Z*Net: 03-Aug-90 #531From: Kevin Steele (aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 08/25/90-10:27:57 AM Z
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From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele) Subject: Z*Net: 03-Aug-90 #531 Date: Sat Aug 25 10:27:57 1990 ======================================================================= ////// // // ////// ////// Z*Net Atari Online Magazine // / /// // // // --------------------------- // /// // // // ////// // AUGUST 3, 1990 // / // /// // // --------------------------- ////// // // /////// // Issue #531 ======================================================================= (=) 1990 by Rovac Industries, Inc. Post Office Box 59 Middlesex, New Jersey 08846 Z*Net Online BBS: (201) 968-8148 ======================================================================= Publisher-Editor: Ron Kovacs Associate Editor: John Nagy Distribution: Bruce Hansford UG Coordinator: Robert Ford Z*Net New Zealand Editor: Jon Clarke Contributor: Mark Quinn Z*Net Canada Reporter: Terry Schreiber Contributor: Alice Amore Z*Net Germany Reporter: Michael Shutz Advertising: John Tarpinian ======================================================================= CompuServe 71777,2140 * GEnie Z-NET * Cleveland Free-Net ======================================================================= ========================== EDITORS DESK ========================== Ron Kovacs Hope your enjoying your summer..... Next week a report from a Fleetwood Mac concert I recently attended courtesy of Atari and first impressions with SuperCharger. Thanking you for your support <grin>........... Ron ========================== CONTENTS ========================== - Z*NET NEWSWIRE....................................................... - GRIBNIF ANNOUNCES NEODESK 3.............................Press Release - PILOT AUTHORING LANGUAGE................................Press Release - REVIEW: THE GAME OF HARMONY..................................Tim Holt - SO YOU WANT TO BE A HARDWARE DEVELOPER - PART 2.............Jim Allen - Z*NET DOWN-UNDER...........................................Jon Clarke - Z*NET ECHOS...........................................Terry Schreiber ************** Z * N E T *************** ************** *************** ************** N E W S W I R E *************** /* PORTFOLIO GOES CATALOG MAIL ORDER */ B. N. GENIUS, a national chain of specialty store similar to SHARPER IMAGE, has featured the Atari Portfolio palmtop computer on the cover and double inside front spread in their latest catalog. The Washington, D.C. based company has stores in many cities but does the bulk of their national business via the popular glossy mail order catalog. Only months ago, the competing SHARPER IMAGE company was rebuffed by Atari for mail order sales, although the Portfolio was approved for showroom sales. While the additional exposure and sales of the Portfolio will undoubtedly help Atari overall, some Atari dealers are concerned to see their formerly exclusive sales territories invaded by mail order... something that Atari had at least implicitly promised would not happen. /* MORE ATARI ON TV */ Atari has negotiated with a number of television and media sources to provide Atari computers for "product placement", the latested rage in advertising. On of many "appearances" will be on the "FLASH" television series slated for this fall. FLASH is based on the comic book super hero who could move so fast as to be invisible. Atari computers will be used in all of the office and laboratory scenes, with suitably high-tech screen representations running on each to accent the science fiction/ fantasy premise of the youth-appeal action series. This is part of an active advertising and promotion plan scheduled for a fall launch. /* ATARI WORPERFECT IMPROVED */ A new maintenance update of WordPerfect 4.1 for the Atari ST includes several feature enhancements and support for large screen monitors. Improved features include auto-hyphenation, "Look" using regular GEM windows with scroll bars, direct import/export between the ST 4.1 and the IBM 4.2 versions of WordPerfect, and support for several new printers. Also available is an additional print disk, providing improved support for PostScript printing. The Post Script printer drivers offer several point sizes of Times Roman, Helvetica, Helvetica Narrow, Avant Garde, Bookman, Zapf Chancery, New Century Schoolbook, Palatino, and Courier. Registered WordPerfect users can get the maintenance update for $12.50. The additional PostScript print disk is available for $10 by itself or only $2.50 if ordered WITH the maintenance update. Call (800) 222-9409, or write to WordPerfect Corporation, Atari Products Division, P.O. Box 731, Orem, Utah 84059- 0731. /* SAN JOSE WORLD OF ATARI THIS WEEKEND */ Z*Net will have reporters at the San Jose World of Atari show, taking place this Saturday and Sunday August 4 and 5th in northern California. Atleast 22 vendors have been reported to be appearing. Look for a complete report in the next edition of Z*Net Online. /* NEW MAGNETIC DISK STORAGE */ Hitachi announced this week that it will market a new magnetic disk storage subsystem with the world's largest storage capacity. The H-6587 series of magnetic disk storage sybsystems, has a capacity of 35 gigabytes (GB). A memory of 35 GB can store the equivalent of 70 years worth of a daily newspaper. /* IBM PRICE REDUCTIONS */ IBM announced price reductions this week on several models of the PC System/2 (PS/2) line. The reductions, which range from 24 to 34 percent, affect the PS/2 Model 60 041 and 071 and the Model 80 041 and 071. The new prices are listed below. In conjunction with these price reductions, IBM also announced the withdrawal of the PS/2 Model 60 041 and 071 and the Model 80 041 and 071. IBM Former New Standard Personal System/2 Price Price Configuration Model 60 041 $4,195 $2,750 10 MHz 80286; 1 MB RAM; 1.44 MB diskette; 44 MB disk Model 60 071 $4,645 $3,085 10 MHz 80286; 1MB RAM; 1.44 MB diskette; 70 MB disk Model 80 041 $5,395 $4,000 16 MHz 80386; 1MB RAM; 1.44 MB diskette; 44 MB disk Model 80 071 $6,095 $4,500 16 MHz 80386; 2MB RAM; 1.44 MB diskette; 70 MB disk /* APPLE DONATES $1.2 MILLION */ San Joaquin Valley's Dos Palos High School is one of 28 schools that will receive this year's "Crossroads" grants of computer equipment worth $1.2 million from Apple Computer. Grant winners this year are schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maine, Louisiana, Florida, Connecticut and California. /* COMMODORE ANNOUNCES NEW STANDARDS */ Commodore has announced that all new A2500/30s will ship with 5MB RAM standard and that the A2630 will now have 4MB standard. List prices remain the same. Also, the A3000/16 and A3000/25 which formerly shipped with a 40MB hard drive will now ship with a 50MB drive. Once again, list prices remain the same. /* WYSE UNVEILS NEW 486 SYSTEM */ Wyse Technology has added to its family of Unix-based multiuser systems with the most powerful Intel 486-based multiprocessing system now available. The Series 9000i Model 940 can support up to eight 486 microprocessors, offering more than 100 MIPS (million instructions per second) performance. =============================== GRIBNIF SOFTWARE ANNOUNCES NEODESK? 3, THE ULTIMATE DESKTOP FOR THE ATARI> ST? =============================== Press Release HADLEY, MA (August, 1990) -- Gribnif Software has advanced the state of the art in graphical user interface design with the latest version of their desktop replacement, NeoDesk 3 - The Ultimate Desktop. This new version offers both an easier to use and much more powerful working environment than anything ever offered before for the Atari ST. Its completely graphical approach brings to the Atari a more professional and efficient interface which can compete head on with the best offered by other environments such as the recently introduced Windows 3.0 from Microsoft. In making this announcement, Rick Flashman, president of Gribnif Software said "Our goal with NeoDesk 3 was simple, to create the best, efficient, and easy to use desktop that has ever been available on any machine." Dan Wilga, head programmer behind NeoDesk 3, said "NeoDesk 3 is the result of over 9 months of development and it is one of the most ambitious projects of its type anywhere." During the process of development, entire sections of the program were rewritten several times in an attempt to gain every extra ounce of performance. NeoDesk 3 incorporates an incredibly impressive array of new and enhanced features as have never been seen before. New features like Desktop Notes?, the File Clipboard?, Macros, and Split Windows are destined to become new standards in the type of features and capabilities that all users expect from their computer. Tricia Metcalf, CEO of Gribnif Software, commented "Many of the new features in NeoDesk 3 have never been seen anywhere, but they are very likely to become the type of features that no one can live without!" Gribnif Software is supporting the release of NeoDesk 3 with a massive advertising campaign, aimed at supporting the product and its dealers. "We were very surprised at the large number of dealers who began including NeoDesk will all their ST systems.", Rick Flashman commented. Many dealers report that with NeoDesk on an ST they are able to effectively demonstrate the power of the ST when compared against the graphical interfaces now being offered on other platforms. NeoDesk 3 has a suggested licensing fee of $69.95 and will be available in national distribution by September 1st. European distribution will follow shortly afterwards including foreign language versions. NeoDesk?, Desktop Notes?, and File Clipboard? are trademarks of Gribnif Software. All other trademarks belong to their respective holders. =============================== PILOT AUTHORING LANGUAGE FOR ST =============================== Press Release Hoover, AL (Aug 1). Today, eSTeem inc. introduced a version of the PILOT authoring language for Atari ST computers. eSTeem PILOT is a GEM- based language and management system for creating and using a wide variety of programs for education, training and systems control. PILOT, an acronym for Programmed Inquiry, Learning Or Teaching, is a simple, powerful and widely used language for creating tutorials, simulations, interactive laser videodisc programs, device control systems and other computer-based systems. eSTeem PILOT is an enhanced version of PILOT, fully utilizing the friendly GEM (Graphic Environment Manager) user interface and graphic capabilities of Atari ST computers. It follows the proposed 1990 IEEE revision of the PILOT language standard. In addition to its GEM user interface, eSTeem PILOT can: - import DEGAS and EasyDraw graphics - draw graphics and write text - generate music and sound effects - read and write data files - load, run, and chain program modules, automatically - place and remove graphic response markers - handle point-and-click responses to graphic buttons - offer context-sensitive HELP dialog boxes - control user access via passwords - log and report usage - control laser videodisc players and other devices An eSTeem PILOT program--called a module--can switch between full text, full graphics, and split-screen text and graphic displays. It can present typed information and evaluate typed responses. It can load as many as two DEGAS-type pictures and eight EasyDraw or other GEM-type graphics and then display them separately or simultaneously. It can place as many as five graphic markers for labeling parts of the graphic display and detect the user's point-and-click responses on these markers. It can also define areas of the graphic screen which become "hidden buttons" to which eSTeem PILOT can respond when the user points and clicks on them. eSTeem PILOT can control external devices through the computer's serial port. A laser videodisc player with a computer interface can be connected to an Atari ST or Mega computer to provide a sophisticated, computer-based, interactive videodisc training system. eSTeem PILOT is easily configurable for use in a wide variety of situations, including the home, classroom, resource or training center or office. Global defaults can be set and stored for password access, module logging, drive and path settings, title screen display, and the option to load and run a module at the time eSTeem PILOT is run. eSTeem, inc. will begin shipping eSTeem PILOT August 15, 1990. Orders and dealer inquiries should be directed to: Computers Etc. 4647-B Highway 280 Birmingham, AL 35242 205/980-9146 =============================== REVIEW: THE GAME OF HARMONY =============================== by Tim Holt Have you checked your crystal lately? Have you chanted your mantra? Is your Ying out of synch with your Yang? Well, I have a game for you! Billed as the first "New Age Game", Accolade has come out with "The Game of Harmony", a game to relax you, rather than raise your blood pressure. Actually, the idea is pretty neat. I personally am growing tired of "shoot em until the entire population is destroyed". And there are far too few games where the objective is not to kill and destroy. "Harmony" is a step in the right direction. The idea of Harmony is very basic: push similar colored orbs together, cancelling each other out, and when all the orbs of a screen are eliminated, move on to the next level. The manual calls this "synergy". Sounds easy, but like any good game, a simple idea can sometimes get complicated. If two unlike colored orbs hit, they make an altogether different colored pod. You can grab the pod and get more "energy", but if you let them lie too long, then you have to cancel them out by pushing them against a similar colored orb. Still with me? It gets more complicated. There are barriers of all different configurations (fifty in all) that prevent you from moving forward. Also, spheres can be "rubber banded" together, so where you push one sphere affects the one that is attached to it. If you push them together in such a way that they keep hitting each other over and over, well, they create more pods, more spheres, and on and on. Okay, so what? Well, you have to get out of a screen before the spheres explode with "tension". The more spheres you get on screen, the less time you have to cancel out each color. It can really get out of hand if you have 20 or 30 orbs all getting ready to explode. When the exnplosion happens, you lose a life. You have 4 per game. Okay, how do you push all these spheres together, how do you collect the energy pods? Well, you control a sphere of your own (called a "seeker") that can be controlled by the joystick or keyboard. It will go in the direction you tell it, and the direction is pointed out on top of the seeker. Be careful though, you only have between 10 and 30 seconds per level. You can move on to bonus rounds, where you aquire more time, more lives or more energy. There is even a random pod that pops up and if you run it over, you get a new life. Sort of a reincarnation if you will. The manual is very brief, as it has the loading instruction for all versions of the game, and takes six of the thirteen to tell you how to start. The instructions are brief, and hold to the theme of "New Age"; you are reminded to "relax", and not to "breed tension". You could easily figure out the game from the onscreen instructions that appear in the demo mode. There are three modes: demo, mantra and normal. Demo is self explanitory, but as I said, does have good instructions. Mantra mode is known in most worlds as practice. No scoring, you can't be eliminated, the spheres do not explode with tension, and you can go through all fifty levels if you wish. However, don't expect to play the normal mode as you did the practice mode. In practice, the pods do not appear as in regular mode, and there is no time limit. The game is not copy protected, and MAY be placed on a hard drive. This is a nice touch, however, you must get through the copy protection scheme, and match a screen picture with a list of pictures on a seperate piece of paper. (An interesting note: The paper that the copy protection screens is a very dark red color, and cannot be duplicated with a photo copier. This is a very smart move by Accolade, however, it is so dark that the actual screens on the paper are most difficult to discern. I guess they knew that would happen, because they give you three chances to enter the correct screen number.) Do I like Harmony? Yes. It isn't the greatest game I have ever played, but it is very pleasant to play. It is, as it claims, relaxing. The sound is very nice, and comes out really loud and clear when you have it hooked up to speakers on your ST-e. The colors used are all pastels, not seen too often in games. Very pleasant to look at. Sick and tired of killing games? Then check out The Game of Harmony. After a hard day at work, you deserve it... Ease of Play...............10 Sustained Interest level....8 Instructions................7 Overall rating............8.5 Tim Holt ST Club of El Paso ====================================== SO YOU WANT TO BE A HARDWARE DEVELOPER PART 2 ====================================== by Jim Allen This feature is a reprint from the SUMMER ST-JOURNAL MAGAZINE, presented here by permission. THIS ARTICLE MAY NOT BE REPRINTED IN ANY OTHER PUBLICATION OR NEWSLETTER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM ST-JOURNAL, 113 West College Street, Covina, CA 91723, 818-332-0372. So you're still here - you're sure you want to be a hardware developer? Ok, let's get down to the basics of the hardware business. First, you'll need to do some reading. You'll need to become competent in marketing, finance, and accounting so that you can generate sales and control your money. There is no point in committing your valuable time and startup capital to a business if you aren't equipped to benefit fully from your work. When you're working for yourself, only you are ultimately accountable. You can and should hire both a lawyer and an accountant, and you should find a source for business advice from a seasoned veteran. This is an invaluable resource and should be considered a necessity. Whether you have a friend or relative who has owned abusiness, or you go to the Small Business Administration, you'll benefit from a business mentor. I was lucky in this regard. The company for which I had worked for 6 years was founded by three wicked, smart engineers who'd had every possible experience--good and bad--you could imagine. This collective experience was available for the asking. They warned me of many pitfalls, taught me a great deal, including how to obtain venture capital, (That's when someone gives you millions in exchange for your first born.) and, also, how to be an engineer. And, they paid me for the privilege. What a country! Reading material can be helpful. For this, I suggest "The Regis Touch" by Regis McKenna, the man behind the rise of Intel in the 1970s. His book is a very good indoctrination into marketing fundamentals. For general business info, you should read "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School". This book covers a lot of ground and passes on, what I feel, is a good attitude about business. Next, you should read "Business Plansthat WIN $$$" by Rich and Gumpert. These authors will walk you through the process of generating a very important document, your business plan. This plan is your blueprint for what you want to accomplish and, also, the on-going record of your 'enlightenment' while becoming a business person. At first it will be rough, but, eventually, you'll hone it into a good tool. In the future, you'll look back and read your earlier entries and say 'how could I have been so stupid?' This process of self evaluation is important. Remember, your the boss; no one is going to push and prod you, except maybe your creditors. A good plan will allow you to explore the profitability of your product in an atmosphere that eliminates the 'romance' of the hardware. For your own good, your decisions of what to build and how to price it, etc., must all be made in a cold, calculating fashion. Don't fall in love with adud; your wallet is only so deep. When the subjects of finance and accounting come up, I get a real ugly feeling. They can be very boring and tedious but the only way to make money is to be able to control it correctly. If you don't let your finances make your decisions, you may 'decide' yourself right out of business. It's acutely important in a hardware business that all expenditures be based solely on absolute need. Do not run out and get a ton of neat test equipment to build your lab; do not build up a big stock of components to make prototyping easy. Just because you are flush with cash is not reason enough to spend it. Before you do anything, you'll need to run through all the expenses and setup costs involved in your product-to-be. And, since you will want to keep track of every expenditure from the second you officially start your business, the first thing you should do is set up your accounting system. For help here, I suggest that you go to your nearest college and buy the intermediate accounting textbook. Check the bookstores and find a good 'plain English' accounting book as well. You can start out with books and computerize your system later. Learn this accounting well, grasshopper, or you'll wake up someday with $1000 missing and you won't know where it went. Once you start to master the thought of being 'in business', you will need to select the capital equipment you need to get the job of product development done. You'll probably need an oscilloscope - I lease mine; it allows me to get a quality product. You'll need a multimeter. (Good ones can be had for $100.) If you're going to be building PC boards, you'll need a good soldering station. Don't skimp here; buy a good Weller with replacement tips. If you're going to be using programmable logic then the economy move is to use GALs. They're reprogrammable and will save money. I use a good programmer, called PLT, from a company in Colorado. PLT comes with a logic compiler, programs GALs only, and costs $500, complete. It has filled my requirements. Other programmers are very expensive and should be leased if needed. If you're going to be creating your own PC boards, then you'll need a schematic and layout CAD software package. There are many under $1000. Personally, I have Futurenet schematic capture and EZRouteII auto router. This package is a bit expensive, but I've used it for years so I'm biased. If you choose the selections listed here, you may be forced to purchase an IBM PC since most CAD software runs on Pcs. (The Mac stuff is on the high end.) Once you have some development tools, you need to select the ST computers you need to get the job done. If you require something for general work, then I suggest a 520STfm and a Mega2. You'll also need both a color monitor and a monochrome monitor. These two have all the features that you'll require. (There's no point in investing in more machines unless you need to have examples of all the motherboard layouts.) If this is the case, it's always helpful to go hunting (in your user group) for guinea pigs. Originally, because I had to have an example of every possible configuration, I had one of each known make of ST. If you are doing a Mega board, then you will probably need only a Mega. This is where Atari comes to the rescue. If you are registered as a commercial developer and are designing a product for the market, they'll give you some great discounts on equipment. The Turbol6, however, is a special case. In order to test its compatibility, I had to obtain many third party products. Only you will know exactly what you need but the watch word is need. Do not try to 'justify' neat things like a big screen monitor when it has no bearing on your efforts; learn discipline early. You'll also need to set up an office, a place where you can keep track of all the paper work you'll be generating and where you can have outsiders come and meet you. It's important that you put on a good show for all the sales engineers and business people you'll be dealing with. Also, the impression you leave with your would-be suppliers will have a direct affect on your credit limits and the response times you get from inquiries. There are a number of contacts you'll need to make in order to be successful in the hardware business. You'll need to know many distributors, so track down all the major ones in your area and build relationships early. (For any part you might need, you should find yourself two or three sources.) Companies like Hamilton/Avnet, Arrow Electronics, Interface Electronics, and Schweber will become business partners with you. You will need to have them 'stock' items you'll be using so that you can purchase them in small quantities. The best way to approach this is the way I buy 68000 chips. I determine what I think will be a realistic production level for Turbol6, then order a year's worth of chips and have deliveries spaced out by month. This lets me get the discount price while buying only a small amount at a time. It's also a standard practice. Remember, you'll have a tough time getting credit lines until you have been in business for a while, so build as many good relationships with suppliers as you can. As for myself, I was known by the sales reps from my experience with my previous company, so I landed big credit limits early on. But, believe me, they were taking chances. Now, after a couple of years of strongties, I have very good relationships with my suppliers. Also, get to know the engineering support people from your local manufacturers. I have a long relationship with Motorola, and, although I have a small company, I still have the opportunity to obtain the latest and greatest items like the 040 chip. There is nothing like having your distributor intercede on your behalf to 'sell' you to a manufacturer. All relationships are important; never burn bridges. Next time, I'll begin a practical 'case history" of a product. We'll go through the development process together and see what happens. See you then. - JA ========@@@@@@=======@@@===@@==@@@@@@==@@@@@@======== ===========@@===@@===@@@@==@@==@@========@@========== ==========@@===@@@@==@@=@@=@@==@@@@@@====@@========== ========@@======@@===@@==@@@@==@@========@@========== =======@@@@@@@=======@@===@@@==@@@@@@====@@========== ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Z*Net Down-Under by Jon Clarke ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ +--------+------------------------------+ | \ | / | * | |---+--- | | | / | \ | * * | +--------+ | | * | | | +---------------------------------------+ The changing faces of global networks local and major. ----------------------------------------------------- ::The Humble BBS Bites Back:: Well here we are all nice and comfortable reading Z*Net for another week. Have you ever given any thought to how this and many of the other articles arrived on your computer? Did you get it in the mail? If you did that is easy. It went by land, air or sea to get to your place. Did you get Z*Net from a BBS or Major on-line service? If you did, it went a little further than land, air or sea, it went via Satellite! This article of Z*Net Down-Under was penned in Auckland, in New Zealand. Now get out your maps and look for New Zealand. That's it! Between Australia and the South Pole. Well and truly down-under. Now find your location on the map. The distance between here and your place is about, what ? Lets say 7-10,000 miles and two continents away. For this article to get to Z*Net it has already travelled over 112,000 miles. From here in Auckland it does three (3) satellite hops to the United States and then by landline and sometimes via another satellite hop into the USA network where I leave this mail. All for the cost of a local call plus a little more. How is this achieved? Well as I have stated in an earlier article, we use the IPSN (International Packet Switch Network). This is a series of "Carrier Networks", that take your call from your home to distant networks far away. Users of GEnie will be familiar with your local PAD, as users of Compuserve and Bix will be familiar with "Tymnet". These allow you to access your favourite online system for the fraction of normal 'voice toll charges'. Once you are on the IPSN you will become very familiar with some of the global services like GEnie, Compuserve,BiX, CT, Micro-link and others. A point to bare in mind that some of the 'major' on-line services have other uses for their networks and sometimes the things you and I use them for are of little consequence to their overall 'global stategy. The good thing about this is it allows people from other countries such as Europe, Pacific and Asia to join in and you get a truly global family of users. Please note: Use of the IPSN incurs a cost "over" that of the on-line service you wish to use. ----------- :: I was shocked to learn earlier in the year that 'Tymnet' is now owned and operated by "BT" as we know it or "British Telecom". Here I was using Compuserve and Bix assuming the carrier I logged onto from here was a US based firm. Imagine my shock when I saw "BT" plastered all over the promo material. Ironic really when you think about it. "The British are coming! The British are coming!", as that famous chap 'Paul', once said. Other Networks avalible for us mere mortals. -------------------------------------------- For those of us who do not have an unlimited pocket-book, there are other networks we an use at a fraction of the cost. I refer to the likes of Fido-mail, F-Net, and Usenet. These can be accessed on many BBS's world wide and reflect the changing face of the humble Buliteen Board. ::Fido-Mail:: ::::::::::::: Is a world wide mail store and forward system. You will usually find it based on the local BBS networks. The good thing about Fido is the ability to echo mail around your country and world wide. Not much Atari related mail. Echoes(mail) from countries like :Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand are not uncommon on this network. ::F-Net:: ::::::::: FoReM-Net mail is also world wide and links the many FoReM BBS's world wide. I have seen echoes from Isreal, England, USA and the likes. Lots of Atari based news and mail. Good local network to get involved with. This is very popular in the USA, and a cheap and easy way to communicate. ::Usenet:: :::::::::: Usenet is a truly world-wide all computer/leisure/business based mail/file system. This is normally associated with education,VAX,Unix facilities. However it is opening up to local BBS's and other companies, institutions that wish to spread the net-mail. Your message can travel alot further than 112,000 miles and the message headers (where the mail is addressed to) can be very long. Below is a sample of a message Path (or the trip it takes from me to say the USA) ->[USA] Path:feds19!cvbnet!atexnet!kodak!rochester! rutgers!tut.cis.ohio-state.edu!cs.utexas.edu! samsung!munnari.oz.august!comp.vuw.ac.nz!am.dsir.govt.nz! dsiramd!marcamd!mercury!kcbbs!stt [Us in NZ]<- Usenet does however offer some excellent Atari based topics, ie.. comp.sys.Atari.ST <- ST based mail comp.sys.Atari.8Bit <- 8 Bit based mail comp.binary.Atari.ST <- ST based files comp.binary.Atari.8Bit <- 8 Bit based files comp.source.Atari.ST <- ST based source code. Over the next few weeks I will take you for a walk through Fido-Mail, echo-mail and Usenet so you can see what is happening in the changing faces of the "humble BBS". \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ \\\Z-Net Down-Under can be reached at the following EMAIL address's\\\ \\\ ::Fido:: Zone 3/ Jon Clarke ::Usenet:: STT@kcbbs.gen.nz \\\ \\\ ::GEnie::J.Clarke6 ::Compuserve:: 72000,3555 \\\ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ /////// // // /////// ////// // // /// // // / / // / / // // //// // // / // // ////// // //// //// // // / // // /// // / // // // // // // / // /////// // // /////// //// Z*Net Echos by Terry Schreiber The cross-nets are buzzing with pros and cons of Atari Corp. The general conclusion is that persons living in places other than the U.S. are happy or happier than those living under the head office. Canada has been used as a test market on most of the Atari product line and therefore has received new products before the U.S. dealers. This has both advantages and disadvantages to the U.S. Atari market. The advantages being that the U.S. dealers will get a tried and proven product, Atari should have all the bugs fixed by it's intro into the U.S. Some will disagree reciting examples of the Stacy battery problems and the STe Tos and DMA port problems that are now appearing after the product release in the U.S. and some will even say that Atari was aware of the problem before they went to market. This is common place with any computer - some try to justify their computer by defending it - others go the opposite way and cry foul at every event involving Atari. The release of products into a test marketplace is a very good idea and is common amongst all manufacturers. A certain fast food outlet is constantly testing it's "M" this or "M" that in different cities in North America. Market testing is here to stay but unfortunately what works to Atari's benefit can also work against them. U.S. dealers cry foul over Canadian suppliers shipping goods into their marketing area. Atari as it seems, always had a problem in the U.S. retail end with both it's dealer network and end users. When Atari purchased the Federated chain and began competing against it's own dealer network, that was the last straw for many independent dealers. The Atari users ask "Where are the new products you announced". The whole situation is a catch 22, your dammed if you do or don't. Atari has survived in the North American market and intends to make it self known in the next few months. In Canada, we are scheduled for a very agressive marketing campaign starting with the back-to-school. I have not heard this years slogan as of yet but I think the "Power without the price" and Technology so advanced it's affordable" should take a back seat to something that more describes the handling capabilities and ease of use. (more like a car commercial) The computer market is losing sales to people who are intimidated by "The Machine" cars sell by options - automatic transmission, power brakes, stereo surround sound, air conditioning, etc. If the ease of use and options available were known Atari would sell many more computers. A test drive could be set-up at local dealers where as a system could be tried before it is purchased. A nominal rental fee could be charged for the system for a weekend with the rental going towards the purchase price if the customer decided to buy. I have on occassion lent one of my systems to a computerless friend only to find that when the system is returned usually within thirty days he buys his own, sort of like taking the candy away from the baby. I am straying from the main topic here which is again attitude towards Atari and the Atari supporters. David Small recently wrote an excellent article in CURRENT NOTES which most users felt was quite informative but again the negatives where out in full force. "He makes his living selling ST related products - of course he is going to support Atari". Let's take a minute to reflect on this. David Small, a prominent developer, takes time out to write an article voicing his own point of views to be shut down by another so called Atari user who claims the article as written for profit. Will someone please explain to me what this person is getting at? If he has a valid point I for one fail to see it. What I do see in fact is a disgrunted Atari user looking for any reason to gripe. BACK TO SKOOL (SCHOOL) The fall season is just around the corner and Atari is ready. Those 520STfm's that we haven't seen here in Canada for a long time now are back and smartly bundled with productivity and entertainment packages. Remembering back when I last sold these machines, I recall horror as they didn't have enough memory to run some of off the shelf titles, but also remembering how many of these entry level computers were sold and at what price soon jolts the negatives out of your system. Atari is back to basics this fall with a proven seller. The system is perfect for the first time user and fairly cheap to upgrade to one megabyte if needed later on. The basic system out of the box can be connected to a television (although a monitor is much needed for productivity software) and comes in a price range that no other 16 bit computer comes close to. The competiton will be sitting up and noticing again this fall as this proven system, priced far below the competitors half meg model again hits the marketplace. DEALER SUPPORT As reported in last weeks issue, dealers will soon be able to have information at their fingertips. Atari's online information system is available through Datapac. Canadian dealers will receive information kits at the August 8th dealer meeting in Toronto. Local Atari representitive Murray Brown commented on the positive aspects of this system. "It will make dealers more aware of the changing market and bring dealers closer to Atari as well as each other. Information will be immediately posted on the system with regards to any hardware or software problems with the equipment, and problems can be more quickly identified and dealt with within the corporate structure." DEALER POLL Well, who said Atari wasn't listening? The powers that be in Toronto have sent questionaires out to all of their reps to be filled in by the dealers. Questions were general in nature with regards to support, service and advertising, but the main point is that Atari is asking for feedback from it's dealer network. On a personal note I found that the only gripe I had with them at this time was the service department. I figured eight weeks for TOS roms and three weeks and still waiting for MMU chips is a bit too long when these parts are readily available in stock. Hey, what are you typing your order forms out on - stone tablets? The order could have come from Taiwan via dog sled faster. Z*NET ONLINE CONFERENCE When this conference was first introduced on the cross-net and I posted a message asking nodes to join. I also posted a note that I would prefer people to use their real names and not handles. This was not a stipulation but a personal request by me by a matter of preference. I am very liberal at the best of times but I felt answering messages back to someone called "One Hung Low" or "The Galloping Gourmet" was a little too much. It has recently been pointed out to me that these people use handles to provide a little mistique to themselves and that some sysops actually encourage people to use handles as they post more messages on their message bases. There are even some people who actually leave Latin quotes with every message they post, and when asked why stated "It's my trademark". Well now, we've gone from handles to trademarks - what next? To make a long story short in the messages I have seen posted in the last month, I have also seen that these people are not just there living in their fantasy world, but are living and breathing Atarians and most with a sincere wish to gain knowledge about their computer. There are the odd few that use these handles to hide behind to post nasty messages and bash Atari at every chance they get, but by the most part I must say my attitude is changing. To those people I do apologize as sometimes I don't see the forest for the trees. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= Z*Net Atari Online Magazine is a weekly released publication covering the Atari community. Opinions and commentary presented are those of the individual authors and do not reflect those of Rovac Industries. Z*NET and Z*NET ATARI ONLINE are copyright 1990 by Rovac Industries. Reprint permission is granted as long as Z*NET ONLINE, Issue Number and author is included at the top of the article. Reprinted articles are not to be edited without permission. ======================================================================= Z*NET ATARI ONLINE MAGAZINE -- The NUMBER ONE ATARI ONLINE NEWS SOURCE! Copyright (c)1990 Rovac Industries, Inc.. ======================================================================= -- Kevin Steele (aj205.Cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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