Z*Magazine: 27-May-91 #194From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 27-May-91 #194 Date: Sun Oct 3 15:18:23 1993 ==(((((((((( == Z*MAG/A\ZINE ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE =========(( === ---------------------------------- =======(( ===== May 27, 1991 Issue #194 =====(( ======= ---------------------------------- ==(((((((((( == Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Ind Inc.. Publisher/Editor : Ron Kovacs ----------------------------------------------------------------------- CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: Z-NET Z*NET BBS: (908) 968-8148 BLANK PAGE BBS: (908) 805-3967 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- *********************** THE EDITORS DESK *********************** by Ron Kovacs Here is issue #194. This time around we have news to tell you about AtariUser magazine and what it means to you. Each month we will be bringing you an article about the Atari 8-bit from AtariUser, however, these articles can NOT be reorinted from ZMagazine. You must call them for permission. The next scheduled edition will appear in two weeks from the publishing date of this issue. Happy Memorial Day! See you soon! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8-BIT ZNEWS UPDATE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The following Atari 8-bit Article is reprinted from the May, 1991 Issue of AtariUser Magazine, by permission. Further reprinting of this column is prohibited without specific permission of Quill Publishing, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723. AtariUser magazine is published monthly and covers the entire line of Atari computing products. For a subscription ($15) or to arrange free bulk delivery to user groups, contact AtariUser Magazine at 800-333-3567. Reeve Software has just announced a new release of their graphical operating system DIAMOND. This new release features improved performance over previous versions, in addition several new features. Updates for the Diamond applications (also available) take advantage of the improvements. Reeve Software, 29W 150 Old Farm Lane, Warrenville IL 60555. Computer Software Services (CSS), a long-time supporter of the Atari computers, has announced a new upgrade for the Atari XF-551 disk drive. The upgrade allows use of a 720K byte 3.5" drive mechanism while maintaining full functionality of the original 5.25" drive. New features added by the upgrade include increased transfer speed and correction of several problems in the original XF-551 ROM. CSS's phone number is (716)-586-5545, or you can write them at Post Office Box 17660, Rochester NY 14617. THE ATARI 8-BIT STATE - by Chuck Steinman What's up, What's down, and what you may find if you just look around... While there is not as much activity in the Atari 8-bit arena as there once was, the Atari 'Classic' computers remain as reliable and usable as ever. There are still many third-party developers producing exciting new products for the machines, in addition to the many seasoned products which are available. This column will offer news and information relating to your Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 1200XL, 65XE and 130XE 8-bit computer every month. With your ATARIUSER magazine handy, you may find survival in the computer jungle a bit easier. Ok, so you are a member of the 'I own a computer' club, but just what have you done with it recently? Ahhh, so you say there just are no programs available for your "old 8-bit Atari"... but have you REALLY looked? You will be surprised at the quantity and quality of economical software and hardware available for your machine. And you probably will not believe me when I tell you that more products are on their way - but there are! As with any other brand or model of computer, you have to invest enough into the system to make it usable. For most people that means you need a computer console with at least 32K bytes of RAM, a disk drive, and a monitor, or TV. Many applications will also require or be enhanced by using a printer. A second disk drive, while usually not mandatory, will usually make life with your computer system more pleasurable. There are many additional peripherals you can add, such as a modem, serial and parallel interfaces, and of course hard drive systems. I realize many owners of Atari 8-bit (and ST for that matter) systems have no local dealer or distributor. While this may make you feel like you cannot survive with your 8-bit system, with a little effort, you will find everything you need is just a phone call or letter away. ATARIUSER magazine will also make your life easier with many national distributors advertising within its pages, and monthly feature articles, reviews, and product guides. Another way to acquire new program files and associate with other Atari 8-bit users is by telecommunications. All you need in addition to the above suggested system components is a modem and terminal software. In addition to local bulletin board systems (BBS), there are several large national services which feature specific areas for users of Atari computers. Compuserve (CIS), Delphi, and GEnie all have active areas, which provide thousands of public domain and shareware files. These services also have message bases, and weekly real-time conferences, where you can 'chat' with other users. The Atari 8-bit computer systems remain a strong contender in many applications. If you write letters, there are several word processors available for the 'Classic' Atari. There are two versions of the AtariWriter word processor available. The first version is a cartridge based program, and the latter is disk based. The newer version also offers a spell-checker, which is a very nice addition. There is also the very popular and powerful shareware program TextPro, which is scheduled to be updated soon. If you are into number crunching, there are several spreadsheets available, such as Visicalc, Syncalc, and the cartridge based Turbo- Calc. Spreadsheets are THE way to handle complex calculations, especially where large numbers of variables are involved. In a matter of seconds, you can see the results of changing one or more variables. There are many mailing list managers, and database applications available. The commercial program SynFile will allow you to transfer data to and from SynCalc, which is a nice feature. There are several other commercial and shareware database management programs available. As you can see, the 8-bit systems can be used for all kinds of serious work. The types of programs listed here are just a small sample of the many different applications available. While it may take searching through magazine advertisements, and making a few phone calls, you should be able to find just the program you are looking for. Of course, ATARIUSER will keep you informed of what is available, and what is under development. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to send them to me, care of ATARIUSER magazine. BIO: Chuck Steinman is the VP of Research and Development for a company which designs and manufactures facility management systems, sold worldwide. Chuck has been published in almost every Atari magazine. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and designs hardware and software for the Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Apple, and IBM/PC systems, distributed under the DataQue label. Z*NETNEWSWIREZ*NETNEWSWIREZ*NETNEWSWIREZ*NETNEWSWIREZ*NETNEWSWIRE Z*NET NEWSWIRE -------------- Compiled by Ron Kovacs Fujitsu has unveiled a new 16-bit handheld computer called the AcuTote 3000, featuring full PC XT and MS-DOS compatibility, enabling users to develop applications on an industry-standard hardware platform. Logitech has announced ScanMan Model 32 for IBM and compatibles. This is an easy-to-use, black and white hand-held scanner that offers gray- scale image editing through software. The product will be available through Logitech dealers and distributors in early June at a suggested retail price of $299. Registered ScanMan Plus users can upgrade to GrayTouch software through Logitech for $25. Acclaim announced recently that it plans to double the number of software releases to the European market, having acquired the right from Nintendo to release five additional NES titles per year for the European market under the LJN label. Seagate announced the expansion of its lineup with 2.5-inch hard disc drives for the portable computer market. The ST9077A and ST9038A drives feature 64 and 32 formatted megabytes of data storage capacity, respectively, and come equipped with an embedded AT interface. The new models extend Seagate's ST9096 family of 85-, 42-, and 21-megabyte 2.5 inch drives. Each model weighs just 6.5 ounces. Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z Z*NET SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z*Z START MAGAZINE CEASES PUBLICATION --------------------------------- Story by John Nagy After days of conflicting rumors, it was confirmed by STart Magazine staff members on Wednesday, May 15, that the bi-monthly Atari magazine STart will NOT publish another issue. "STart has suspended publication pending a sale of the magazine," said Editor in Chief Tom Byron. A sale is said to be in the works with unidentified parties, and no timetable is being discussed publicly. Byron also said that the next issue, the June/July edition, had been completed and was waiting for printing when he got the news today that the suspension was in effect. There are no plans at this time for the printing and distribution of that edition to be carried out. STart had been building a reputation for fiscal difficulty for many months. Writers and programmers typically waited for six or more months to be paid for their free-lance and assignment work. After closing the 8-bit Atari magazine ANTIC, and folding it into STart last October 1990, STart was to have become a much larger monthly magazine - 120 pages was the discussed target. Instead, by January 1991, STart became a bi- monthly, and remained at about 80 pages. Meanwhile, the parent corporation of STart, Antic Publishing, was having additional trouble. An Amiga computer magazine was launched and failed despite a good market for Amiga magazines. Presently, Antic Publishing's STart staff is assigned to produce PC HOME JOURNAL, aimed at the IBM market. This venture appears to be doing better. Some of those close to STart say that the Atari magazine was paying for itself within Antic, but that all funds generated by it were being used in the other corporate efforts. Dropping to a bi-monthly format, they say, was more an effort to use staff for other projects than to economize the Atari operation. Now that production is suspended, the fates of subscribers and the many writers to whom STart has owed moneys dating back to mid 1990 is not known or predictable. If STart is sold, it may be that those owed will be paid from the revenues, or the new owner may assume the liabilities of the company. A third possibility is that there would be a liquidation and sale of assets held by STart itself, which may be negligible. Some observers speculate that a sale may be impossible, as STart may have more liabilities than assets. Amounts owed creditors and writers, plus the costs of substituted magazines to fulfill existing subscriptions may overshadow the value of the established subscriber base itself, estimated at perhaps over 20,000. Talk of a sale may be real or simply an effort to postpone inevitable conflicts with creditors. Upset developers and writers stand to lose between hundreds and many thousands of dollars each for published but unpaid work. Talk has already begun regarding possibilities of legal actions and class suits against Antic Publishing, who appear at this time to be remaining in business. Z*Net will continue to follow this story which is of great concern to the entire Atari community. STart was the last independent commercial "slick" magazine for the Atari in the U.S.A. It leaves behind only the bi-monthly Atari Explorer (Atari's own magazine), newsprint publications AtariUser and ST Informer, and smaller circulation user-group based publications like Current Notes, AIM, and PSAN. =========================================== DATAQUE TRANSKEY ---------------- Press Release =========================================== Official DataQue TransKey Aquisition Sale Details! Upgrade ROM 2.x from 1.x ............... $5.00 6116 SRAM (if your board lacks one) .... $5.00 TransKey solder-in version 2.x ......... $44.95 (normal $47.00) TransKey plug-in version 2.x ........... $54.95 (normal $57.00) Zero-Power SRAM for above .............. $11.95 (normal $12.95) Please Specify whether you want the keyboard connector to be of the inline or chassis mount type. If not specified the inline type will be assumed. NOTE: the above TransKey prices are for orders post marked >>BEFORE<< June 15, 1991, any orders received after that time will be billed at normal prices! If you have been thinking about getting one (or a second) NOW is the time. Upgrade ROMs will be available approx May 15th 1991, and TransKey systems will be available approx June 1st 1991. This is not vaporware, DataQue has just aquired the TransKey product line, and some components had to be ordered to build up the inventory. Upgrades will be the latest and greatest TK release, so if you have an older 1.x version, get on the stick, and send in your order for the new release. Version 2.x improves reliability, and adds more predefined macros and NEW user programmable macros. The ZP RAM adds the capability to retain user programmed macros when the computer is turned off. XE users should only order the solder in version, since their PoKey is not socketed. Orders should be sent to: DataQue Software Post Office Box 134 Ontario, OH 44862 USA All US orders include $1.50 (Canadians include $2.50) for S&H, foreign orders include $5.00 for S&H. All orders must be prepaid in US funds, drawn on a US bank. Cashier's Check, Money Orders, or Personal Checks are accepted, with the latter retained for 7 days for clearing. TransKey's purchased from DataQue Software are warranted for a period of 1 year on parts, and 90 days on labor. Please retain your invoice as proof of purchase. ########################### 8-BIT HARD DISK --------------- by Don Lebow ########################### Recently, I've run across several messages from folks wondering whether it was worthwhile to upgrade their 8-bit to a Hard Disk. For those who might have been asking themselves the same question, here are some personal notes on how I got mine, and how I use it. First consideration is cost, of course. How much? With a little shopping around, mixing and matching components, you can keep the price relatively low ... assuming you're savvy enough to do the matching, the cabling, and other elements of installation yourself. What you need: The HD itself Controller Board Power supply Interface to allow your XE or XL to access the HD (it's problematic to hook up an older 800 to a HD.) If you're not already, you'll also need to use a DOS that will support the LARGE partitions on an HD. That narrows it down to exactly 2: MYDOS 4.5 or SPARTADOS. (I use SpartaDOS X) Buzzword: a "Partition" is a block of storage on a Hard Drive which is assigned a drive number, and accessed by DOS just as if it were a separate drive. HD partitions often run to THOUSANDS of "free sectors", thus the need for a supportive DOS. I'm no techie, so after some checking around, I decided to opt for a "package deal" from Computer Software Services in Rochester. Cost was $399. For this I received a 10 meg Seagate drive (complete with an IBM logo on the faceplate to make me feel <SPECIAL> .. heh), Xebec controller board, power supply, and, most usefully, a Black Box (aka the "Bob Box," after Bob Puff, who designed it) which provides the interface. Added costs: I also opted for a case for the BB, which is a bare circuit board in stock format. A plastic shell to neaten things up adds $39.95. Since the BB supports a parallel interface for a printer (and includes a Print Screen button!) and serial RS-232 for modems and such, you'll probably want cables. CSS sells ready built cables for each, but they're also VERY easy to build yourself, given a bit of ribbon cable and some crimp on connectors. And with that RS232 interface out there just begging for a 2400 baud modem ... ok, I had one already, but if you don't it's hard to resist. The package is advertised as "ready to run", and that proved to be the case. All cables (except for having to plug the power supply into the HD, which even *I* was able to handle) were in place. I also got a disk including some vital HD support files: HD FORMAT (rarely needed) PARTITION FORMAT (often used) PARK (move the heads in your HD to a safe spot before powering down.) Once I'd unpacked everything, connected the BB to my 256k XL (via the PBI slot in the back), AND found room for all this stuff in my work area (both the HD and power supply are BIG boxes, approx 10 x 6 x 4), I fired up the 'puter and ... nothing. Oh dear. Back to recheck the seating on all the cables, cross fingers, close eyes, power up, and VIOLA! It works!! Now for the fun part. CSS had preformatted the drive, of course (else it wouldn't have booted when I turned it on.) But, of course, I wanted to customize it to meet my own needs. The BB docs are great, explaining the ins and outs of setting up an HD. They are general, but CSS also provided the basic stats for my specific drive, so I was able to forge ahead with confidence. With my trusty calculator by my side (aided by that Print Screen button, which let me keep a running record) it was a matter of deciding how many sectors I wanted for each partition, adding that to a starting sector number, then inputting the info into the BB configuration screen. Once done with allocation, I used the FMTDIR program on the included disk to initialize each partition, then started copying files from floppy over to their new homes. What did I end up with? This will, I think, give you an idea of WHY an HD can be so addicting: D1: 4000 sectors D2: 5000 sectors D3: 5000 sectors D4: 4000 sectors D5: Pseudo floppy D6: Floppy #1 D7: Floppy #7 D8: 5000 sectors D9: 7000 sectors Those are *Double Density* sectors, mah friends. My XF-551 shows 1440 sectors in DS/DD sparta format. Add it up and that makes ... lessee here ... the equivalent of around *20* DS/DD floppies! A whole disk box, all in one spot, instantly accessible! Neat, no? D6: is actually my ol' trusty XF, still with it's back switches set to being D1:, wherein lies a point. The BB (like the MIO, the other popular 8-bit HD interface) has the ability to "remap" drives. What does that mean? With multiple partitions, you suddenly have a system with anywhere from 2 to 9 "drives" all on line at once! Once you get over the shock <g>, the possibility of having any ONE of those be "D1:" or "D2:" to match requirements of whatever you might be running is irresistible. Unlike software "swap" commands, these remaps are "permanent" (i.e. until you change them again.) So if you decide you want to reboot with another partition as D1: (perhaps to boot Turbo Basic? Maybe a program that ASSumes AtariDOS, like AMP?. Or even *eek!* a copy protected floppy) No problem. D7: is actually RamDisk, as defined by DOS ABOUT THAT D5: "Pseudo Floppy" refers to a special feature of the BB. You can define a partition, specifying density, to match floppy specs (I use both 720 sector SD for AtariDOS, and 1440 DD sector for Sparta.) Use a sector copier (or DISCOM) to duplicate a floppy to the partition, and you have a "pseudo floppy" on your HD! That's not unusual. But the bonus is that the BB supports more than "active" partitions. In fact, it lets you define up to 96(!) partitions, all kept in a special "partition list" (touch of a key to access, even in the middle of a program), and swap them in and out of the "active" drive map at any time. I actually have <14> partitions set up on my HD. Waiting to be swapped in at need are 4 DOS 2.5 SD "disks", and 4 Sparta DS/DD "disks." How useful is that? I can specify a couple of the ADOS "disks" to D1: and D2: and boot DOS 2.5 from HD! Fast. I like that... IN USE Yes, well. Bells and whistles. But absent all the tricks, what are the more mundane benefits that might justify spending that kind of money? The biggest thing (and the real reason I bought it) is that having all that space means no more searching through floppies, trying to remember where a program is. My experience is probably not unlike yours: There are a few programs I use everyday. There are others I may use once a week or so. Then the OTHERS that I need every once in a while and are inevitably "somewhere" in a pile of 20 floppies. I know, I *should* have all my disks cataloged, but I don't. Find me looking for some obscure utility that I suddenly need at 2 a.m., and there I am, shuffling disks like a Las Vegas blackjack dealer. No more! (well, not as often, anyway ;-) I organized the HD in what works for me as a logical order D1: contains BobTerm and my most used utilities D2: is a "work disk", which I use for temporary storage (reformatted frequently) D3: is games D4: is another work disk D8: has all my TextPro files D9: is the archive, where I keep those not so often used programs. et, comme il dit, cetera. I've lowered my "where did I *put* that" time to just about nil. Second, but just about as useful, is that I've completely lost my old worry about wondering whether an UnARC, or a BIG file download/message capture would run into "disk full" hassles. This is hard to explain until you actually use it, but trust me. I go whole DAYS without feeling compelled to use CHKDSK. That's luxury. And speed, of course. That's a given. It's *not* as fast as a RamDisk, but, heck of a lot faster than a floppy. I mean, if I can boot up DOS 2.5 in 3 seconds (including RAMDISK.COM ... heh), no complaints. Matter o' fact, for some things I still prefer the RamDisk. To that end, I have a batch file on D1: that copies my essential TextPro program, cnf, and macro files (stored on HD, of curse) to RamDisk. Since I tend to use a lot of temp files in my macros, saving THIS then loading THAT, it seems to work better. Not only a bit faster, but saving a little wear and tear on the drive. With a few thousand spare sectors dedicated to text, it's also easy to exit and come back later, without worry. BOTTOM LINE Luxury or Necessity is a matter of personal definition. I've talked about some of the reasons I'm glad I took the plunge. They may or may not make sense to you. Or you may see possibilities matching your own situation that I missed. Whatever, this isn't an insignificant amount of money, especially in terms of the traditional 8-bit market. This is where the real decision comes in: how much do you (or *will* you in the future?) actually USE your 8-bit. That's a question you'll have to work out for yourself. If you answer "a lot", then I think you should give an HD some serious thought. If you have comments or questions, feel free to post... NEXT TIME: backing up and how I learned to love it ;-) ======================================================================= Z*Mag/a\zine Archives --------------------- May 27, 1986 - Issue #3 ======================================================================= Editors Note: This Month (MAY 1991) marks the start of our sixth year of publishing this online magazine. With all future issues, we will reprint some of the interesting material previously available in older ZMAG issues. This week we go back to the beginning. An Eight Bit Lament ------------------- by Richard Kovalick April 27,1986 I'm an eight bit Atari Computer. Will I continue to be supported? For how long? Has everybody forgotten about me? I have a new bigger and faster brother called ST. Everyone is paying attention and talking about him. They are writing a lot of new software for him. How about me? Over a year ago my parents (The Atari Corp) jazzed me up a bit and gave me some more memory. The magazines wrote a few articles about the new me. They also published a couple of copy programs and a picture loader for me. The software manufacturers did not do much more. They put a couple of new routines in existing programs (AtariWriter Plus and SynFile +) to use my extra memory and came out with a couple of games. That was about it. Oh yes, Optimized Systems Software (bless them) did write a great new Basic Language just for me. My parents should have done that. This way everyone would have this new better Atari Basic Language to use. My parents promised to make a new 3 1/2 inch disk drive just for me. They also have been talking about an 80 column board for me. But, they got busy with my new brother ST and I have not seen them. There are ways to increase my memory to 320K and even more. What am I going to do with all that memory, without some new software? The Pirates out there are not helping me at all. There are some darn good programs out there, that are worth the price. If everyone went out and bought a piece of software, once in a while, the manufacturers would realize I'm still around and make some new software for me. Maybe, when the novelty with my new brother wears off, everyone will realize that I'm still around. With the proper support from my users and the manufacturers, I can do a heck of a lot and my price is right. Right now, I sure feel like I am on the way out. I purposely dated this. I hope some day soon, I will have to eat my words. Will I have to? Reprinted from Zmag/a\zine Issue #3 May 27, 1986 (c)1986 Ron Kovacs, 1991 Rovac Industries, Inc. ======================================================================= Z*MAGAZINE Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine is a bi-weekly magazine covering the Atari and related computer community. Material contained in this edition may be reprinted without permission, except where otherwise noted, unedited, with the issue number, name and author included at the top of each reprinted article. Commentary and opinions presented are those of the individual author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Z*MAGAZINE or the staff. Z*Magazine Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine, Z*Net Atari Online Magazine, Z*Net are copyright (c)1991 by Rovac Industries Inc, a registered corporation. Post Office Box 59, Middlesex, New Jersey 08846. (908) 968-2024. Z*Net Online BBS 24 Hours, 1200/2400 Baud, (908) 968-8148. We can be reached on CompuServe at 71777,2140 and on GEnie at Z-NET. ======================================================================= Z*Magazine Atari 8-Bit Online Magazine Copyright (c)1991, Rovac Industries, Inc.. =======================================================================
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