA-- CR20 56 pf. C60 --NA-- R162 --NA-- R163 2.2K ohm R23 150-220 ohm R25 150 ohm 130XE R116 jumper R52 --NA-- R53 --NA-- Additional Instructions: 1200XL/130XE Install a 3.3 to 4.7k ohm resistor from the +5 volt power-supply to the base (center) lead of the driver-transistor. You'll have to tack-solder this one onto the board anywhere that's feasible. This resistor adjusts the overall screen-briteness and if my memory serves me correctly the larger value resistor yields a darker picture. (It's been awhile since I did these mods!) Varying the value of the 150 to 220 ohm resistor will change the amount of contrast in the luminance output. You can pick a value in this range that best suits your system. I believe the larger value here provides the least contrast. 1200XL owners should also install a 220 ohm resistor from the emitter lead of transistor Q7 to pin 5 of the Monitor-Jack. (The emitter leg of the transistor is the leftmost lead when looking at the lettering on the flat side of the component-case.) This is now the new Chroma signal. Previously the Chroma input on the Commodore monitor had to be connected to the Composite video signal from the Atari. The picture will be greatly improved now that the Chroma and Luminance signals are separately fed to the monitor. 130XE owners have a bit more work to do. The 2.2K ohm resistors and 56 pf. ceramic-disc capacitors must be tack-soldered and mounted in an 'air borne' fashion. Unfortunately, there are no vacant component locations in which to add these additional parts as we had after gutting the 1200XL circuit. Also, the Lum-Out trace on the circuit board must be cut free from the emitter leg of the 2N3904 transistor and soldered to the center of the new emitter-resistors. The circuit trace can be found on the bottom side of the board. ATARI AD REPRINT ================ Submitted by Bruce "Z" Kennedy Well, it finally happened. Atari has started advertising again. Scientific American November issue page 13+. Folio Computer $399.95 Parallel Interface 49.95 Serial Interface 79.95 Memory Cards 32k 79.95 64k 129.95 128k 199.95 AC Adapter 9.95 Direct sale from Atari call 800-443-8020 COMPUTER WRITER JOHN J. ANDERSON DIES IN QUAKE ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Story by John Nagy The aftershocks of the San Francisco earthquake continue to rock us all and some of those shocks are personal rather than seismic. Although the death toll looks at this time to be well below the darkest estimates of many hundreds, that is little consolation to the families of those who died last Tuesday. Many of the dead are yet to be identified. Almost worse than the knowledge that a loved one or a friend is gone is the waiting to find out if they indeed survived. Our own publisher of ZMAG, ST*ZMag, and Z*Net, Ron Kovacs is still waiting to hear from a loved one in San Francisco for a business meeting on Tuesday and is among the thousands who have not yet been heard from. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the missing, almost all of whom are safe, but are unable to make outside contact in the wake of the quake-ravaged utilities. We do know of some specific fatalities... it was reported that among the dead was John J. Anderson, a long time Atari enthusiast and writer. John was in San Francisco less than a year as a senior editor of MACUSER Magazine, a Macintosh specific publication. He had moved there from Titusville, Florida, after several years editing COMPUTER SHOPPER magazine. John always worked to raise the image and awareness of the Atari line in CS as well as a number of other magazines he regularly wrote for. Those included continuing Atari columns and feature articles in FAMILY COMPUTING, CREATIVE COMPUTING, and many more. Part of the reason John left Computer Shopper was his frustration in working under Stan Veit, who seemed to want John to take over the magazine but who refused to yield sufficient authority to John to accomplish it. About the same time John Anderson left CS, the magazine was bought by Ziff Davis Publishing Company, and soon afterwards Stan was "retired" by the new owners. New Editor Bob Lindstrom has announced that Atari 8-bit coverage will end with the December 1989 issue of CS (along with ADAM, C64, TI, and the other older "classic computers"), and that the ST and AMIGA are being watched carefully to determine if coverage of those lines should also be cut in the future. While no one can say what would have happened to Atari coverage if John had stayed at CS, it is at least likely that he would be alive today to see it. It was John Anderson who called me at home one day a few years ago and asked if Computer Shopper could reprint an article I wrote that appeared in ZMAGAZINE. (It was about the then-embryonic 8-bit emulator being developed by Darek Mihocka, and his trouble with Atari about getting it approved for distribution.) As we talked, John mentioned that he was a regular reader of my work in both ZMAGAZINE and the user-group publication that I founded and edited, Michigan Atari Magazine. He commented that he found himself re-using much of the information I wrote about in his own columns, and asked if I wouldn't mind doing my own column in Computer Shopper. That call began a new career for me, and John and I became long-distance friends. We talked often about our joys and frustrations with Atari, and later, his frustrations with Computer Shopper magazine. I was sorry to see him leave, but the MACUSER offer was clearly a step up, and we all wished him well. John leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Anderson of Cresskill, NJ, and his wife, Lauren Hallquist, and two children, Peter, 4, and Kate, 1, of Boulder Creek, CA. Friends and fans who wish to send condolences to his family may do so c/o Atari Explorer, 7 Hilltop Rd., Mendham, NJ 07945. ======================================================================= ZMagazine Issue #179 October 29, 1989 Copyright (c) 1989, Rovac Industries, Inc.. =======================================================================
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